Buying a Radiator for a Ford Flathead V8 Engine

Radiator Express sells 2 types of Ford Flathead V8 radiators online.  Below are pictures of both items as well as additional detail on identifying your type of engine prior to purchase.

SKU 221715
1942-1948 flathead V8 radiator. (click to visit web listing)

SKU 221701
1949-1953 flathead V8 Radiator (click to visit website)

Before ordering a radiator for your 1942-1948 Ford V8 flathead engine, it is important to figure what engine you are truly working with.  We refer to them as both early and late ford engines and sometimes the early engines can be identified as "war cars".  Below we have pictured both engine setups and how to identify which you have:

Late Model Engines:

Above is the newer 46 and up ford flathead setup.   The hoses are 1 1/4 on the top radiator connection and come down to the front of the block.  this is the most common setup for engine rebuilds for your 1933 to 1948 engines.

Early Model Engines (War Cars)

Above illustrates the top radiator hose running to the center area of the block.  This is the 1932-1946 ish early Ford Flathead engine.  The top hose connections are 1 3/4 in diameter.  This setup is quite rare as most restorations will be with the newer engine for 1946 and up.

Now that we know what the difference is, it's time to check the top hose connection of our existing radiator for it's diameter as well as see where the hose runs.

1 1/4 = should run to the front
1 3/4 = should run to the middle

If you have the 1 1/4. the item we sell online will be the stock drop in replacement for you.

If you have the 1 3/4, you can still use our radiator, but will be required to purchase a step up hose connection from 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 to use in conjunction with the radiator.  

Step up hose pictured to the right (Click link to purchase)

Radiator Express can also build a radiator for you with 1 3/4 inlet hose connections at request.

Which Thermostat to use with Electric Fan Wiring

It is best practice to use a thermostat that matches the sensor activation temperature on the wiring kit you have purchased.

For example, we sell a wiring kit that has 185/170 temperature sensor (illustrated below).  This item will activate fans @ 185 degrees.

Running this item with a 185 thermostat would match the activation temperature of the of the sensor and allow the fans to kick on when above 185.

Issue: Many vehicles come with a 195 degree stock thermostat.

Running this item with a 195 thermostat would result in the fans being on at all times.  Why?  The vehicle will be maintaining a 195 degree temperature and the sensor will then think the vehicle is hot at all times and keep the fans kicked on.

This presents an issue.  Why would you need a sensor wiring when the fans would be on all the time?  Answer: you would not!  If you will stick with a stock 195 degree thermostat, then you will not need this type of wiring.  You can then just use straight single or dual relay wiring as pictured below.

If one wanted to stay with a 195 degree thermostat, they can swap the sensor in their wiring to a high activate temperature.  below is a picture of a sensor that is set for 195 degree activation.


While all electic fans are not created equal, the installation and setup is generally very similar.  First, check what has come with your fan.  if you intend on "core" mounting your fan, you will need radiator zip ties, mounting feet and screws.  Some fans will come with tabs for mounting and others may have the tabs already pre-attached to the unit.


Attach the mounting tabs to the electric fan.

Position the electric fan against the radiator and mark the spots for mounting. Align the mounting points with the radiator fins avoiding direct alignment with the tubes.(Some applications may have A/C condenser and/or transmission coolers on the front of the radiator. Additional adjustments or modifications may be necessary for installation)

Push on the speed nuts until snug.


fan wiring:

Attach the red fan motor wire to a 12V positive ingnition controlled source, e.g fuse box.  use a 20 amp inline fuse for each fan

Attach the black fan motor wite to a ground, e.g. negative side of the battery, chassis etc.

Note: Disconnect the battery prior to wiring any product!!

Symptoms of a Blown Head Gasket

There are some makes or models of cars that have a reputation for blowing head gaskets. 

The head gasket forms a seal between the engine block and the cylinder head.  This seals both the combustion chamber and the coolant passages in your engine.  This means your head gasket has to seal both extremely hot high pressure combustion gases as well as engine coolant which can be anywhere from cold ambient temperatures to the normal operating temperature of your engine.  Do to the wide range of temperatures and relatively large surface area, it is not unusual for head gaskets to develop leaks over time.

Since the head gasket seals the coolant passage both from the atmosphere and the combustion chamber you can’t see or get too much of the head gasket on a vehicle.  Because much of the gasket can’t be seen without disassembling the engine, it can be very difficult to diagnose a head gasket leak.  Since a visual inspection usually will not prove a head gasket leak, it is important to know the other symptoms so you can accurately diagnose a head gasket problem.

Blown Head Gasket Symptoms:

Coolant leaking externally from bellow the exhaust manifold
White smoke from the exhaust pipe
Overheating engine
Bubbles in the radiator or coolant overflow tank
White milky oil
Significant loss of coolant with no visible leaks
Cracked / Blown Radiator

The only externally visible sign of a blown head gasket would be coolant externally leaking from the head gasket.  The head gasket will be below or inboard of the exhaust manifold.  Most head gasket leaks will be between the combustion chamber and the coolant passage in your engine.  On the intake stroke of the cylinder closest to the leak, coolant will be drawn in under the vacuum created along with the intake air charge.  Upon combustion, the high pressure will force exhaust gases past the head gasket into the coolant passage.  This process will repeat itself for every revolution the engine makes.

As coolant is pulled into the combustion chamber it will cause your engine coolant level to drop.  This can cause a low coolant light and overheating if the cooling system on your vehicle is not continually topped off.  Also, once your engine is turned off the coolant still left in the engine cylinder will seep past your piston rings into your engine oil.  Coolant mixed with oil will make a white milky substance.  You may see this on your engine oil dip stick or on a ring around your oil cap.

If your engine is running the small amount of coolant that is in the combustion chamber will turn into steam and white smoke upon combustion.  If you are checking your exhaust pipe for signs of white smoke, make sure your vehicle is fully warmed up and idling during a warm part of the day.  A cold engine on a cool day will produce a small amount of water vapor which will look like white smoke from your exhaust pipe.  If the exhaust has a sweet smell to it then it mostly likely is a head gasket problem.

during the combustion process the high pressures in the cylinder can push exhaust gases past the head gasket into the engine cooling system.  The exhaust gases will be trapped in the cooling system and will be circulated through your engine and into the radiator.  During normal operation your engine’s cooling system remains under pressure, so never remove the radiator cap while the engine is operating or still warm.  If your vehicle has a coolant overflow tank you can check that for the presence of bubbles.  To be certain you can purchase a test kit from your local auto parts store that will chemically check your engine coolant for the presence of exhaust gases.

Usually one of these symptoms by itself is not enough to prove you have a head gasket leak, but if you have multiple symptoms at the same time it is likely that you have a head gasket leak.  It is important to drive your vehicle as little as possible if you have a head gasket leak.  The hot gases and cold coolant moving through the hole in the gasket can quickly erode or warp the metal head or engine block leaving you with costly machining bills or even having to purchase new heads or a new engine.

Radiator Demons: Cooling System Malfunctions Often Overlooked or Misdiagnosed

If your ride is overheating but full of coolant - and you don’t see any sign of a coolant leak - you might be under attack from invisible radiator demons. Relax, they’re not actual demons. The truth is they are only radiator malfunctions that are often overlooked during routine maintenance and testing. These malfunctions can leave you with a blown cylinder head gasket, cracked cylinder head, or damaged engine block if not quickly recognized and repaired.

Coolant Flow Restrictions
Even though your radiator is not pouring coolant, it could be malfunctioning because of a coolant flow restriction. Older vehicles and vehicles with high mileage are prone to this type of problem. Portions of the radiator core become partially or completely clogged with debris and block the flow of engine coolant to/from a particular radiator tank. This can cause the engine to overheat.
Vehicles which are more likely to overheat at highway speeds (than at low speed or idle) usually suffer from this condition. Diagnosing a radiator with restricted flow is made much easier if you have access to an infrared thermometer with a laser pointer. A radiator with a restricted flow condition will have portions of the core that are much cooler than other areas. Typically one lower corner (or even an entire lower half) of the inboard radiator core will be significantly cooler than the remaining area. Lower portions of the radiator core are more susceptible to this condition because sediment and debris from old coolant tends to settle there and become solidified.
Flushing coolant at regular intervals will help to prevent this condition.
The most effective course of action for correcting this problem is radiator replacement.

Air Flow Restriction
Since the automotive engine cooling radiator uses air flow across finned hollow tubes (rods) to decrease engine coolant temperature, a constant supply of clean ambient air is critical for proper operation. When the vehicle is at idle, the engine cooling fan draws ambient air through the radiator core, thus cooling engine coolant as it flows through the finned hollow rods and returns to the engine block, cylinder heads, heater core, etc. As vehicle speed increases, ambient air is forced through the grille, condenser, and radiator. Road tractors and other vehicles with large grilles or open grille designs frequently utilize a zippered cover to restrict air flow manually during winter months. This raises engine temperature, decreases the time required for the engine to reach normal operating temperature (when the thermostat opens), and the resultant temperature of the cabin heater. If your vehicle is so equipped; make sure that all restrictions are removed during summer months. Failure to do so may result in engine overheating. 
The most common inadvertent cause of air flow restriction is debris trapped between the radiator and air conditioning condenser. Debris may include leaves, pine-straw, dirt and other natural obstructions. These items often become trapped between the radiator and condenser when the vehicle is parked under trees, in the yard, or along the side of the roadway. Simply remove the upper fan shroud and use a flashlight to inspect the area between the radiator and condenser. If there is debris present, use an air blower or other slim tool to carefully remove it. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to tilt the radiator away from the condenser (or even remove it) in order to eradicate the debris effectively. If radiator removal proves necessary, consider replacement as a smart alternative to reinstalling a sub-par component.

Acura / Honda Airbag Inflator Recalls


Important safety information for you and your customers

Do you have a 2001-2011 Honda or 2002-2006 Acura?

Check the VIN for airbag inflator Recalls

Honda Vehicles Affected:

2001-2005 Civic
2001-2007 Accord
2002-2006 CR-V
2003-2011 Element
2002-2004 Odyssy
2003-2008 Pilot
2006 Ridgeline

Acura Vehicles Affected:

2003-2006 MDX
2002-2003 TL
2005 RL
2003 CL

Installing Sensor Port in Volvo Radiator

Some radiators that we manufacture come with sensor ports and adapters.  More than not, we will plug off the sensor with a rubber or plastic plug.  We often include adapters in the box for use of different types of OE sensors. When removing plug from the sensor port there should also be an rubber adapter that is  inserted into the hole on the tank. For example, the adapter shown below with the plug coverts the sensor port hole from 22mm (.866”) to 16.6mm (.653

If you remove the plug from the sensor port there should also be an rubber adapter that is  inserted into the hole on the tank. This adapter, shown below with the plug, coverts the sensor port hole from 22mm (.866”) to 16.6mm (.653). 

The example above is for our part number  SKU 39225
This item fits:
Volvo    240    1993-1990    2.3L L4 2316cc ; GAS    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    242    1975    2.0L L4 1990cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    242    1984-1977    2.1L L4 2127cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    242    1976    2.1L L4 2127cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    242    1984-1982    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    244    1975    2.0L L4 1990cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    244    1985-1976    2.1L L4 2127cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    244    1989-1982    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    245    1975    2.0L L4 1990cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    245    1985, 1982, 1980-1976    2.1L L4 2127cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    245    1989-1981    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    264    1980    2.4L L6 2383cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    265    1980    2.4L L6 2383cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    740    1992-1985    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    745    1985    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    745    1985    2.4L L6 2383cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    760    1990-1984    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    760    1985    2.4L L6 2377cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    760    1984-1983    2.4L L6 2383cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    780    1991-1989    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    940    1991    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    DL    1984    2.1L L4 2127cc    Radiator    N/A
Volvo    GLE    1984    2.3L L4 2316cc    Radiator    N/A