Re-core 1931 radiator?

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    I am nearly completed restoring my 1931 Model 42 Sport Phaeton and have discovered I have multiple leaks in my 90 year old radiator.  It appears that previous owners have been chasing leaks for years as multiple cells have already been filled with something (JB Weld?). My radiator guy says the radiator is shot and I believe him.  I have learned a great deal about honeycomb radiators in the last several days including the cost of having a new honeycomb core built (not cheap).   I have 2 questions; 1. Does it make sense to try to find another “old” radiator to replace what I have or is it better to just “bite the bullet” and do the re-core?  2. Assuming it makes sense to put an available old radiator in, does anyone have one that will fit a 1931 Model 42 that they would be willing to sell?



    I’m not an authority, but I’m going through a similar process.  What I get from talking to people who know more about it than I do, is that a ninety-year-old radiator can develop leaks just by being ninety years old.  My honeycomb radiator (a 1930 non-Pierce big Classic with less than 10,000 miles) developed a significant leak, and I took it to Universal Carnegie Manufacturing just outside of Pittsburgh.  They wanted to repair the leak and let me keep the original core in place (marveling at how clean it was).  But when they put the radiator in a water tank and added air, several additional small leaks became apparent which hadn’t previously oozed any coolant.  So I’m getting a new honeycomb core and the peace of mind that goes with that.  I think that, if offered another radiator (same age as mine) I would have been concerned that it had likely experienced as much stress as my radiator had, or more.  I vote for biting the bullet.

    Good luck with your radiator.

    Chris Cummings


    Chris,  thank you for your perspective!  As I continue on this path I believe you are absolutely correct.  We are ordering a new core today.  Good luck with your car.

    Best to you,
    Kirby Jefferson


    What should a recore cost? I got a modern (not honeycomb) recore of a 1931 Pierce unit and I’m ashamed at what I paid for it. Water under the bridge, as they say.



    Don’t be ashamed.  Better $afe than sorry!

    I understand that my re-core (honeycomb core, radiator not yet re-assembled) will cost $2,654 for the core and $900 for labor to assemble the radiator.  I was told that a v-cell core would have cost $2,316.  That was from the fellow that everyone I trust recommended.  I opted for the honeycomb, as the v-cell was not that much of a saving.  (I was also told that a reputable restoration firm had installed a modern core on a car like mine, but with the faster flow, the water was not being sufficiently cooled, and the modern core was replaced with a honeycomb core.)  That’s all I know.

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