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After 4 years my Fluidyne radiator bailed out on me leaking severely.  Fluid always was clean but I'm not ruling out electrolysis. Now trying to decide if I should have the oem radiator from my 74 Pantera recored to put a copper radiator back in the system or to go for another aluminum radiator in the system.  Seriously considering the Pantera radiator made by Superior Radiator here in Michigan.

Thoughts, comment and opinions.

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Dear Mike,

         There are advantages and disadvantages to aluminum and copper/brass radiators.  I prefer the copper/brass radiators because they are more robust and can be repaired.   A copper/brass radiator I bought from Pantera Performance Center about twenty-five years ago underwent repairs twice and finally became terminal.  That was due to the solder having oxidized sufficiently to begin crumbling.  The radiator was re-cored for the astounding sum of about $1100.

        The economics of that relates to aluminum radiators.  Because of the federal fuel economy mandates, the manufacturers opt for light weight aluminum.  There are so many cars with them as well as manufacturers, the economy of scale has made them much cheaper than brass/copper radiators.

          The economics of brass/copper radiators is that their manufacture requires some chemicals and metals on the EPA and OSHA bad lists, which raises the overhead from the paperwork and protocols to make the feds happy.  Also, the cost of worker's compensation insurance is higher due to the toxic exposure potential.  Due to those factors and the much smaller market for brass/copper radiators the costs have gone way up.

        However, if the new radiator re-build lasts as long as the first, then I won't be around to deal with its replacement or repair.  I would be inclined to talk to Superior Radiator conveniently near you.

                   Warmest regards, Chuck Engles


I have a 12 year old Ron Davis rad. that's still going strong. The Davis rads are 100% welded construction and appear to be very high quality. I had them make a custom unit but they do have Pantera rads. Pantera Performance used to have an exclusive on at least one of them but that may have changed. If I only got 4 years out of a rad, I'd be looking for something different too!

Pretty sure Dennis still has an exclusive with the Ron Davis Pantera radiator, I recently replaced his triple pass with his double pass and learned I could not buy it directly from Ron Davis.

The two SPAL fans that Dennis installs on his radiators are likely more than is required. They do in fact draw more amperage than the control unit sold by Jon Haas is ideally designed for. His controller can be used by putting the two motors in series, or another aftermarket controller can be used that is capable of handling both the high amperage fans from Dennis. There are no replacement fans with the same mounting footprint with lower current draw.

just something to keep in mind when you consider fans for whatever new radiator you purchase  


I bought a Pantera last year that came with the Ron Davis radiator by Dennis.  The car had been sitting for 20 years and not surprisingly the radiator began leaking once the car was resuscitated.  I was able to find an identical used replacement and it has not leaked thus far.  It has been a pleasure to have it in the car.  The shroud and fan configuration is impressive.  I had Ron Davis radiators in other cars and they were equally up to the task.  They are about twice the price of a Fluidyne.  If my replacement fails I will consider the Fluidyne route to save money although the cost for new plumbing, temp sensors, and other incidentals will increase the price for me to switch.  Also, the  lead time to get a Ron Davis radiator can be daunting kind of like waiting for a Covid vaccination.

Last edited by stevebuchanan

I would look at the options that are previously listed, but would also ask around your area about a recore on your original. Asking at a few local car shows may help, older rod guys always seem to know someone that works with brass. The $1100 listed previously seems fairly high to me. I have my stock 74 rad and it has never given a problem, but I am never stuck in slow traffic with it either.

Two things I noticed about my Superior radiator were the welds at the pins underneath would not allow proper seating on the stock rubber bottom grommets, and since the top of the radiator is also supported in rubber, a separate ground wire from the radiator to the chassis was required to provide a ground to the single terminal t'stats that came installed by Superior.

Here's a Corvette tip that's applicable (they've had aluminum rads since 1963). With engine off, remove the rad cap and stick a VOM probe in the cold coolant with the other probe grounded. If your meter reads 50mA or more of current flow from electrolysis, use some type of anti-acid in your coolant (rad shops recommend No-Rosion), or add a sacrificial piece of zinc or magnesium.

Note you must use a good VOM- a $6.95 Harbor Freight assembly is not accurate enough. Some local water is so acidic it will dissolve a Coke can from the outside!

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