'83 CJ7 radiator replace - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
Timaaaay83
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'83 CJ7 radiator replace

First, I'm going to tell you what I did wrong and then ask for guidance.

Still finishing my frame up on my original owner 83 CJ7. Wanted to get it to a point of being a very close restomod. Everything had been taken off, degreased, blasted, inspected and repainted. Including my radiator. Used a lot of POR15!

Started her up, took a drive and saw that my radiator was leaking near the bottom hose connector. Tried additional clamps-still leaking. Was going to have it re-cored and started searching the forum for ideas. Found out that glomming paint layers on a radiator wasn't such a good idea. Decided to replace the original 3 core HD rad with a new one. Most arrows on this forum pointed to Summit for a really close OEM replacement for the original. Bit the bullet and ordered the 3 banger copper/brass.

Below are images of the fitment issue with the thermo fan clutch just touching the radiator. The original HD rad had at least 3/4" clearance. This one has none. They shipped me another after I told them that the brackets had been welded towards the front rather than the back and there was not enough clearance. Same issue. Haven't called them yet for return info until I check with the experts. Pics below.

Anyone find an OEM-like HD copper/brass radiator that has better clearance?

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Radiator1.jpg   Radiator2.jpg   Radiator3.jpg  
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 04:58 PM
sparkey
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radiator

Had the exact problem with the Summitt 3 core. I went with their 2 core and I have A/C in mine and it cools the Jeep just fine. Can see no difference in it and original 3 core as far as cooling goes, and the overflow outlet is on the correct side for the coolant recovery tank.
I had good customer service from them as well.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
Timaaaay83
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Thanks Sparkey. Yes, great customer service and delivery seemed like they drove it down to SoCal. Less than 24 hours in both cases.

Just can't understand why the clearance would be so off from the original. I was looking at the 2 core after reading comments but those 115 degree desert trips doing 5 mph over rocks made me pause.

I think most of us are spoiled that we can't get exactly what we want when there are so many aftermarket options. Try getting OEM-like parts for anything but a classic.

Will give Summit a shout in the AM and see if they can provide clearance measurements on the 2 core and hope that I don't contribute to the Death Valley name.
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 07:48 PM
BagusJeep
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That POR must be 1-2mm thick so I hear your concern, it would block the airways.. Apparently impervious to solvents including their own brand.

You need a 3 core radiator, forget the 2 core. A 3 core with a shroud and a new thermo clutch will keep you cool. I do not have cooling problems with CJ7s, they just need occassional maintenance to the system but i would feel more comfortable with the heavy duty cooling package.... jeep were..

It does look badly made, that face should be further from the fan. The last one i bought was ADR 1491-0202 which was copper/brass and the face was a lot further behind those flanges.

You could check your fan clutch depth. They were 3.11". A heavy duty or severe duty aftermarket clutch may be deeper, say 3.6". It should have been changed at some time, life is less than 20 years, yours may be non stock depth.

You also have the option of doing away with the fan drive. The fan drive was fitted to the heavy duty cooling package but usually also had a 6 bladed fan. If it had a 4 blade there was a spacer behind the fan. Some water pumps are deeper than others as well. Perhaps do some measurements and post up exactly what you have.

You could carry on searching or compromise your radiator or drill out the rivets and swap the mounting flanges to the old one. Sounds counterintuitive, cutting up a new rad, but if you want a good fit and 3 rows ........
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 08:17 PM
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There was like 5 different radiators used in the later CJs. These varied not only in core row numbers but offset of the mounting brackets (which move the radiator closer to the engine or deeper into the grill) to be used with or without fan clutches, different depth fans, shrouds, and different waterpumps that have short or longer mounting shafts for either one or two groove pulleys / power steering etc.



Your second pic looks like one used with a fan clutch, 7 blade fan, and shroud. The last pic looks like one used with a fixed four blade fan (no fan clutch or shroud).


Also, There is an offset cap 2 core unit that even though its 2 core, there is more tubes and fins so the efficiency is better and it works great for those running electric fans.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-16-2020, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
Timaaaay83
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BagusJeep and only in a jeep cj--appreciate your input. I've read numerous posts by both of you and others during my rebuild OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS! Breathe......

POR15 is great but yes, you can"t take it off.

The originals are a three core with 7 blade fan and thermo fan clutch. I did replace the water pump at some point but the original three core still fit. I've got my original receipts for service and parts that I've saved for 37 years so I'll have to put on my specs and look back if they're not too faded.

I will probably head out to the garage in the AM to do some measurements and photos while I box up the Summit return again. Stay tuned.

Anyone else with feedback appreciated. I just need to get everything done by March or my wife will cut off my tailpipe.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 03:58 AM
John Strenk
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We can also throw in the grill were different thickness also. The later ones were thinner than the earlier ones.

I learned this the hard way trying to put an 84 grill in my 76 CJ,

grill_bottom_center.jpg

grill_bottom_side.jpg

I had the same problem, I tried to replace the 3 core radiator I had in it with a new one but it just wouldn't clear the fan.
I called the radiator manufacturer and he had a book with specs and he found one that did fit.

Only thing was the water overflow was on the wrong side but that wasn't a big deal for me to get it up and plowing.
At least I got a 3 core that fit. At least i think I got a three core... hmmm, have to check. You can see one row missing from the edge.
Maybe it's a 4 core with one core missing.

You might be further ahead to call the manufacturer of the radiator to get the right one.

.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 08:09 AM
DougE
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On my '83, the radiator flanges are inside the grille shell and the clip-nuts are on the radiator flange. Your issue may be placing the radiator flanges on the engine side of the radiator shell.

Added info: If you will look at the following Post #18, you can readily see that the grille shell is deformed to allow room for the clip-nuts being placed on the radiator flange, mounted within the grille shell, as I have indicated. If your radiator has ever been removed it's quite possible that it was originally in this configuration but was re-installed on the engine side of the grille for ease of re-assembly. What clued me to this issue was that my radiator shroud wasn't fitting properly.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 08:16 AM
only in a jeep cj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
We can also throw in the grill were different thickness also. The later ones were thinner than the earlier ones

.
So there is a difference of .25” at the top ledge and .5” difference on the bottom inner ledge.

It shouldn’t be an AC thing as that started in 77 and those older grills with the ac condenser are thicker as well.
I can only guess it was to allow the radiators to sit in the grill more for the fanclutch space, but those were on the older ones as well. I’ll have to look more into it.
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougE View Post
On my '83, the radiator flanges are inside the grille shell and the clip-nuts are on the radiator flange. Your issue may be placing the radiator flanges on the engine side of the radiator shell.
Good feedback. Now I'm toying with the idea of placing the new one inside the grill frame with some spacers inside to move it further from the fanclutch.

DougE-Is yours a 3 core? Can you post a pic to make sure I understand what it's supposed to look like? Thanks.
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 12:33 PM
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I've never seen a 76-86 CJ with the radiator flanges mounted "inside" the grill shell. No reason you couldn't try it, provided there is clearance in the grill shell for the upper tank of the radiator.

My Jeep is (was? haha) an 83, 258 w CA emissions, radiator with offset cap, 7 blade clutch fan, shroud, and serpentine belt, all stock when I got it. My rad flanges were on the engine side of the grill.

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post #12 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 03:04 PM
DougE
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My radiator is a two row. I can just slide my fingers between the radiator and the fan clutch (maybe 3/4" clearance). Here's some pics:
Attached Thumbnails
Radiator Top.jpg   Radiator & Fan.jpg   Radiator Base.jpg   Radiator Mounting.jpg  

1983 CJ7, 258I6, T4, Dana 300, 31x10.5x15 DuraTrac
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post #13 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
Timaaaay83
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougE View Post
My radiator is a two row. I can just slide my fingers between the radiator and the fan clutch (maybe 3/4" clearance). Here's some pics:
DougE-Thanks for going out in the rain to take some shots. Looks like you have the center cap same as mine. Sure you don't have a three row?

Also, the last pic really helps.

I may need to put some additional spacers to move it away from the clutch. I want it to be at least flush with the front of the grill.

I've already removed the 6 fender bolts and loosened the struts for the grill. Took all of 7 minutes. Easier than trying to slide it in without scratching everything.

Will post some pictures this weekend if the boss allows.
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post #14 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 08:50 PM
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Never thought about it before but I checked my old 3 core and a new damaged 3 core from Summitt, which they said keep, and counted the actual cores. Turns out that the 2 core that I put in have the same number of cores as the 3 core ones, just spaced closer together. As I stated earlier the 2 core cools just fine with A/C in this Texas heat.

Say what you think because those that matter don't mind and thoes that mind don't matter.
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post #15 of 23 Old 01-17-2020, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
Timaaaay83
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
Never thought about it before but I checked my old 3 core and a new damaged 3 core from Summitt, which they said keep, and counted the actual cores. Turns out that the 2 core that I put in have the same number of cores as the 3 core ones, just spaced closer together. As I stated earlier the 2 core cools just fine with A/C in this Texas heat.
Thanks sparkey. This is a shot of the original through the radiator cap. Three core. What looks like a fourth core is a reflection. If I understand correctly yours would show two cores squeezed closer together to give the same total as the three core with a thinner profile. Not one manufacturer I've found does a head to head with the technical differences in cooling. AAAARRRRGH.



BTW-couldn't resist.
13. CHEVY CHASE IS SPARKY
Sparky, Ellenís pet name for Clark, was Chaseís nickname in real life.
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