How to Choose the Correct Flex-a-Fit Radiator

2010 May 29
by admin

At some point in your project build, you're going to need a new radiator. Measuring for a custom radiator can be a bit intimidating, but with the new Flex-a-fit® system, it is  a straight-forward process. In this article, we'll show you just how easy it is.

We introduced the Flex-a-fit line of radiators in 2005 with a patent-pending tank design that offers additional cooling properties and exceptional flexibility in mounting. See Radiators: Aluminum vs. Brass for more information. There are a few simple steps to go through to see which of our radiators will fit your vehicle best. Most people are looking for a radiator that fits without doing modifications to the core support. To do this, measure the existing radiator: width x height x depth (thickness). This will include the tanks for a complete, overall dimensions. If there is extra space available, make note of the maximum height and width so you can consider your options, but make sure that you will not have hood clearance issues or interference with any parts near the existing radiator.

Next, look through this list of radiators that we offer to see which one comes the closest to your measurements, but isn't larger:

Cross-flow Radiators:

W x H x D (inches)

22 ½ x 18 ½ x 3 ¾

27 ¾ x 18 ½ x 3 ¾

31 ⅝ x 12 ½ x 3 ¾

31 ⅝ x 18 ½ x 3 ¾

33 ⅝ x 18 ½ x 3 ¾

38 x 18 ½ x 3 ¾

Top-flow Radiators

W x H x D (inches)

12 ½ x 31 ⅝ x 3 ¾

18 ½ x 22 ½ x 3 ¾

18 ½ x 27 ¾ x 3 ¾

18 ½ x 31 ⅝ x 3 ¾

18 ½ x 33 ⅝ x 3 ¾

8 ½ x 38 x 3 ¾

Once you find the dimension that will work best for your application, determine whether you need the inlet to be on the left or right side. This will be where the coolant comes from the engine into the radiator. You'll also need to note the diameter of the inlet and outlet tubes; the outlet tube will usually be slightly larger.

Consider whether you would like to have an electric fan paired with the new radiator. We offer electric fans for every radiator listed above that come from the factory pre-mounted to the radiator without going through the core. The fan will add up to 3 ¼ inches to the radiator thickness, so verify that you have enough space between the radiator core and the engine.

Now you're ready to find your new radiator. Click here to go to the radiator part numbers page on Flex-a-lite.com. Find the dimensions from the list above, with the inlet on the proper side, with or without an electric fan and match it up with a part number. That's it! Simple, isn't it?

Mounting of our radiators is also a snap. The tanks feature a patented T-channel construction. Simply slide our T-bolts inside the channels and align our supplied universal brackets to the desired location. These channels make mounting an electric fan and other accessories a breeze.

Here are some helpful notes for you regarding using our Flex-a-fit radiator:

  • Aluminum can suffer from corrosion caused by electrolysis – using a zinc anode protects the aluminum radiator as well as your aluminum intake manifold and other aluminum engine components
  • The radiators all feature 2-row construction with 1-inch (26mm) core tubes
  • This core construction provides superior cooling without being as restrictive to airflow as a traditional 4-core radiator

If  your existing system used a transmission oil cooler in the side tank you will want to add an auxiliary cooler. This cooler can be mounted without going through the core by using the slots in the side tanks, and hoses can be secured using our Gatorclips®.

Flex-a-lite® makes radiators that bolt right into several very popular applications such as most Camaros and Mustangs. We can also offer radiators for dual pass or custom inlet or outlet locations as a custom order.

This video from Truck World TV gives a good overview of the features in our Flex-a-fit radiator design.

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