Over the years, many manufacturers have started to build radiators with a plastic tank. However, it’s not the most durable option and will likely require ongoing future repairs. Here’s why!
What’s a Plastic-Aluminum Radiator
A plastic-aluminum radiator has a plastic tank that is crimped onto the aluminum radiator core. Many manufactures started building plastic tanks over the last few years because plastic is a much cheaper material to use than metal. Plastic tanks with aluminum cores are typically found on most OEM radiators.
The Disadvantages of a Plastic-Aluminum Radiator
The biggest disadvantage to a plastic-aluminum rad is its durability. The sudden exposure to high temperatures cause the plastic radiator tank to crack. Here are a few other key disadvantages:
1.Plastic is NOT Heat Resistant
Firstly, the radiator tank gets hit again and again with varying degree temperatures of coolant. The fragility of plastic can not withstand these temperatures and will quickly erode and develop holes.
2. Full Rad Must Be Replaced
Secondly, other materials like copper-brass may bend and dent, but can easily be repaired and welded. But plastic will need to be fully replaced. And because plastic tanks are crimped onto the aluminum radiator core, un-crimping it weakens the aluminum tabs. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve a good seal when trying to repair. A full replacement is required.
3. Compromises the Efficiency of Your Machine
Lastly, plastic does not efficiently exchange heat like metal does. So your machine is required to work harder in order to cool itself. In time, this could also result in damage in other areas too.
Learn more about why we don’t repair plastic-aluminum rads on our FAQ page.
What’s a Copper-Brass Radiator
A copper-brass radiator is manufactured with copper fins while the tubes and header tanks are made from brass. Copper-brass rads have been a staple material for a long time because copper is the best conductor of heat. According to the Copper Development Association, brazed copper-brass radiators have lasted over 6,000 hours without failure in laboratory durability tests.
At West End Rad, we braze our copper brass rads to improve the mechanical strength. We also offer multi-row radiator options. More rows means more coolant can flow through the radiator, thus keeping your engine cooler.
The Advantages of a Copper-Brass Radiator
In addition to the smaller size, the primary advantage is that copper-brass will extend the life of your rad. Here are a few other advantages:
1. Heavier Duty
Brazed copper-brass radiators can withstand the extreme heat that rushes into a radiator tank during a truck or machine’s heat transfer exchange.
2. Higher Efficiency
Copper is an excellent conductor of heat, meaning faster cooling of your machine and higher efficiency.
3. Less Future Maintenance
Brazed copper-brass radiators have fewer leaks. So they’ll have a longer life. If your copper-brass rad does have any future leaks or if the core is damaged, it will be more inexpensive to repair and will likely not require a full replacement.
Plastic-Aluminum to Copper-Brass Conversion
In conclusion, converting your plastic-aluminum radiator to copper-brass application will provide you a more durable radiator and save you money in long-term repairs.
See below for the before and after of a tractor radiator that we converted from a plastic tank and aluminum core to an all copper brass radiator. The finished rad is heavier duty and will hold up throughout the extensive use of the farming season.
Our commitment to you:
- Efficient service for rush and emergency jobs
- Experts in heavy-duty industrial cooling
- 1-year warranty on all parts
- Customized repairs to fit your machine’s environment and needs
All our after-market radiators and special-order radiators have a 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects.