KNOW THE DIFFERENCE: Brazed Vs. Mechanically Assembled Radiators
Not all radiators are built the same. NRF explains the difference between brazed and mechanically assembled radiators.
With the diverse choices available to the aftermarket today, choosing a radiator isn’t as easy as it seems. The quality, performance and durability of a radiator hinges on the materials used and technology adapted for the part.
UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS
Subjected to temperatures that average more than 1,500°C, engine components need to be effectively cooled to avoid overheating. At the same time, temperatures need to be carefully maintained to avoid fluctuations in fuel economy and emission levels. This is where the radiator comes in.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
A radiator consists of tubes where hot coolant passes through, with fins in between. The fins provide the heat transfer from the tubes into the air stream. This results in a constant engine temperature and prevents overheating. There are two primary types of radiators available in the aftermarket today – brazed and mechanically assembled.
Brazed radiators are identified by flattened tubes and soldered connections between tubes and fins have high cooling performance due to the larger surface area. The soldering creates a metal connection that creates optimal heat transfer. All NRF radiators are soldered according to the Nocolok® brazing technology.
Mechanically assembled radiators can easily be recognised by the round tubes. As these radiators are not soldered, there are no fixed connections between the tubes and fins. As the tubes are inserted throughout the fins pack, there will be a tiny gap between the tubes and fins which result in a less efficient heat transfer than a brazed radiator.
ALWAYS MATCH OR IMPROVE REPLACEMENTS
Replacement radiators should always match, or be an improvement to the original specifications set by vehicle manufacturers. Hence, if a vehicle was originally fitted with a brazed radiator, the replacement should be a brazed radiator as well. Whilst a brazed radiator is usually a little more expensive in comparison to a mechanically assembled radiator, it is a safer and more efficient solution.
This applies to any vehicle that was originally equipped with a mechanically assembled radiator. Then the same one should be used for repair.
The only instance in which a technician can choose to replace a mechanically assembled radiator with a brazed one is when the core thickness is slightly narrower. This is because a brazed radiator has up to 60% more cooling performance.
In the case of a retrofit trailer hitch installation and/or engine performance tuning, technicians are encouraged to check for the possibility of upgrading to a high-performance brazed version.
NRF provides a 2-year warranty from installation date. To support customers where necessary, the UK support team can be reached via telephone (+31485 476 476), or email ([email protected]).