Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
6,655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently swapped a 408 windsor stroker into my 68 mustang in place of the original 302....I was concerned that cooling the new engine might be a challenge since it would be over twice the horsepower of the original engine!....Luckily my car came with the heavy duty cooling package since it had air conditioning...The heavy duty cooling system is basically nothing more than a 3 core big block rad with the lower outlet on the passenger side to match the early small block water pump....I wasn't sure if I should replace the stock style rad with a 4 core unit or try swapping in a light wieght aluminum rad with supposedly superior cooling....After doing some price shopping the Northern Universal fit aluminium rad was well over $100 bucks cheaper and the dimensions sounded close to stock so I thought I would give it a try....The stock rad measured 21 X 25 3/8ths while the northern was 19 3/4 X 25 3/8ths....




The northern was advertised as a 19X26 so it was a bonus that it actually ended up being the exact same width as the stocker and not the full 26 inches as advertised...Room is tight here on an early mustang between the battery tray on one side and the voltage regulator and wiring on the other.






Now that it appeared it would fit in the car ok I had to figure out how to mount it...Again I was very lucky to have had the big block style rad in the car originally as it has similar style bottom mounts to most cross flow rads..These little mounts bolt to the A frame at the front of the car and can be easily added to normal small block cars whose radiators actually bolt to the front radiator support






I did have to modify the mounts a little since the thicker end tanks on the crossflow rad make contact against the rad support and make it sit towards the engine a little more than the stock rad..I simply removed the mounts and bent them flat and then rebent the ends back up giving me an extra 1/4 inch or so of flat length for the rad to sit on..The stock rubber insulators were now too short to fit back into the stretched mounts so I had to go to the local wrecking yard to find some that would fit....I robbed a pair of lower rubbers out of a mid 80s cadillac that were plenty wide...I applied some weather strip adhesive on them to help keep them in place and stuck them on the steel mounts....



Now it was time for the top mount which in my case is a clamp on type big block style mount that bolts into the front of the rad support along side the hood latch...It required the same widening treatment as the lower mounts since the stock rad actually narrows in on the top tank for the mount to fit into..It was a little harder to reshape the ends of the mounts but I managed to get it done with a vise and ball peen hammer.









I wasn't entirely happy with the overall look of the top mount but it was functional and used the stock parts..I did need a longer piece of rubber just like the lower mounts to span the extra gap..

The outlets on the nothern rad are the same size as the original and amazingly the stock 302 rad hoses fit perfectly even though I switched to the drivers side lower outlet for the 408....







So how does it work?....Well I have been very pleasantly surprised..With a 180 degree thermostat and an ancient clutch fan the engine runs right at 178 degrees even on extremely hot summer days...Sitting still in traffic on those very hot days will see the temp slowly climb to around 190.. I'm sure this would be easily fixed with a shroud which is on the "to do" list.. I am going to switch to an electric fan with a built in shroud in the future and probably fabricate a nicer looking upper mount like a later model mustang that would cover the whole top of the rad...

Update...I finally got around to changing my upper rad mount..I simply used two short pieces of threaded rod through the original holes in the rad cradle and into the top edge of the rad...I put a nut on each end and covered it with a piece of stainless steel...
 

Attachments

· Registered
Joined
·
5,093 Posts
Nice write-up and pics. I like that you can use the stock brackets, with a little hammer/vise action to install the crossflow in place of the original gravity feed radiator.

A couple of more articles and you can have a new hat that will match the new tee shirt. LOL
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
If you don't mind going the pusher route on the electrics, I have found that twin electrics fit perfectly into the core support on a '68 from the front side of the radiator. It also gives you plenty of room betwwen the radiator and your motor. You can also mount them as pullers and they work great too, but I like the fact that they fit into the support so perfectly on the other side.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd91/blown68/fans.jpg

Flex-a-lite twin electric

Flex-a-lite Low Profile Electric Fans: FLX-210 - summitracing.com
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,495 Posts
Hey frdnut,

Does that universal radiator have the crooked bottom outlet like most of the 'universal' aluminum radiators out there? Most companies put that crooked outlet on there to (I believe) screw things up for those of us wanting to do something similar as you.

Thanks!

And for the 65-66, a crossflow can be used, but mounts will have to be fabricated. It's not that big of a deal. It also helps to cut out the core opening a bit.. but it's not really required usually. Measure how wide of a crossflow unit will fit, then fabricate from there. A fairly common swap, actually.

Good Luck!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,093 Posts
does anyone have a similar solution for 65-66 models?
In a couple of afternoons I installed a 67-68 Mustang core support in my 65'. It requires some welding and body work skills as it is not a direct replacement, per se. The height and apron width are the same as constructed. There are some differences that require some metal removal and some that needs added in order to fill the gaps.
It will also require a battery tray mod which consists of a 67/68 battery tray and the support brace from a 65/66 if you want to keep the battery in the engine compartment. Another option is to use the 67/68 apron which mounts the battery horizontal in the engine compartment (instead of horizontal to the radiator support.)
Once the new support is installed, it would be easy to follow Frdnut's article to install and install a crossflow. Alternately, there have been people who cut out the raised portions of the existing 65/66 support to create a larger opening. This would certainly require a lot less work than what I did. This would require that you be a little more creative with the top mount.
Because I try to make my car a sleeper, I used a 4 row copper brass 67-68 AC radiator. I used a 67/68 top radiator mount and fabricated the lower mounts. Here is a couple of pics of my 65' with the 67-68 core and radiator installed:
 

Attachments

· Registered
Joined
·
6,655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey frdnut,

Does that universal radiator have the crooked bottom outlet like most of the 'universal' aluminum radiators out there? Most companies put that crooked outlet on there to (I believe) screw things up for those of us wanting to do something similar as you.

Good Luck!
No Mike the outlet is straight back...I could not believe how easily this thing swapped in.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
523 Posts
the engine runs right at 178 degrees even on extremely hot summer days...Sitting still in traffic on those very hot days will see the temp slowly climb to around 190

Now I'd bet an extremely hot summer day in Ontario Canada isn't quite the same thing as an extremely hot summer day in Texas! ;) The birds here use oven mits to pull worms out of the ground on those days! :D

Seriously though, how hot does it get and what kind of humidity do you see? I've been torn as to whether or not I should go with an aluminum rad. or not but I keep hearing conflicting stories as to what is better. :confused:
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,521 Posts
An aluminum radiator can be a great addition to your build; however those advantages are along the lines ascetic - in most cases - rather than functional.

Replacing a 10, 20 or 40 year old radiator; copper, aluminum, plastic or whatever … that was marginal in the 60's running in front of a 170, 200 or 225 (gross, not net) horsepower engine is a good thing for almost any reason you can think of. The point you really need to have clear in your mind is what you are trying to do.

I have and continue to say that a copper radiator is at least as good as a copper - if not better. I will agree that in aluminum is lighter, shinier and gives you a little more "street credibility". It makes great "frosting" on a nearly completed build, but in my honest opinion, is not the best or only solution for every over-heating problem.


I guess what I’m saying is best illustrated by my personal decision. I will change over to an aluminum radiator eventually, but its not because the copper radiator is bad. I’ll make the change because I have the spare money, because it looks good and because it’ll add a little to the “bling” factor.

Maybe I have it totally wrong, maybe once I make the change-over I’ll be another rabid convert to the benefits of aluminum radiators – but so far, I have just not seen the benefits that make me want to rush that decision.

By the way – all of the contributions have been great. You guys have given a lot of information on what fits and how to make it work in Mustangs. Maybe my reluctance is based on my non-Mustang addiction?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,093 Posts
I value the original look. The 2 things that almost swayed me to going aluminum is that my 4 row copper 26" wide radiator is very, very heavy. The second reason I see for going to aluminum is for the cross flow effect. The rows are longer and that will help to improve cooling.

There is even a bigger advantage to someone using a pre-70 setup that has both the upper and lower radiator hoses on the passenger side. There is an aftermarket aluminum cross flow designed for that type of application too. It has a baffle that makes the coolant go from the passenger side of the radiator to the drivers side, and then back again to the passenger side. I think that this system would offer the best cooling of all current designs.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,521 Posts
I have to agree with the benefits of cross-flow, the longer you can keep the coolant in the air stream (up to a point), the better will be its ability to transfer heat to the air stream. Crossflow designs are generally an improvement over the earlier 50's - 60's designs.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Now I'd bet an extremely hot summer day in Ontario Canada isn't quite the same thing as an extremely hot summer day in Texas! ;) The birds here use oven mits to pull worms out of the ground on those days! :D

Seriously though, how hot does it get and what kind of humidity do you see? I've been torn as to whether or not I should go with an aluminum rad. or not but I keep hearing conflicting stories as to what is better. :confused:
We get some days in the 90s and the humidity can add another 10 or 15 degrees to that so yes it does get pretty hot up here in the great white north...I went to a wedding about 10 years ago where some of the groom's family came up from Texas to attend the wedding here...The wedding was outside in the wide open(no shade) and the guys could not believe how hot it was here(as they were sweating in their suits)...I guess they were expecting snow :D:
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's difficult to say how the aluminium rad would compare to the stock style rad if I had of gone with it instead..The stock rad always worked well with the 300ish hp 302...One other thing I have noticed is there is a tremendous amount of heat given off the top side of the motor...I'm imagining since it has aluminium heads and intake alot of heat is disappated upwards to the air that wasn't with the stock cast iron heads...This likely helps keep the water temps down a little as well......The only other aluminium rad swap I have done was in my old 1982 F-100 with a 300 six banger...I changed from a 3 core copper rad to a single core aluminium...The aluminium rad was far superior...I had an electric fan on a toggle switch and after the switch to the aluminium I rarely ever had to turn the fan on.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I believe that the aluminum radiators are more efficient than brass.

I replaced a 3 core brass radiator on a 65 mustang with a 2 core aluminum. The guy had installed the 3 core 2 months earlier but it was unable to keep it cool. The motor was a near stock 289 and once the aluminum radiator was install no more problems...

Question... If brass radiators were better...Why did auto manufacturers switch to aluminum? Just a thought.

Steve
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,521 Posts
I believe that the aluminum radiators are more efficient than brass.

I replaced a 3 core brass radiator on a 65 mustang with a 2 core aluminum. The guy had installed the 3 core 2 months earlier but it was unable to keep it cool. The motor was a near stock 289 and once the aluminum radiator was install no more problems...

Question... If brass radiators were better...Why did auto manufacturers switch to aluminum? Just a thought.

Steve

....Like all things in modern cars... The switch over to Aluminum was based on cost and weight.

There is no denying that aluminum weighs less. The weight savings contribute to epa/dot - fuel economy, weight classifications, etc. But remember, most aluminum radiators are fitted with plastic tanks too. Every wonder why Aluminum radiators are replaced, not rebuilt? Just a thought?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,655 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A brand new radiator can't fix a overheating problem. They're so many factors for an overheating: head gasket, cooling circuit dusty,...
Well I guess that depends on whether the problem was with the rad or not?..As hotrodders we tend to do lots of stuff with cars that the factory never intended when they designed the cooling systems(strokers or just big hp increase over stock).
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top