Aluminium Radiators & Engineering Pty Ltd
Unit 11 / 60 Kremzow Rd
Brendale QLD Australia

Ph +61 07 32054620 Email

Aluminium Radiators - Why have them?

Aluminium Radiator cores with plastic tanks have been fitted to most European and Japanese cars since the early eighties with the Holden Commodore changing in 1989 and Ford Falcon in 1998. Toyota was the main Japanese manufacturer to resist change but even the Landcruiser is now alloy/plastic. In 1998, 97% of new vehicles registered in Australia have an aluminium core fitted.

In broad terns of heat conducting properties, copper is a little better than aluminium, brass is noticeably worse, BUT lead is a shocker. A copper/brass radiator has brass tubes and copper fins with solder joining these together. Solder is approx.70% lead, so this is where their inefficiency to aluminium lies. An aluminium radiator cannot only dissipate more BTU's of total heat, but also quicker. I have seen data logging results of a comparison between a copper/ brass and an aluminium radiator of similar dimensions, fitted to the same drag car with the water temp. graph being slower to rise, not as high a peak and also, started dropping as soon as the driver got off the throttle for the aluminium, whereas the other radiator actually kept increasing a little, before dropping.

When Nissan Aust. tested the two different radiators, they found a copper/brass core deteriorated exponentially quicker than aluminium, meaning its cooling rate was much less again after 4 years of service.

A new air conditioned 3.0 litter, 6 cyl. VL Commodore came out of the factory with a 3 row, 50mm thick copper brass core. The next model Commodore, an air conditioned 3.8 litter,V 6 cyl. VN came out of the factory with a single row of tubes, 29mm. thick aluminium core, even though it was more powerful. a little heavier and with a little smaller grille opening! Nearly the same for Mazda RX7 rotaries, their 3 row 50mm copper brass core was replaced by a 2 row 37mm. aluminium core by the factory. These are real world examples of an aluminum cores advantage.


Now the downside

If an aluminium radiator is looked after properly, it will last at least twice as long as a copper/brass unit and without anywhere near as much continual loss of performance as a copper/brass unit suffers. If it is totally abused, it can also be rendered unserviceable 283 times quicker than a copper/brass unit, so it really pays to look after them!!! It is a simple matter of not mixing different brands/types of inhibitors, replacing inhibitor when due and having a stray current test performed every 12 months or each time panel beating or electrical components are fitted. Plastic tanks are usually the first thing to go, so the cooler the system runs, the longer they will last.


Most cooling problems are caused by mixed brands/types of inhibitors (coolants), followed by cracked plastic tanks, tube leaks, split header plates and then lastly is stray current. Unfortunately, far to many radiators blocked/leaking due to mixed inhibitors are from vehicles having expensive head gasket repairs performed. You must never allow different inhibitors to be mixed in your car without the proper preparation first. Aluminium Radiators and Engineering specializes in this work.


Experience has taught us the best method to change inhibitor brands or to put inhibitor into a system with an unknown product (used car etc.) is the following:-

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Test for stray current and then pressure test.  Check condition of hoses.

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Machine reverse power flush system - (radiator, engine and heater as a unit)

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Add chemical cleaner

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Drive for a day or four complete hot/cold cycles


splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Machine reverse power flush system - not just a hose with air/water mixer either.

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Add proper inhibitor in correct proportions to system. We use either
Tectaloy or OEM - genuine manufactures inhibitors depending on the application

splash.JPG (2019 bytes)Pressure test system and do a stray current test.


The cost of this work on an average car is $80 plus the appropriate inhibitor. Very cheap insurance against the cost of rectifying the damage caused as shown in the core samples on display.

Some inhibitors have a life span of two, three even four years. It is important to have your cooling system checked, pressure tested and a stray current test performed every twelve months. Aluminium Radiators & Engineering provides this as a free service. We have all the best equipment to service, maintain or repair your cooling system .


Aluminium Radiators and Engineering Pty Ltd (ARE Cooling)
 While every effort is made to ensure details and information is correct at time of publishing Sunday, 05 August 2012
please contact ARE by phone, fax or email to confirm prices before order