Hump Day Radiator Gimmicks

Happy Hump Day!

If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of hearing about the end of summer. Up here in the north, there are plenty of warm days left to enjoy. If you’re down south, then you countless beautiful days left to be out enjoying your ride.

Or if you’re in Florida, Texas or Arizona, the weather will soon be enjoyable enough that you can be outside without instantaneously combusting the moment you set foot in the sun.

Today I’d like to share something that is likely to cause you lots of grief – if you don’t avoid it like the plague. And that is the marketing BS that covers much of the high performance automotive world like a fresh coat of oil permeating out of rattlesnake’s skin in the afternoon sun. Especially since the communists from the far East have invaded the automotive world and they have a primary motive: cash money dollah dollah bills.

That is, extracting them from your wallet and moving them into their own. And morals don’t apply to them. Since these aren’t the people that live in our neighborhoods and communities, they have next to zero concern about screwing us over.

Almost like a James Bond super villain genetically engineered to be the ultimate form of cash extraction on your wallet.

This is the worst thing to happen to your motor (since the smog pump):
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Yes. Three row aluminum radiators and the outrageous cooling claims associated with them. Now you might be expecting me to go on a rant and say these are the Antichrist of cooling inventions. Well, they are but rather than go on a rant about them, I’m going to talk about the marketing gimmicks used to sell them and other speed parts.

Many of these 3-row radiators make outrageous (and false) claims about their cooling abilities. Like the one above. Although the picture above with 10,000 horsepower cooling claim is an exaggeration (slight), the original ad claimed 800 horsepower of cooling capacity.

In reality, best case scenario, this radiator will probably cool 450 horsepower, with the wind blowing the right way. It’s likely to start causing most people problems well before that, around 375 horsepower. If you’re the one who fell for the gimmick, you now have two problems. First, you still can’t enjoy your car without anxiety from your temp gauge and second your wallet is now lighter than it was before.

Again, I’m not talking about the product, I’m talking about the marketing. The most guilty parties of this type of marketing are the big warehouse suppliers, based out of Ohio, that still send you a massive printed catalog in the mail. If you dig through this catalog, you’ll find some things that will blow your mind.

For instance, you’ll find a 16″ cooling fan for $59 that claims to pull 2500 CFM and on the very same page, you’ll find another for $175 that also claims to pull 2500 CFM. So if both fans pull 2500 CFM and will do the job, then why would you need to spend an extra $116 on the more expensive option?

Hint: You don’t need to hire Columbo to figure this out.

The answer is quite simple. Either the 2500 CFM claim on the $59 fan is highly exaggerated or the 2500 CFM claim on the $175 fan is very conservative. Unfortunately there is no automotive testing authority that tests these claims and tells you which one is legit and which one is BS. Which you leaves you to rely on the same thing as Spider Man: Spidey sense.

This applies to all kinds of things from radiators to transmissions. Why does one 700R4 transmission rated at 700 horsepower cost $1600 and another one $3000? Well, because the reality is that the cheaper option is likely highly over exaggerating it’s horsepower rating.

You might be wondering how they can get away with this. And again the answer is quite simple. 90% of the guys buying the $1600 transmission are probably only making 350 horsepower. And they will never have a problem with their $1600 transmission. In fact, they are probably on a your favorite forum offering praise at how reliable it is for them.

Then there is the guy who is making 575 horsepower who is going to turn that $1600 transmission into a melted boat anchor after a couple of launches off the two step at 3500 RPM. So what is this guys next move?

His next move is probably the $3000 transmission that is actually capable of handling 700 horsepower. Actually it’s a $4600 transmission now if you count the cost of the first one (and lots of endless aggravation). And that’s assuming the converter didn’t balloon and take out his crank thrust bearing in the process, sending him on a premature visit to his engine builder for a freshen.

So how can we protect ourselves from this type of marketing? Well, if it looks like a turd and smells like a turd, then it’s likely a turd. And usually the turd is the lower priced item that seems ‘too good to be true’. That’s because it is.