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Discussion Starter #1
My '97 T Bird has a cracked tank on the drivers side. I ordered a radiator on E Bay at only $40 shipped. Wow, super cheap. I got in and it looks really nice. Am I going to have problems soon after? Anybody have experience with these super cheap radiators. It sure looks nice. Couldn't resist at that price.
 

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Maybe you should have asked "before" you bought it! :p

Can't speak for it but keep us updated, any warranty with it?

Joe
 

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I would have bought a stock one from Rockauto. As to your $40 Ebay special ... you get what you pay for. Remember the quality, speed or price triangle? It may work ... for a time but that's not a chance I would take with any engine component.

You'll have to install it and let us know how it does. It's your car, your money and your call. I have no idea what you've bought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It sure looks good so we shall see. Don't know or care about a guarantee at that price. I hate to do the labor over and over though. Just because you pay more, doesn't always mean its any better.
 

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Just because you pay more, doesn't always mean its any better.
You're correct, only 99% of the time it's better. I'm talking about a good name part like Motorcraft. Not Rock Auto VS e-bay.

Al
 

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I had Fluidyne build me a custom one ... does that count? :p
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I installed this $40 radiator and it fits perfectly. It is obviously made from the same molds as the original Ford radiator because it has the same small details in the mold like bumps and ribs. No leaks so far and car runs cooler on the gauge. Car parts is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. The way they re-box everything, hard to say. So far, so good.
 

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Good deal. I hope it lasts.
 

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$515 for the radiator. I bought a cheap stock core from RockAuto and gave it to them to use as a template. I put together a group buy on the Fluidyne radiators back in June of 2018. There's a thread with some pictures somewhere. Hold on I'll look it up.

Edit: Here's the thread. But yeah, like Joe said. A lot more than $40. But it's amazing what you can do with ... What's the number? $47.88 LOL.

 
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Why would you go to this expense when the cheap ones do the job? I spent over $850 for my 40 Ford wagon radiator but that's a show car and flatheads run hot.
Answer: The Spectra Premium radiator in my wife's 1991 Cougar cracked the lower radiator fitting while I was trying to get onto Cross Lake Bridge, which is a "No Stopping Ever" zone.

By the time I got to Bossier City, Benton Road, and pulled off I-220, as I pulled into the parking lot, the motor sighed to a stop. And has not run since.

You use a good radiator because the cheap radiator can cost you a LOT more money when it fails.

Since I now get to rebuild the motor, the transmission, and while it's down, do the body and interior ... that $100 SP radiator will set me back about $8,000 - $10,000 total.

Although, TBH, I AM upgrading as I go - 331ci stroker, 4R70W transmission, 94 Mustang ECU to control said 4R70W, electric fan, 3.55 rear gears, fresh rebuild on TrakLok differential, new front suspension, etc.

(Actual cost is going to exceed $15,000 I'm sure ... and that's with me doing as much of the work as I possibly can!)

RwP
 
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Why would you go to this expense when the cheap ones do the job? I spent over $850 for my 40 Ford wagon radiator but that's a show car and flatheads run hot.
In my case my engine is far from stock (I have a built 5.3L vs 4.6L) and the single core stock radiator wasn't cutting it. It gets mighty hot in the Carolina's in the summer time! So, no, a cheap one or even a good stock one would not do the job for me so I spent the money to have a custom 3-core radiator built for me.
 

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I spent $200 on a Mishimoto cobra radiator with a 3 tube core; it has a lifetime warranty, which I've heard I'll need. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You big spenders on radiators must realize a broken belt, fitting, water pump, thermostat, intake manifold, etc. can do the same thing to that motor and just as quick.
 

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Not really; I've had all of those things fail, and made it home each time, with a 60 mile drive home.

If you lose all the water at once, it's a big problem. I haven't had that happen.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Not really; I've had all of those things fail, and made it home each time, with a 60 mile drive home.

If you lose all the water at once, it's a big problem. I haven't had that happen.
You won't go 60 miles with a busted hose or broken center section of a plastic intake. On my diesel pusher motorhome, I had a threaded fitting in the block break and it cost me $13K when the motor over heated locked up. It required a new long block installed at a Cummins dealer in Joplin, MO and left us by the side of the road 1500 miles from home. So putting a ton of money in a radiator to avoid a breakdown, makes no sense to me. I never had a radiator leave me stranded but it could. So can allot of other cheap things. Mine was a $5 fitting that broke and cost me over $13,000 in repairs.
 

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Yes; yes I did, lol.

I stopped and added water several times, and let the car cool off; I didn't just keep driving.

I broke the original intake on Lazarus doing hard upshifts, lol.
The alternator twists the front of the intake, which is why it's aluminum now.
I also leave out one of the upper alternator bolts to reduce the flex.

The real fix for that is the Panther car's clutch type alternator gear.

As long as you keep water in them, they'll be fine.
If you break the lower fitting, you're in for a tow home.

I even had the belt break and drove home with no circulation other than thermosyphon operating; it was fine until I stopped at a redlight in town, then the temperature started north.
It still was half full as I pulled into the driveway.

That was at about 100k miles; it has over 300k on it now.

The one that ran the hottest was the Red Cougar; it dropped a valve, and it was pretty hot as I drove it home.
It's not like I cared; it was getting a new engine anyway. :)

I drove it home another time with the transmission slipping badly in 3rd and 4th; it was so hot the fluid boiled, lol.
It was still too hot to touch the next day when I removed it; had to work very carefully.
That also boiled the coolant, from the in-radiator tranny cooler, lol.

I recommend an external tranny cooler, btw.
 
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