I have a 1995 Civic DX that needs a new radiator. I was hoping to do
this myself to save some money. It is a 2-door model with automatic
trans and A/C.
1st question: OEM vs AFTERMARKET??
How important is it to stick with an OEM radiator? My Civic has a
Denso radiator that seems to be fairly costly to replace. Will an
aftermarket radiator work as well?
2nd question: PLASTIC vs. METAL and 1-ROW vs. 2-ROW??
Assuming that aftermarket is an option...I've looked at various
websites that sell radiators and it seems that the radiator can be made
of plastic, plastic & copper, plastic & aluminum, all metal, or copper
& brass. In addition, the radiators are available in 1-row or 2-row
options (I'm assuming that 2-row is an upgrade). Can anyone provide
information as to which is the best option?
3rd question: Anything else that I should know?
If you have any input or experience that you can share that would be
helpful it would be appreciated. Is there a website that you purchased
from that you would recommend? Any helpful hints?
I bought one from this guy this spring and I am very pleased with it. I put
it in my 92 accord.
if you want ultimate quality, go oem. if you want reasonable quality,
at a reasonable price, go aftermarket. but don't go too cheap.
regarding materials, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with plastic.
what that means is that you don't have any soldered joints, and that's
good because soldered joints tend to creep & leak after a while. otoh
plastic tends to crack after a few [~10] years, so it's your call.
aluminum & copper are both options. theoretically, copper is better for
heat transfer, but you won't notice the difference. likewise double
row. provided you don't have any problems like the plastic shields
under the front of the motor missing, your air flow will be adequate and
ensure sufficient cooling. don't forget, factory rads are tested for
cooling capacity in death valley, so if the factory rad cools ok, single
row, you don't need to stress about double row.
regarding cheap rads, they tend to be all metal and soldered. they're
not great precision either. when i replaced my own rad, i scouted
around a number of junk yards looking at the cheap aftermarket stuff and
none of it impressed. i ended up buying a nissens rad from
alleurasionautoparts.com. very high quality - easily the best
aftermarket quality i've seen and a very close second to oem. good
I recently replaced the rad in my '87 Accord with an OEM model from a
wrecker. Only ran me $75.
My first '87 Accord came to me with around 160,000km and the original
rad; I wrote it off about 7 years later at 478,000km. It took the wife
and kid and I from Vancouver to Chicago and back, AC cranking the whole
way on one of the hottest summers on record (summer of '95). The next
summer it took a buddy and I from Vancouver to San Francisco and back.
All and a ton of other hard driving. In that whole time, the temp gauge
never went past the 8 o'clock position (the dial goes from about 7
o'clock to 11 o'clock).
I'd say that's a pretty good testimony to the durability of the OEM units.
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