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Heater core is BRASS! No Copper on the inside.

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CustomCooledPC

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Joined
Jan 24, 2003
I was questioned in another thread. Someone was pretty sure I had heater core that was Copper on the inside and others suggested all heater cores where made this way. I denied this as I have read many times how heater cores are made and I will start with a few references.

http://innovations.copper.org/2000/03/cuprobraze.html
Automotive radiators have undergone numerous technological changes over the past 100 years, although none of these changes are more obvious than the metals from which the radiator is constructed. In the copper/brass radiator, the radiator's fins are made from nearly pure copper and the tubes and header tanks are made from brass. In an aluminum radiator, all components are made from an aluminum alloy.

http://www.4s.com/fourseasons/heater_cores.html

The components for our copper brass heater cores are all manufactured in house. The distribution and return tanks are stamped and formed from a brass strip by progressive dies. The holes for the nozzles are then punched in the appropriate configuration. The nozzles are cut, end formed, and bent into the correct shape from raw brass tube stock. The water channels and air fins are manufactured using an automated process. The channel is stamped and formed from a brass ribbon and the air fin is roll formed from a copper ribbon. The two are then inserted together automatically and deposited into a chute for core assembly. The fin and channel are marked with the distribution and return tanks using universal framing fixtures. Both faces of the core bodies and all corners are then run through an automated flux and solder dipping process.

Now then to the empirical evidence that my core is in fact all brass. I unsoldered the pipes and took a gander inside:

My heater core in question. In a bucket of water ready for de-soldering. Note I put it in water so I would only melt the solder on the pipes and not the whole core.
001.jpg

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Heating it up to melt the solder.
002.jpg

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Pipes removed.
003.jpg

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here is were I thought I was going to have to eat crow. It sure looked red and like copper.
004.jpg

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But I wasn't satisfied. It started to look more like a burnt coating caused by the torch and sure enough! I got out the trusty dremel and there it is, BRASS! :cool:
005.jpg
 
OP
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
Yes Toysrme I know very well what brass is and what makes it up. I ment PURE copper like some suggested and only what makes contact with the water was my concern. And BTW the fins ARE also brass on this core. Took the dremel to one of them to. :D Got 2 or 3 other cores here that have Copper fins though. I can tell the difference. I am a manager at an engraving shop. We use copper, brass, and aluminum daily. :)

Giblet Plus!: LOL, I will stop at this for now. Got 3 other to work on later though. I needed to remove those pipes and add real barbs anyway. Otherwise I may not have been so motivated. Only reason I documented this is some might learn something about how easy it is to remove barbs and an idea how to do it without melting solder on the whole core. Just trying to be informative aswell as an ***. :D:D
 

ws6fire

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May 21, 2003
CustomCooledPC said:

Giblet Plus!: LOL, I will stop at this for now. Got 3 other to work on later though. I needed to remove those pipes and add real barbs anyway. Otherwise I may not have been so motivated. Only reason I documented this is some might learn something about how easy it is to remove barbs and an idea how to do it without melting solder on the whole core. Just trying to be informative aswell as an ***. :D:D

hehe... sweet...
 

wormwood

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2002
Location
Tucson, AZ
Was this core a different brand than the others? The reason I ask is the texturing of the top (might be artifacting of JPG, though).

Really nice idea on the bucket, first time I removed pipes, I had to resolder the top back on as it got too hot... :(

It would be REALLY nice to know if their was a way to tell if the fins are brass before purchase at the store.

Thank you for the heads up on this. The cores I've seen have had copper, but they were like $35. I had assumed all cores had copper centers and only brass tanks. I now know better.
 
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
wormwood said:
Was this core a different brand than the others? The reason I ask is the texturing of the top (might be artifacting of JPG, though).

Really nice idea on the bucket, first time I removed pipes, I had to resolder the top back on as it got too hot... :(

It would be REALLY nice to know if their was a way to tell if the fins are brass before purchase at the store.

Thank you for the heads up on this. The cores I've seen have had copper, but they were like $35. I had assumed all cores had copper centers and only brass tanks. I now know better.
The core has been sandblasted and wirebrushed, thats probably why it looks a little different. Getting ready to paint it. I bought it at the local Federated Auto Parts.

Also the cores that I have that do have Copper fins is pretty obvious. The fins actually look like copper. You should be able to tell at the store.
 
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
Here is a pic I had on my site sometime ago. it is still kinda hard to tell from the pic but the fins are Copper. You can easily tell when you have it in your hand. The fins will look like standard red copper. The tanks will be yellow brass. This is one of the 3 others I have to still do some work on.

001.JPG
 

JFettig

Hey! I showered! Senior
Joined
Jan 5, 2002
Location
MN
If your really interested in finding copper tubes in there, you might have to start hacking, I can gaurentee theres copper in there. Ill see if I can grab a pic of Iron hawks core he hacked and made small, remind me tomorow.

Jon
 

Diggrr

Underwater Senior Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Cool, now I know why my chevette core was $32 and the larger Taurus one was $45.
It pays to have the local guy order them instead of going to the chain stores.
 
OP
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
JFettig said:
If your really interested in finding copper tubes in there, you might have to start hacking, I can gaurentee theres copper in there. Ill see if I can grab a pic of Iron hawks core he hacked and made small, remind me tomorow.

Jon
Humm, hacked and made smaller. Well I might do some more hacking to find out and make the thing smaller. Not a bad idea, simple enough. Although the references I made at the start of my first post would lead me to be pretty skeptical that any modern made core has copper inside them. They made is pretty clear what the parts are made of. Wouldn't suprize me to see older one's pulled from cars at the scrap yard have it though.
 

Toysrme

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Nov 12, 2001
Cool, you oughta engrave some blocks for us LoL! Post some of the shop's best work!
 
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
Diggrr said:
Cool, now I know why my chevette core was $32 and the larger Taurus one was $45.
It pays to have the local guy order them instead of going to the chain stores.
Could be the difference. The Chevett Cores are only $18-$25 at the local Napa, Car Quest, Pep Boys, Shucks, Federated, ect... I bet the one's sold at Dtek and other sites are the cheapest one's they can find.
 
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
Toysrme said:
Cool, you oughta engrave some blocks for us LoL! Post some of the shop's best work!
We don't have any pictures of anything good. website is www.spokanestampworks.com.

Done this block on the engraver at work.
004.jpg

003.jpg


Top cut out on the laser and then engraved aswell.
001.jpg


I also have a small CNC mill at home I tinker with now and then. :cool:
 

Toysrme

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2001
Yeah... I wouldn't ever deal with Pep Boys...

History has proven my theory that they're the dumbest company on Earth TWICE!!!

First they spend a million dollars advertizing all accross Alabama, when there is only one store in Mobile...

Second, they fired a serviceman when he got called to active duty.

That has absilutly got to be *THE* dumbest thing of all time ROTFLMAO! Not only is it ILLEGAL, but even the village idiot wouldn't have balls to do that!
 

Toysrme

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Nov 12, 2001
Nice.

Dad sold a very old Lathe and milling machine of his dad's seviral years ago on EBAY for 3 thousand.

Obviously now I wish we had kept both...
 

Pelle76

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Mar 18, 2003
Location
Sweden
Ok.... All you guys so confident that there is copper inside... Would it then be a benefit to have copper instead of brass.

Thats right: The thermal conductivity of Copper outruns the conductibity of Brass...

But: Copper is a lot softer and harder to machine than brass... Therefore a pipe meda of copper would have to be a lot thicker than one made of brass... so if the brass is a lot thinner than the copper... Wouldn't that be a bigger advantage than havng pure copper but thicker...

Just a thought... Correct me if I'm wrong... But motivate your answer please..
 

ws6fire

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May 21, 2003
I would agree with you on the equal effectiveness of both brass and copper for those same reasons. The sites that customcooledpc referenced shows that copper manufacurers needed to improve their product to survive against everyone switching to aluminum. I don't think they would hamper the effectiveness of the newer design in an effort to get a better product. I still say so what if it's copper or if it's brass! The galvanic propertys are practly the same and (in theory) the cooling efectiveness would be the same.

Customcooledpc: I'm a little interested if that theory is true, if you have time, and are able to have you thought about testing the difference? Obvously, using the same size on the same rig etc.


cya!
 
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CustomCooledPC

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Jan 24, 2003
ws6fire said:
I would agree with you on the equal effectiveness of both brass and copper for those same reasons. The sites that customcooledpc referenced shows that copper manufacurers needed to improve their product to survive against everyone switching to aluminum. I don't think they would hamper the effectiveness of the newer design in an effort to get a better product. I still say so what if it's copper or if it's brass! The galvanic propertys are practly the same and (in theory) the cooling efectiveness would be the same.

Customcooledpc: I'm a little interested if that theory is true, if you have time, and are able to have you thought about testing the difference? Obvously, using the same size on the same rig etc.


cya!
I don't have the equipment to properly test a rads efficency, but I am interested to know to. BillA or JoeC could possibly to it correctly though. I doubt it would be a measurable difference on something like a PC though, that rad I used above keeps the water around 3C over room temp with a decent overclocked CPU.