Radiator Options - steel vs. aluminum

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Proverbs 27:17
Jul 19, 2010
New Braunfels, TX
I did a few searches and haven't really come up with what I wanted. I've got the truck in a shop right now - radiator is cracked and it's time to replace. They quoted me for an OEM similar steel radiator/t-stat/and 3 hoses for ~$1105. I talked to them about the possibility of doing an aluminum radiator instead, and they said pretty much said they won't do aluminum. The mechanic is an ex Toyota master tech who specializes in Land Cruisers. His opinion was that the radiator is actually sort of a structural component and that an aluminum radiator in this truck is a bad idea.

Does anyone else have a beef with aluminum radiators? Good or bad experiences are welcome.
I've had an aluminum radiator in my '78 FJ40, which doesn't really get off road anymore, for 15-20 years without an issue. I also have had one in my '76 trail truck, which I beat pretty damned hard off-road, for 5 or 6 years without an issue. I have no qualms about an aluminum radiator.

I do have an issue with an $1100 radiator job. That's way too much for something you can do yourself.
I have had good and bad with alum rads.
The last one was a cheap champion brand and still doing great after a few years...

Your ex master tech mech sounds like a purist...

Do your diligent search on the pros, and cons on alum rads and go from there..

Aluminum Radiators & Electrolysis

My cheapo Champion 3-core seems to be doing just fine in my 60. The threaded bolts were a different size/pitch from the factory ones. Other than that, easy install and no issues. I'd buy another one. Oh, I almost forgot, I have another one in my 40! It is fine as well.

A radiator as a structural component? Cough....BS...Cough!
I may just have him replace some power steering hoses - which was my other issue when I brought it in and do the radiator myself. He'll probably charge me for a diagnostic if I leave without them doing any work.

$1100 is a lot... but I can see where they got it. Probably $600 in parts, $400 labor, and tax. Pricey, but I guess that's the price from a land cruiser specialist.
There's about $500 max in parts with that quote if using a nice CSF brass/copper radiator.

So they want $500 in profit.
Id like to make $500 replacing a radiator.
But I know what it's like to be busy working all the time w no free time to work on your own cruiser or nowhere to do it or lacking the ability (or courage), so $500 could be worth it if you trust the guy will do a great job and knows cruisers.

That's important, and comes with a premium.
I would and have omy used copper /brass. ..but I keep my rigs forever. The aluminum rads seems to have some fitment issues.

I think it comes down to what your goals and plans are for the 60...
I have a CSF in storage ready to install right now. It seems like a direct replacement to OEM. I did a lot of research before deciding to go with a CSF. I think you'll be happy with it and the price was around $300 I think. You can even get the OEM hoses and clamps from @beno and do it right. When you're ready, drive it over to my place and we can install it together.
Good plan. The experience and sense of accomplishment with help with future repairs and upgrades. Well those, Mud and the FSM...
I got mine from Amazon HERE and it arrived with no problems. Price shipped was $303.81. Don't forget to tell @beno that this radiator requires the smaller OEM radiator cap.
I am in the CSF camp and doing it yourself as well. I put in a CSF in my Hundy a week ago. It was 184.00 at Partsgeek.
I'm sure that's just a difference between a 60 series and a 100 series.

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