Two weeks ago, I took the car on a very short trip. It was supposed to be a long trip, but the plastic end tank on the radiator fractured around the upper hose connection and dumped coolant all over the highway. Luckily I was watching my gauges and noticed the temperature spiking up. Yikes!
After having the car towed home, I spent many hours trying to find a Volvo 240 radiator that was made out of metal. Nissens and Performance no longer make them. The only options for a metal-end-tank radiator are a custom aluminum radiator ($500-600), finding a generic aluminum radiator that is roughly the right size and wedging it in somehow (good luck, $200-300 and you might still be stuck with a radiator you can’t use and can’t return), or finding an old-stock new all metal unit. Why metal? If metal starts to fail, it usually is a slow leak with obvious corrosion. When plastic starts to fail, it is more likely to fail catastrophically, and it doesn’t give much warning.
Luckily, I found an old-stock “CSF” brand metal radiator on e-bay for about $175. It is a well-made unit by all appearances, although only two rows of cooling fins. It fit in very nicely, just like an OEM unit, and so far has held up. We’ll see if it can provide enough cooling this summer.
In other news, I also had the guys at R-Sport weld up a custom stainless steel 2.5 inch exhaust to match up to my new exhaust header. It sounds great with a single Magnaflow muffler, but it’s a bit too loud for my old ears, so they are going to weld in a second muffler about where the stock second muffler goes. I will miss the noise, but then again I won’t heh.
Last, but not least, while my car was sitting awaiting the new radiator, I found out that the battery wasn’t holding a charge (went partially dead after sitting for 10 days). Looking at my records, the battery is about 90 months old, and it is only rated for 75 months. Since this Interstate Megatron (MT-47) did such a good job, I bought another Interstate, this time the “performance” model (MTP-47) which has slightly more cold-cranking amps, a more durable case, and a longer warranty, for about $20 more.