Are you searching for an obsolete, one-off or hard to find copper and brass heater core? You are not alone and you may be in luck. We make our own cores and fabricate our own tanks so, naturally, we get asked to build custom heater cores or "small radiators." We prefer to have the housing or original in hand to assure fit but you can fax a drawing with dimensions to 805-239-2545 to get the process started.
But why did my aluminum heater core fail?
After you pay nearly a thousand dollars to drain and dispose of your fluids, pull your dash, install a $75 part, re-install your dash and replace all your fluids it is only natural to wonder why your aluminum heater core failed. The dealership owners and fleet managers sure do - they are some of our best customers for copper heater cores!
The electrical devices in the car can create stray electric DC current that runs through the cooling system. Electrolysis occurs when electrical current routs itself through the vehicle coolant in search for an electric ground. Evidence of electrolysis includes unexplained or reoccurring pinhole leaks in a heater core or radiator. Pinholes can form anywhere along the tubes, tank walls or thin spots in the material.
Aluminum radiators and heater cores leak not only from electrolysis but also degradation of the corrosive inhibitors in the coolant or improper ratios of coolant to distilled water. This may be the result of chlorides, sulfate and general hardness contained in common tap water. Consider a one gallon jug of coolant contains about 250 ppm silicates. In theory, in a 50/50 mix the vehicle’s overall silicate level should start out at 125 ppm minimum. The silicate will begin a plating action on the radiator’s aluminum surfaces. Unfortunately surface conditions of the aluminum will dictate the degree of plating that actually occurs. Consequently something less than 125 ppm silicate level could end up in the final solution in a fairly short period. For this reason most mechanics and recommend a flush & fill at 24 Months/30,000 miles. Failure to do so results in a premature failure of the aluminum radiator and expense of removal and replacement; a costly expense.
A History of Heating the Automobile Passenger
Prior to 1938, no automatic temperature controls existed for the airside of the heating system. Nash Motor Company in 1939 championed them. Nash’s Weather Eye control system was comprised of a thermostat that sensed samples of the incoming outside air, discharge air and inside air. Any change in any of these three samples resulted in an automatic adjustment of the Weather Eye control to maintain passenger comfort. The model year 1941 marked the introduction of automatic temperature controls in the car heating system. The control was achieved by means of temperature sensing elements such as liquid- filled bellows or capillaries that were placed to sense in-car temperature. Location of the temperature-sensing element was critical and often was mounted on the outlet core face. This development was fostered by Harrison Radiator and first used in the 1941 Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac heating systems.
In 1942, Ford Motor offered factory-installed fresh air hot water heaters for their car line. They were integrated with the standard ventilation system and included a thermostatic valve manufactured by Ranco of Columbus, Ohio. The capillary of the valve was positioned to sense in-car temperature. However, this arrangement proved unsatisfactory. For example, if the control valve were repositioned for less heat, it would completely shut off the water supply to the heater core causing a cold blow. This deficiency was overcome in 1950 by redesigning the control in such a way that a certain reduction in the temperature lever setting produced a pro rata reduction in the discharge air temperature.
The heating system controls prior to 1953 were simple because there were no comfort cooling system controls to contend with. With the large-scale introduction of the comfort cooling systems starting in 1953, the heating system controls became intertwined with the comfort cooling system controls. In 1954, Nash Motors announced its new All-Weather Eye, a self-contained automotive air conditioner with all components located forward of the instrument panel. The unique features of the All-Weather Eye included a single knob control that operated both the heating and cooling units.
In 1964, Cadillac introduced the first automatic air-conditioning control enabling a motorist to drive from Northern Maine to Southern California without adjusting controls or lowering a window. In many respects, it was the automatic version of the Nash All-Weather Eye single knob control. Although it has undergone some design changes centered on the use of electronics in place of thermo-mechanical elements, it is today the standard equipment on most luxury cars and also an optional accessory on many other cars.