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Thoughts on IE Aluminium Radiator?


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Thinking about going with this when I get around to replacing my radiator next week. Was thinking about doing a 320i rad and doing the mods to make it fit but I'd be silly to make mods and not consult the 02 geniuses first. Is the e21 radiator worth the hassle for the ~150 bucks it will save me?

74 BMW 2002 Atlantik "Trinker"

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There are tons of radiator-related threads here on the FAQ.

The 320i radiator has a different look and feel from the original radiator, so if your engine compartment has an original vibe to it, it may look a bit out of place to you.

Also, the mounting holes are in different places, so you have to drill holes in the nose.

And, most important, the lower and upper tanks are plastic. I rather like the fact that the '02 doesn't have the plasticized radiator of the later cars.

If course, the IE radiator, due to its shiny aluminum, waves a huge flag saying "I AM TOTALLY NON-STOCK," and also requires new mounting holes to be drilled, but at least it's highly unlikely to fail on you.

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Another option is Mark at Silicon Garage. He has a great copper recore of your stock radiator. Looks totally stock. Cools so well that I have trouble getting enough heat in my car! Have a car with IE radiator too. Looks very pretty in the engine compartment. Especially if you radically changed everything else already. Can't go wrong either way. Both cost about the same.

Mike Katsoris CCA#13294                                                

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Find a local radiator shop (that's getting harder to do!) and have 'em check to see if a RADAC 26 core--or a successor part--is still available. It fits perfectly into the original 2002 top and bottom tanks and has three rows (sound familiar?)

I had one made about 1987 after a friend discovered the part through a local shop--he was moving to Tucson with an air conditioned ti and needed all the cooling he could get as the OEM radiator was totally inadequate. Mine's still working just fine after 20+ years.



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FWIW I've lived just south of Tucson for the past 37 yrs. and 13 years ago I was able to source an OEM radiator for my air conditioned automatic from a shop in Florida that was going out of business and had this NOS two core radiator sitting up high on a shelf. In still cools the engine just fine, even on 100º+ days in the summer with, obviously, the A/C on as high as it will go.

My wife's '76 automatic has a Curt Ingraham 3-core that he delievered to us at the 2002 O'Fest in Colorado. Her car runs hotter than mine, but I suspect that may be due to some corrosion build-up in the engine coolant passages from the car sitting, undriven, out in the open down here in Southern Arizona for 16 years before we acquired it.

So, just because it's an original 2-core radiador does not mean it cannot work in a hot climate.

Bob Napier

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Find a local radiator shop (that's getting harder to do!) and have 'em check to see if a RADAC 26 core--or a successor part--is still available. It fits perfectly into the original 2002 top and bottom tanks and has three rows (sound familiar?)


I've posted this before, but nobody reads...everybody wants to Rube Goldberg (for those of you old enough to remember) the cooling system with 320, I.E., and Pinto radiators.

The three row went by the way of the do-do bird, the new set up is a "HE" high efficiency core (2-row) made out of brass that has the same exact dimensions of the original, but has more tubes. I believe the original has 16 and the "HE" has 24 which dissipates the heat quicker. It is a bit heavier though; this way you can have the best of both worlds...the original look, with the coolness of a modern radiator.

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I am running an early 320i radiator, 1977-1979. With the exception of being about 3 inches longer in width, they look exactly alike the OE 2002 rad, brass/copper not plastic/aluminum, and they use the exact same hoses as the 2002. I usually have to point out the rad to folks"in the know".


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