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6.5L Turbo Diesel - Tech Support - Troubleshooting - Performance 1992-00 6.5L Turbo Diesel - Welcome to the Internet's first discussion forum for the 6.5L diesel engine. Tips on performance, upgrades, cooling, fuel economy, troubleshooting and more.

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Old 05-09-2018, 12:41 PM
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Default Radiator: OEM or All Aluminum?

It's time to for some maintenance and upgrades on my 1995 Tahoe. After 330,000 miles, I'm sure the radiator could stand to be replaced to help improve cooling before a long road trip this summer.

Which will offer the best cooling performance? Stock OEM-style aluminum/plastic combo, or aftermarket all-aluminum? Or is the only benefit a more rugged construction?

I found this 3-row all aluminum radiator online:

https://www.radiatorexpress.com/prod...aia_id=1053425

I currently have the dual thermostat housing installed, but will also be finally installing the HO water pump.

Any other recommendations?

Casey
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:24 PM
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VISTEON makes a stock OEM type replacement that is very good.

MANY of the replacement units have an EPOXIED core (Tubes are set in the head plates with epoxy) and these are crap.

The Visteon has aluminum brazed tubes with the crimped on plastic tanks.

These are as good as OEM.

Getting an all aluminum unit is not a bad deal.
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:33 PM
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A all aluminum that has a thermal dispersant coating would be the best, I do have a thermal dispersant coating that doesn't require oven curing also.

The thermal dispersant provides 30% more cooling over bare aluminum or metal and that's been proven.

I have a few radiators on the way to me now for coating produced by Champion Cooling inc, https://www.championcooling.com/

We are in the process of coating & testing/proving the coatings, they offer a nice solid aluminum for a good price.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:03 AM
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The OEM aluminum radiators with plastic end-tanks can be serviced. The end tanks can be removed, the core cleaned and then new end-tanks re-installed (the plastic gets brittle with time and heat). Scott Boelman, an early author here had this done on his 1994 6.5TD. There were several inches of sediment in the bottom of each tank.

Following a thorough flush, I recommend switching to Dex-Cool if your vehicle is pre-1996 (1996 and post got Dex). Dex is a lifetime coolant. The inside of a 16 year old cooling system still looked like new when I replaced the water pump in my 2001 Duramax.

Dr. Lee switched the green coolant to Dex in his 1984 and I switched my 6.5TD Power Project as well. Both had an all brass/copper/soldered radiator. The 6.5PP ran to +300K miles while we had it without a cooling system service - on the original water pump.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:31 AM
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2 fat rows cools better than 3 or 4 narrow rows.

Copper/brass cools better than aluminum, but only if fins are brazed to tubes and not soldered with lead.

Aluminum with 2 fat rows and brazed fins will outcool an old school 4 core brass/copper, but a 2 fat row brazed copper will outcool the aluminum.

Confused yet?

Get an aluminum with 2 fat rows that is brazed and not epoxied and don't worry about plastic or aluminum tanks and you will be happy.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More Power View Post
The OEM aluminum radiators with plastic end-tanks can be serviced. The end tanks can be removed, the core cleaned and then new end-tanks re-installed (the plastic gets brittle with time and heat). Scott Boelman, an early author here had this done on his 1994 6.5TD. There were several inches of sediment in the bottom of each tank.
I would normally go this route, as that is what I have done with previous vehicles, but I am not aware of any radiator shops left in my area. They have all closed up shop.

I've actually run Fleet Charge in my rigs for quite some time now. It's an over-the-road diesel coolant used in fleet vehicles. It's pink, for what it's worth.

Casey
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepSJ View Post

Get an aluminum with 2 fat rows that is brazed and not epoxied and don't worry about plastic or aluminum tanks and you will be happy.

This one and the one sctrailrider linked to are both 3-row aluminum:

https://www.radiatorexpress.com/prod...aia_id=1053425

Thoughts on that particular product?

Casey
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:13 PM
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The factory units were 2 fat rows, aluminum brazed tubes and plastic tanks.

As long as these OEM jobs are clean inside they cool fine.

IMHO they are a tad small in cooling capacity, as they start lagging once they get some high miles.

I used a Visteon in the Dahooooley the last rebuild and it cools fine.

Also noticed that the cooling ability has increased a bunch as we left the lower aluminum cover off after we put the engine back in... Not sure why that did not get bolted back on, but did notice it stays much cooler when its hot out.

Possibly the engine bay is staying cooler and allowing more air to vent in/out.

Also the kid dropped on a hood with the vented cowl bump and that could be allowing air to vent ?????
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:23 PM
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I had Griffin Radiators build me "non production" unit last year for the 93 dually. It holds 3/4 gallon more than the stock brass unit, I also coated it with a thermal dispersant coating. It was pricey but it will last forever or until something pokes through the grill and will keep the p400 cool towing..
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
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I used a Visteon in the Dahooooley the last rebuild and it cools fine.

Where do you find this animal? I found you had mentioned Visteon in another thread, but I cannot find a supplier or even that this brand exists online.

Casey
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:11 PM
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Where do you find this animal? I found you had mentioned Visteon in another thread, but I cannot find a supplier or even that this brand exists online.

Casey
A little more searching on Google finally came up with some info that Visteon (radiators) went bankrupt a few years ago. The current company that operates under the name of Visteon only deals with vehicle electronics.

Casey
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:23 PM
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I bought mine at MACS Radiator in Portland Oregon.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:23 PM
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Well, lo and behold I located a shop nearby that is still in the radiator business! I spoke to them on the phone, and they said they can flush my OEM radiator with a special solution under medium pressure that cleans the inside tubes really well without having to disassemble the end tanks for $30. The higher pressure will also reveal any leaks that need to be repaired. They said to stay away from most aftermarket "OEM style" radiators since they are cheaply made.

Sounds like a good deal, but I'm a little concerned that the flush may cause a problem later on down the road due to the medium pressure they place on the radiator. Thoughts?

Casey
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:56 PM
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I have used this method for years now in my tractors, trucks, every "old" radiator....

Buy 2-3 gallons of CLR from walmart or hardware store, drain the cooling system, fill with the CLR, run the motor for a day or so and drain & flush with clean water and refill with antifreeze... or remove the radiator, install the cap and lay flat with the hose connections up, fill with CLR and let sit, roll once in a while to move the fluid around, this will remove all the crud and not bother the metal...

I like doing this on the truck so everything is cleaned, block, heater core, etc and have never had any undue results from this..
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Old 05-12-2018, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sctrailrider View Post
I have used this method for years now in my tractors, trucks, every "old" radiator....

Buy 2-3 gallons of CLR from walmart or hardware store, ...
Works for toilets that don't flush right, too!
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:43 AM
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SOME OEM replacements are JUNK plain and simple... THEY FIT THE RIG, and that's about it.

The Visteon brand is a top quality replacement unit.

The supplier I used also has their own inhouse custom shop that builds radiators for all manner of specialty stuff.

I asked about getting a custom unit and their folks told me that the Visteon was every bit as good as what they could build (Longevity and cooling ability) as what they could toss together.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:38 PM
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Instant tea works to clean a radiator too. Just don't use pre sweetened.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:35 AM
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Just a followup on the Visteon comments. I bought one of their radiators for a 6.2L application many years ago, around 8 or more now and it was excellent quality. But, because the Asian market has offered so many replacements the radiators mfg's have had to close doors, even really nice and equipped ones.

Visteon made a great product, which is probably why they aren't producing them any more. Present consumers are predominantly interested in the initial dollar and not the long term outcome.

I am sold on aluminum radiators though (would never go back to brass/copper radiator), and alum core with plastic tanks are just fine as they are serviceable later, all welded units, not so much.

J
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by john8662 View Post
Just a followup on the Visteon comments. I bought one of their radiators for a 6.2L application many years ago, around 8 or more now and it was excellent quality. But, because the Asian market has offered so many replacements the radiators mfg's have had to close doors, even really nice and equipped ones.

Visteon made a great product, which is probably why they aren't producing them any more. Present consumers are predominantly interested in the initial dollar and not the long term outcome.

I am sold on aluminum radiators though (would never go back to brass/copper radiator), and alum core with plastic tanks are just fine as they are serviceable later, all welded units, not so much.

J
All good info... Yes, low buck usually gets the nod for consumers these days, which can be unfortunate. Failing access to quality aftermarket products can usually be overcome by seeking either good used/salvage or new OEM.

After thinking about it, I might be inclined to modify a 1990s rad core support to work with the earlier trucks to make it possible to use the newer aluminum radiators and fan shrouds. Jim
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for all the info folks! I pulled the radiator out, and it appeared to be the original unit; it had a 1995 date code on a sticker. It was actually in really great shape, so I just ended up cleaning it out with radiator flush myself.

I installed a new HO water pump and dual 180* T/STATs from Kennedy, and also replaced the timing chain and harmonic balancer while I was at it. I also replaced every single hose (man, I never realized how many hoses are in the coolant system on these rigs!!).

I towed my camper to Branson down highway 65 a couple of weeks ago, and there are some pretty decent grades on that road. I was able to maintain between 210 to 220 on the steepest grades; in fact, I had to back out of the throttle a bit due to high EGT's instead of high ECT's this time. She seems to maintain better temp control than before.

Driving around empty, temps stay rock solid at or just above 180*, and she no longer heats up when sitting idling with the A/C on for long periods of time. Used to, on a really hot day, the ECT would continue to climb in this situation.

We are heading to Yellowstone next week, so I'm pretty confident I should have a pretty reliable tow rig at this point.


Here is my rig:








Casey
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