Heat Transfer Experts
Gadsden, AL 35904
fax (256) 546-4614
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to jump to the answer. You can click on the “Go to top” link beneath each question to return to the list of questions.
- What makes your aluminum heat exchangers so good?
- Can you custom build a unit for me?
- What measurements do you need for a custom build?
- Do you have an automotive shop, and do I need to make an appointment to bring my vehicle to you?
- What size heat exchanger can you manufacture?
- What is electrolysis?
- How to test for electrolysis?
- What issues can void my warranty?
What makes your aluminum heat exchangers so good?
We use higher quality materials, thicker tube and plate material, and we TIG weld our units together. You may not be able to see it in photographs, but the difference is easily felt in the weight difference between our heat exchangers and comparable products. Better materials means that our products handle pressure better and will cool better. We also ensure all of our heat exchangers are 100% leak free prior to shipping. In addition to this, our units are built as an exact fit, OEM replacement and do not require any sort of modification or installation kits.⇧ Go to top
Can you custom build a unit for me?
Of course! We manufacture all aluminum charge air coolers, oil coolers, and radiators as well as copper-brass radiators in-house. That means, when you buy from us, you’re dealing directly with the manufacturer. We will work with you and ensure all the details are correct before we build it.⇧ Go to top
What measurements do you need for a custom build?
The answer for this can get a little complicated as it depends on what type of features your existing unit has. Some of the basic measurements include the following.
- Header to header measurement – The header plates are what the tanks mount to (typically either welded or bolted together). This measurement is the distance across the face of the unit between the two tanks and does not include the tank or the header plates.
- Side to side measurement – This measurement is taken across the face of the unit from one side to the other. If your unit has side support rails, they should be excluded from this measurement (similar to the tanks being excluded in the header to header measurement).
- Thickness – This is the measurement of the depth of the core. The easiest way to measure this is to take a small piece of wire and push it through the fins on the core until it reaches the back of the unit (it should be flush with and not protrude past the rear of the unit). Make a mark or hold on to the wire where it entered the core, pull the wire out, and measure the length of the wire that fit inside the core.
There may be other information we need for a custom build, such as number of bolt holes, tank dimensions, inlet and outlet positions, etc. We can normally walk you through this over the phone, but if you’re not comfortable trying to get all of this information you can always send the unit to us. This allows us to get all the details we need. If you have questions about getting a custom built unit, please give us a call.⇧ Go to top
Do you have an automotive shop, and do I need to make an appointment to bring my vehicle to you?
Yes, we have an automotive service shop and can service most everything from cars and pickup trucks to class 7 and 8 commercial trucks as well as buses, dump trucks, and fire trucks. No appointment is necessary, but our service shop operates on a “first come, first served” basis. Depending on how busy we are, you may need to leave your vehicle with us. You can always call us ahead of time and talk to our service department if you have any questions about what kind of services we provide.⇧ Go to top
What size heat exchanger can you manufacture?
We have manufactured small units for recreational vehicles like ATV’s to huge radiators for locomotives. Chances are we can manufacture the size unit you need. Give us a call and talk to our design team if you have any questions or concerns about what you might need.⇧ Go to top
What is electrolysis?
Electrolysis, not to be confused with galvanic corrosion, occurs when a stray electrical current finds its way into your cooling system. For example, an exposed wire touching your radiator or a missing ground connection on an electrical source. This causes a chemical reaction that results in severe corrosion damage to any metal components your coolant comes in contact with. Electrolysis will create this damage very quickly. Some symptoms include numerous pinhole leaks showing up, discoloration, and flaking or pitting. Radiator failure due to electrolysis voids any warranty.⇧ Go to top
How to test for electrolysis?
Since electrolysis is caused by your cooling system having an electrical charge, you have to test for that charge. This can be dangerous since you are dealing with electrical currents! If you are not comfortable with this, please take your vehicle to a professional automotive shop and ask them to test it for you. If you are comfortable testing for an electrical charge then you can use a volt meter and test the coolant with the vehicle turned off by first connecting the negative lead of the meter to your battery’s ground connection and then inserting the positive lead directly into you coolant (or use a copper tube attached with an alligator clip for a better reading). (Caution: Do not remove the radiator cap if the coolant is still hot. The cooling system is designed to work as a pressurized system, meaning the coolant will “explode” out of the radiator if the cap is removed while it is hot. Wait a few hours to ensure the system is cool.) The positive lead should not touch any metal while your performing this test. If the results are 0.300 V or more then the coolant is holding a charge which could indicate that the protective additives in the coolant have broken down. The coolant should be flushed and replaced before any further testing. Otherwise, proceed with the test as follows (you may want to have someone assist you):
- Start the vehicle with all other accessories turned off (AC, radio, lights, etc.). Note the voltage.
- Run the engine up to around 2,000 RPM and check the voltage again.
- Keep it around 2,000 RPM and begin turning on and off each electrical component in the vehicle. This means everything, including things like sun roofs, windows, automatic locks, radio/stereo, retractable components (antennas, mirrors, etc.), seat positions and heaters, every position/setting for the AC and heater, horns, backup cameras, etc. If you get a voltage spike when activating a particular component, make note of it as this is the likely culprit. The wires and grounds for this component will need to be checked and repaired as necessary. This can be a very difficult and time consuming process.
- Take your volt meter and check the alternator output by connecting the negative and positive leads of the meter to the battery while the car is running. The voltage should run between 13.7 and 14.7 volts. Anything more than this means the alternator is over-charging and the extra is finding its way elsewhere. You may need to repair or replace the alternator, voltage regulator, or both.
What issues can void my warranty?
While we have no wish to void anyone’s warranty, there are certain situations that cause damage to the products and results in premature product failure through no fault of the product’s materials or construction. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Improper Installation – Failure to properly install the product will void the warranty. This can include failing to use any required replacement grommets, forcing the product to fit (we manufacture everything according to OEM specs, so fit should not be a problem), mounting the product to the vehicle in a way for which it was not designed (example: drilling additional mounting holes that results in damage/weakening of the mounting brace), stripping threads, etc.
- Failure to Flush Old Coolant or Using Improper Mix of Antifreeze/Distilled Water – When you replace your radiator, you must replace the coolant. The old coolant can carry particulates that can damage the new radiator. This is especially true if you do not replace your coolant regularly since the protective additives in the coolant breakdown over time. Also, using just water as your coolant will damage your radiator as will using tap water instead of distilled water. You should always replace the coolant with a 50/50 mix of distilled water and antifreeze and only use new coolant in a new radiator.
- Physical Damage, Obvious Abuse, or Improper Maintenance – If your product is damaged in shipping you should tell the delivery person that you are “refusing delivery due to damage.” This will help us get a claim filed with the shipping company, get you a replacement, and keep your warranty active. Occasionally a product can be damaged in the box with no obvious sign of damage to the box itself. This is called “concealed damage,” and you must inform us right away. The shipping company will usually want to inspect the damage, so please leave everything as is to make the claim process as smooth as possible. (Shipping damage is not covered by your warranty but is covered by our agreements with the shipping company. Always contact us immediately if you notice damage from shipping.) That said, if the product is damaged due to mishandling, improper maintenance (such as replacing coolant/oil), damaged due to a collision, etc., this will void the warranty.
- Too Much Pressure in System – An over pressurized system will cause damage to the tubes (known as ballooning) and possibly tanks. Over pressurization can be caused by using the wrong radiator cap on a radiator or a blockage in another part of the system (not limited just to radiators).
- Improper Accessory Installation – Improper installation of accessories such as fans can void your warranty if it results in damage to the product. Fans and shrouds should never attach directly to the product’s core as the fins/tubes are not designed to support weight. Attaching any wiring or other items directly to the unit can also result in damage that will void your warranty.
The radiator works great!!! Can’t thank you enough for the wonderful job you folks did. I’m going to let everyone with the Studebaker Forum know.
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