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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - What is the BEST radiator for a V8?

What's the very best radiator to use? Have the car set up to accept a stock MGBGT V8 radiator. Noticed they sell an aluminum one at Cambridge Motorsports (you can get it in silver or black; isn't black best for radiating heat?). Have also seen a few cars with modded V8 rads that are lengthened by 3-4" vertically ... they stick down further. Have vaguely heard of Towery's radiator that supposedly has a particularly thick core. Don't want to get into bodging a generic SB Chevy rad into place ... would be totally out of sorts w/the car. I do anticipate cooling issues here (block-huggers, Rover bored out to about 4.8, no bonnet mods at least to begin with) and I'm realistic enough to know that I will need an excellent radiator. Thankfully I was able to squeeze an engine fan in there in addition to the two electrics. Engine bay is pretty much rigged as a factory car would have been, except big ol' 4-bbl carb (you can get your butt kicked around here without one!).
Charlie Downs

Where can Cambridge Motorsports be contacted and what are the specifications on their aluminum core radiator?
I was ordering one from Griffin at It was going to be built to my specifications identical to the V8 radiator but with an additional row and about 1 gallon extra capacity split between the top and bottom tanks... but it is expensive, they quoted me $700.00 and a 3 week build tim.
But if the Cambridge one will do the job for less $$$ and it is ready to ship I would consider it.
My engine is a 1963 Olds 215 stock except for block hugger headers, dual exhaust, MSD ignition control box and an MSD electronic distributor. I have a hood scoop and yet on Sunday outside temp about 85F degrees in NY unless I was moving a 45 mph or greater my water temp was flirting with 230F at speed I was at about 195F.
It is essential that I improve the cooling in my MGBV8.
Michael S. Domanowski


Jeez, 230 is pretty darn balmy. Might want to ensure you've got a cap with a decently high pressure rating. What kind of hood scoop do you have? ... your info really surprises me b/c though I don't have one, I'd always reckoned putting one on would be of massive help temp-wise. I just can't find it within myself to do it, yet. But I just might. Anyway, Cambridge Motorsports' web site is

; I reckon you can get a catalog from 'em that way. All sorts of MG road candy, albeit mostly suited to 4-bangers. Boy could you put your credit card to good use there! Never done business with 'em but it seems like an impressive operation. Didn't know they sold alloy V8 rads though, I imagine they are dandy!!

Clive Wheatley sells a 25-30% uprated rad that is the same overall size and has the same header tanks if appearance is important.

Paul Hunt

The best way to cool an MGBV8 is certainly a question of personal opinion, but of course there are some
things which are crucial for the best results. The saga of my experiences are documented in the Newsletter section of my website:

..for what its worth!


It's been mentioned in this board somewhere before that a early Ford Falcon/Mustang radiator fits well and does the job. It's a little longer and the mounts need to be trimmed to fit between the frame rails.
I belive the Modine part # was 2301. I got a quote over the net for $169 delivered.
This is a 3 row for an auto trans.
Hope this helps in the search.


Ditto for Kelly's method. Although it is not on the road yet, I have done a couple of cam break-in runs in the garage. Hood up, ambient temp 70 degrees F, water temp never over 185, 2500rpm for 20 minutes, twin electric fans.

Mark Marchbanks

I went with a custom made aluminum unit built to my specs. It was made by Ron Davis Racing in Az.They make radiators for race cars. They were very helpfull in determining what size core I needed for the horsepower being produced. Their workmanship is top notch and I have no overheating problems. My radiator is 20" tall x 19" wide x 3" thick, core size is 16"x19"x3". The advantage with going the custom route is they can make it to fit your mounts, plus it allows you go with a larger unit suited for your climate. The draw back is you have to wait for them to build it. You are correct in assuming you need a good radiator,cooling system problems seem to happen at the worst time ie. traffic jams! Its worth it to spend the extra $$$ and go with the best you can get.
bill jacobson

Yeah, 15 psi new cap and new all new hoses, block had been flushed, new V8 radiator new 15 in electric fan that in warm weather I always have on, blowing in the correct direction, 50/50 antifreeze mixture and 2 pints of wetter water, system is properly burped and holding the right capacity into the overflow, approx 1/2 full. The scoop is a custom design by Joe Sulpy's, in Hackettstown NJ that is very subtle, only 2.5 inches high in front and 14 inches across and about 16 inches in debth, fading into the rear of the hood, (I'll send you a e-mail photo if you send me your e-mail address) it mirror images the small raised portion on the front of the stock MGB hood. The engine just runs HOT in stop and go traffic on days above 82F. I've put over 2000 trouble free miles on the car since the conversion and it is fast enough now to embarrass stock 5.0L Mustangs and BMW M3 (240 HP) Roadster up to about 115 mph
I'll check out the Cambridge website that that you were kind enough to post. Thanks.
Michael S. Domanowski

Michael, did you have the headers ceramic'ed? This seems to help a great deal.

I just got a quote from griffin for a custom 2 row cross flow with 1 1/4" tubes for $495. Perhaps if someone would like to pool our orders we could get a better price. Any one interested please e-mail me at
James Johanski

I had a custom brass radiator made up for mine because brass is a little more efficient at heat transfer. The core is 16 x 18 x 3 and it is a five row. The top and bottom tanks are a bit smaller than the original. Cost me around $400, and I ran it with a crank driven flex fan and a very rudimentary shroud. It worked well but I felt as if I had to keep an eye on the temp in rush hour traffic.

This time around there will be a 14" Spal pancake fan on the back and an 11" Mercedes fan on the front, and plenty of space for the air to get out around the blower. I expect that will be adequate.
Jim Blackwood

I also use the Ford Falcon Radiator, I had to trim the sides down so they would fit between the front frame rails and then weld on a new strip of metal on the sides to bolt to the newly mounted later style rad mounts. I have had the block style headers ceramic coated and I have a 3000CFM puller fan and no hood scoops. So far with a couple of runnings I have been very impressed with the cooling, hood up or down.


Would you have the model #/brand of the crank driven fan you used? I am interested in using one in addition to my electric factory fans.

Neil Cotty

Bob, no my headers arn't coated but I'm thinking of wrapping them.
Michael from Cambridge answered my e-mail inquiry, if his conversion is correct dollars to pounds then their aluminum core radiator woull cost $996.00 (1.4 to 1)including shipping. All of a sudden $700.00 for the Griffen plus $40.00 for shipping seems like a bargin.
By the way the Griffin custom that I inquired about is a 4 row. If I'm going to spend money on ANOTHER NEW RADIATOR then I want to make sure it will do the job no matter what! But yeah lets see if we can get a group discount from Griffin, it could be worth the effort.
Michael S. Domanowski

What a good idea to see if a better price can be secured by providing volume orders rather than one custom after another. Why a cross flow? It seems when I was pondering this before and taking the measurements, I found more core surface area with a down flow design. I donít remember if it was because of the tank width or maybe it was not the surface area of the core, but the narrowest dimension to mount a single fan to. Unless you designed a Y shaped radiator as narrow as it needs to be between the frame rails, but as wide at the top as the engine compartment without the radiator supports. Oddly shaped tanks, longer tubes at the top, even more outrageously priced, but look at the surface area!

Itís true that brass releases its heat faster than aluminum, but aluminum allows deeper tubes So, three half inch brass tubes equals one and half inch of surface area contacting the fins where as two aluminum tubes of one and a quarter inches equals two and a half inch of tube to fin contact area. An overall improvement is efficiency per radiator thickness. I got that information from those that sell aluminum radiators, so take it for what itís worth.

Four row! How thick is the total? Iím using a five-row brass radiator, but itís actually three rows, two rows, three, twoÖ It can handle the winter, but not the summer. I envy those that think 95į F outdoors is hot.
George Champion

I was thinking about using one of those all aluminum Scirroco Radiators that are commonly advertised in the Summit or Jegs catalogs for around $250. These are all aluminum and have the 2 row 1.25" cores. Fitment will be an issue but, i'll botch the car up for fitment anyways in order to make it work.

Would this radiator cool better than a copper/Brass 4-row radiator?
James D.

Sorry Neil, it was a custom made part. Not much to it though, just a piece of aluminum turned down and drilled for the crank pulley bolts and drilled/tapped for whatever fan is handy. I'd use a fixed blade fan rather than a flex fan though.

Take a look at a TR4 to get some idea of what is needed.
Jim Blackwood

If anyone wants to use the 65-66 mustang radiator try National Parts Depot. I Bought a 3 row heavy duty rigged for A/C for my friends 66 and plan on using the 3.5 row on my mg. If you get a catalog they have diff. rads. some are made for high effic. for those on a budget. mike
mike childress

2 solutions that work with a 4.2, air conditioning, block huggers, D.C. traffic, 95' parking lots called the Capital Beltway, no hood scoops:

4 row high efficiency core copper brass 3" longer with stock tanks for a ''77 or later MG, cost around $400.00, good local shop.

1965 Mustang, passenger side water pump for manual transmission- the auto version has a trans cooler built in that you do not want- from Be-Cool with1 1/4" tubes in ALUMINUM, around $550.00 from Summit Racing. Shipped the next day.

Soon to be tried with a Buick 300, Air conditioning, Griffith 22" x 19"- requires frame notching- 1 1/4" tubes, 3 row. Cost around $500.

What I have found over the last 15 years or so of driving these beasts, is that you need to keep pressure around 15 lbs, & that you need to keep the radiator full. That may sound obvious, but most cars run with less than a full radiator due to thermal expansion. By using a header tank of sufficient capacity, mounted higher than the radiator, or by converting to a closed system, you may be able to increase the efficiency of your present system. Local auto parts chains sell a closed system kit for under $10.00. It consists of a gasket to go under the rediator cap that will not let "blow", & a remote reservior & some plastic tubing. NOT recommended if your cooling system is not in good shape, as it will develop around 16-17 lbs of pressure on very hot days.
Jim Stuart

FYI - to get e catalog from NPD you have to provide a the 1st few number of VIN# from a mustang. Anyone know 1st few digits of mustang VINS's??
Larry Embrey

Hello Mike,
I would suggest not to wrap your headers to keep the temp. down under the hood. It will eventually destroy the headers. I got this fron some hot rodders I met here in SC. The best way to go is Jet-Hot coating. Not very expensive and very effective. I am going to send my headers to them when I have the time to remove them.
About 160$ per set! I just made a trip to Omaha and back. Temp there are in the 50's so no problem with overheating. Now I am in SC. and the overheating is just borderline. I also need to keep the 2 electric fans running all the time. Temp. here is in the upper 80's. I'll write you more info on your e-mail.
SEnd me the pic from your hood scoop!
werner Van Clapdurp

This thread was discussed between 24/04/2001 and 30/04/2001

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