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  1. #1
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Default Weld/braze aluminum radiator?

    For you guys who are more experienced with this stuff, what would be the preferred method for doing this?

    I want to add a bung to an aftermarket aluminum radiator. Actually, I have 3 of them to do. I do not own a tig welder, nor do I have the skill to use one. I could buy a spool or gun setup for my mig and I also have a small tank I could use for 100% argon. But I'm considering just brazing it. I understand brazing on larger aluminum pieces can be difficult, due to heat loss. I also was thinking instead of adding a bung, i could just add material and then drill and tap to the size I want. My plan would be to clamp a small slice of 1/2" or 3/4" copper tubing to the flat area and then fill it with my brazing rod. This way, I don't have to worry about trying to get a bung sealed all the way around the joint. Maybe the aluminum rod will stick to copper though... not sure on that one.

    Thoughts?
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  2. #2
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    No idea if you can braze copper to aluminum.

    A recent test of aluminum brazing rod was done on youtube by Project Farm, titled Best No-Welder Aluminum Welding Rods. I had no luck trying to post link via cellphone.

  3. #3
    FEP Supporter 4-barrel Mike's Avatar
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    Silver solder, perhaps?

    Mike

  4. #4
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkd0r View Post
    No idea if you can braze copper to aluminum.

    A recent test of aluminum brazing rod was done on youtube by Project Farm, titled Best No-Welder Aluminum Welding Rods. I had no luck trying to post link via cellphone.
    I love the project farm guy. He's the real deal. I'll check out that video.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  5. #5
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4-barrel Mike View Post
    Silver solder, perhaps?

    Mike
    I have to admit, I've been hearing about silver solder for years and never really looked into it. I'll check it out. Thx
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  6. #6
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Here's the ProjectFarm video:
    https://youtu.be/fKIKsDfRAcs
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  7. #7

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    Copper to aluminum is a no-no. Bad galvanic corrosion. If you aren’t comfortable with welding a bung on, find someone who can. I had my aluminum radiator repaired from a puncture for a couple of bucks. Trouble is, he passed away, so no help there. Radiator shops are getting hard to find.
    W

    As always, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you, it's what you think you know that just ain't so."

  8. #8
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    Have you checked youtube?

    It looks like this is a common thing in home repairs of plumbing and HVAC. It seems logical that techniques that would work with aluminum ac condensers might be applicable to an aluminum radiator.

    https://youtu.be/iwy8Tqx7zbU

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    Have you checked youtube?

    It looks like this is a common thing in home repairs of plumbing and HVAC. It seems logical that techniques that would work with aluminum ac condensers might be applicable to an aluminum radiator.

    https://youtu.be/iwy8Tqx7zbU
    Galvanic corrosion is probably more of a concern with an automotive radiator than with HVAC systems, so better not to use copper components with aluminum.

  10. #10
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    Have you checked youtube?

    It looks like this is a common thing in home repairs of plumbing and HVAC. It seems logical that techniques that would work with aluminum ac condensers might be applicable to an aluminum radiator.

    https://youtu.be/iwy8Tqx7zbU
    I'm afraid I may have not made myself clear, when talking about copper/aluminum. I wasn't wanting to join the two. I was curious if I could use a small slice of copper pipe as a "dam". Basically, I'm questioning whether or not it is feasible to use copper as a dam to build up aluminum brazing rod to form a raised/thick boss area which can be drilled and tapped for a threaded sensor.
    The easiest thing would be, as stated above, find someone who can weld aluminum bungs. Unfortunately, I haven't had luck finding anyone who wants to fool with it. And if I do, it will cost more than the 3 radiators I need welded.

    I really think brazing is my best option. I already have the aluminum bungs. The problem with brazing is that it is more suitable for smaller pieces. The large surface area of a radiator is likely to dissipate heat to the point brazing is difficult. In this case, tig would be the preferred method, but I lack the equipment and skill. MIG is possible, although I would need additional equipment for my mig welder and I have never welded aluminum, so that idea is a little iffy.

    Another idea for brazing would be an extra pair of hands and a couple more bottles of MAP gas. But again, the radiator presents a distinct problem, since you can't get heat to the backside of the area and heating from the surface with map gas would require tilting the piece up (not ideal for getting brazing rod to flow where I need it).

    Or I could scrap the bung idea altogether and just get an aluminum fitting that installs into the lower radiator hose and has a threaded hole for just this situation. Ingenious idea, but I prefer the cleaner look of the bung in the radiator.

    My dilemma is simple, but a little hard to explain lol!
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  11. #11
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Someone on the forum suggested this to me a couple years ago, when I was going through this same ordeal. Simple and genius... just not what I was really wanting for a nice, clean install. I may go this route.
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    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    82 Capri- working on 302, t5
    82gt - working on 408w, c4

  12. #12
    FEP Power Member richpet's Avatar
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    I have one of those in the Granada for a mechanical water temp gauge. Easy to install, but it is tough to disguise.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
    83 5.0 GT. Quicker than it looks! 10:1 (or just over) 306, Motorsport a332 cam, 140A alt, t5 conv, 8.8 w/ 3.27's, Edel rpm, alum rad, very worked e7's, Holley SA carb, etc... SOLD IT!!!!

    Now an 1981 Granada! Building a 9.5:1 .040 over 302, Edel E-street heads, 268 cam, T5, 8.8 with 3.55, plus all the stiffening goodies, all control arms, lowered, alum shaft, x-pipe with Outlaws...

    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"

  13. #13
    FEP Power Member Jerry peachuer's Avatar
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    Maybe that liquid metal 2 part stuff It says you can drill and tap it

    Haven't used it but I see it on the counter at parts stores
    Does your radiator have a peckock? Maybe something can work with that opening

    We have a local shop that does amazing work and builds radiators for all sorts of cars and hp levels
    Maybe worth a call to them to see what options you may have


    Superior radiator in Mt.Clemens MI

  14. #14
    FEP Power Member Jerry peachuer's Avatar
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    Jb weld weld steel stick is what I was referring to above
    Because its not only thin its underpressure is where the concern is

  15. #15
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
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    Ah reread Jerry's post 13 wondering which shop. Duhh.
    Eh cant say this time working outside in cold weather numbed the brain.
    https://www.wwwsuperiorradiator.com/

    I would call them or others if even for advice. They would suggest 'a', and more likely 'the' way to go about the work.

    Took the Mustang radiator there 9/30/98 for a recon. Was redoing the engine and car to drive again after 12 years.
    Test and clean, new petcock 30.00. But was bummed when the oem cap was not returned.
    They said no big deal just put another on it and gave me the newer squared off version.
    Few days later was bummed out with the 'new' cap. Went back and explained the chrome-like cap was an 'old friend'.
    Was polished a certain way so was easy to id. No big deal to them but warned me "good luck finding it".
    I found it in a worktable tray piled with many others. Is still in service to this day 22 years later at 42 years old.
    Just like Amos McCoy found his old truck's cap on the ground after he was told the truck was just scrapped. Was not.
    (Talked into trading in wore out truck for newer by relatives, later was not happy, wanted to buy the old truck back.)

    Looks like the same family runs the place, young next gen back then now prob in their 40-50's now.
    It is a small non chain local shop, part of personal list of old school auto repair shops with ethics in Metro Detroit.
    The ones that stay busy know and work on more old cars than new. Their history stories tell all.

    (Art) Crane Alignment is another just down the street. Our parents used to go there. Former real old gas station.
    Found these type businesses have special local customer service skills and do the job correctly, timely, at a fair price.

    Side note: Finally replaced oe worn out rad 2/06. Still have it. Was in service 15 years or so.
    113.00 radiator #2 is now 15 years old and in way better shape than the oe was at that age. Progress. Better materials?

    JB weld steel stick and a screw helped me triage a serious freeze plug failure jam once. A product that am sold on.
    Thought about keeping a stick in the car, but is readily available almost anywhere fresh when needed.

    Have mech temp gauge sensor installed into a second added Motorcraft tee fitting in heater inlet hose. Works great.
    Adapters worked to adapt threads and move sensor tip almost all the way out of the flow. Disguised c-tube with loom.
    Hard to suggest alternative ideas not knowing what the exact project is.
    Working against low pressure but can seep or leak like any other plumbing.
    Also read about hiding an aftermarket upper hose T fitting and thought "why not install in lower hose"?
    Its all about either reading engine water temp (hotter reading) or radiator outlet water temp (cooler reading)
    Last edited by gr79; 02-28-2021 at 05:01 PM.

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