ESI processing not enabled ESI processing not enabled
ESI processing not enabled

Tag Archives: radiator

  • How To Install a Tri-Flow Radiator

    How To Install a Tri-Flow Radiator

    The new Eastwood Maxx-Power Tri-Flow aluminum radiators have been proven to keep a car 24 degrees cooler than a regular OEM brass and copper radiator. Their 3 pass design cools better than typical single pass aluminum radiators too. Getting this added cooling is easy though, thanks to their well thought out design features and easy installation.

    Maxx-Power Tri-Flow radiators come in 3 sizes, one of which will fit most American cars. Sturdy 11 inch by 2 inch mounting tabs TIG welded to the side tanks allow you to drill mounting holes to match your existing radiator support, or anywhere you prefer. Aluminum shrouds are specially made to mount an electric fan to each one, for a clean, simple all in one cooling system. A universal add on automatic transmission cooler is also offered, which works better than the old OEM internal cooler, for longer transmission life.

    Here’s how to find the right Tri-Flow Maxx-Power radiator:

    If the car has been running, be careful taking measurements as parts may be hot, and remember even once the engine is off the radiator can boil over and spray hot coolant.


    Tri-flow radiator 1

    Measure the existing radiator from edge to edge on the outside of the tanks.  This one is about 29 inches.

    Tri-flow radiator 2

    Then measure the overall height of the core, this one is 19 inches.  You also want to take into consideration the size of the opening where air gets to the core. The tanks are typically about the same size, but the core and tank dimensions are on the Eastwood site, if you click the “Download Full Specs” button.


    Tri-flow radiator 3

    Amazingly enough, just 3 sizes are enough to supply the majority of  American cars from the 50s through the 80s. Eastwood item #20152 is almost an exact match size wise for this Firebird.

    While ordering you should also consider getting the matching shroud and electric fan at the same time, though these radiators can be made to work with the factory fan and shroud as well.

    Besides a cooling system that isn’t cutting it, the 2 biggest causes of an engine running hot are too lean a fuel mixture, and retarded ignition timing. If those 2 things are not right the biggest radiator in the world is just a temporary fix to hide the problem. Make sure the mechanical and vacuum advance are functioning properly at the distributor. Make sure the engine doesn’t have an air leak from a disconnected vacuum line, or a leaking gasket. Look at the spark plugs for a lean mixture indicated by a light colored electrode.


    Now let’s put in the new radiator:

    For the sake of safety, you should be absolutely sure the engine and coolant is cold before you start messing with the cooling system. This is the sort of job that is best done in the morning, after the car has sat overnight.


    Tri-flow radiator 4

    Start by draining the coolant into a bucket, and disconnecting the hoses. Use a clean bucket because there is no reason not to reuse the coolant if it is clean.


    Tri-flow radiator 5

    Make things easier for yourself by removing anything that may get in the way: The battery, any core support braces, filler panels, the fan and the fan shroud. Disconnect and plug the line from the automatic transmission cooler, if you have one.


    Tri-flow radiator 6

    Now you can just unbolt the 4 to 6 bolts and remove the radiator. Sometime there is nothing more than 2 clips holding the top of it. Every car is different, but it’s pretty obvious how it comes out.


    Tri-flow radiator 11

    Test fit the new radiator and mark off anywhere that the mounting tabs will interfere with other parts or bumps in the radiator support.


    Tri-flow radiator 12


    Tri-flow radiator 13

    An easy trick to cut out rectangular shapes is to drill holes in the corners first with a bit about the size of your jigsaw blade. Then you just cut straight lines, and turn at the holes. Now you should be able to get the new radiator in close enough to mark off where your mounting bolt holes should be. You can also just put 4 new holes in the mounting tab and radiator support if you have to.


    Tri-flow radiator 15

    To make drilling the holes in the right spot easier, start with a small hole, then make it bigger.


    Tri-flow radiator 16

    Deburr the holes and edges with a file, the smooth them all off with a Sanding Disc on an Angle Grinder.


    Tri-flow radiator 18

    If you need to drill new holes in the radiator support sticking a strip of masking tape on it first will make it much easier to mark where to drill. You can use the hole you already drilled in the radiator mounting tabs as a template.


    Tri-flow radiator 17

    Installing the electric fan to the shroud is so simple it really doesn’t need explaining. The holes are already there, and the hardware is included.


    Tri-flow radiator 20
    Place the radiator in the bottom groove of the shroud, then just pop the top groove over the top of the radiator, and it clips into place. A line of RTV sealer along the top and bottom groove will keep it even tighter, and quiet any metal on metal rattles.


    Tri-flow radiator 21

    Put another line of RTV along the sides as well by gently prying it away from the tank.

    Tri-flow radiator 8
    If you are replacing a mechanical fan with the electric one you will need to replace the bolts that hold the fun/pulley to the motor with much shorter ones.


    Tri-flow radiator 9

    Use a dab of thread lock to keep them from loosening up, and snug it all back in.


    Tri-flow radiator 22

    Now you can bolt the radiator/shroud/fan unit into the car, and start reassembling anything else you took apart. Of course if you didn’t have an electric fan before you will need to wire it up, and likely with a temperature switch and relay.


    Tri-flow radiator 23

    Don’t forget to fill the car full of coolant!

    After swapping out the old single pass aluminum radiator, and mechanical fan for the Maxx-Power Tri-Pass set up and electric fan the car hit the streets and was cruising at 25 degrees cooler than before. Instead of a temp gauge in the 230 degree danger zone, it was now safely in the 210 to 215 range. 


    Tri-flow radiator 24
    The specially designed, divided tanks send the coolant through the core 3 times before it goes back into the motor to pick up more heat. It is no wonder that it cools so much better than old style one pass systems.


    Adding a Tri-Flow Radiator to your ride will ensure your engine is running cool no matter how hot it is outside.



  • Make it Fit- Building and Modifying a Custom Aluminum Radiator With the TIG 200

    In the world of building modified cars, you have to be willing to think outside the box to make different parts jive when building a car. Whether it's notching the frame to lower a vehicle, rolling the fenders to fit oversized wheels/tires, or fitting an upgraded radiator to cool that larger engine you stuffed under the hood, you have to be ready to modify and customize things to make it all work correctly.

    This is the case especially when building small cars with larger or higher horsepower engines, where space is at a premium. I've always come up against issues finding a radiator that was just the right size that fits nicely, and cools the car better than the stock radiator did. There are a lot of large aluminum radiators for sale out there on Ebay and other sites to fit street rods and muscle cars, but the smaller ones to fit the space I needed are slim to none. Even the ones that are close to the right size, usually don't have the outlets in the correct place. Luckily we had a couple large aluminum radiators suited for small block Chevy V8's laying around and after eyeballing them, I decided to try cutting them up and building a radiator to suit my needs. It's only metal right?!

    I started by cutting the end tanks off the core at the welds, Once these were off I could cut the core down to the height I needed. The core is basically (in this case) made up of rows of thin aluminum tubing that are connected by fine metal fins and then housed at each end by base plates. Once I broke it down to the basics like this, it was pretty easy to see what needed to be done to cut the core down to a more suitable height for the Volkswagens I was building. I first marked and cut the base plates on each end between two coils (the thin metal tubing that the coolant flows through). This got me to the height I needed, and I then began cutting and sectioning the end tanks to the size I needed and moved the outlets to where I needed them. Some sort of tape here comes in handy and helps hold it all together to give you an idea of what it will look like and even allows you to do an initial test fit. Remember it's a lot easier to change the radiator layout when it's held together with tape rather than weld!

    With everything taped up it all seems a lot more doable.. just weld each seam up, pressure test, and mount it in the car right? Well in this case.. not exactly. By moving both outlets over to the same side, I needed to convert it to a dual pass radiator. Originally the coolant came in one port and had to travel across the radiator through the coils to the other outlet and back into the engine, but now the coolant would take the easiest path and straight down through the other outlet. So to make a "dual pass" radiator I needed to add a plate below the top inlet that blocks the water from flowing straight out the bottom port and instead through the coils, thus lowering the coolant temperatures. I cut a piece of aluminum plate to size, then sanded it with a belt disc sander until it was a tight fit with a slight bevel. I then used the Eastwood TIG 200 to weld the cap to the endtanks. Before I laid the final weld sealing the two halves of the end tank together, I took some high temp, waterproof epoxy and sealed the edges around where the plate sat near the coils. Using epoxy avoided putting any unnecessary heat into the coils and sealed the plate from leaking.

    With the radiator now converted to a dual-pass, I welded the rest of the endcaps onto the core and added my outlets and overflow port as needed. I did a basic pressure test by capping off all of the outlets, spraying the seams of the radiator with soapy water, then applying around 20psi with an air nozzle off of the compressor through the overflow outlet. Any air bubbles that popped up I cleaned and rewelded the area. With all of the leaks fixed, I was ready to install the radiator and fill the cooling system.

    The verdict is in, both radiators I built hold more coolant, dissipate the heat better, and overall keep the engine temperatures lower, giving me a huge piece of mind when cruising during the summer. The cost of a custom one-off radiator to fit my exact needs would have cost me close to what a new TIG 200 retails for, so once again tackling a project like this helped me save money and get some more time under the helmet with the TIG 200.

2 Item(s)

ESI processing not enabled