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Race Car Fabrication There is a lot of cool fabriaction going on the race car industry, show us what you got.


Race Car Fabrication There is a lot of cool fabriaction going on the race car industry, show us what you got.

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2009, 11:23 AM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Supermodified Radiator and Mount

After reading Dqracer's thread on the 600cc kart, I decided to give building a radiator a shot. The current project I'm working on was in need of a custom radiator, mostly due to it mounting at 45 degrees to the chassis. I figured I could save my customer a few bucks, put a few in my pocket, and learn something in the process. Worst case, I would buy him a new custom radiator and know not to try it again.

So, I started out by doing a little research on where to buy cores. As it turns out, Howe Racing has their own radiator shop, and are willing to sell the cores at a reasonable price to Joe Public. They have a variety of sizes, in single and two row applications. I would recommend getting a copy of their catalog even if you are not a stock car racer, because they have some pretty cool stuff in there that can be used for other applications. Anyway, I got the core, cap, and billet filler neck for about $140 shipped.

I think the cores are actually for some type of OEM application with plastic tanks. The reason I say this is the end plates have a bunch of tabs on them that would be crimped over the tank.

At any rate, I ended up needing to cut the core down to the size I needed. Fortunately, I had an old radiator for the car, so I knew approximately how much surface area I needed. I sectioned it between the tubes to get down to size. Something that Dqracer mentioned that is very important is to trim things down so the outermost part is 1/2 of a tube. This makes welding the tanks on tremendously easier...I didn't do this and ended up having to cut the ends of my tanks off and redo them. It is almost impossible to weld close to the tubes and not burn through them...leaving half a tube shields the remaining part of the radiator from the heat of the TIG torch.

The tanks are 0.063" thick 3003 sheet. The left tank is triangular so the water lines exit parallel to the frame rails. The inlet/outlet are 1-1/2" x 0.065" 6061 T6 tube, which is beaded to keep the hoses from slipping off. The right tank is just a channel, with a 1/4" NPT bung on the top for a bleed line. The radiator is below the highest point in the system, so the neck and cap go on a separate cannister to allow all of the air to be bled out.

After all the welding was finished, I checked for leaks by connecting the inlet and outlet with a hose, and using a hand vacuum pump to pull a vacuum on the radiator using a 1/4" hose barb in the bung on the right tank. It held 10" Hg vacuum for over an hour, so I'm confident it won't leak. 10" of mercury is enough to collapse a normal radiator hose.

The mount is made out of 1/2" x 0.058" wall 4130 tube and 16 ga cold rolled sheet. It is amazing how stiff you can make things out of this small tubing. I never thought I would use a 1/2" die for my Model 4 bender so much, but it is really handy to have around.

Fortunately, things worked out really well. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the build process, just the finished product hanging on the side of the car. And here they are...

















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Old 02-11-2009, 05:06 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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That turned out great

How thick are the flanges on the core where the tanks weld? Did you use any cushion material between the radiator and the mounts or is it a tight fit?
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:21 PM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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I would guess the flanges are in the neighborhood of 0.075" or so. They are definitely thicker than the 0.063" the tanks are made from.

There will be some foam weatherstrip between the radiator and the mount when its done. It is fairly tight now, but the foam should take up the last little bit.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:33 PM
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streetwerkz streetwerkz is offline
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Man that's purrty!!!
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:38 PM
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Ladderbar Ladderbar is offline
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Looks nice. cool way of utilizing space.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:04 AM
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Dqracer Dqracer is offline
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Nice job , Graham.. I like yer top mounting bracket, very cool. Thanks for the tip on who has cores for sale,its hard to find guys that will sell ya jus the core. Are you gonna have the car ready for this season..?
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:52 PM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Thanks guys!

I don't know if the car will be ready to go for this season or not. A lot is up in the air with the economy, especially since the owner works for Ford.

I would definitely recommend dealing with Howe Racing on parts. Very nice people that don't act like they're doing you a favor to sell you stuff.
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:59 PM
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Very cool and great job! I agree about Howe as well. Good quality parts at an affordable price (like their rebuildable low friction ball joints which are sweet!)
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