Stealth Conversions, The Parts Division of JTR (Jaguars That Run)

S-10 Truck V-8 Radiator

Stealth Conversions
The Parts Division of JTR (Jaguars That Run)

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S10 Truck V8 Radiator for V8 engine swap
S-10 Truck V-8 conversion parts, JTR catalog page for S10 V8 Conversions: V8 radiator

S-10 Truck V-8 Radiator

S-10 Truck Radiator, Part #S10-120
1986–1988 genuine Corvette heavy-duty. Includes probe, part #10054615. Shipped in factory carton. $250.
If you can get a better price on the GM or aftermarket radiator, let us know, and we may be able to beat it.

no longer available

S-10 Truck Radiator, Part #S10-123
High quality aftermarket replacement radiator. Includes plug. $130.
If you can get a better price on the GM or aftermarket radiator, let us know, and we may be able to beat it.

After trying four different custom-built radiators, with varying degrees of success, we found that the 1986-1988 Corvette heavy-duty radiator (GM Part #52453612, Stealth Conversions Part #S10-120), shown above, is the best radiator for cooling the V-8 S-Truck. The cost from a Chevrolet dealership is about $250. Stealth Conversions offers the same GM radiator for $200, including shipping.

The Corvette radiator is a plastic/aluminum radiator, quite similar to the radiators used in 1987 and newer S-Trucks. It is very light, weighing about 10 pounds, and its high-efficiency, aluminum core, cools extremely well. Be aware that aftermarket replacement radiators may not work as well as an original GM radiator.

The aftermarket radiator offered by Stealth Conversions (Part #S10-123, $130 including shipping) is every bit as good as the GM radiator.

A thick radiator core will not cool a V-8 S-Truck very well, because it reduces the available room for an engine-driven fan.

The Corvette radiator is only 1-1/4" thick, which gives over 1/2" more clearance between the engine-driven fan and the radiator, when compared to a 2" thick copper/brass core that many radiator shops build for the V-8 S-Truck. 1/2" may not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in cooling effectiveness, because the fan blade can have more "pitch" or "bite", which will dramatically increase air flow through the radiator. The 1/2" gain in radiator/fan clearance assumes that you will hammer in the radiator core-support so that the side tanks will be positioned far enough forward so that the top of the radiator core is only 1/8" away from the top of the radiator core support. Information on mounting the radiator and radiator hoses is covered in detail in the S-10 Truck V-8 Conversion Manual.

Be careful when buying a non-GM "Corvette" replacement radiator, because some of the after-market "replacement" radiators are not as good as the genuine Corvette radiator available from the Chevrolet dealer. Stealth Conversions sells a high-quality aftermarket radiator that performs as well as the genuine Chevrolet radiator for about $130. Stealth Conversions sells Genuine Chevrolet Corvette radiators for about $200.

Radiator Designs —

There are a lot of different radiator designs and different materials: copper-brass, aluminum, one-row core, two-row core, continuous fin, louvered fin, straight fin, serpentine fin, dimpled tube, cross flow, down flow, high-efficiency core, one-pass core, two-pass core ... etc.

A lot of the different designs have more to do with marketing than actual cooling ability.

S-10 Truck V-8 Radiator, Tube Designs

S-10 Truck V-8 Radiator, Tube Designs

On the left in the above photograph is the Corvette radiator core (the aftermarket unit sold by Stealth Conversions uses the same design). The tube width is 1-1/4", and the tubes are spaced at 7/16" intervals. The wide tube has more surface area that contacts the cooling fins than the radiator cores shown to the right. The better surface area results in better heat transfer.

The center radiator core is a two-row copper-brass design that is used on a lot of cars built in the early 1980s. The tubes are 3/8" wide and they are spaced at 7/16" intervals.

The core on the right is also a two-row copper-brass design. Its tubes are 1/2" wide and they are spaced at 9/16" intervals. This design was used through the 1970s.

The one-row core design is the best for cooling and the lightest weight of the three radiators shown. Copper has better heat transfer characteristics than aluminum, but the aluminum is more easily formed into wide tubes, and it is lighter than the copper.

Custom four-row core radiators do not cool as well as oftern advertised. One reason is that it is difficult to get air through the thick core due to aerodynamic restriction. Also, once the cooling air has gone past the first row, the air is heated up so that it cannot cool the second row as much as the first row, and this pattern continues to the fourth row, which does not provide much additional cooling. Of course, a four-row radiator core is normally 2-5/8" thick, and this will make an already crowded engine compartment even more crowded. The aluminum one-row radiator is the best radiator we have found for an air-conditioned V-8 S-10.

The point about the 86-89 Corvetter radiator being the best for an air conditioned V-8 truck bears repeating, because we are always asked, "what radiator do you recomment for the V-8 swap?"

The radiator shown below is a custom-made aluminum radiator. It has 3" side tanks and a 2-1/4" thick core, compared to the Corvette's 2-1/4" tanks and 1-3/8" thick core. Because of its thickness it does not work well in the V-8 S-Truck, because it does not allow room for an engine-driven fan.

custom made after market all aluminum radiator

Custom Made After-Market All Aluminum Radiator—
It looks like a good radiator; it just doesn't cool very well in a V-8 S-10.

We used this radiator in our truck with two electric pusher fans in front of the radiator and no engine-driven fan, and it just didn't cool the truck adequately.

Another problem with the all-aluminum racing radiators is a tendency for them to crack where the side tank is welded to the core. Typically, the crack will develop within two years on a daily-driven vehicle.

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JTR engine swapping manuals are available directly from JTR Publishing,
As well as through a number of retailers, including:
Summit Racing (S-10: Part #JTR-S10; Jaguar: Part #JTR-JAG),
JEGS (S-10: Part #116549; TPI & TBI: Part #117942),
Steve Smith Autosports (S-10: Part #S212; TPI & TBI: Part #S195), and
Classic Motorbooks (S-10: Part #116549; TPI & TBI: Part #117942;
  Jaguar: Part #118438; Datsun Z: Part #115501; Volvo 200: Part #122587).


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