Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

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blasphemy101
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Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:21 pm

I've picked up the necessary parts from the Pick 'N Pull yard to convert my early model M20 cooling system to the later style. This requires a new radiator, and since OEM radiators are pretty expensive, I'm looking at the aftermarket for potential options. I've read that the S54 Z3M coupe and E36 radiators (and their aftermarket counterparts) make a nice upgrade due to their larger volume. I've been looking into either the Z3M coupe or E36 Mishimoto radiators.

Regarding the model radiator to get...
I still have the mechanical fan, I'm concerned the Z3M radiator would be TOO thick, since it's roughly an inch thicker than the E36 option. Is this a valid concern, or does the Z3M radiator fit fine with the mechanical fan? The only aftermarket Z3M radiator I've been able to find is sold by Mishimoto, and it's roughly $80 more than the E36 model.

Regarding the brand...
I'm fairly certain an aluminum radiator would be a good idea from a durability stand point, however I don't know how the different brands compare. Reading around the internet has presented mixed reviews - no single brand is panned as the "best" or "worst." Mishimoto has gotten a lot of use and praise in recent threads, but older threads pan them as generic ebay stuff. Is this just forum bandwagoning?

Furthermore, Mishimoto's radiators appear IDENTICAL to their ebay counterparts:
CXRacing - $120
Godspeed - $190
K2motor - $117
Mishimoto - $250

I imagine they are the same radiator, and Mishimoto just handles their own QA, but I have to wonder if that is worth 2X the price in some cases...
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby M20_fever » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:06 pm

I would just go with a late model m20 style aluminium unit. Mine is a generic eBay mishimoto clone and the quality is great. I've been tracking it for years with no issue, and iirc it cost around $200 shipped. The only reason I would change style of radiator is if I wanted the integrated overflow tank like the m42 units. Cooling wise, unless I'm sitting in grid for long periods on really hit days I don't even need to run my electric fan, and I don't have a mechanical fan.

For boosted applications the same setup would be fine with a bigger electric fan running.
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby blasphemy101 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:37 pm

That's what I figured... Ebay clone it is!
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby Yoshi » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:14 pm

I tend to agree with tony. I have heard of the ebay ones leaking though. Be weary.
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby Dontrusthise30 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:28 pm

I've got the cxracing one and no issues so far!
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:38 pm

My old 325ix had a mishmoto one in it and it work great. No leaks at all. :)
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby 7pilot » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:28 pm

I bought a nissens from BMA.
It is to replace the M42 radiator in my swap car. it seem to be struggling to keep the S52 cool in traffic. Kind of a shame as it is a sanitary appearing radiator. Other people are using it in their track cars, but it makes me nervous to watch the water temps creeping up.
Hopefully the Nissens will be more efficient.

m
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Re: Let's talk aftermarket radiators...

Postby M20_fever » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:00 pm

I considered an M42 unit because it looks so clean in the bay, but it just looked too small. Does your swap car have en electric fan or mechanical?
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