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radiator: recore or new aluminum

recore original radiator or replace with new aluminum model


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autokunst

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I am currently pondering what to do with the heart of the cooling system, and am hoping to get some opinions. There is a shop that I've had recores done before. They specialize in "really classic" cars. This would allow me to recore the original radiator with 2 cores, or even upgrade to 3 cores. Whereas, for less money, there are brand new aluminum radiators that seem to work perfectly fine for about half as much. I suspect there may be some bracket adjustment for the aluminum model, while the original should fit, well, just like the original. Would love your thoughts and input.

My car will never be a concourse invitee. But I do like the "idea" of originality (when it suits my performance expectations and/or budget). I've put triple Weber side drafts on in place of the dual Zeniths, so the engine bay will never look like it did off the showroom 45 years ago. Also probably worth noting I live in Wisconsin. The car will be driven only from Spring to Fall. It can get quite hot and humid here, but just not very day for an entire season.
 

Stevehose

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I've done both and currently run the aluminum one. Works great, light weight, I painted mine to look more stock.

 

Keshav

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I've done both and currently run the aluminum one. Works great, light weight, I painted mine to look more stock.

I did the same too. Feel safer with the Alu radiator. Better temp in auto too.
 

autokunst

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Apologize for the bump. I have two votes/recommendations for aluminum. Any more yays or nays? Not original, but certainly friendlier to the wallet. And I gather the performance is there. Thank you!
 

autokunst

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I didn’t comment because everyone knows I would say keep it original.
You know, Chris, I love and respect that about you. And I honestly appreciate your input. It has added a counterpoint and perspective to this study/contemplation.
 

rsporsche

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since my new engine will be going in after the painting is complete, i am very interested in this thread. i have heard some not-so-flattering comments from a pro about the ebay aluminum pieces.

so Chris, is the e24 radiator exactly the same size? i'm sure it has the benefit of having the fan shroud, which would be a positive thing. does it require any 'manipulation'?
 

HB Chris

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Looks identical to me and I have one so I can replace my auto rad which is original and works fine. Finally ready to use a manual rad, I have the longer bracket. I won’t use a shroud.
 

autokunst

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so Chris, is the e24 radiator exactly the same size? i'm sure it has the benefit of having the fan shroud, which would be a positive thing. does it require any 'manipulation'?
Exactly my follow up question, too. This is interesting.
 

autokunst

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I didn’t comment because everyone knows I would say keep it original. ;) You can buy an e24 radiator if you want new.
After looking into this further, I found some interesting tentative results. The first few searches turned up a newer style, plastic tanked version of the radiator. This obviously does not look original, and is a newer style replacement part.
Then I found several sources that offer the original BMW part number 17 11 1 121 295 brass tank unit. These sources included ECS, Turner, Bavarian Auto, and a few others. All state it is a genuine BMW part. Prices range somewhere between $600 and $700. Whew!
This makes me reconsider having my actual original brass tank radiator re-cored by the classic car radiator place. Nothing would be more original from the tanks perspective - they presumably came with my car 45 years ago. And the work this shop does is top notch for the cores. Their quote was $300 to $400 (the range is due to not having the rad in front of them to tighten up their number. Looks like I'll have to ponder this a but further.
 

autokunst

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This is my e24 radiator, no bmw number on it.
I might assume that Behr was an OEM manufacturer at that time, perhaps? Does it have brass side tanks? Sorry, one more question: do you happen to recall how much it was? About what the "genuine BMW" tanks are going for today? Thanks!
 

bfeng

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There is nothing wrong with brass radiators. If recorded with a high efficiency HD core and the rear of he mechanicals are in good shape you should be ok. I did this on a car vastly more notorious for overheating than E9’s and it does fine in heavy stop and go traffic up to about 98deg F. And because I retained the original tank it maintains the original look(it’s all original down to points, and positive earth). I think I paid $450, which included removing some dents from the tanks.

Aluminum is nice but not the only viable solution
 

autokunst

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I'm writing with an update to my original study. I'd since purchased a new W&N radiator, and it sits in its box on the shelving unit (along with a third of an e9). But I just pulled my radiator and I think I'll just get this refurbished and re-cored. Which is to say, I should have a new W&N radiator for manual transmission/AC available soon.

Here's the original(?) as pulled, with BMW and Behr stampings - anyone know what these mean? Dates? Correct fitment?
20200622-Raven radiator.jpg

20200622-BMW stamping.jpg

20200622-Behr stamping.jpg
 

sfdon

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A brass/copper one you know fits is best- except you want a later one with the fitting for the temp sender at the bottom
 
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