MALIBU Champion radiators...anybody used them?

Ribbedroof

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Jan 4, 2009
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Wellston, OK
Looking to replace the 162 radiator in the coupe.....060 over + 4.10 gear is a little more heat than I care for. Thinking about the 3 row Champion. Any real-world experience ?
 
I put the three row aluminum champion radiator in my Malibu to replace my two row just before I upgraded to the 383. I have twin 12” electric fans (1750 cfm each). It doesn’t do so good in the Arizona summer. I think I’ll need to revisit my fans for something stronger and maybe work on some ducting to direct more air flow into the radiator. It did do good for the 305 though.
 
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I put a champion radiator in my 70 with a clutch fan with the factory shroud and so far so good.
 
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In my super slow Regal with an Olds 350, they do just fine. I've done research on these fans and the general consensus is that the radiators are fine, but the fans suck if you have more than general stock motors. If you can upgrade to aftermarket SPAL, DERALE, or some factory Intrepid fans, it seems to cool street motors.
 
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I put the Champion rad in my Monte with the Intrepid fans, mine never has to use the second speed to cool down. The intrepid fans are the best bang for the buck you are going to get to improve cooling, I bought a champion rad for the Blazer and bought the Spal since I am running turbos I didn't want to mess around. But the more I read I think the Intrepid setup would still be just as good
 
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I was planning on using the OE shroud and fan/fan clutch combination. If that doesn’t work I have a dual fan out of a late model coyote F150 that should get it done. When I looked at their fan/radiator combinations I was unimpressed by the shroud that was provided, didn’t seem like it would pull much air with such a small space between the shroud in the core
 
I originally bought a Champion 3 row for my Regal and I ran it with a new clutch fan set up, the fit was great for the factory shroud but I had to buy larger radiator hoses.
This set up worked well in every condition except for when I got stuck in traffic at an underpass at the Dream Cruise with it being mid 90's and no air movement it climbed to almost 220 until I was able to get to a side street and move again where the temp dropped quickly.
So after that I decided I wanted full control of my cooling and went overkill and bought a 31" x 19" Griffen radiator with 2 rows with 1.25" tubes and then added the Intrepid dual fan set up and also put two 12" fans on my AC condenser, needless to say it never gets hot now.

Original install the Champion 3 row and the 307
IMG_1931.JPG


And the SBC with the Griffen and Intrepid fans
20220612_134042 (1).jpg
 
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I have a 3 row Champion in my 81 Lemans with a Pontiac 400. I use a smaller waterpump pulley for increased flow speed, HD fan clutch with 7 blade a/c fan and factory schroud. Idles all day in summer traffic with no problems
 
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My 3 core Champion was similar, too small for my 403. I would get the GN rad surround flaps and step up to a large 2 core or a 4 core.
 
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I had a 2 core champion that lasted quite a while, it ended up starting to leak from the tanks after a few years, and when i first got it i breathed on the overflow nipple (which is too small btw) with a 7/16 stubby wrench and snapped it immediately. I bought another 2 row but with bigger tubes and immedately changed out that nipple. Even on the highway in 110 index iowa humid *ss summer it cools fine. Stays right at 180ishon my gauge. Granted i also have a flowkooler water pump and a 7 blade 454 bbc suburban fan with a heavy duty clutch. It actually cools better than the 4th gen f body fans i had, but it does seem less rev happy than it was. I also got the dope champion billet radiator cap too, almost threw the box away until i noticed it still had something inside. it presses on to a normal round cap.
cap.jpg
 
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