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Car Radiator too much?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 11:24 am
by wussboy
I've just received my Swiftech water block and Hydor L30 pump, and am eagerly awaiting the chance to put them to work, but I still don't have a radiator. I went out to Pick Your Part today and banged around with some cars, but I wonder if it's worth it. Anyone have experience with car radiators?

1. Is there just too much thin tubing in a car radiator for my pump? I am also pumping through about 30 feet of tubing.

2. Is it possible to even clean an old radiator? I don't want rusty metal bits swirling around.

3. Should I just suck it up and buy a new radiator/oil cooler?

Thanks for your help all.


Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:40 pm
by ABAQUS888
Car radiator is cool, I am thinking to get 2 of them. old one is OK, but u have to clean it up, how will you clean the inside of the radiator?

Imagine having two car/truck radiators equiped on my PC, humm, just like a main battle tank! it's bullet proof, dude! :lol:

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 2:45 pm
by pdf27
A lot of people seem to use heatercores (the radiator used to heat up the air for the passenger compartment using engine cooling water) for their watercooled systems. I haven't tried one myself, but they are going to be quite a bit smaller than a full on car radiator, and should still be capable of cooling just about any PC.

Edit: I've heard of various ways of cleaning them, all slightly dodgy. Dansdata has got quite a good one here ( at the bottom of the page. If you do use a second hand one you will probably want to use a reservoir so any crud gets the chance to settle out.

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:38 pm
by Gooserider
Copper / Brass automotive heater cores are perhaps THE radiator of choice among serious WC people, they seem to offer one of the best balances between air and water flow restriction, and have excellent heat dissipation. Best of all they are far less (even when new) expensive than the specialty 'computer rads'.

For the absolute best results, get one that is a 'single pass' type core, (one pipe comes out each end tank) as opposed to the far more common 'dual pass' core. (both pipes come out the same end tank) A single pass core has less than half the flow resistance the same size dual pass core does. Oil coolers are far less effective as radiators since they are designed to work with a totally different fluid and temp range.

A heater core will offer more than enough cooling for a standard application. If you want to go semi-passive, some folks have been known to get regular car radiators. They are even better in terms of low flow resistance and cooling ability, but obviously their size makes mounting them a problem.

It is important to make sure that you get a rad / core made of metal that matches the rest of your system. for a Cu block get a Cu/Brass core, if using an Al block, get an Al core.

Airspirit over on Pro-Cooling has created a database of heatercores that allows you to search by cooling area size (note that this does NOT include the tank size, which will add ~1/2-1" on each end) at this location

As to new vs. used - Cost depends on what you choose, but most common heatercores are under ~$50.00 US brand new, so it isn't worth a lot to try to salvage an old one.

If I was to try salvaging, in decreasing order of cost and effectiveness:

1. Get it cleaned at a radiator shop (probably fairly expensive)

2. Try using a commercial radiator cleaner (from any autoparts store) although it might be a problem to circulate the coolant (make a mini-loop with your pump?

3. Flush with lots of water (garden hose)

I have also heard some folks use a solution of CLR cleaner for getting rid of mineral deposits and corosion and the infamous *sol enema to get rid of any biological / organic buildups.

Good luck,


Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:08 pm
by wussboy
Thanks for your posts, people.

Good information, Gooserider. Looks like a refurbished radiator may be more trouble that it is worth.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 7:31 pm
by Gooserider
Good information, Gooserider. Looks like a refurbished radiator may be more trouble that it is worth.
That tends to be my opinion, but YMMV :lol: a great deal will depend on the details of your personal setup.
1. A nearly new low mileage rad might not need much cleaning...
2. If your chosen rad is expensive new...
3. How good a buddy the guy running the junkyard or rad repair place is...
and so forth...

Note that if you are using a radiator rather than a heater core, you might find new rads are expensive enough to justify cleaning. It can be a tough call...


Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:03 pm
by wussboy
I've decided to go with the Swiftech radiator for dual 120mm fans. It's about $60 CAD, whereas a new car radiator is ~$300 and even a junky one was ~$35, so for an extra $25 I get a new one I don't have to clean. I don't imagine I can go passive like I wanted, but I'll remodel my room today so that I can run the hose through a wall into the hall closet outside the room without using 30 feet of hose.

Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:32 pm
by ascl
holy thread necro! 7 year old thread!

Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:08 am
by Wibla
reckon its a spam thing...