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Heater Cores

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.