Radiator Recommendations - 1978 Buick Estate Wagon

Discussion in 'General Station Wagon Discussions' started by dmfconsult, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. dmfconsult

    dmfconsult Well-Known Member

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    Over the weekend, I noticed that the radiator in the Estate Wagon has sprung a leak. The current radiator is the plastic tank variety so I would prefer to go to something steel or aluminum. The EW has the Buick 350... any recommendations on a good replacement radiator?

    I haven't found the exact source of the leak yet, but it's coming from the drivers side tank and not from a hose. Coolant is pooling at the bottom of the shroud so I think it's the bonded area between the tank and the core. I may try and JB Weld it temporarily, but that would just be a temporary fix at best.

    Cheers,
     
  2. KevinVarnes

    KevinVarnes Well-Known Member

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    For aftermarket radiators I like Spectra. It is the one brand I have found that consistently fits and fits well and some/most of them are actually made in Canada which is nice. I don't see any stock appearing rads with brass tanks. All of them are plastic. You could go to an all aluminum radiator from Liland, but it does not look stock (if that matters to you). I have no experience with the Liland radiators. I'm sure BeCool makes something that would fit as well. Griffin has several models listed for your car, but they don't come cheap.
     
  3. dmfconsult

    dmfconsult Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Kevin;
    I think I may try and avoid plastic, although this one gave 10-years of service before this issue, as I've heard others haven't been so lucky with plastic. I agree that the aluminum ones don't appear stock, but this isn't really a show car anyway, and if a lose a point or two in archival judging it's not a big deal. I'll have to do some measuring to see what will fit.
     
  4. OldFox

    OldFox Curmudgeon

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    My 80 Pontiac had a 4 core brass radiator in it. The local radiator shop wouldn't/couldn't recore it and suggested I buy an aftermarket one. All I could find was a 2 core aluminum one. While it's adequate for my 301, I have my doubts that it will cool my 455 when I install it.
     
  5. KevinVarnes

    KevinVarnes Well-Known Member

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    Plastic is what it is, but it isn't bad. Most OEM plastic tank rads that I've had experience with last upwards of 20 years. I think I've only had one issue with an aftermarket plastic tank rad.

    It looks like Griffin and probably BeCool have direct fit units. The Liland aluminum radiators are also designed to be direct fit. No measuring or modifications.
     
  6. dmfconsult

    dmfconsult Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Kevin;
    Plastic may be the way to go again. This radiator lasted 10 years so I'll see if I can find where it failed over the weekend and maybe try to patch it with some JB Weld. If that doesn't work, I'll just order a new one after I take some measurements. Even though it's 10-years old, it still looks brand new and I've never had a cooling issue with the car so it's done a good job. Plastic seems to be half the price of an aluminum one so if they've advanced in reliability over the last 10-years it may be fine.
     

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