In the very near future, I am going to replace my radiator, as part of preventative measures, along with timing belt, water pump, belt tensioner, etc. My question is: Anybody have bad/good experiences with replacement radiators, as to plastic tanks, all metal, any suppliers to stay away from? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
For what vehicle?
Just get a good quality one like Modine. I’ve used several and no problem. Most all now plastic and aluminum. Just make sure the size, and all fittings are the same.
If you want to get fancy (and more expensive), they guys sell custom aluminum radiators:
Most good aftermarket radiators are as good as the original at about 1/2 the price. A rad for my wife’s Nissan Sentra was $265, while the dealer replaced the previous one at 50,000 miles under warranty, but listed the price at over $500. The construction, as pointed out elswhere is now plastic and aluminum mostly, regardless of where you get it. I would not proactively replace a water pump, however; if the cooling system is well maintained, the wateer pump will outlast at leats 2 sets of hoses. Flushing the cooling system and replacing the coolant with long life antifreeze (50%mixture) every 40,000-50,000 miles is the normally recommended preventive maintenance. New cars claim 100,000 mile coolant life, but I’m sceptical if the corrosion inhibitors and water pump lubricant will last that long.
That’s the way I would do it. Same as the original poster.
I have purchased replacement radiators from www.radiators.com. The last one was several years ago for an '89 Honda Accord LX-I for approximately $115 which included shipping to the door. I have good luck with these radiators.
The water in our area is very hard. I always use a ratio of 50% anti-freeze and DISTILLED water when refilling the cooling system.
Hondas have a bleed screw to get the air out of the cooling system when refilling it. If you do not bleed the cooling system you will get a VERY inaccurate temperature reading, usually much higher or in the overheat range.
replace my radiator, as part of preventative measures
???? Replace a radiator as a preventive measure?? How old is this car and has it been properly cared for with the proper coolant etc.?
I’ve NEVER heard of replacing the radiator as far as preventative maintenance!!! If properly taken care of a radiator should last the life of vehicle. The last 5 vehicles we’ve owned…never had to replace the radiator…all OVER 250k miles when we sold them.
I’ve replace radiators because the performance has degraded (probably due to previous owners use of incorrect coolant, or failure to replace coolant), and because I didn’t trust the plastic tanks after 20+ years (the life of plastic tanks is probably closer to 15 years). Radiators are fairly inexpensive and easy to replace. I will probably replace the radiator on my wife’s car before next summer.
For Toyotas or Hondas I prefer aftermarket radiators made by Koyo. They are high quality and have molded plastic bosses with threaded metal inserts exactly like the OEM version. Modine, while a good stock replacement for most domestics, for imports often seems to use soldered/welded sheet metal attaching points that are slightly off position or are facing the wrong angle slightly. Trying to attach an electric fan assembly is near impossible without having to bend something to make it fit.