Mercedes-Benz Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I'm looking for a vendor who can sell me a 4-row (a.k.a., 4-tube) radiator for a 280GE.
The standard radiator I now have is a 3-row, but my workload has gotten bigger (new, heavier boat to tow) -- previously, summertime cooling going over the mountains pulling the smaller boat was marginal, so it's prudent to make the upgrade now to a higher capacity radiator for the coming summer.
Naturally, MB dealers won't try (because it's a grey), and I called GWagen Inc (nee Europa, in N.M.) and they now only stock the standard 3-row. A few years ago (before I needed it, naturally) they used to stock a 4-row, for over $600 of course, but they no longer have it listed in their inventory (on order, or otherwise).
Specifics (if it helps):
1984 280GE, Automatic Transmission, A/C, VIN 46023317032550.
I'd be interested in any leads -- overseas or domestic -- to any company stocking such a unit.

Also, if anyone even has a part no. for this higher capacity radiator, it might also help, merely in my inquiries and search.

In advance, thank you for your help.
You can e-mail me at [email protected]
 

·
Registered
85 300GD 83 300TD
Joined
·
978 Posts
I don't think it will be an off the shelf item. Take your radiator to a good radiator shop and tell them what you need. They should be able to take the top and bottom off and make a new one with the proper core that you need. That would be my approach. Anyone else with experiance here?

-Dai
 

·
Registered
'82 300GD TD (Sold), '02 G500, '09 B200
Joined
·
485 Posts
When I was having overheating problems a rad shop mentioned that about 20-30% of the rads cooling capicity is used to cool the auto trans when it is really working. Towing would be such a situation. Try to mount an external tranny cooler as well and possibly this may even do the trick. Just a thought.

Steve
 

·
Registered
1980 LWB 280GE
Joined
·
3,504 Posts
Most excellent advice to take the auto-box heat load out of the engine radiator. That's just good sense regardless. It's about a 99.95% chance that the stock radiator, with the rest of the cooling system in good nick and the rad clean, will do more than will ever be required to dissipate engine heat.

If you need more, I'd suggest BeCool (if you're in the USA - need to fill out your profile). They worked up a radiator for a lister that was a little bigger than the factory G radiator, but it shed the heat of an LT-1 'vette motor swapped into the G. Anyhoo, if the external trans cooler doesn't get the job done, you're looking at custom.

-Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My radiator and transmission cooling are separate

Hi. I only have experience with my one GWagen (I'm assuming they're all alike, at least the W460's).
On mine, the transmission fluid is cooled through an entirely separate radiator. It lies alongside the engine's radiator, but they are separate -- there are no transmission lines to the engine's radiator.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The transmission cooling is separate, factory OEM.

In contrast to most cars, in the 280GE the transmission and engine each have entirely separate radiators. They are also not even 'one in front of the other' (forcing one to have a higher heat load), but rather are both side-by-side, one alongside the other, with independent air flow through each. One can get hot without affecting the other.
 

·
Registered
1980 LWB 280GE
Joined
·
3,504 Posts
RE: My radiator and transmission cooling are separate

Ken C - 2/2/2005 11:35 PM
....On mine, the transmission fluid is cooled through an entirely separate radiator. It lies alongside the engine's radiator, but they are separate -- there are no transmission lines to the engine's radiator.
Hmmm. Interesting. I've never looked that closely at an automatic 280GE. Mine's a manual trans, and in mine there's an additional vertical "radiator" adjacent to the engine coolant radiator, but in mine, that additonal radiator is for the ENGINE oil, not the transmission.

But in any case, if you have verified that your truck does not have any transmission lines going to the engine radiator, then clearly the auto trans is not adding to the engine coolant's thermal load.

One small side-track, check the routing of the lines from the additional small radiator. If they go to your engine oil filter housing and not to the transmission, then you SHOULD find a way to add a separate tranny cooler if you do heavy towing.

If all is said and done, and your cooling system (thermostat, viscous fan clutch, cooling passages, and radiator passages) are all verified to be functioning properly and you still need to dump more heat, then yep, you're going to need a custom radiator built. The cooling mods from the factory for desert running consisted of replacing the viscous fan clutch with a hard coupling. Not sure if a quicker drive pulley was also part of that mix or not, but in any case, the radiator was the same as that fitted to all 460s.

Good luck, and share your results in case someone else needs to follow the same path, though I have to admit, many have asked the same question and found other cooling system maladys at the root of their troubles.

All the best,

-Dave
 

·
Registered
'82 300GD TD (Sold), '02 G500, '09 B200
Joined
·
485 Posts
My auto tranny IS cooled by the main rad and there is a separate engine oil cooler adjacent (on the left) to it. There are two tranny lines going into the bottom of the rad. Perhaps diesels and gassers are different (oil burners of course being better[:D][;)]).

Steve
 

·
Registered
2000 G500 NMLE
Joined
·
6,982 Posts
Another Idea

Ken C - 2/1/2005 11:08 PM

Hi. I'm looking for a vendor who can sell me a 4-row (a.k.a., 4-tube) radiator for a 280GE.
The standard radiator I now have is a 3-row, but my workload has gotten bigger (new, heavier boat to tow) -- previously, summertime cooling going over the mountains pulling the smaller boat was marginal, so it's prudent to make the upgrade now to a higher capacity radiator for the coming summer.
Is this the engine that was rebuilt to European high compression specs?

There is also the option recommended by Geländewagen und Freizeit in Germany. Remove the rubber gaskets that run along the top of the firewall and seal the rear edge of the hood to the firewall. This will allow better heat dissipation from the engine compartment, as well as better prevention of ice buildup on the windshield in the winter.

It may not be enough, but it should certainly help.
 

·
Registered
1980 LWB 280GE
Joined
·
3,504 Posts
Good catch Dutch!

You're right! The name was faminlar, but the "boat pulling" aspects seal it, don't they![:)]

That beast just might have a little extra heat to shed then, huh?

-Dave

PS - you know of any 4-core rad in the 463 SA's anywhere? Might fit with minimal mods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You and Dave are right :)

Hi.
re: "...Is this the engine that was rebuilt to European high compression specs?..."

Yep. And the G's been terrific -- lots more fun, except that when towing in the summer heat (only in the summer) she wants Sunoco Ultimate -- not too bad a trade (even with recent prices) because I put Exxon or Amoco Premium in all my cars anyway (and if I fill up on Wednesdays, Sunoco Ultimate is five cents cheaper, almost the same as those ordinary Premiums :).

But last fall I got another boat, about 2,000 lbs (incl. trailer) heavier, and even though in the fall the G pulled this nicely, temperature nudged up a bit far while going over the mountains to the lake, so I figure doing this in the middle of next summer is going to need more heat dissipation.

I really don't want to give up this G, just to tow my new boat -- but towing my boats is the only thing I use the G for (never use it in winter, and it's never been offroad, but it's unbeatable on slippery boat ramps :). I hate to think that it's met its match and I have to buy some domestic truck instead. If that's the case, I could have bought an even bigger boat (given truck payloads)!

But thanks for the suggestions about the gaskets -- only trouble is that I can't try it out to see if that's all it takes. So I'm going to keep looking for that 4-tube radiator (a "Holy Grail"?).

Take care.
 

·
Registered
1987 280 GD TURBO
Joined
·
132 Posts
hi ken! just a thought... 1984-5 300 SD used a
smaller water pump pulley than the one used
in 300 D turbo diesels. pump spins faster, improving
circulation. slightly shorter alternator belts
are used. GOOD LUCK
WARREN
 

·
Registered
'82 300 GD Cab STT ('02 G270CDi/'85 300 GD SWB)
Joined
·
473 Posts
Steve, the gas-setup is just like you describe it from stock, our 280 GE has just the same setup. There might be quite alot of mods done on it, but the cooling is original and well working.[:)]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice idea -- thank you!

Nice idea to speed up the coolant flow. I'll look into it. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
2000 G500 NMLE
Joined
·
6,982 Posts
RE: Nice idea -- thank you!

Ken C - 2/4/2005 6:51 PM

Nice idea to speed up the coolant flow. I'll look into it. Thanks.
Keep in mind that speeding up the coolant flow will reduce the time in the radiator; i.e. less time to be cooled = more heat back to the block.
 

·
Registered
'83 240 GD
Joined
·
2 Posts
I'd like to add to Kai's response, the second on this thread. It is standard business for radiator shops to replace cores with ones with more tubes. Not too many years ago rebuilding a radiator with your choice of number of rows of tubes cost about $350 at the local Polar Radiator shop.
 

·
Registered
2000 G500
Joined
·
290 Posts
Aux fan idea nad a few others....

Ken,

Before I would install a larger radiator i would try the following.

I'd be inclined to rig a switch to run the electric fan in front of the radiator/ac-condensor. If you don't have a fan there, then the best thing to do is to add one. Summit Racing has quite a collection

As for as the switch goes there are a couple of options. One would be to simply run off the temp switch on the block into the cockpit. It is a simple ground switch. You could try this first to see if it works for you. The other would be to wire in a solid state temp switch and relay (to ground). I recall seeing some that you can dial in a setting. You could surface mount it anywhere in the cooling cycle you choose.

Just my two cents worth and could be a very inexpensive solution.

Thoughts on the other ideas.

Heat is murder on tranny fluid. If your not running synthetic seriously consider it.

Fixed fan vice viscous fan. Might work, but it's hard on your water pump bearings at high rpms and you'll be pulling high rpms in the mountains. I've got a fixed fan rig I'm getting ready to sell. I had it as a back up (it actually was installed when I bought the truck) for my old 280GE.

There are several tranny fluid cooling systems out there that are fan cooled. Summit Racing has many. Some caution. In the winter, your tranny appreciates the heat from the radiator so you may valve out the cooler in the winter.

Running coolant faster through the radiator will most likely compound your problem. The fluid is not in contact with the cooling tubes long enough for proper heat removal.

Reduce the amount of antifreeze in the mix. More water during the summer. Around 35% AF. Add Redline'
s water wetter too. If you go below MB's recommended AF level, be sure and add their anticorrosion oil package. Water is a much better at heat transfer than antifreeze. I'm sure some chemist/physist will correct my nonscientific terms.
 

·
Registered
96 G300DT
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
RE: Aux fan idea nad a few others....

I presume that you checked out the current cooling system pretty thorougly. One area that can be hard to check is the clearance between the pump vanes and the housing. Too big of a gap will reduce the efficiency of the pump. If the pump is old, corrosion may have increased the gap. If it has been replaced, the impeller may not have been correctly chosen.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top