Three Core Radiator Upgrade
This is excerpted from a couple of posts by Steve Knickerbocker (Thunderstruck) on the old site, and a great post on the current site by member Chargincharles
, titled "The End of the Radiator Discussions
Steve: "I have found a three core radiator that fits my 87 Diplomat like it was made for it. I did some poking around on a couple of online parts stores and I found out that an 87 Ram (with no AC) uses the same radiator (GDI 43-3500) as an 87 Diplomat (with AC). The books list GDI 43-3500 as a 2 core radiator for this application.
Well, I said to myself if our normal radiator works in a non-AC Ram would an AC equipped Ram's radiator be of larger capacity AND fit?
So I found, online, a picture of our "normal" radiator and one for the AC equipped Ram. The AC equipped Ram has a three row core, same dimensions height and width wise on the core (total height and width not given) but slightly thicker. As it turns out the AC Ram radiator was a bit cheaper than the one spec'd for or M bodes so I bought it.
I pulled my factory ONE row radiator out and compared the mounting points and shroud fitment. The mounting points were identical. The tanks are a bit larger on the Ram radiator and the shroud attaching points are "universal" in nature, They work though there is more of a gap betwen the radiator and shroud than the factory setup has.
The stock M body upper hose attached perfectly. The only mod I had to do was get the lower radiator hose for the truck, as the outlet on the radiator is 1 3/4" versus the M body's 1 1/2" outlet. I had to trim about 1" off each end of the lower hose and it fit perfectly. At $131.00 new from Autozone (2003 price) I can't see fooling with a recore or a boneyard donor."
Chargincharles: "The Part Number is 433959, purchased at OReillys Auto Parts, but can be had at MANY outlets. This is the radiator carried by Rock Auto and Advance Auto as well. It is made by Modine- just like the OEM unit. The fan shroud lines up just fine, and bolts up just fine. This is an aluminum core radiator with 2 cores and a MUCH higher fin count than the OEM brass/copper radiator. The tanks are BRASS - NOT Plastic. The unit sold by Autozone IS a plastic tank version of this radiator. I verified this by looking at the ACTUAL radiator at Autozone. The radiator at Pep Boys is ALSO the PLASTIC tank version. These are made by Spectra.
YOU WILL NEED THE LOWER HOSE FROM THE RAM, which is Gates part number 20046.
You will need to trim 1 inch from the water pump side, and 2" from the inlet side. Custom measure this though, because every car COULD be different.
Finally - it bolts in just fine. I have been running the last week with it and (have had) absolutely zero problems. The car does not overheat, or get overly warm, even though it has been in the 90's here in Cincy (Cincinnati Ohio), and I was driving on the highway at extra-legal speeds for about 70 miles. No issues whatsoever with this. Also- Ignore the descriptions on the website - GO AND LOOK at the radiator in question....
I hope this FINALLY clears up everything. If anyone wants to see pics of it installed, let me know, but it looks just exactly like the old one- so what's the point....
And a final point - this radiator is $10 LESS than the 'correct' replacement radiator which has copper tubes/brass tank, is still 2 core, and has a lesser fin count. I again verified all this by comparing the two side by side. So why bother??? Enjoy! CC."
Bill Moore (Bill55az) added that recoring your radiator to three core is another option if your tanks are large enough: "I had a 79 Volare wagon with rotted core, and the radiator shop put in a new 3 row core for me, about $130." Recap of Parts List From Steve's Posts:
- 87 Dodge Ram Pickup 360 with AC Three row radiator - GDI number 43-3959 - less than $132.00 at Autozone (2003 price)
- 87 Dodge Ram Pickup 360 1 3/4" in diameter lower molded hose. The hose must be trimmed about 1” on each end to fit.
- courtesy of Chargincharles
Link to Radiator- http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/PNC1/433959.oap?year=1987&make=Dodge&model=W250&vi=1101137&pt=01386&ppt=C0331
Link to Hose- http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/GAT0/20046.oap?year=1987&make=Dodge&model=W250&vi=1101137&pt=01358&ppt=C0331Photos
- All photos courtesy of Chargincharles
- Engine Side: Left - Modine 433959, Right - stock M-Body unit
- Engine Side: Modine 433959 showing alignment with stock M-Body fan shroud
- Driver's Side: Left - Modine 433959, Right - stock M-Body unit