Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A new lease of life for an Austin Cambridge Radiator

Reconditioning an Austin Cambridge Radiator

Whilst our website has new Austin Mini radiators for general sale to the public, our trade counter still sees plenty of other old Austin radiators in various states of repair.
One of our customers bought this Austin Cambridge radiator in recently saying that it was starting to overheat when the car went over 30mph. The radiator itself looked in pretty good condition compared to a lot that we get to see so we set about doing some tests. There was a minor air leak which would have been easy enough to repair but the flow rate through the radiator was very low. A visual check through the filler and connector pipe confirmed that the radiator was blocked beyond repair as you can see in the picture next to the new core. There was also a lot of loose debris which isn't shown on the picture and that would have made the situation even worse.
The radiator was completely stripped to component parts and these were cleaned back to bare metal for inspection and further repair if necessary. The top tank needed some dents smoothed out and a couple of splits properly repaired but apart from that all of the components were in good condition. The new uprated core arrived and all of the components were soldered back together. The final picture shows the radiator after inspection, testing and spraying.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

American Ford Pick up Radiator recore

Stages for the reconditioning of an American radiator

 Along with the standard Ford radiators we sell online we occasionally get an unusual Ford radiator to recore. This particular one came in recently requiring a little TLC.
 Top left shows the radiator as it arrived looking a little tired and worse for wear. The fins on the rear were beginning to fall apart, the frame was corroded and the internal tubes were blocked. There was no alternative but to fully recondition the radiator so we set to work. The top tank on this radiator was the old fashioned 'bucket header' type which is no longer available to us but a little clever work with the new core solved this problem.
 The top tank was broken down into three pieces, including a top, bottom and central baffle, all of these were fully cleaned back to bare metal. The bottom tank was removed and stripped back to bare metal, as was the frame. All of this was then reassembled onto the new core to be inspected and tested before a final spray.
 The final result can be seen in the bottom picture.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

So you want a Classic Mini Heater Matrix?

Which Mini Heater matrix would you Buy?

 When we recently uploaded our Classic Mini heater matrix stock to our website we were reminded that there were a lot of different Mini heaters available on the market. A lot of the heaters out there were extremely cheap imported units and our experience with these units tells us that they are also very poor quality. In this case it seems that you do get what you pay for!
 Most of the Mini owners who contact us are enthusiasts who take great care of their pride and joy and want to fit the best possible parts, but judging by the heaters being bought on sites such as EBay this does not appear to always be the case. It may be that the people who buy these heaters don't realise that there can be a big difference in quality between these units and that it may turn out to be a false economy.

 Below is a brief description of the heaters we sell and why we think you should choose them.

 All of these heaters are made in the UK to the highest standards, they are all fully tested and come with a full manufacturer’s warranty. They are all made from top quality copper and brass even though some of the originals are plastic and aluminium. This means that they are considered to be more robust than the plastic technology heaters.

 These heaters were originally designed in conjunction with Mini enthusiasts and Mini Clubs to ensure that the very best results were achieved for fitting, function and strength. The designs have been sold successfully for up to 30 years in some cases and i can’t remember ever getting any returns. I'm pretty sure this can’t be said for the imported heaters.

1964 - 1984

The top two are real classic Mini Heaters and are based on the original heaters with the seam around the top of the tank. We have lost count of the amount of these we have sold over the years and sales have only slowed recently with the introduction of a plastic and aluminium import. Our only concern here is for the customer as they may require another one sooner than expected.
The only difference between the two is the corners that the pipes are mounted and you can find more info in the link above to our website.
 1984 - 1992
The next heater down is based on a plastic and aluminium original with a separate pipe set attached to a diamond shaped flange. This was one of the first heaters we came across which used plastic tank technology. Within a couple of years our manufacturer was being asked to reproduce this heater in the all metal format as the original was not considered robust enough. The pipes on our all metal version are silver soldered directly into the tanks for strength and to avoid any problems with the pipe flange seal. As above we have been supplying this heater for a long time, even against the competition of far east imports which don't reach the quality standard of the substandard original. We have found that the true enthusiast will pay that very small amount extra for a far better product.
1992 onwards
The bottom picture is the last of the Mini heater matrix range, again based on an original that uses plastic tank technology. Like the earlier heater it didn't take long before the manufacturer was asked about a copper and brass version. So as before the pipes were silver soldered directly into the brass tank to avoid the need for separate pipes and rubber seals which have the potential to leak. An extra consideration with the alloy pipes on the original is that they are liable to corrode to the point where you cant seal your rubber hose on, this means that they will need to be replaced. If you buy a poor quality cheap import it will not come with these pipes and you will end up paying another £20 for a set. Unfortunately you probably wont realise this until the heater and car are in bits and you have a useless 'cheap' heater in your hand.
 We do also supply the heater matrix for several other old Mini models so feel free to contact us at:

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Reconditioning a TVR Radiator

Reconditioning a TVR Radiator

Most of the radiators we get in need a little TLC to get them back in to a serviceable condition but some need a little more than others. Unlike the brand new TVR heater matrix which we sell online, the radiator below had certainly seen better days.
When this TVR radiator arrived it was quite literally falling apart. The core used to re-core it before was sub-standard and falling to pieces. The top picture shows the side plates hanging off and the one plate is so corroded that it needed to be made from scratch in our workshop. One tank had a big hole in it covered with filler as shown in the pictures and both tanks had several large splits and dents. The whole of the radiator was covered in an a thick layer of dried 'underseal' type paint which would need to be removed.
All of the parts were removed and stripped back to bare metal for inspection before deciding a plan of action. The tank with the hole was patched internally with silver solder whilst the outside was lead loaded for a better appearance. All dents were knocked out where possible and a few splits were fixed. The one side plate was still solid and could be re-used but the other was beyond repair (you can see the new side plate in one of the pictures).
When the new core arrived you could see that it was going to be more efficient than the old one ever was. When you see the picture of the end of the core you wonder how the radiator worked at all towards the end of its life, half of its tubes are visibly blocked.
During re-assembly we fitted a 22mm boss for a temperature sender, then inspected and tested the radiator prior to painting.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Maserati radiator recore

Maserati 3200 Radiator Recore

 As well as selling your everyday Astra or BMW radiator Motoradsonline are more than capable of fully reconditioning some pretty unusual radiators.

The pictures above show a breakdown of the work involved in reconditioning a two part radiator for a Maserati 3200.

The top two pictures show the radiator as it arrived with plenty of corrosion and missing fins. This was stripped down into its component parts including tanks, connectors, side plates and frame parts.

All of these parts are shot blasted back to bare metal before the re-assembly process can begin.

Once the new cores arrive the clean tanks are soldered on for the first of three pressure tests. After passing this test the two radiators are joined by rubber hose at the three connectors in the bottom tank to form a single radiator, which is then tested again.

 The frame, sides and bracing bars are then fitted back onto the radiator before a final test, inspection and spray.