We were having a hard time keeping our cool. The truck was plagued with overheating issues and we finally bit the bullet and install a custom aluminum radiator. The folks over at BeCool were incredibly helpful and agreed to cool things down for us with a custom all aluminum radiator. Fortunately for us, one of the employees at BeCool owns an '89 F Series truck so they were able to take the measurements from that truck and not have to rely solely on photos and our measuring attempts. It took a while to get the radiator into production since they were gracious enough to fit us into their busy schedule. But once the logistics were ironed out, they built and shipped the aluminum radiator in very short order.
The box arrived by UPS a couple of days after it was shipped. The radiator was packed very well and did not sustain any major damage during shipment. One of the mounting tangs was bent slightly, but that was easily corrected. The all aluminum radiator was a work of art. The aluminum tanks looked like something you'd expect from an OEM operation. It came complete with the transmission oil line fittings and everything lined up perfectly. So we picked a day and started disassembling the truck to remove the radiator and the water pump. Since we were going to remove the radiator and have the cooling system drained anyway, we decided that this would be a perfect time to replace the 460 water pump as well.
Removing the old radiator was actually very simple. After disconnecting the upper and lower radiator hoses, as well as the transmission fluid lines, it was ready to be lifted out of the engine bay. Since the fan was still on the water pump, we disconnected the fan shroud and left it in the truck while we lifted out the flimsy factory radiator. It took several more hours to remove and replace the water pump and it was not until this was accomplished that we could install and connect the new BeCool aluminum radiator. While the pump was being replaced, we took some polish and a polishing wheel and shined up the new radiator. It may not be as shiny as if it had been polished at BeCool's manufacturing facility, but it came out looking great. The photos here don't do it justice.
Once it was slipped into place, the upper and lower radiator hoses were reconnected. One note here, it was much easier to connect the hoses to this radiator than to the plastic fittings on the old radiator. The transmission lines were reconnected and the fan shroud put back in place along with the fan and fan clutch. After filling the system with a 50/50 mix of new antifreeze, it was time to find out if we had any leaks. The engine warmed up and leveled out just below where it used to range. We had a small transmission fluid leak which was easily repaired and everything was working wonderfully. However, the proof was really going to manifest itself on the highway. And on the highway, the temperature remained steady without ever causing any worries.
Now the final test is next summer when we head to Chicago for the Emergency Vehicle show, but so far, it seems that this new custom BeCool aluminum radiator is the solution we've been looking for. Thanks to Marty and his crew, we've got the coolest (no pun intended) cooling system around.