August '17

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AUGUST 2017 THE SHOP 31 Methig says the time it takes to fix a radiator depends on the issues it has. "I normally get them done in three days or fewer. I would say that three days is the average for a normal radiator, but I know some shops take longer." The type of car a radiator fits can also affect the price of its repair. A radiator for a Kaiser or Studebaker can cost more to repair than one for a Mustang or a 1955 Chevy, for instance. "The price of a core for an older vehicle radiator can be a little more, because they only make one at a time," he adds. "I measure it, take the dimensions and note where the tanks fit and they'll make any size that you want. But, if it's something that's not popular, of course, they're going to charge more. If an owner wants to keep the car original, it is what it is." According to Methig, there can be a big difference between old- and new-style radiators. "The real old ones have fancy designs," he explains. "They were made by craftsmen and to get a core like that made is practically impossible, so what I have to do is get it made square or rectangular and make it fit myself. I've done it a few times. It's time-consuming but it's rewarding work. You can still have honeycomb-type radia- tors made, but they can be real pricey. Sometimes they can also be re-cored, but there are some that can't be done." He believes one of the biggest mistakes car enthusiasts make with old radiators is storing them improperly. "They leave them sit dry in the barn. If you have an old radiator that's been in a vehicle and you let it dry out, it'll dry-rot very quickly. It will get solder bloom, a white corrosion that's around the tubes. It's just normal. It's part of the wear process. Solder gets solder bloom. But, when you let it dry out it gets acidic and it eats up the core." In other cases of long-term storage, radiators can get mice in them. "The mice urinate and it gets acidic and eats the core up," he explains. "People say, 'I just put it in the barn last year and now you're saying it's no good,' but when I flush it I can tell that a mouse has been in there. So, if you store a radiator, plug the holes and put an antifreeze mixture in it and it will last forever that way." FINAL TRIUMPH So, after hearing all of this, what did we do with the Triumph TR7 radiator? We wound up shipping it off to TS Imported Automotive (www. to have the original radiator re-cored and upgraded from a two-row to a three-row configuration using the original tanks. The cost was $325.95 plus about $30 for USPS shipping. The total cost was about $150 cheaper than the other options we considered, but that's only because we found a place that special- izes in one type of radiator and can work very efficiently on that particular unit. Our price-conscious customer was happy with the results. JOHN GUNNELL has been writing about classic cars since 1972. He is also the owner of Gunner's Great Garage in Manawa, Wisconsin. He owns 11 cars and seven motorcycles. WWW.SYNERGYMFG.COM DEALER INQUIREIES WELCOME! CALL FOR MORE INFO: (805) 242-0397

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