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DeWitt radiators: Do you need or just want?

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Old 01-12-2011, 12:26 AM   #1
milo30
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Default DeWitt radiators: Do you need or just want?

I am rebuilding my car and saw the sale on radiators. Since I am doing a frame off, I have to watch my money. I've noticed many of you use these and I don't doubt that they are good. I've never had any problems with my 78 over heating even in the Texas summers but it has been about 5-6 years since it ran and then I didn't ever have the a/c charged.

How many of you have changed it just because and how many have had over heating issues with the stock radiator? I'm just trying to decide if I should spend $900 on a new radiator and electric fans when I have so much more to replace at this point. 10% off and free shipping makes it very tempting.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:04 AM   #2
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if your stock radiator is fine save your money.

They make a very nice unit that is for sure; but if you are not over heating then you dont have a cooling problem. I replaced my old packed up unit with a brass/copper one a local radiator shop made up for me for cheap. I dont understand why people think they need "more cooling" if their car is not overheating and they have no intention of racing it.

Electric fans will free up some horses but you are going to save a boat load of cash if you install a Taurus or Lincoln MkVIII fan (the dual spal fans from DeWitts are awesome but if i recall they were around $420 which to me is a bit salty). I will be installing used fans shortly. If you have any local junk yards you can find a used good condition fan for very cheap and buy a harness and controller for it from summit if you dont feel like going through the headache of making one yourself.

So the cliffs are this
DeWitt's fans and radiators = awesome; but only if you have cash to burn and nothing more pressing to spend it on (eg 900 bucks will go a long way in a transmission upgrade; diff rebuild or other big ticket item)

cheers

Steve

P.S. DeWitts does sales from time to time. If you are starting the restoration it will be a while before you are going to be to the stage where you will need a radiator better spend the cash on stuff you need now; rather then have a radiator in a box on a shelf for a long time.

Last edited by Bowerss2; 01-12-2011 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:27 AM   #3
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Mine is not in the car yet but I ordered one with the electric fan set up, once it arrived I opened up the box to look it over and man what a beautiful piece it is. Well made and looks like it could keep a funny car cool running in the desert.

If it works half as good as it looks I'll be pleased.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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I'd say use your original radiator and see how it works. I bought a Dewitt's for the 72 because the original leaked like a sieve when I got the car running. I have the smaller one that the base-engine cars used and it works great with the LS1 putting out more than 2X the horsepower. Drove the car in 100 degree temps this summer with no problems.



Rick B.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:23 AM   #5
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My '74 has run hot since the day I got it. I have tried everything...

I want to drive on the hottest Summer day with the AC on going up hills and NOT be watching my temp gauge all the time and freaking out....I want better cooling than when it was new.

My Rad/Fan combo came 2 days ago. I cant wait to put it in this weekend and actually ENJOY my Vette again !



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Old 01-12-2011, 09:43 AM   #6
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I have the aluminum radiator, two fans ect. I drive in a lot of parades and never have a cooling issue now... Stop and go traffic,coming off a hard run on the highway, no problem...
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:45 AM   #7
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DeWitts radiator because the original was starting to leak, no electric fans, don't need them, using a GM Hi perf fan clutch and it works great and the weight savings is a plus too.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:03 AM   #8
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Not saying Dewitts isn't a good piece, but you can get aluminum C3 rads for much less (~1/4th) from other vendors.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcsinx View Post
Not saying Dewitts isn't a good piece, but you can get aluminum C3 rads for much less (~1/4th) from other vendors.
Good, fast or cheep - pick any 2.

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Old 01-12-2011, 10:37 AM   #10
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Not any that are a direct bolt in fit and of this quality. I recall seeing some cheap offshore crap that I wouldn't touch on fleabay. When I bought mine it was only like $450 or $500 w/free shipping.

Last edited by Scott Marzahl; 01-12-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:28 AM   #11
Tom DeWitt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo30 View Post
I'm just trying to decide if I should spend $900 on a new radiator and electric fans when I have so much more to replace at this point. 10% off and free shipping makes it very tempting.
I don't know anyone that really "needs" the electric fans, that's more of a "want" thing, so you could get away with just $450 for a good Direct Fit radiator. The radiators used in C3's where dimensionally the largest sized cores ever used in Corvette and upgrading to aluminum add even 30% more so you really shouldn't need anything else.

The electric fans are great and they do improve the cooling even more, but they aren't required. Some people buy them because they broke the shroud and replacing that would cost about the same. Some like the looks of the engine compartment and the ease of working on the motor with the shroud gone. Other dress up the compartment with chrome and polish, so you'll get a lot of different opionions on this one.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:52 AM   #12
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Milo, what are your engine plans on your rebuild?
I have the Dewitt rad/fan combo. My original SB rad was leaking. I installed BB so I needed a bigger rad anyway. I did my research and Dewitts seemed to be best choice. So far I am very happy. I have not had a chance to run it during the hot summer months around here, but I have had it running when it was in the upper 80*'s and it cooled just fine. You can watch the temp gauge drop within a minute or so when the dual fans kick on. I don't think I have gone over 180 degrees thus far. With a BB I think the electric fan/s is a good choice due to the tight space.


ALSO worth mentioning- my crappy MR G thermostat failed after 300 miles. It would not open at the 180* It was just barely letting coolant trickle thru . This caused the fans to come on obviously and the hottest the temp reached was still only about 200*-210* . I immediately got a new thermostat ( one that when it does fail, it stays in the open position and not closed). Problem solved.

Last edited by Rebelrob; 01-12-2011 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom DeWitt View Post
I don't know anyone that really "needs" the electric fans, that's more of a "want" thing, so you could get away with just $450 for a good Direct Fit radiator.

.
That's true. I just figured if I was going to go in that I might as well go all in and get that extra protection when the car was idling in traffic. I'm going to wait until I get the car back together and see how my original still holds up. If it isn't up to it then I'll be ordering one of yours.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:20 PM   #14
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I put a Dewitts rad in my big block because the old stock one was shot & didnt want to have any over heating issues. It's an exact copy of the original, you can't even tell that its aluminum or not original. No overheating issues at all.

YOU DONT & WONT NEED ELECTRIC FANS...........if you have the right rad & other parts are working ok water pump, thermostat, fan clutch & tight belts & good hoses.............etc
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:47 PM   #15
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I installed one of Tom's alm. rads. in my 73' 454 with 3.70 gear and stock shroud/clutch fan . I drive in South Texas heat . 180-200 degree engine temp avg. ( and it's puurty too ) I have had three 454 vettes that all ran hot from time to time . Not this puppy !
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcsinx View Post
Not saying Dewitts isn't a good piece, but you can get aluminum C3 rads for much less (~1/4th) from other vendors.
I would not go that route, been there done that.

I bought a Northern radiator (as recommended on this forum) that didn't fit right and had no drain bung. I had a drain bung added and had the lower rad hose fitting cut off and angled up, kaching. This lasted for a few years but i never quite found a correct hose to fit the lower and it eventually started leaking.
Bought a 'direct fit' off Ebay and it did fit was real close but within a week it was leaking from 3 spots. Went back and forth with the seller for 6 weeks before i got a replacement. Oh what a shock it too started leaking this time it lasted about 2 weeks. I took it to a local radiator shop and they said it was not repairable, a throw away item.

Guess what i bought just before end of driving season. That's right a Dewitts.

So that's 3 'cheap' radiators for $550 that i don't have. Don't invest your money like i did. Do it right the first time and buy the Dewitts if you want a direct fit aluminum.

Last edited by Vette-4-Life; 01-12-2011 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:03 PM   #17
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If "frame off" means a true, NCRS type restoration, consider whether a non-original appearance means anything to you. If that answer is yes, perhaps an alloy rad of whatever description is not the best choice for you as they appear different than the copper/brass rads that came originally. If you want peace of mind but also want "original", a new copper/brass rad is the way to go.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:08 PM   #18
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Lol...I love these unbiased threads...

DO "I" need or just Want a Dewitts,
Depends on what each person is going to use their car for and what their car has.

I am a very budget minded builder, I do things way cheap and find no bragging rights in the fat cats who just throw money to make something happen without looking at all options.

My Radiator is tired, it needs to be replaced, and in my case at the moment I have a 383 then I will be swapping in a 454, I live in Centeral Fl and daily drive in traffic and want cold AC,

It cooled off so I didnt buy a new radiator yet but will have to when it starts to get warmer, I would buy now but the wifes PT Cruiser took another dump...

I can tell you the reasons ( in no order ) I will but from Tom Dewitt,

The man is here and cares about his product and happy buyers even after he has the toad pelts....he is not a get your money and hide type vender.

The Man is able to deal with a jerky buyer like myself putting him thru hell.

While a stock replacement "might" cool what I have, the Dewitt will cool what I have.

None and trust me I did countless hours of research , none of the Fleabay or other Aluminum radiators that are cheaper than Toms are even close to being at par with Toms products.

So even though I love a bargain I will pay for "peace of mind" and that is what you get with Dewitt.

At this moment none of his competition even comes close....
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markids77 View Post
If "frame off" means a true, NCRS type restoration, consider whether a non-original appearance means anything to you. If that answer is yes, perhaps an alloy rad of whatever description is not the best choice for you as they appear different than the copper/brass rads that came originally. If you want peace of mind but also want "original", a new copper/brass rad is the way to go.

Read my post........Dewitt makes a rad thats an exact knock off of the original, you CAN'T tell the difference...............

TOM..............chime in ......
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:21 PM   #20
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I may be wrong (and it won't be the first time), but my understanding is that part of the 30 percent increase in capacity Tom mentions comes from a change in the fin spacing and pitch. Another cosmetic difference I have observed form photos I have seen is the tanks on DeWitt's products may not contain all the creases and detail of the Harrison OE rads. and might be apparent as non-OE to a show judge. I am now prepared to be educated.....
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