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Radiator: OEM style auto vs. OEM style manual vs. high end aluminum (done right)


Jeepin' Geo

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Are the current Mopar $300 radiators better than the factory one that came with my 01 TJ?

Mine had the plastic tank leak at the crimps around 60k miles. Seemed like a common issue so I went with a single row Novak aluminum radiator for around $400 and it still seems fine at 170k miles.

Never had any cooling issues but I don’t push it hard either. Are the aluminum radiators inherently less desirable?
 

mrblaine

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The originals were an aluminum core with a plastic tank. I prefer the copper brass, @mrblaine prefers the OEM plastic tank, aluminum core radiators.
No, I prefer a high efficiency single row core for a given space. If they can get a single row copper and brass in there with the same efficiency, I'd run it. That hasn't happened affordably yet.
 

L J

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Are the aluminum radiators inherently less desirable?
Not necessarily. However, I paid just under $500 for a Griffin (due to time constraints) and the P.O.S. started leaking after a few years. My OEM radiator went more than 80,000 miles before the top tank developed a crack. I have a new MOPAR unit on the shelf.
 

Kaptainkid1

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This thread is shedding light on my Champion Cooling System. I had a leak on this radiator since it was purchased last year. I bought Jeep used and it had a bunch of mods. It seems the radiator was fairly new maybe less than a year old. So over the last year thinking the radiator wasn't the problem I changed the hoses thinking they could be the problem. Soon after the hose replacement the radiator was still leaking. Left it alone for another 6 months until this week. When I finally thought I should pull this bad radiator out and find out what the problem could be. It turned out to be leaking fins by the top neck.

I called Champion Corp and they told me the radiator has lifetime warranty as long as I know who bought the radiator.

I gave the name of the last owner and from there they transferred the warranty to me.
Bam! Free new radiator replacement for life. I have a manual so wont have to deal with Trans fluid chamber. I feel it could be another failure point.

Anycase this failure on a fairly new radiator can chalk up to this threads validity.

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mrblaine

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This thread is shedding light on my Champion Cooling System. I had a leak on this radiator since it was purchased last year. I bought Jeep used and it had a bunch of mods. It seems the radiator was fairly new maybe less than a year old. So over the last year thinking the radiator wasn't the problem I changed the hoses thinking they could be the problem. Soon after the hose replacement the radiator was still leaking. Left it alone for another 6 months until this week. When I finally thought I should pull this bad radiator out and find out what the problem could be. It turned out to be leaking fins by the top neck.
I called Champion Corp and they told me the radiator has lifetime warranty as long as I know who bought the radiator.
I gave the name of the last owner and from there they transferred the warranty to me.
Bam! Free new radiator replacement for life. I have a manual so wont have to deal with Trans fluid chamber. I feel it could be another failure point.
Anycase this failure on a fairly new radiator can chalk up to this threads validity.

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View attachment 163617
If I was energetic and bored, I could walk to their facility from here. Even with that proximity, we won't run their stuff and I won't install it unless you agree to pay me to replace it when it dies.
 

Chris

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Florence, Arizona
This thread is shedding light on my Champion Cooling System. I had a leak on this radiator since it was purchased last year. I bought Jeep used and it had a bunch of mods. It seems the radiator was fairly new maybe less than a year old. So over the last year thinking the radiator wasn't the problem I changed the hoses thinking they could be the problem. Soon after the hose replacement the radiator was still leaking. Left it alone for another 6 months until this week. When I finally thought I should pull this bad radiator out and find out what the problem could be. It turned out to be leaking fins by the top neck.

I called Champion Corp and they told me the radiator has lifetime warranty as long as I know who bought the radiator.

I gave the name of the last owner and from there they transferred the warranty to me.
Bam! Free new radiator replacement for life. I have a manual so wont have to deal with Trans fluid chamber. I feel it could be another failure point.

Anycase this failure on a fairly new radiator can chalk up to this threads validity.

View attachment 163615

View attachment 163616

View attachment 163617
That's great they gave you a new one. Of course it highlights the main issue of most of these aftermarket radiators. They'll last 2-3 years, and then they'll fail. Sure, they give you a new one, but having to change the radiator every 2-3 years isn't as nice as not having to change it for 10-15 years.

Either way though, I'm still glad to hear they gave you a new one. At least they have the customer service thing figured out (y)
 
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mrblaine

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That last tripple pass copper brass radiator I bought was almost $900 but that was for a mopar, not a jeep, 4 row with more fins per inch, good for 800 horsepower

This will knock your socks off, but no epoxy;

The YJ radiator fit in a 98 tj, not sure about the newer models
So, in other words, for the same money I can buy 30 year's worth and 300,000 mile's worth of TJ radiators? That and regardless of what they say, a 4 row is not as efficient as a 3 row in the same core depth. A 3 row is not as efficient as a 2 row and so on all other things being equal.
 
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Joedert

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Jan 29, 2018
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Corn Feild
My first aluminum one failed the first year. Not willing to give up because it looked cool to my buddy’s. I put in a a $850 BeCool brand with electric fan. Other then being noisy it failed in about 3 years. So I went back to OEM Mopar. But it leaked day one. Rock auto warranty sent me another right away though. Like the quietness better.
 
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Honest_Abe74

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My aftermarket OEM style radiator broke last weekend. I ordered a Mopar unit. It was just over $300 shipped to my house (auto trans).

I barely drive my Jeep and I figure this is the last radiator I’ll have to buy for it.
Where did you order from? My original radiator cracked along the top recently and I'm having trouble finding a decently priced one (around $300) online. I can't do Rockauto since they stopped selling in Colorado...
 

Zorba

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I am monumentally confused by all this radiator debate. My daily driver is a 35 year old Mercedes, which has the original "Behr" plastic radiator in it. From what I understand, the only real problem with them occurs if the factory specified coolant isn't changed at factory specified intervals. Causes some kind of "rot" at the necks.

Way I see it, EITHER nobody makes a decent radiator for Jeeps, or nobody uses the factory coolant and changes it at factory intervals, or BOTH. Now I wouldn't be surprised if I had to change that MBZ radiator tomorrow, but having to change a radiator (or heater core!) in a 15 or 20 year old vehicle shocks me.

So - what's REALLY the problem here?
 

Rubicon John

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Atlanta
I am monumentally confused by all this radiator debate. My daily driver is a 35 year old Mercedes, which has the original "Behr" plastic radiator in it. From what I understand, the only real problem with them occurs if the factory specified coolant isn't changed at factory specified intervals. Causes some kind of "rot" at the necks.

Way I see it, EITHER nobody makes a decent radiator for Jeeps, or nobody uses the factory coolant and changes it at factory intervals, or BOTH. Now I wouldn't be surprised if I had to change that MBZ radiator tomorrow, but having to change a radiator (or heater core!) in a 15 or 20 year old vehicle shocks me.

So - what's REALLY the problem here?
Unless you’re the original owner how could you possibly know that your radiator is original?
 

Kaptainkid1

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If I was energetic and bored, I could walk to their facility from here. Even with that proximity, we won't run their stuff and I won't install it unless you agree to pay me to replace it when it dies.
Agreed if this baby only last another 2 years. Might sell it and get OEM Radiator. Honestly it came to my house in 2 days but had missing parts which was very annoying and had to pull the radiator out again and retap it with self locking bolts. Thank god I had the tools and bolt size in my garage.
Also since I was not 100% sure where the leak was coming I decided to attach a clear hose to the Auto Trans cooler lines to see if the crack would come from these welds if next time. The leaking fluids was at the bottom of the Radiator and I couldn't trace back from where it came from. I only guessed because the area had stained green by some fins and I assumed because I didnt have a pressure tester.

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Zorba

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Unless you’re the original owner how could you possibly know that your radiator is original?
Because the car was 15 years old when I bought it - and 15 year old cars, execept apparently Jeeps - DON'T LOSE RADIATORS. In any event, I've had it for 20, and its still there. What is apparently going on with Jeep radiators makes zero sense and is completely unacceptable to my mind at least.

This whole situation just doesn't sound right to me. There are people in this thread congratulating themselves on getting 10 years out of a radiator - if that happened to me, I'd be beyond pissed off. Yes, Mercedes is Mercedes and Behr is Behr - but I, my father, my father in law, and any number of other people have gotten 20 plus years out of radiators *routinely* on all sorts of vehicles, Chevys, Fords, Dodges, you name it. What the bloody Hell is going on with Jeeps?
 
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Kaptainkid1

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Because the car was 15 years old when I bought it - and 15 year old cars, execept apparently Jeeps - DON'T LOSE RADIATORS. In any event, I've had it for 20, and its still there. What is apparently going on with Jeep radiators makes zero sense and is completely unacceptable to my mind at least.

This whole situation just doesn't sound right to me. There are people in this thread congratulating themselves on getting 10 years out of a radiator - if that happened to me, I'd be beyond pissed off. Yes, Mercedes is Mercedes and Behr is Behr - but I, my father, my father in law, and any number of other people have gotten 20 plus years out of radiators *routinely* on all sorts of vehicles, Chevys, Fords, Dodges, you name it. What the bloody Hell is going on with Jeeps?
First off I think the Jeep radiator failure isn't due to a bad Mopar Part. Since I'm sure these radiator are put in other models besides Jeeps and have lasted 20-30 years.. Secondly Since they do fail more often then other cars because they have to put up with more stress than a typical street car.
Street cars don't:
1. Go off road
2. Have dual live axles
3. Rock crawl

I believe dual live axles are generally very harsh rides much more harsh then an independent front end. All that bouncing leads to parts breaking and plastic radiator seems a reasonable place to break 1st.
That's my 2 cents.
 

WallyWest

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Nov 6, 2019
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PA
First off I think the Jeep radiator failure isn't due to a bad Mopar Part. Since I'm sure these radiator are put in other models besides Jeeps and have lasted 20-30 years.. Secondly Since they do fail more often then other cars because they have to put up with more stress than a typical street car.
Street cars don't:
1. Go off road
2. Have dual live axles
3. Rock crawl

I believe dual live axles are generally very harsh rides much more harsh then an independent front end. All that bouncing leads to parts breaking and plastic radiator seems a reasonable place to break 1st.
That's my 2 cents.
I can buy that I guess.

But that begs the question, why can't the aftermarket guys, of which there are a shit-ton for Wranglers, come up with something better? Virtually everything else can be upgraded with better built, more durable aftermarket parts. What's so special about a damn radiator?
 

MountaineerTom

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I got an ‘86 Dodge D250 with the original radiator. I know it’s original because my dad bought it new and never changed it.

I also have a ‘99 Silverado with the original radiator. I also know it’s original because I bought it new.