Sep 122013

Quite early on the radiator had been sent off to Northampton Autorads to be ‘re-cored’. It was then stored for a number of years as progress with the restoration ground to a halt. Partly due to lack of time but also a lack of enthusiasm once it became clear how much work was involved in a full restoration.

It was only once the rebuild had restarted in earnest that the cooling fans and shroud were refurbished. Both, in different ways, had been a trial in perseverance to get the desired finish. So it was a real disappointment to find out all the mounting holes down each side of the radiator were too far from the edge to enable the shroud to fit.

There was no way I was going to hack the shroud to fit after the palaver to get the correct crinkle finish. Northampton Autorads usually have a stand at the Stoneleigh spares day, so I took it up on the off chance that they might be able to have a look at it and suggest the best way to modify it.

To my amazement they agreed it was wrong and simply replaced it on the spot, despite the considerable time since it was manufactured. I was quite willing to pay for the modifications as I should have reported any issues when it was first returned. I was impressed with their customer service!

Generally you learn from your mistakes, however I wrapped up the radiator on my return and set about tackling the ever growing list of rebuild tasks. It was some nine months later that I started to prepare for the big installation weekend, transforming it from a bodyshell to a rolling chassis, when I again tried to reunite the radiator and shroud.

I couldn’t believe it – the mounting holes were again out of alignment. Neither the shroud nor the radiator mounting brackets could be fitted. I sheepishly emailed them with the pictures below and they immediately arranged to collect the radiator by courier. This time the shroud and brackets were included so they could ensure it all fitted.

Only two shroud mounting holes aligned Radiator mounting bracket holes were also wrong
The lower mounting hole for the shroud didn't align. The problem is that this hole is also shared with the radiator mounting bracket The radiator mounting bracket holes were only marginally out but enough to stop the brackets being attached

Less than a week later, everything was returned all made up. I really can’t fault their customer service as they addressed the issues without question. I’m not sure why the manufacturing process is such that positioning of the mounting holes is so prone to error. I think nowadays, when a radiator is re-cored, all but the top and bottom sections are replaced so the original sides are thrown away.

At least the unit is now ready to be fitted when the engine goes in ….

The radiator, shroud and cooling fans all ready to go on as a single unit

  4 Responses to “Radiator – Mk3”

  1. Chris – this is incredible work! The transformation is jaw-dropping. There is nothing to tell the story like good before and after shots 🙂

    I’m so used to poor customer service generally that the above was like a breath of fresh air.

    Can’t wait to see this installed!


  2. Chris,

    Just finishing up re-plating much of the front suspension on my E and am moving on to rebuilding and painting the steering rack, u-joints, and other parts of the steering subsystem. Unfortunately, the paint is looking awful. Maybe it’s the shoddy paint that we’re limited to in California, but I’m beginning to rethink my strategy.

    Any chance you could elaborate on the types of paints and processes you’re using? The radiator, shroud, and fan in the post above are really top-notch work, so naturally I’m wondering how it was achieved. Paint gun, spray can, single stage, bc/cc, etc.?

    Thanks for your help,


  3. Hi Peter,

    Glad to hear you’re making progress on your own restoration and good luck.

    I’ve used a variety of different paints and painting methods as my restoration has progressed. I tend to go for 2-pack using a paint gun where possible, as I’ve got my own compressor. Although some paints are only readily available in spray cans, such as Rustoleum and VHT.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a spray booth but got a good tip of using a pop-up gazebo with mesh sides to keep out unwanted insects and airborne particles – plus it’s well ventilated!

    My radiator was sent off to be re-cored and so was returned painted. However I think they only gave it a light coating of paint as it came off quite easily when handling it. So I gave it a couple of coats of Eastwood radiator paint which is only sold in spray cans.

    I had real trouble replicating the original crinkle finish for the shroud. Crinkle paint is available in spray cans but I couldn’t get a uniform finish – so I have to confess the radiator shroud was powder coated. It took ages to find a powder coater who had any crinkle powder in stock. I think it’s not really used much these days.

    I subsequently found a posting on an MG forum which covered how to get a good crinkle finish. The part is given three coats 10 minutes apart and then a heat gun is used to ensure it crinkles sufficiently and evenly. I’m just about to try this on the choke and heater controls.

    Most of the brackets and other parts have been painted with either POR15 or Epoxy-Mastic 121 using a spray gun. I think they’re both fairly equal in protection and both are very tough but I swapped from POR15 to 121 as it’s slightly easier to use.

    The POR15 is more prone to runs if you’re not careful, although it does give a much smoother finish.


  4. Chris –

    This is a fantastic resource. Thank you!

    As I get deeper into this, a dedicated spray booth seems like more and more of an eventuality. But this gazebo idea has a lot of promise…

    Again, thank you. Waiting with bated breath for the next installment 🙂


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