For over 100 years copper, brass, and lead were the metals that were used to build a radiator. While they were perfectly suitable in their time, they did have their drawbacks for high-performance applications. Copper and brass dissipate heat very well, but lead is heavy and retains heat. So the performance world began using aluminum, a much lighter material that also dissipates heat much better.
Manufacturers began using aluminum for radiators, and you can also find them in motorsports and performance applications the world over. Aluminum is a tried and true performer, and often times you’ll find single or dual row aluminum radiators taking the place of three- and four-row copper counterparts.
Aluminum radiators seem to be one of the best thing to happen for better cooling, and aluminum radiator technology hasn’t gone stagnant for C&R Racing. Newly introduced by C&R is its all new extruded tube aluminum radiator which features a reinforced race fin design. C&R Racing is well known for taking what they learn at the track and applying it to its street applications, providing high performance, track-proven technology that you can bolt into your street-driven musclecar.
The reinforced race fin design, exclusive to C&R, is cross-braced for durability and strength, and has a unique shape and hemmed forward edge for added cooling and durability. What is a hemmed forward edge on this race fin design? We talked to Roger Rosebush, Programming and Business Development at C&R Racing, to find out what that actually means.
“The fins on a typical radiator are very thin, and even the force of the wind can fold them over. When this happens, the fins can block much of the needed air flow. By folding over the forward edge of the fin we have made it stronger than a typical radiator fin,” Rosebush said. Combine that with the extruded tube design and overall strength and performance is increased.
The reinforced extruded tube has another unique property: it allows C&R’s aluminum radiators to have a 100 PSI burst rating, which is about three times the burst pressure of standard performance aluminum radiators. The radiators are fixture welded during assembly to increase torsional rigidity, with added support at all four corners.
Rosebush also explained to us why the extruded tube design is stronger than typical radiators.”With a typical radiator, the tubes are up to an inch wide, and with higher pressures in today’s engines it’s possible to get some ballooning of those tubes,” he said. “As the tubes balloon, the gap between each row of tubes becomes smaller, and with a smaller area between the tubes, air flow is restricted and temperatures begin to rise.”
This is one of the reasons why a new radiator will cool more efficiently than an older radiator. As time, heat, and pressures increase, so does the shape of the tubes; and with less air flow through the radiator core you’ll begin to see a rise in operating temperatures. This new extruded design from C&R allows the tubes to retain their original shape, and combined with the hemmed forward edge of the fins air flow remains unobstructed.
But all of this added strength doesn’t come as a deficit when it comes to fitment or price. The fabricated tanks are engineered to replicate the shape of the OE radiator, with mounting tabs to locate the radiators and fans in the factory location. Rosebush said pricing on this new design is similar to the pricing of a performance aluminum radiator.
Currently C&R Racing has a replacement radiator available for 1967-1969 Camaro and 1968-1977 G-body GM cars, with several more applications available this year. Rosebush said, “Each of our new radiators is engineered from start to finish, with its own set of mechanical drawings.” This allows C&R to fit the OE mounting locations. The radiators also included a petcock and billet filler neck.
You can find out more about extruded radiator core technology on the C&R Racing website, so stay tuned for more direct- and custom-fit applications.