LS Swaps & Radiators - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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LS Swaps & Radiators

Is there anyone else who has done an LS swap having radiator issues, not overheating but leaks? I'm on my second and will be on my third radiator in 3.5 to 4 years.

Frist radiator was a Griffin, it leaked was replaced by MoTech at no cost to me (Thumbs up Robbie) by a Fluidyne. Now going on approx. 1.5 years it is leaking in a spot that no radiator shop nor Fluidyne can fix. According to Fluidyne (or RPM's interpretation of their explanation) is that something with Chryslers/Jeep electronics is causing this, said they knew about the issue and the only fix they have is to hard mount the radiator, no rubber bushings, and are now making a ground strap for the radiator?

Anybody ever heard of such?

With that said my stock 3.8L radiator lasted all of three years without issues and I assume it's still ok while it sits on a shelf downstairs.

I find it odd that with all the racing sports, off-road sports, conversions etc. this has never came up before??...or am I wrong.

Just thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone else is experiencing the same or if somehow i'm just the oddball of the bunch....i'm going with the latter as I know my luck!

So with that said Jeep is out of commission for about two weeks while we wait on a radiator to be fabricated!
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post #2 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:20 PM
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Can you explain further about how electronics are playing into your leak? Are you getting some dissimilar metal corrosion or something?

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post #3 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:33 PM
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I'm on my third CSF radiator. Motech provided both replacements under warranty with no issue. My third radiator started leaking a couple months ago. I dumped half a tube of alumaseal in it and just deal with it. They all would form drips on the bottom driver's side of the radiator. The first two were leaking where the tubes join the tank. I haven't looked to see if the third is leaking in the same spot. I know CSF has continued to improve and MoTech is now using a newer version than what I currently have, but I think I'll just deal with a small leak.

I will say that with the CSF radiator and Pentastar fan, my LS3 stays cool. I stay at 190-200. No complaints in terms of cooling capability.

I've considered using C&R, just because of their racing reputation. However, those radiators are over $1k and I'm not convinced I would have any better results. I'll just live with it for a while until I hear what works best.
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post #4 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Can you explain further about how electronics are playing into your leak? Are you getting some dissimilar metal corrosion or something?

Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
Sorry about that, was trying to surf the forums and work and of course my multitasking skills suck.

Yes, according to Fluidyne some electrical gremlin in the Chrysler/Jeep is corroding the magnesium core, it's nothing to do with the LS Swap itself, he stated he could put his radiator in a stock 3.6L Jeep and it would do the same thing.

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post #5 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rgeorge33 View Post
I'm on my third CSF radiator. Motech provided both replacements under warranty with no issue. My third radiator started leaking a couple months ago. I dumped half a tube of alumaseal in it and just deal with it. They all would form drips on the bottom driver's side of the radiator. The first two were leaking where the tubes join the tank. I haven't looked to see if the third is leaking in the same spot. I know CSF has continued to improve and MoTech is now using a newer version than what I currently have, but I think I'll just deal with a small leak.

I will say that with the CSF radiator and Pentastar fan, my LS3 stays cool. I stay at 190-200. No complaints in terms of cooling capability.

I've considered using C&R, just because of their racing reputation. However, those radiators are over $1k and I'm not convinced I would have any better results. I'll just live with it for a while until I hear what works best.
I'm sure Robbie will chime in here shortly but I do distinctly remember reading where he said that they had a big batch of Radiators that were junk. Not sure if that's the case here but he did say it.

John down at RPM uses a local manufacturer for his radiators and I can't remember the name but the sticker is on the one that I got from him. It was pricey but not 1K pricey
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post #6 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rgeorge33 View Post
I'm on my third CSF radiator. Motech provided both replacements under warranty with no issue. My third radiator started leaking a couple months ago. I dumped half a tube of alumaseal in it and just deal with it. They all would form drips on the bottom driver's side of the radiator. The first two were leaking where the tubes join the tank. I haven't looked to see if the third is leaking in the same spot. I know CSF has continued to improve and MoTech is now using a newer version than what I currently have, but I think I'll just deal with a small leak.

I will say that with the CSF radiator and Pentastar fan, my LS3 stays cool. I stay at 190-200. No complaints in terms of cooling capability.

I've considered using C&R, just because of their racing reputation. However, those radiators are over $1k and I'm not convinced I would have any better results. I'll just live with it for a while until I hear what works best.
Exact same place, divers side! I actually thought it was coming from the fill spout and was just going to tig it up but that's not the problem.

I have not done the Pentastar conversion yet but I stay cool and don't have any issues in cooling.

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post #7 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 04:39 PM
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I run a C&R radiator with my 6.4L semi. They work really well with the big P- Star fan. I had the one in there that it came with and it was adequate at best. The guy at C&R had the same Jeep and designed this thing for himself and it works great. I still have the the original and no leaks but I know a lot of them leaked. Your right it was $1100.00. It's a Hell of a well built unit tested to 100 PSI so I hope it lasts the life of the Jeep.

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post #8 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 04:59 PM
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So the radiator is acting like an anode? Is the part that's leaking cast?

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post #9 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 06:04 PM
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I just had to replace mine that came with the Hemi kit. Lasted just about a year and s half. Leaked passenger side 2/3 down from top on the fin area. Got a replacement from Summit $389 shipped. Part# SUM-380467. Looks exactly like the one that came with the kit. I hope this one lasts if not I guess I may try one of the high end models.

Maybe something to consider
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/f...FVY7gQodNVYD-A

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post #10 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 06:34 PM
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So the radiator is acting like an anode? Is the part that's leaking cast?
The radiator that I got from Jon is 100% aluminum and THICK. I hope this doesn't pop up on our builds.
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post #11 of 39 Old 04-06-2017, 10:28 PM
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The radiator that I got from Jon is 100% aluminum and THICK. I hope this doesn't pop up on our builds.
That's good to hear. I haven't bought a radiator yet, but it will be from Jon.

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post #12 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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So the radiator is acting like an anode? Is the part that's leaking cast?
Yes, and no it's a Fluidyne Radiator, they only do aluminum that I can see on their website. It's a good looking radiator, it looks brand new, it's only 1.5 years old at the most.....

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post #13 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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That may be the answer, treat it like a boat lol

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post #14 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 06:44 AM
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That may be the answer, treat it like a boat lol
Does that go where the drain plug is then?

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post #15 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Does that go where the drain plug is then?
Yes sir, at least that's how it looks

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post #16 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 08:07 AM
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the radiator in my hemi kit also lasted about 2 years till the fins all started leaking.
replaced it with a radiator from superior. its obviously better quality and thicker than the last one so I'll see how it does.
why are we all having radiator issues?
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post #17 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 08:35 AM
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Cheaper place to get the Anode.

https://rotometals.com/flex-a-lite-r...FUhqfgodeLABVg

Dealer for: MoTech, Atlas, Dynatrac, Rock Krawler, ORO, Currie, Poison Spyder, Bilstein, Fox, SWAY-A-WAY, Ridid, Adams and Tom Woods DS's. And much more!


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post #18 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 09:42 AM
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Hello, my name is George and I purchased a Griffin radiator for my LS swap at Motel that has leaked pretty much from day one. I never added anything but top it off frequently. Should have sent it back honestly. The LS engines that have the fan control sensor on the left front head is sensitive to coolant level. The fan will quit if the level drops even a little.
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post #19 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for that link! Just got one for my csf radiator. Can't hurt to try it out I guess.

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post #20 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 10:00 AM
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MOTEC not motel, lol. Darn spell correct.
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post #21 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 10:18 AM
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The radiator that I got from Jon is 100% aluminum and THICK. I hope this doesn't pop up on our builds.
I ordered the dual core and it is beef!

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Order just because $7 now is better than making a mess later.


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post #22 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 12:10 PM
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Yes, according to Fluidyne some electrical gremlin in the Chrysler/Jeep is corroding the magnesium core, it's nothing to do with the LS Swap itself, he stated he could put his radiator in a stock 3.6L Jeep and it would do the same thing.
Maybe a few more ground straps on the block to frame could help. Possibly even from the rad to the core support.

It would be great to know exactly what this electrical gremlin is. The radiator and engine are connected together by water, which is a pretty good conductor.

For the guys that have had this problem. What are you using for coolant? And are you using distilled or tap water?

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post #23 of 39 Old 04-07-2017, 12:53 PM
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I'm using the Prestone 50/50 Premix Ethylene Glycol. I'm assuming they use distilled water, but I'm not sure.
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post #24 of 39 Old 04-08-2017, 09:15 AM
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I used dexcool full strength with distilled water for a 60/40 mix.

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post #25 of 39 Old 04-08-2017, 10:51 AM
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The reality is every cooling system is prone to electrolysis, all we can do is try and prevent it. All aluminum radiators seem to be more susceptible than plastic radiators. It doesn't really matter how thick the radiator structure is becase the weak point is the tube to header joint. Going to thick on the structure can be a bad thing since the radiator needs to flex in an off road environment.

We have experimented with about every technology out there with our radiators, we have used four different manufacturers to date. The plastic-aluminum radiators hold up well, some have rubber gaskets to seal the tank to the header and crimp the tank on. They are throw away but work very good. Some guys run LS3's with them but there is a point where they simply do not have enough capacity to move heat.

Building the tanks, mounting brackets, etc... is simple. It's the tube to header joint that is our issue. Some companies, like Griffin use a CAB brazing process (controlled atmosphere brazing) which is done in a vacumn furnace; others do not, they use other forms of brazing. Some, like Griffin, add epoxy over the brazed joint as a second barrier. GM and other manufacturers recommend adding a couple sealing tablets to the cooling system when installing a new radiator.

The issue is not so much a leak but weeping or sweating of the tube to header joint. Aluminum brazing is an art and batches of radiator cores get scrapped if the temperature, time, alloy, etc... is not perfect during brazing; it is almost an art, some manufactures consider the process a trade secret.

Remember these radiators are subject to high temperatures, they have condensers and other components mounted to them, they are rubber mounted but under constant tension, twisting, etc. It's a rough life for a radiator in a JK that is wheeled hard, especially with a V8 or SC.

We have refined our radiators over the years, we have reinforced the body where required, increased the tube thickness 10 thousands, strapped the core and changed the brazing process. I have seen aluminum radiators leak since the beginning, I remember the bad rap AEV had, I have replaced radiators for Burnsville and warrantied many of our own. It's odd, from the same batch of radiators I can warranty two out to one customer and another customer from the same batch is going on 5 years trouble free. From out last batch of strapped 52mm dual pass radiators(50) we have had only one leak so far(a forum member). That's pretty good since almost all of them have been in the field for a few months.

There is definitely other variables at work here and electrolysis is one. In the old days is was common to pick up a sacrificial anode from Pep Boys and hang it in your radiator. The anode's alloy would erode before the radiator metal would and I remember pulling them out years later with little metal left.

There is a lot more to it but there is something you can do. The JK like other modern computerized vehicles have a lot of electrons flowing around and the goal is to keep it out of the cooling system. Doesn't matter how good your radiator is, Ron Davis, CBR, Griffin.... they will all leak over time.

Start your JK and carefully check the charge in the coolant. We want to see as little voltage as possible. Popular belief is up to 1.5 volts is acceptable because that is where corrosion starts, I would like to see it lower. With all the accessories on check the voltage, make sure the cooling fans are running. I have seen voltages over 3 volts resulting in heater cores going out, water pump fittings eroding, and of coarse radiators leaking.

There is a belief a ground strap to the radiator will help but I feel it's better to not have the charge to begin with. Recently we had a customer fight bad electrolysis, his radiator began to leak and all the metal fittings were eroding. Didn't help the guy was in Florida right off the ocean and drove on the beach. To make a long story short all the usual things were checked, ground strap added, fan replaced but the charge was still there. As crazy as it sounds an old time GM mechanic stated a bad starter could cause electrolysis in the cooling system. If you think about it the main battery cables meet at your starter motor so proper isolation is critical. It's similar to power and ground distribution inside of an Optima battery that breaks down and the battery self discharges, or worse freaks out your engine performance due to the loss of proper low reference.

This guy in Florida had a bad starter motor, it was a new Delco part right from GM. Replacing the starter motor dropped the coolant charge to below 1 volt from over 3 and his erosion stopped. I'm sure OE manufacturers engineer the cooling system with this in mind but you can't cover everything. I remember in the 80's and 90's cooling system charge messing with the then new electronics that were being developed. The newer electronics were working in milli-volts and amps unlike the old days and were more susceptible to fluctuations. There were procedures to discharge the cooling system(drain it) recommended by manufacturers. This is one reason low reference came around.

You need an HD radiator to run a V8 hard in a JK, all you can do is take preventative measures to avoid leaks. Check you cooling system charge and run the OE tablets or a small amount of Alumseal. Do not run too much or you will plug your heater core. If you see the header sweating vs an actual leak you may have a electrolysis issue. Most of the current radiators available are pretty good, I have $1k+ custom built radiators in the shop now, in fact one on a Gen V 6.2 were doing and it is just as susceptible, actually more susceptible, to leak than the stock plastic radiator.

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