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Radiator Lifespan?

Thread in 'General Information' started by Michael Roberts, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Michael Roberts

    Michael Roberts Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Good evening fellow STers,

    I've been through a few aftermarket radiators in the five years I've owned my 04 ST. These were all the plastic-tank type. They either leaked at the tank to core attachment or ended up corroding out at the ends where the cores are welded to the tank structure. I'm assuming there's dirt and residual salt that the fan doesn't move that helps contribute to this.

    About two years ago, I found an all welded aluminum, 2-core radiator on eBay for about twice the price of the plastic-tank version. Before installing this one, I spray painted the core to tank weld areas with zinc chromate primer only. It's done over a year now without leaking.

    Recently when doing oil change etc, I noticed this radiator has developed a yellow to brown corrosion at the weld areas. Needless to say, the coolant is slowly disappearing again. I've just purchased another one as a just in caser.

    The engine is running perfectly! I can't believe there would be anything like a head gasket weeping into the coolant. No indication of coolant contamination. Temp is right where it should be. Thermostat & Housing have been done recently. Water Pump also done recently which was leaking slowly.

    What are you guys using for radiators?



    Thanks, Michael.



     
  2. Ed Fenwick

    Ed Fenwick Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    are you using distilled water or a store bought 50/50 mix. Never tap water?
     
  3. Yardsale

    Yardsale Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    My OEM lasted for 240,000 miles and then one of the side tanks developed a crack. Replaced with an aftermarket of similar design (best I can tell, it's a Valeo; hoping for 100,000 miles).



    I'd say, if you are having problems like this, the problem is not diagnosed.



    Are you using the correct fluid? Not all service providers pay attention to such things. Ford is specific about radiator fluid (orange, green, whatever). I suspect that the appropriate amount of rust inhibitors and or the pH is important.
     
  4. Michael Roberts

    Michael Roberts Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Ed,

    I always use a cheap 50/50 premix. Don't know what's in the ingredients. It's greenish/yellowish! I wouldn't dare use tap water!!



    Yardsale,

    When I got the truck, preowned, the radiator had already been replaced. It had 58,000 miles when I got it. Has about 160,000 now.

    Whenever I've done any work on the cooling system, there's no evidence of severe corrosion or rusting. Certainly no contamination of the fluid or build-up of any kind in the expansion tank etc.
     
  5. DILLARD000

    DILLARD000 Member 2nd Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    I know this thread is getting old (maybe dead?); a little new info may perk it up.
    Just swapped the old Factory 1Row to a new Aluminum 4Row Radiator on my 2001 ExST.
    It was generally a "drop in", excepting had to modify the TransCooler Fittings, plus buy a new larger SAEA cap.
    I'll update this entry over the next few weeks\months with any good\bad results
    Details at http://2001fordexplorersporttrac.fandom.com/Engine_Coolant_Radiator+Cap

    Radiator Dimensions:
    [​IMG]

    Old 1Row Radiator:
    [​IMG]

    New 4Row Radiator:
    [​IMG]

    TransCooler Fittings need to be modified for new Radiator; old CompressionStyle, not new ORingStyle:
    [​IMG]

    TransCooler Connections CloseUp:
    [​IMG]

    Radiator Install Complete, along with new ThermoStatValve+Pump+Belt+Hoses+Fan+Clutch:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
    Mickey Luis likes this.
  6. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    I don't know if you needed all that cooling as it may force the thermostat not to stay open oir settle in a happy spot but move a lot more then it should.
    BUT the all aluminum rad helps cool the gen 1 nicely...… Also depending what rad you have you may have to cut the fan shroud to properly fit. ( not a big deal)
    They do sell 2 row direct fit gen 1 aluminum rads.

    Also i have seen the gen 2 now has the option for it.....
     
    DILLARD000 likes this.
  7. DILLARD000

    DILLARD000 Member 2nd Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Appreciate your keen eye & feedback; I've had simular thoughts.

    About ThermoStat Valves, I'm slowly experimenting:
    192f 89c Ford#2L2z-8575-aa\rt1167 ran FactoryOE for ~15yrs: temp rises off ambient at ~5min then STEADY midgage drving, good.
    174f 79c Stant#13648 ran this briefly 2yrs ago: temp rises off ambient at ~5min then UNSTABLE low~midgage driving, NOT good.
    190f 88c Stant#13649 ran this last 2yrs: temp rises off ambient at ~5min then STEADY midgage driving, good.
    183f 84c Stant#14748 installed with new 4Row Rad: temp rises off ambient at ~5min then STEADY midgage driving, good.
    189f 87c Stant#48019\48049 another possibility.
    180f 82c Stant#13558 another possibility.
    176f 80c Stant#13588\48038 another possibility.
    Goal is a Steady+Cooler temp without detriment to Mileage\Performance.

    About the Shroud:
    The old Rad had 2" thick top+bottom channels; the new Rad has 3" channels;
    thus old shroud has about 0.25" air gap top+bottom, but otherwise a good fit; need to fix that.
    Also, I'm tired of wrestling the shroud around the fan during this recent work or with future belt changes,
    so a top\bottom split mod is in the works on my bench to go in shortly; it will also fix the above gap.

    About RowCount & Plastic\Aluminum:
    No need to explain AllAluminum over FactoryPlastic; no brainer; old rad had a 6" split in the right plastic tank & drain.
    Tribulated on RowCount\CoreThickness, then concluded the bigger capacity the better.
    If it's too much, a Restriction\Orifice\AdjustableValve in one of the hoses or covering some fins should work.
    I suspect pump capacity &\or engine restrictions are the true limit on cooling capacity.

    Your thoughts are helpful.
    D
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020 at 3:45 PM

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