Custom Aluminum Radiator Short Cuts

| Toyota Tech | Toyota Section | |

By: Harry Wagner. 11/2003


The old radiator was corroded and the mounting brackets were about to fall off.
The new radiator is lighter than stock and a lot shinier. We like shiny things.

The stock radiator on my 1986 22RTE pickup had lived a hard life for 230,000 miles. The easiest thing to do would have been to replace it with another stock unit, but if I approached every mechanical component that was I would still be driving around in a stock truck, and that is not very fun. Replacing parts is the perfect excuse to upgrade. Stock Toyota radiators do a good job of cooling, but like any mechanical component, they can be improved on.

I chose a Griffin aluminum radiator (PN 126182X) for the cooling needs of my heathly turbo motor. The radiator has the top inlet on the passenger side and the bottom outlet on the driver side, the same as the stock Toyota 22RE and small block Fords (and the opposite of small block Chevys). This radiator is 22 inches wide and 19 inches tall and features two large 1 " tubes in a cross flow configuration. Griffin claims no increase in efficiency from converting from a down flow to cross flow configuration.


A view from the top of the new bracketry.
Side view of the bumpstops and brackets.

The stock radiator bolts directly to the front sheetmetal of the truck. While this makes for a tidy installation, having the radiator and shroud hanging from the sheetmetal while the fan is connected to the motor (which is bolted to the frame) can cause interference problems during heavy four-wheeling. Besides being filled with rust and scale, the brackets on my stock radiator had broken their spot welds and were hardly attached anymore. To avoid these issues with my expensive new radiator, brackets were fabricated on the frame to support the radiator and another bracket was used on the top to capture the radiator and keep it from moving. The lower brackets were made from 3x3 angle iron that was welded to the frame and topped with Energy Suspension bumpstops (PN 9.9118G). The bump stops fit snugly along the bottom of the radiator core and prevent any metal-to-metal contact.

Fitment for the new radiator was similar to stock.


An adapter was necessary to mate the new radiator to the water pump.
A view of the top mounting brackets.

Once the new radiator was mounted, it was time to plumb it into the cooling system. The top inlet was fairly straightforward. The new inlet was 1.5" across, only a tenth of an inch bigger than the stock inlet. A little elbow grease was all that was necessary to use a stock radiator hose. The lower hose was more tricky, however. The Griffin radiator had a lower outlet that was half an inch bigger than the 1.35" stock outlet, and it was pointing towards the passenger side instead of being straight, like the stocker. I ditched the stock "u-tube" that bolts to the frame and plumbed the radiator directly to the water pump. This required an adapter to mate the large radiator outlet to the motor.

The stock clutch fan and shroud were reused with the new radiator to ensure proper cooling. Though it required more work that just ordering a stock replacement, I ended up with a radiator that was 10 pounds lighter than stock, less susceptible to fatigue thanks to the superior mounting, and offers better cooling.

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