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Having a healthy and strong Ford radiator for your car or truck is important to prevent overheating, but if you need to pick out a new radiator there are things you should know.

Downflow Radiators vs. Crossflow

There are two main categories of radiators: downflow and crossflow. A crossflow radiator has a vertical tank on each side with cooling tubes and fins in the core. The coolant will travel horizontally across the core from the inlet to the outer side with the water pump. A downflow radiator has tanks that run horizontally at the bottom and top. The coolant will enter the top of the radiator and travel vertically through the core before leaving at the bottom. Since the coolant flows from the top to the bottom, the water pump is helped by gravity, which allows the coolant to travel faster. The crossflow radiator is typically more efficient due to the speed when it moves the coolant. Since it holds onto the coolant a little bit longer, it allows the heat to dissipate a little better. The crossflow radiator can be a good choice for high output, high rpm engines. It’s also popular because of the sleeker hood lines on many of today’s vehicles. The downflow radiator can be too tall to fit in some lower profile configurations. However, downflow radiators give a nostalgic appearance and can fit where a crossflow radiator won’t.

Copper Brass vs. Aluminum

There are two main types of materials that are used to make radiators. Copper brass radiators are standard on older vehicles and can be found on some vehicles into the 1980s. Copper brass does have better heat conductivity and the look of the radiator is more vintage. However, even though copper brass is a good heat conductor, it’s a weaker material when compared to aluminum. Aluminum radiators are stronger and can weigh less when compared to copper brass radiators.

Tube Size vs. Row Quantity

Radiators consist of several rows of tubes and fins, which will transport the coolant. Since aluminum is stronger, the tube diameter can be increased and there won’t need to be thickness added to the tube walls. Due to this, aluminum radiator with two rows can dissipate heat at the same rate as a copper brass radiator with five rows. A two-row design can cause less air restriction through the core, which allows the fan to better cool.

In order to narrow down choices for a Ford radiator, think about the available space in the engine compartment, the intended vehicle use, and the desired engine performance. Bigger is better when it comes to radiator selection. A direct fit radiator will be a better option than a universal radiator for your specific vehicle.

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