Note added 2 weeks later ---- I've since discovered that this radiator is not original, but has been modified. It is believed that the left-hand tank is a modified bottom tank from an Australian Chrysler Valiant. It is thought that the work was done a very long time ago.
I have seen a few here in Perth, Australia that have been replaced by the radiator from a Holden Statesman Caprice V8 (VS series or thereabouts).
I have measured one of these and it is near enough identical in size - it just requires the mounting brackets shifted and the top plate (that has the four bolts on it) transferred over from the old radiator.
Otherwise a perfect fit.
Not a practical solution for UK residents unless GM ever released an equivalent Vauxhall or Opel rebadged version but ofr those of us down under there are a lot of these around and the radiators can be picked up from salvage yards for about $100 or bought new.
I have heard though that the new manufactured replacements are not as good quality.
Now that is interesting. Thanks Owen.
As you can see from the photos, my original radiator has seen better days. It's been repaired and works, but it's slightly distorted and one of the brackets is bent. It fits but I suspect it is slightly stressed. Might be better to put it aside and fit a good original Holden one. They are probably a bit thicker too - much bigger engine.
Are they copper and brass, or were they plastic and aluminium by then?
I spotted a VQ V8 Statesman in the car park next door, so I asked if I could look at his radiator. I've called in to the local wreckers which is also the local Natrad radiator specialist.
The V8 Holden Commodore and Statesman radiators for VL, VN, VP, VQ (and probably VR and VS) are all the same, so they're far from scarce.
All the connections (filler, inlet, outlet, trans cooler) are all on the opposite side to the Rover's.
As you said, all the dimensions are within a few millimetres of the Rover radiator.
It is easy to swap everything around without compromising the radiator. They would do it with the tanks off and it would be guaranteed.
The Holden radiator has 2 pegs at the bottom that insert into rubber bushes that carry the weight (like the Range Rover). It has another 2 pegs that stick out at the sides about 3/4 of the way up each side. These carry a square rubber block which supports the radiator by sitting in a channel on the body. All this is nice and neat and simple, and adapting to the P5B looks very easy.
The wreckers had a newly arrived VP Commodore radiator that they are now holding for me until I give them the inlet and outlet details. (I'll take my radiator to them. It's empty at the moment anyway).
They expect the whole thing to be about $220. The VP radiator looks like new so I'll end up with an as new, guaranteed radiator. That can go into the car and will be good for a very long time, and my original radiator can go into storage.
Thanks for the initial info Owen. My radiator was one of the car's known weaknesses.
Last Edit: Mar 14, 2013 2:48:40 GMT by Warwick: Correct typos
I've just had my radiator replaced with another custom made aluminium unit and ensured this time that it was 'rubber' mounted as the last one was subject to body flexing forces causing it to weep from the core where it joins to the tanks. It cost...please don't choke...$920 which included the GST.
I do use the vehicle daily as it is my primary form of transport (300kms per week...for the last 11 years...so I can't really complain)
The original radiators were very sturdy (probably had very thick cores) to compensate for the rigid mounting. The modern stuff either copper or aluminium doesn't like this form of mounting.
I don't know if the 3-litre has the same mounting arrangement as the 3.5, Vince, but the 3.5 hangs on rubber grommets in steel brackets at the sides, so there is room for flexing, but then it's fairly rigidly attached by the steel plate at the top.
Apart from the cost, I just don't like modern aluminium and plastic radiators with so much reliance on huge O-rings, clamps, and crimping. Give me repairable copper and brass any day.
My radiator has been opened, cleaned out, and resoldered, but it is very old and has seen its best days. It works okay. I wasn't planning to replace it - I was just gathering info for future reference after Owen planted the seed. I only called in at the wreckers because I was passing and wanted to ask some questions about swapping connections around. But when I saw the one they showed me, fresh out of a wreck, uncleaned and still dusty, dripping coolant and oil - it looked almost new. That plus the estimated price - I just said Yes.
In fact I now intend to eliminate the Holden filler completely (rather than swap sides) and have a Range Rover brass filler plug and expansion tank tube fitted (same as the air bleed connection), and fit a brass Range Rover expansion tank under the bonnet.
As you know, I'm not concerned about originalty, particularly under the bonnet where it's hidden, although I am concerned about reversibility of any changes I make.
Incidentally, last year I replaced the radiator in the Rangie because of a persistant bad leak. It had been repaired a couple of times and it was starting to show. I couldn't afford to have the car off the road for a week while it was being repaired. (Pull it out on the weekend - put it back in on the following weekend). So I went looking for another radiator. I found one (NOS) in the US on eBay at a very good price. It didn't cost too much to ship it and the total was still cheap; so I bought it.
Unfortunately (or so I thought), it wasn't the same. The outer "frame" was much deeper and this prevented me from swapping over my 2 big electric fans without a lot of work. (I run 2 big electric fans behind the radiator, plus the original 2 small fans for the air-con in front of the radiator. This meant that I only had the air-con fans, but it was winter so it didn't matter.
However, all this meant that I had to do a lot of work to fit new fans or make an adaptor to take the old ones. I decided to get the old radiator repaired again and change everything back before summer. Keeping the new one as back-up.
However, I later discovered that in addition to the deeper frame, which protrudes back past the core, the core is also thicker. It seems to be a heavy-duty radiator that wasn't used here. So I decided to leave it and see how it went.
I've now been through some very hot days, in traffic, with the air-con running, and no sign of overheating. The thicker core only needs to 2 small air-con fans.
Well that's a positive solution for you Warwick and seems to be a fortuituous one. The custom radiator I've is totally welded. No plastic tanks or grommets. My car was originally a Mk3 and the radiator is rigidly mounted to the body. It now has 4 rubber McKay mounts...2 each side between the original side mounting plates.
Jacking up a P5 at the front illustrates quite a bit of flex in the structure...as can be evidenced by the front door gaps closing up. I haven't as yet fitted my new (remanufactured) sub frame mounts but will the next holidays. Interestingly the rear mounts (gearbox end) seem to be perfect. The ones up front (X4) have all deteriorated markedly as they are subject to engine heat & oil etc...
The custom radiator I've is totally welded. No plastic tanks or grommets. My car was originally a Mk3 and the radiator is rigidly mounted to the body. It now has 4 rubber McKay mounts...2 each side between the original side mounting plates.
That explains the cost Vince. Should last you a very long time. I really don't like the units used in modern cars. Designed for ease of manufacture and to be thrown away.
I guess the rigid mounting of the radiator on the 3-litre was a statement by Rover of the smoothness of the engine and ride.
I haven't as yet fitted my new (remanufactured) sub frame mounts but will the next holidays. Interestingly the rear mounts (gearbox end) seem to be perfect. The ones up front (X4) have all deteriorated markedly as they are subject to engine heat & oil etc...
I'll be interested to hear how you go fitting them. I haven't collected mine yet.
I have an expansion tank from a Range Rover (Brass one) so that is an option for me too down the track although I am more inclined to add an electric water pump and fans.
I have a couple of spare timing covers and am thinking of trying to get a plate made to blank off the water pump but with the appropriate hose spout on it so the top hose will still connect.
How about some photo's for us of your new Holden radiator Warwick - I'd like to see specifically what and where they have modified it.
Owen, I've got a later model water pump (P6 probably - it has the Leyland logo on it) that I plan to cut the shaft off to give me more room to fit a big electric fan behind the radiator. Are you looking at one of those neat Davies Craig pumps?
I'll certainly take plenty of photos - but as you know, I only progress in bursts a long way apart. Something else always gets in the way. At the moment it's our 25,000 litre concrete water tank. It leaks. Now trying to install a new plastic one, replumb everything, and then repair the concrete one. Fun, fun, fun.
Owen the mechanical pump should be fine in your P5B. Many cooling problems are due to the lack of coolant dwell time in the radiator. When stationary P5s are very poorly designed when considering egress of heated air from under the bonnet. If the air doesn't move through it, the radiator can't function as intended. Louvring the bonnet makes sense. Just reflect on the use of louvres on cars in the 20s & 30s. They weren't there just for looks.
Now here's an interesting thing regarding the radiator photos I posted.
I was talking to the local radiator repairman yesterday while looking at my radiator - the one in the photo. He said that the left-hand tank is not a Rover tank, but a bottom tank from a Chrysler Valiant, much modified! He has no idea what the right-hand tank is, but it looks too big for the core that is fitted. He also said that the core was a very old Rover core (you call it the matrix - we call it the core), but Australian made.
So this explains why it looks like it's been repaired many times. It's grandpa's axe.
Another interesting thing is that it weighs 2kg, while the Holden radiator of the same size only weighs 1kg. My Range Rover radiator on the other hand also weighs 2kgs, but is 35% wider with similar height and thickness.