ALUMINUM RADIATOR?

ALUMINUM RADIATOR? 1992 Buick Roadmaster 350 TBI
My radiator leaks where the outlet tank meets the core. Stop-leak is holding it while I look for a replacement.
An exact replacement; brass/copper, 3-row, with trans fluid cooler/temp sender port/engine oil cooler is $280.
Parts dealers want to sell me a different radiator for $170. It has plastic tanks and an aluminum-fin core. It looks flimsy to me; the core is only a little over 1-inch thick, the fins collapse if you touch them and the core looks like it is attached to the tanks by crimping and gluing.
Does anyone have an opinion about the sturdiness of plastic/aluminum radiators or any experience with the ability of the plastic tanks to withstand heat, cold, vibration, automotive chemicals, installation stresses, and hose/fitting attachment torque?
All opinions are welcome.
Wendy & John _____________________________________________
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Wendy & John wrote:

Most vehicles now-a-days have Al core rads with platic tanks. I have had three so far in my 1992 Grand Am. OEM rotted out in 96, #2 broke the bottom plastic pipe off of the plastic tank in 99, #3 I got a socket wrench wedged in between the core and the engine in 2003 - the wrench holed a core (please don't ask). Overall, they seem to be good for at least 8-10 years if you keep the Al anti-corrosion stuff in good shape.
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On Sat, 07 May 2005 18:04:35 GMT, "Wendy & John"

just recently replaced the one in my '88 K2500. it was leaking at the tank/core seam. if your current radiator is copper/brass (which I find suprising... C/B is less efficient than an AL radiator) why don't you take it to a radiator shop and have it re-soldered? the AL/plastic ones can't be fixed (or perhaps more accurately, nobody WILL fix them).
typically the al/ plastic ones will go for about 10 years before needed replacement, mine may have been the original.
hth, Bret
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Most vehicles now-a-days have Al core rads with plastic tanks. .... Overall, they seem to be good for at least 8-10 years if you keep the Al anti-corrosion stuff in good shape. Paul ___________________________________________________
Al/plastic tanks have been in GM trucks since at least 88. If your radiator is copper/brass (which is less efficient than an Al radiator) you can have it re-soldered at a radiator shop. The Al/plastic ones can't be fixed.... typically the Al/ plastic ones will go for about 10 years before needing replacement. Bret ____________________________________________________
All my cars were old cars. I had no idea that aluminum radiators were so widely used. I have been reading horror stories about plastic intake plenum failures and I thought plastic radiator tanks might be problem sources too.
Okay, I will take my brass radiator to a repair shop first. If it is unrepairable (or will cost too much) I will not be afraid to buy an aluminum radiator, because you answered my concerns well.
Thank you so much for your responses.
Wendy & John ____________________________________________________
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My original Plastic / Aluminum radiator in my Bonneville lasted from Feb 91 to Feb 04. The replacement SPI ( from Chevy ) lasted 11 months. # 3 replacement ( SPI ) leaked after two weeks then stopped by it self.
Harryface 05 Park Avenue 91 Bonneville LE, 303,149 miles
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"Harry Face" wrote:
My original Plastic / Aluminum radiator in my Bonneville lasted from Feb 91 to Feb 04. The replacement SPI ( from Chevy ) lasted 11 months. # 3 replacement ( SPI ) leaked after two weeks then stopped by it self. ================================================== Thanks for the input, Harry. I have been saved from automotive disaster more than once by the generous alt.autos.gm posters who take the time to help.
Wendy & John
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The aluminum/plastic tank radiator in my '84 T/A has no leaks after 21 years and 124,000 miles.
The radiator in my friends '93 Chebbie truck started leaking at the O-ringed side tank at 190,000 miles.
If you change the antifreeze every 24,000 miles/2-3 years you shouldn't have any problems.
--
_________________________________________________________________
Dennis Smith
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Wendy & John wrote:

If you drive rough roads, temps that go from 0 to 100 and plan on keeping the car, I'd go with the brass, tanks and all, aftermarket. The Aluminum radiators are OK, but the concept of plastic tanks scares me, be the core Al or Brass.
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