Ron Davis radiator advice (1 Viewer)

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Feb 25, 2012
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After a couple of days of scrubbing through radiator threads I thought I'd ask since I haven't found any threads on RD trans cooler deletes.

About 5yrs ago, I opted to replace my original radiator on my 97 at 116k. Having not doing my usual extensive research I chose to go with the earlier brass TRAD #16400-66040 3 Row. I thought the choice was a no brainer, 3 row and copper/brass vs a plastic AL 2 row. Little did I know about the cooling differences. Well after 5yrs and 8000 miles (I need to do more trips). It's developed a pin-hole leak.

I was considering a Ron Davis offering as well as the TYC 1918. I'm wondering what the cooling differences between the two are? I am assuming it's close, but not sure. I do know the RD is a bit stouter and reparable if need be. Price tag is a bit of a kick in the d**k.

For the people with the RD's has anyone opted to delete the trans cooler portion? If so what did you do with the trans cooler lines? aux trans cooler?

Trying to decide to jb weld the brass TRAD for now, order a TYC, or take the plunge into a RD.

**Sidenote: with a healthy cooling system, zero mile TRAD brass/new T-stat/blue hub 15k CST @ 85deg ambient I was between 190-200 on streets and hwy. Going to AL for sure as blower is standing by.
 
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Owned all 3..... my 80 had the first RD back in 2003

Living in Arizona I run along with many others a 1918. My normal running temp 186.6 rarely seeing 200°. I do run and use an LCP aux fan also.
Thanks Phil. If you had to do it all over again, which one would you do? Is your RD still going strong?
 

NCFJ

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I use Ron Davis radiators on all my swaps, have two currently on order. I've had no issues to date with Ron Davis radiators. I build trucks for owners that are spread out all over the United States. I can not afford to go to any of these locations or pay someone else to handle issues with cheap radiators. That is why I use Ron Davis radiators. Once above 40-45 MPH the fans on trucks with electric fans do not even come on, the radiator itself keeps them below 190 degrees.
 
Joined
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I use Ron Davis radiators on all my swaps, have two currently on order. I've had no issues to date with Ron Davis radiators. I build trucks for owners that are spread out all over the United States. I can not afford to go to any of these locations or pay someone else to handle issues with cheap radiators. That is why I use Ron Davis radiators. Once above 40-45 MPH the fans on trucks with electric fans do not even come on, the radiator itself keeps them below 190 degrees.

Did you opt for the trans cooler in the radiator or the version without? If I can remember correctly Joey and Scott here on mud mentioned they would have gone without the trans cooler (built inside) option.

Good to know on your experience with them, thanks for sharing. I just ordered the trans cooler optioned one, just so I can get in the queue. I guess I have a couple weeks to decide if I want to go through the trouble of figuring out how to deal with the stock inlet/outlet lines with the delete option.

If anyone has gone the trans cooler delete option, please chime in!
 

NCFJ

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I use the built in trans cooler and a secondary cooler as well. Plumbed from trans to radiator cooler to secondary cooler then back to trans.
 
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Feb 25, 2012
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Another thing about the Ron Davis radiators is that they are all welded, the tanks are not epoxied on like quite a few other radiators, including Griffin.
I can see all that when it gets translated to the price tag 😅.
 

zonker

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Lonely Nevada
Installed a Ron Davis with the trans cooler. I don’t know why you would want to delete the cooler. Just my opinion. After 5k miles and towing our small off-road trailer.. I could not ask for a more efficient radiator.

Most people won’t know of the Sherwin Grade between Bishop California and Mammoth. Well it is a brutal climb. If you are going to have hot coolant temps. this would be the place. Towing our 1250lb trailer and fully loaded in the 80.. with no fan running the highest temp we had was 203. About 55 degrees and a bright sunny day. Did not have the same success with a new OEM radiator.. modified fan hub and a very clean cooling system back in March of 2020. About the same type of day and load. Hit 215 degrees.

Just my experience with my Ron Davis radiator and fitted with a trans cooler. I think they are worth the money if you want a top,of the line radiator. Others work well for less money.. but the just don’t have that extra cooling capacity which you may or may not need
 
Joined
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Messages
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Installed a Ron Davis with the trans cooler. I don’t know why you would want to delete the cooler. Just my opinion. After 5k miles and towing our small off-road trailer.. I could not ask for a more efficient radiator.

Most people won’t know of the Sherwin Grade between Bishop California and Mammoth. Well it is a brutal climb. If you are going to have hot coolant temps. this would be the place. Towing our 1250lb trailer and fully loaded in the 80.. with no fan running the highest temp we had was 203. About 55 degrees and a bright sunny day. Did not have the same success with a new OEM radiator.. modified fan hub and a very clean cooling system back in March of 2020. About the same type of day and load. Hit 215 degrees.

Just my experience with my Ron Davis radiator and fitted with a trans cooler. I think they are worth the money if you want a top,of the line radiator. Others work well for less money.. but the just don’t have that extra cooling capacity which you may or may not need

Thanks Zonker. I saw your awesome thread on your findings. Pulled the trigger on a RD, as well as just a koyo to get my rig out of the shop. Lead time with RD is now 6 weeks. The shop didn't feel comfortable JB welding the pinhole as a temporary solution. Wish I could hear your fans at full speed. I'm sure it's moving some serious CFM's when you want it to.
 
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New Mexico
I have never understood the suggestion to delete the trans cooler portion of the RD raddy. To echo zonker - to each their own. I have yet to install a more accurate temp reader in my Cruiser, so I can't give actual numbers, but I have had zero over-heating issues running around the mountains of northern New Mexico in 100 degree weather - likewise climbing big passes in southwestern Colorado (except the 100 degree part :) ). I also just run a stock fan - no clutch mods. Just make sure to seal up your shroud well. Another point of interest is that my cooling system is basically all brand new. I replaced the engine in my rig with a new factory short block and did a full flush on the rest of the system prior to installing the RD.
 
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May 6, 2008
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Loomis, Ca
Installed a Ron Davis with the trans cooler. I don’t know why you would want to delete the cooler. Just my opinion. After 5k miles and towing our small off-road trailer.. I could not ask for a more efficient radiator.

Most people won’t know of the Sherwin Grade between Bishop California and Mammoth. Well it is a brutal climb. If you are going to have hot coolant temps. this would be the place. Towing our 1250lb trailer and fully loaded in the 80.. with no fan running the highest temp we had was 203. About 55 degrees and a bright sunny day. Did not have the same success with a new OEM radiator.. modified fan hub and a very clean cooling system back in March of 2020. About the same type of day and load. Hit 215 degrees.

Just my experience with my Ron Davis radiator and fitted with a trans cooler. I think they are worth the money if you want a top,of the line radiator. Others work well for less money.. but the just don’t have that extra cooling capacity which you may or may not need
"Most people won’t know of the Sherwin Grade between Bishop California and Mammoth. Well it is a brutal climb"

I've done this grade many times and its brutal!!!...Its what makes me want a supercharger or a turbo in the 80 (or a V8) ;)
 
Joined
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I would love to see people's setup when it comes to these radiators. I am local to them (AZ) and considering the temps we reach in the summers I would like some extra insurance.

I already run @LandCruiserPhil AUX fan and a blue fan clutch. But the added insurance would be nice.
 

NLXTACY

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The RD rads are definitely worth the money. All my builds get them now. I also always use the internal and external cooler as designed. The internal cooler is actually a heater. It warms the trans fluid. The external cooler cools it down. Between the two it keeps temps where they need to do.
 
Joined
May 26, 2018
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Southern California
The RD rads are definitely worth the money. All my builds get them now. I also always use the internal and external cooler as designed. The internal cooler is actually a heater. It warms the trans fluid. The external cooler cools it down. Between the two it keeps temps where they need to do.
I guess I'll make an order. Just found this today.

20210418_105305.jpg
 

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