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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2003 11:13 pm 
I'm in a major debate on what to get......and the main issues I'm coming down to is what is going to happen over time when I mix a copper/brass radiator with a previously all aluminum cooling system. What about the electrolysis or other issues like that between the two metals?

Any comments/suggestions?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 1:43 am 
Josh, you hit it on the head... the galvanic reaction between brass and aluminum generally yeilds corrosion, big time, (I work in a brass instrument factory where we experiment with this all the time).

One of the guys at the shop has a 96 BMW, and runs BMW coolant and de-ionized water in his all-aluminum cooling system. His radiator is like new, and I mean NEW, inside. I'm gonna do that in both my cars.

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 2:33 am 
Oh boy!...I am in deep doo,doo now!

"I'm coming down to is what is going to happen
over time when I mix a copper/brass radiator
with a previously all aluminum cooling system.
What about the electrolysis or other issues
like that between the two metals?"

I just replaced my radiator with the
copper/brass unit!!

Dan


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 5:13 am 
Hi all. Greetings from England. I don't think this is cut and dried. Obviously basic science says it's better to keep everything aluminium but I have seen this argument before and there are many people who have driven thousands of miles with copper components in the system with no ill effects whatsoever. Check out www.roadcow.com there is an example on there from a guy with a Subaru 2.2 powered VW Vanagon. His travel stories are good too.

P.S If anyone knows where I can a acquire a lift kit in the UK for my 90' 2.2GX Estate please let me know.

Best Wishes

Roger Sadler


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 11:23 am 
Well.....I've done some more snooping.....can't get replacement end caps....the cost of a new radiator is around $320 (aluminum) $115 (copper/brass).

I've talked with several shops, as well as one of our corrosion techs here at work, and they said I should be fine as long as I maintain the coolant changes on a regular basis.

Dean I value your opinion and background, and am just curious what sort of testing do you do on the dis-similar metals, etc?

I just don't know if I want to spend an aditional $200 on an OEM one when so many people have used the copper/brass radiators and haven't had any problems.

Josh (confused and unsure which way I will go...)


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 3:33 pm 
The tides have turned yet again......I found a wholesale parts place in california that has aluminum radiators w/ plastic end caps like OEM for $126 shipped.

So I went ahead and ordered one.....supposed to be here next week some time, and I'll take back the copper/brass one.

If anyone is interested the place I got it from is http://www.carpartswholesale.com

Josh


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 9:13 pm 
Hey Josh,
I work in a custom trombone factory where we make valve trombones (and everybody there is a car nut, too). For years our metallurgist has tried to get brass and aluminum to work, but we've had no sucess yet due to pitting from severe corrosion. We've tried all different anodization processes and coatings, even ones that are known to be non-porous. They all end up looking like most radiators, and this is just from the g reaction, no human Ph was introduced.

A few months ago, a guy at work was changing his coolant on his newly aquired 96 525i. When he drained it, we got a good look in the radiator with a bore scope. It was IMMACULATE!!! He drained what the previous owner told him was the original coolant... (the previous lady owner did virtually nothing to this car). This radiator looked brand spankin' new inside. After seeing that, there's no question in my mind which way to go here, especially if you want to keep the car for a long time.

Brass radiators work less and less efficiently the second this reaction starts, but you could still get years of service from a one if you use a decent coolant and flush it once a year. Check out a BMW radiator before you buy the cheap-ee, if possible.

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 10:23 pm 
Again Dean,

Thanks for all the good info. What exactly is this "g reaction" Is that just from putting the copper & brass together? Or what causes the reaction?

Not sure if you got my other post saying I was going to get the aluminum one. Yes it is cheaper then a subaru one.....and may not be as high quality....don't know.....but I'm satisfied with the fact that I'll be sticking with aluminum all throughout the system.

I'm sure the BMW one is a good unit.....but I don't want to spend the money that it most likely costs, nor do I want to custom fab something to make it fit. I'll just use the aluminum OEM replacement.

Josh


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 11:03 pm 
Good choice!!!

Sorry, I didn't mean that you should retro a BMW radiator to your car. Just thought that if you knew someone with a BMW, you could snoop around the cooling system to see what I mean.

g reaction= galvanic reaction. Wish I knew more about the cause of the reaction. I'll ask our metal man at work when I see him.

Glad you went aluminum.

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 1:03 am 
Hi guys,

I am curious about this debate - In the trombone factory - aren't the metals being physically joined together? This would definitely cause the anode/cathode affect, but if they are just in the same system connected by coolant, will it have any effect since the fresh coolant is loaded with anti-oxidants?

I have a brass copper 2-row rad the absolutely rocks on the stock spec Aluminum rad for half the cost. Sure it's bigger - but stock rads don't cut it. It isn't a Legacy, but it's a pretty damn fast Turbo GL-10 Wagon. The turbo EA82T's are infamous for heating issues, and this was solved by getting a larger aftermarket 2-row copper/brass rad - that can be fixed at any rad shop by the way. This nicely protects the freshly rebuilt motor from any overheating threats.

Personally I'd go for a larger custom copper brass rad for half the cost.

The debate continues....


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:13 pm 
These experimental aluminum valves we're trying in our trombones have a top and bottom bearing that do make light contact with the casing through a very light oil. So , yes, you're correct. Oddly, though, when left to sit untouched for several days, the corrosion starts on the non-contact areas of the valve, (through the anodized section) not the worn (bare aluminum) bearing surfaces. Eventually corrosion makes its way to the bearings and causes it to fail permanently.

The metalurgist at our shop today reinforced using de-ionized water and a good grade (not Prestone) of coolant which he says should work fine in a normal cooling system. But he also said (under his breath) "or just stick to an all aluminum system, like in my BMW" (sort of touting his intelligent choice of cars... I hate that!). However, after seeing the inside of his cooling system and seeing what the proper mixture of 5 year Prestone has done to my radiator, I still have to say that an all-aluminum system is the way to go, if you want the best for your car that is.

comments, suggestions,

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:33 pm 
So he is or is not saying prestone is a good coolant?

I have it....and haven't had any issues with it.

Josh


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 8:03 pm 
Hey Josh,
He says he doesn't believe Prestone provides sufficient protection to prevent the reaction from starting,( if it's going to start), especially when used with regular tap water. My guess is that it may have to do with how hard the water is and the ability of the Prestone to neutralize the reaction (but I'm certainly no chemist).

Currently, I have 5 year Prestone anti freeze and tap water in my 3 year old Fiesta's radiator. Although the engine is iron, the H2O pump, cross flow pipe, and T-stat housing are aluminum. A galvanic reaction has definitely started in the system and the aluminum parts are corroding. Everything still functions okay, but once again, you gotta see this BWM cooling system.... FRIGGEN SPOTLESS!!!

De-ionized water is cheap and plentiful. Maybe it's worth it to mix it with Prestone for your soon-to-be all-aluminum system????

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 8:33 pm 
yeah.....I was goin to probably pick some up......is de-ionized water the same as distilled water.....or is there a difference? Which would be better?

Josh


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:33 pm 
I think de-ionized H2O is electrically discharged (electron "free"?) and distilled isn't. But hey, I just build trombones and fix guitars for a livin'...

Maybe someone out there knows????

Dean


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 12:03 am 
Hey Josh,
I get my coolant from one of the truck maintenance places that I
was talking about they carry Caterpillar coolant that has de-ionized
water, antifreeze, and what I think is water-wetter all premixed in a
gallon jug for $6 just pour it in. I am going on my third year and
everything looks real good.
AL(CO)
al@iwtu.net


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 Post subject: Radiator issues......copper vs. aluminum
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 6:13 pm 
Wish I had more truck places around here....the nearest is like 30 miles
or more....and it's not real big.....


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