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Old 05-12-2007, 11:58 AM   #1
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Radiator choice for FE?

My 1991 Honda CRX apparently still has it's original stock radiator, and it's finally wearing out. My mechanic has pointed out that the fins are starting to corrode and fall off, which can't be good for cooling. And while the thing doesn't seem to have a leak problem yet, it's clearly just a matter of time. So a new radiator is clearly in the cards, in the very near future. So...

Since I need a new radiator anyway (for my 1991 Honda CRX), what should I get that might help a bit with FE?

I know that a radiator isn't something we normally look at from a FE standpoint, but it's got to be the case that some choices are better than others. For example, if one radiator had better "passive cooling" than another one, that might cut back on the times the fans (with their matching power drain) need to run (which might be especially of interest if/when we have a grill block). And likewise, it appears to me that more energy efficient fans could also save power (and therefore a little fuel). And while FE might be my primary consideration, I naturally would also want to pay some attention to "the basics" (such as cost, and how well that model radiator is likely to hold up).

So anyone got any recommendations for radiators (for a 1991 Honda CRX)? As mentioned before, it's not a question right now as to if I'm replacing the radiator, clearly I am replacing the thing "soon". And since it is being replaced "soon", now seems like a perfect time to see if I can replace the stock radiator with something that might be an "upgrade" (FE wise). However, I'm really a bit of a newbe when it comes to radiators, so I figured I would see if anyone here could offer any suggestions that might help.
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Old 05-12-2007, 02:59 PM   #2
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I have a couple of thoughts, for what their worth.

First, you can get a 1/2 size radiator, I believe. If you did that, you could block off the 1/2 where the radiator is at. However, I'd go with a full size, radiator, with brass tanks. A lot of aftermarket radiators are being sold that have plastic tanks, which are prone to get brittle over time and begin to disinegrate.

The last radiator I purchased, I was able to get a heavy duty, brass tank onen, for the same price as the one with the plastic tanks.

As far as FE goes, if you get the full radiator, you can do a grill block, for as much of the radiator as the car/engine will allow, without unduly kicking the fan on. Then if you need or want to, you can always remove the grill block for the increased cooling, if you need it, instead of getting locked in, with the 1/2 size unit.

One thing I've done which seems to really help, is I use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water. This makes it so that their aren't any deposits inside of the engine or the radiator, so that the cooling system can really do it's job fully. Very inexpensive, worthwhile consideration.

Last thing is unless you've replaced the radiator hoses, really recently, I'd spring for new hoses, for the whole cooling system.
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Old 05-12-2007, 03:27 PM   #3
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Get an eg half-rad. It takes a bit of easy fab to get it in, but you can find it at the junkyard/online cheaply.

I have also seen CRXs using neon non-ac half rads and they supposedly fit with almost no work at all. I forget the years on the neon rad though...check h-t.
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Old 05-12-2007, 06:45 PM   #4
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You could go with a 1/2 size, all aluminum racing radiator like this one

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/92-95...QQcmdZViewItem

These are used on turbo Integras making well over 300hp, so I don't think you'd have any cooling problems with a stock Civic. To get it to fit you would have to cut the mounts of the driver's side of the car and then bolt them the 1/2 radiator width towards the passenger side. You'd have to check if the bolt pattern on it would fit your radiator fan.
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Old 05-14-2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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The Corolla/Prizm uses an aluminum radiator. Aluminum is more thermally conductive than steel, so it should be more expensive but require less forced convection to keep the water cool than a steel radiator the same size. It's also lighter than steel. Less fan use = less alternator load = better FE. Or, more grill blocking = fewer aero losses = better FE.

The aluminum radiator requires special coolant (orange in my car). I haven't done much with the coolant yet, although I expect to change it this summer.

A large radiator will also require less forced convection than a small one. In this case, there's a tradeoff of weight and aero resistance/engine load -- a larger radiator (and the water in it) will weigh more, but you pick up gains in the aero and alternator loads. Extra weight mainly costs FE when you use the brakes.

OTOH, a more conductive radiator will cool the water faster between short trips, so you'll be taking more of a warm-up hit between short stops in the winter.

You may want to look into a Prius-style system with a storage thermos.
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Old 05-14-2007, 03:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
OK, that was interesting reading material. However, even assuming a brass radiator is the way to do, where do I find/order such a radiator that is a good fit for my car?

BTW:
I'm not too worried about the coolant issue. As far as I can tell, G-05 style coolant works fine in a wide variety of environments (including aluminum engines, such as I think my Honda has). So I'm assuming G-05 would work fine with an aluminum radiator. And I would be surprised if G-05 didn't work well in a brass/copper radiator as well.
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:06 PM   #7
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OTOH, a more conductive radiator will cool the water faster between short trips, so you'll be taking more of a warm-up hit between short stops in the winter.
Hmmm... If better heat transfer is good, than I'm assuming that adding this stuff to the coolant (to improve the coolant/water heat transfer ability) would also be "a good thing" (no matter which radiator I decide to go with)?

http://www.redlineoil.com/products_c...ubCategoryID=4
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:04 AM   #8
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Ok i know i am new to the board and way behind the power curve as far as FE goes. but in the horsepower building world you want the biggest baddest lightest radiator possible The reason is a cooler engine in that relm is more efficient. So i would imagine that a cooler engine is better for FE as well. (unless there is something that i dont have not been taught) I would check into "BECOOL" radiators. Along with my libby i have an '89 honda civic four door and a '87 CRX, previous to the '89 civic we had a '87 civic four door. All these cars the cooling system is very touchy. I woulnt go with a half radiator by no means you may save a few dollars at the pump but running your engine hot is bad for gaskets and seals. not to mention the aluminum heads that are run on these engines. Plus with the half radiator your fans will running more often. If your vehicle is an automatic then you will also be running your tranny fluid warmer than normal as well. Just a few other things to consider when changing a radiatior.
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Ok i know i am new to the board and way behind the power curve as far as FE goes. but in the horsepower building world you want the biggest baddest lightest radiator possible The reason is a cooler engine in that relm is more efficient. So i would imagine that a cooler engine is better for FE as well. (unless there is something that i dont have not been taught) I would check into "BECOOL" radiators. Along with my libby i have an '89 honda civic four door and a '87 CRX, previous to the '89 civic we had a '87 civic four door. All these cars the cooling system is very touchy. I woulnt go with a half radiator by no means you may save a few dollars at the pump but running your engine hot is bad for gaskets and seals. not to mention the aluminum heads that are run on these engines. Plus with the half radiator your fans will running more often. If your vehicle is an automatic then you will also be running your tranny fluid warmer than normal as well. Just a few other things to consider when changing a radiatior.
Unless you exceed the radiator's cooling capacity, the thermostat determines the engine temperature. The 2" thick racing aluminum racing radiators are what people use when they turbo their Civics or Integras because the turbo takes up too much room to fit a full sized radiator. If these can cool a turbo engine without issues, a NA engine should not be a problem. I don't think these would work for an auto unless you got a separate transmission cooler.
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Old 05-15-2007, 11:32 AM   #10
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i agree with the 2" thick radiator being able to cool with no problem someone had mentioned using a half radiator. which has less cooling capacity than an oe
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