Archive for August, 2013

Cool Runnings

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

For those of you following my journey, you know I spend a lot of time pouring water into my old and original radiator. My car, like most of us, gets dehydrated after a good run. On the Ithaca trip, I figured out that the water wasn’t running through my clogged radiator quick enough so every time I brought the car above 45 miles an hour, the top of the radiator would become overfilled and would lose coolant through an overflow tube. Basically, the faster I drove the more water went into the radiator and had no where to go but out the overflow —- because too many tubes were clogged. The result was chronic dehydration and overheating. My attempts to “unclog” the original radiator without cracking it open didn’t work. Most radiator shops don’t want to think about “rodding out” the old radiator and I won’t attempt this on my own — there is an art to taking apart and putting together a radiator. Before showing you anything else, I have to show you this video.

Coolest Video Ever!!!!1

Ok, now I should show you a couple of clips of me removing the old radiator.

remove the radiator shell

remove the radiator

Ok, the radiator is out of the car. Who do you call when you need a radiator? … Gery Bergblower of Bergs Radiator.

http://bergsradiator.com/home.html

While not historically correct, Bergs Radiators are considered to be the finest radiator available for a 1929 Model A and Gery has designed a new “Heavy Duty Touring” radiator that has been receiving many kudos. It is also the most expensive purchase I have made for the car to date. I spoke with Gery a few times in the past about my existing radiator and he was helpful in making some practical suggestions. Gery has the reputation of being a “good guy” and a craftsman that does excellent work. After asking him many questions and sending him a nice big check, he shipped me a heavy duty touring radiator designed to be much more efficient than my old radiator ever was (even when it worked properly 80+ years ago). The new radiator arrived and installed without any real incident — although the tabs to connect the shell to the radiator didn’t quite line up without some forcing. This was expected and Gery included a note within the shipping materials suggesting how to work around this. I also had to shave down the gasket within the car’s thermo-quail so I could turn the quail enough to both face forward and hold TIGHT (the quail’s butt was facing forward). As the shell has some flex to it and as the Quail isn’t an “original”, I really didn’t have issue with either of these things.

New Radiator Being Installed

New Radiator Being Installed

Unfortunately, there was a problem, albeit a cosmetic one. The paint on the tube that is connected to the top tank was pitted. While my car is far from a show car and this part is only visible if I open the hood of the car, I let Gery know that it was very disappointing to have this pitting on a new and expensive product. As far as I am concerned, the paint should have been quality controlled and all pitting addressed in his shop. To his credit, Gery welcomed me to send the radiator back (they have a 100% guarantee), noted that this pitting was typical, and suggested how I could choose to fill the pits myself with epoxy and use black satin rustoleum to cover it up. I am going to “fix it” myself because I don’t want to have to wait for a replacement to arrive but remain VERY disappointed that what would have been a quick fix for him now become a ½ day project for me (sand, epoxy, let dry, sand, prime, let dry, paint, let dry).

Pitting!

Pitting!

Let’s get back to the good stuff…..WOW!!!!! The car runs much cooler. I took her out for 30 minutes and pushed her on some hills and “at speed” (50 MPH) for a little. I lost no coolant and the thermo-quail showed no heat. This is the first time since I purchased the car that I could drive and not see the quail react or hear the coolant draining from the overflow tube. This was why I purchased the radiator from Bergs!!!! Overall, I am a fan of the Berg radiator. While I am being critical of the cosmetic issue, the radiator seems solid and works great. I probably should have installed one over a year ago and avoided all the cooling problems I’ve been having. I still want to rod-out my old radiator and have the “original”, but now can do so whenever I get around to it and still have the car on the road. I can also use it as a back up to help out other owners if they are in a bind.

With the new Bergs Radiator in place, I am ready for some cool runnings.

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