Aftermarket aluminum radiator is leaking

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by Atbb, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member

    Hi there,

    my rad is leaking, it`s been in the car now for approx. 2 years, no issues so far, brand is Cool Craft with auto transmisson tank.

    Just this wekend I came home late at night to discover a puddle of trans fluid on the ground. Had the tranny refilled a bit about 2 weeks ago(don`t know why it didn`t leak before...Kind of "you have do do it sometime"), maybe a little too much but not by far, ... maybe half an inch above the "hot"marking on the dip stick) so I thought I`d clean up and see if it overblew somewhere else.

    It didn`t, all the clamps, lines ect are dry as the desert, but I saw in the upper right corner of the Radiator (see photo) some fluid seeping out. Cleaned it, looked dry, drove the car, still dry, let it sit for a couple of hours...bam, again messy and a puddle on the floor.

    Here are my questions:

    1)you guys have experienced similar problems with the brand? I`m rather satisfid with the product, seemed well-made to me up until now

    2) Does the ATF run through the rows as well, or is it "just" located in the tank on the side of the rad for the cooling process? Passing through the rows is just the water, right or wrong?
    I even have an aux. oil cooler , see the pics, that is also taking away heat from the rad. By the way, it`s dry, the clamps are tight, no source for loss there(on the pic it Looks wet, but I cleaned it before so it`s got cleaner on it)

    3) Is there an inexpensive fix for the problem described? (I don`t take no for an answer....only if I have to!)

    4) would you go with the same product again? Every mod being made to shroud ect is for this model, so getting a new one and swaping it in is not too complicated. Going with another product would mean modifing again.

    I`m interested in your opinions and tips, thanks in advance


    Attached Files:

  2. Golden Oldie 65

    Golden Oldie 65 Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of Cool Craft but I have a Griffin in mine. It's been in the car for 15 years and it was in a Camaro before that. I recently noticed a leak where the core connects to the tank down low on the right side. I called around and found no one that repairs them. I was told that the cores were welded to the tanks but the welds were nearly impossible to get completely sealed so they melted in some sort of epoxy to seal them. Anyway, in the end I just ordered a new one and when I got it the warranty paper inside the box mention that the warranty would be void if there were any repairs that were not done by Griffin themselves, so what the heck, I called them. Who knows, maybe my old one could still be saved and I could find another use for it. No such luck. They told me they stopped doing repairs on them about 5 years ago. Oh well, I'll use it on my engine test stand if I ever finish it.

    BTW, when I asked The Hot Rod Shop (local) where I buy my parts about different brands they told me they only sell Griffin now. They have had too many other brands go bad too quickly and felt that Griffin was the best on the market. Since I got good service out of the first one I had no reason to switch brands.
    Bills72stage1 likes this.
  3. DasRottweiler

    DasRottweiler -BuickAddict-

    Cheapest way out , buy a bigger, stand alone trans oil cooler and omit the radiator. 2019-06-12 07.18.56.jpg
    I don't drive my car in the cold, so I just run the stand-alone. No issues.
  4. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    The cooler built into the radiator is a joke. It is minimally effective. I would just run a stand alone and cap off the built in. BTW, my Griffin is now 19 years old. Still dry and as effective as it ever was. Bought it in May of 2000 for around 500.00 shipped. 2 rows of 1 1/4” tubes.
  5. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member


    Thanks for your Infos in the radiator . So , Griffin I hear...

    15-19 years, I wouldn't complain a bit if mine would disintegrate after such a time....but then, 2 years just doesn't cut it....

    Btw it's a ColdCase rad, not a cool craft like I falsely stated, sorry.

  6. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    Better make sure atf is not mixing into the coolant and vice versa..
  7. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member

    Don't make me have a sleepless there an easy way to check on a mixing accident? ATF is pink, looks good so far...what would I see in a case of "mixing" ?

  8. sriley531

    sriley531 Big green hunk of $#*^....

    For what it's worth my Griffin puked in less than 2 years (no trans cooler in mine). The older ones seem to be well made as those who bought 10-20 years ago still have them, but if you do some searching on their quality in the last 3-5 years, it's seemingly gone downhill.
    john.schaefer77 likes this.
  9. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member

    So is there a recommendable rad right now? Is brass/copper better in the way of longelivety than the aluminium ones?
  10. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Aluminum will outlast Brass/Copper and cool better. I have heard good things about Dewitt radiator,

    I think they are the ones Bluzilla aka The Doctor recommends.
  11. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member

    Checked their page, Larry, looks quite good, thanks for the tip.

  12. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Yes, that's where I am going once my Griffin goes.
  13. Bluzilla

    Bluzilla a.k.a. "THE DOCTOR"

    If you go the DeWitts route, ..... be sure to ask for John. That is who I set up the discount arrangements with, for "V8Buick Members".
    Also be sure to tell him what size inlet/outlets you would like. 1-1/2" inlet and outlet are the OEM size.

  14. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    You'll know if they are mixing. It'll go both ways and turn both fluids into snot. It ruins the clutches in the trans and it'll overheat too.
  15. Steve73GS

    Steve73GS Well-Known Member

    I have a new DeWitt's although haven't run the car yet with it installed. Spoke with John when I ordered it, he was familiar already with the correct inlet/ outlet size for Buicks. Radiator looks well made. I wasn't aware of the discount for V8 members so no chance for discount. Will update on radiator performance once car is running in a couple of weeks.

  16. bostoncat68

    bostoncat68 Platinum Level Contributor

    I went with the champion. So far so good. Cost effective too.
  17. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    We used a wizard cooling fan on the ast project car here, 65 olds 442. Fit was perfect both in rad and fan shroud, was a great package. Would use again. But when I looked at the skylark stuff it was more a multi fit core production, but I'm sure they would put the correct size in and out on there with no problem
  18. 1973gs

    1973gs Well-Known Member

    Are you sure that it's pink? That's what it turns to when it mixes with coolant. It should be red. As it gets older, it turns darker red.
  19. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member

    I'll check on it later in the day, sure don't want no mixing of fluids...thanks for the warning.

  20. Atbb

    Atbb Well-Known Member


    first of all: thanks for your gave me hints that seem to point in another directions. If so, let me know if I start a new thread, alright? And I would owe an Apologie to the Cold Case brand!

    The pink vs red discussion started it all. I checked it with some paper tissue and even put some samples on the floor, saw a neighbor watching me putting some dribs of ATF next to the actuel residues that came from the car, haha, wonder what he was thinking.
    Here the pics 20190613_174232PF.jpg

    The black arrow is the ATF that I put there myself, the green the actual stuff that came out of the radiator...I think, though being pink, it`s water/coolant-mixture. Very commonly we have pink coolant around here I found out!
    Here are the samples on the tissue, first the coolant...
    and here. the ATF to compare:

    Different Color, different viscosity....

    I found all these whitish marks, partially sprinkled in the engine compartement, (and last time also on the concrete floor after the spilling of fluids, 2nd picture)...had these before, cleaned them off as I didn`t think of anything
    20190613_172354Pf.jpg 20190613_174342.jpg 20190613_174411 (1)PF.jpg

    Removed the radiator cap and saw this:

    About 2 years ago I had an incident after which I had a rough idle, didn`t know where it came from, it didn`t smooth out after spark plug/wire change...Idle stays rough until around 1800rpm, then smoothes out.
    My coolant overflow has been refilled since then a couple times, water seems to vanish, it`s empty all of a sudden, I don`t know why...maybe until now.

    Here`s my guess: a burnt head gasket? That`s why it`s overheating, spilling (pink) coolant, not ATF, around, using up that water I refill...and it seemed to have grown worse.

    What do you think of my theory?


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