First introduced to the world back in 1958, the Big Block Chevy engine had a pretty successful run for five decades. Discontinued in 2009, it is still found in many rough-tough trucks and SUVs on the American roads. That’s right: initially, it was developed specifically for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It’s a V8 and boasts quite a decent power output. On the downside – as a slightly outdated motor, it tends to overheat rather quickly.
To avoid that, you gotta invest in a premium-quality aftermarket radiator: the factory unit delivers average-at-best performance. With the Best Radiator for Big Block Chevy, we can greatly improve the engine’s lifespan and avoid costly repairs. For this guide, I’ve selected four crowd-favored rads. They’re all equally worth our attention and investment. Ready to learn more? Let’s get to it!
How do I Cool my Big Block Chevy?
There’s nothing hard about this, nor will you have to invest in expensive, pro-grade equipment. Just like any other engine, a Big Block can be properly cooled by a combination of three main components. I’m talking about a fan, water pump, and, of course, a radiator. Oh, and don’t forget to use premium-quality coolant; otherwise, the motor will overheat and cause all kinds of trouble. Big Blocks can get pretty hot.
For these units, 210-230 antifreeze temperature is normal – keep that in mind. A quick note: while some experts claim brass is a better heat conductor, tests have proven that aluminum is the more preferable choice for radiators designed for Chevy’s mighty engines. To learn more about the ins and outs of keeping a Big Block Chevy cool, refer to the FAQ section right after the reviews and the Buyer’s Guide.
Best Radiator for Big Block Chevy Review
1. Primecooling 4 Row- Best Radiator for 454
Four rows of cooling tubes, T6061-aluminum construction, and 100% TIG-welding – that’s what PrimeCooling is all about. The pro-grade engineering and material quality ensure top-notch cooling efficiency and durability. This radiator was built to last and will serve you for up to a decade. Speaking of cooling, this unit is almost 50% more effective compared to standard Big Block gear.
On average, you can expect a 35-45% boost. Another big pro is fast, 100% charge-free shipment. PrimeCooling does a great job of delivering its products to all 50 US states and doesn’t keep the clients waiting. So, is this an ideal aftermarket radiator? Well, not quite: depending on your vehicle’s configuration, body size, and engine, the installation process could take a while. And, you might be forced to do some DIY work to make it fit.
Despite the minor inconveniences with the replacement/mounting process, PrimeCooling is an excellent third-party radiator for the Big Block Chevy (especially the 454 cu/7.4-lit edition). Superb cooling, market-leading build quality, and quick deliveries turn it into a bargain for most drivers.
2. Speedway- Best Radiator for Big Block Chevy
Moving up with the list, we’ve got a premium radiator by Speedway. Its biggest advantage over the competition is the affordable price tag. While it’s not twice as cheap, the price difference is still pretty significant. What will you get with this cheap radiator, though? Is it on par with the more expensive rivals? Well, it is great at cooling the antifreeze, that’s for sure. Thanks to the furnace-brazed design (no gaskets/epoxy), it delivers impressive results.
The fins, in turn, are thicker/denser than the industry standard, and that ensures better airflow (and, again, superb cooling). One thing to keep in mind: don’t throw away the factory rad cap, because you won’t find one in the package. Other than that, Speedway includes all the necessary hardware for hassle-free installation.
Big Block Chevy truck/SUV drivers looking for a low-priced radiator should put this unit on their lists. Furnace-brazed, and with a set of dense fins, it’s one of the most reliable and efficient options on the market right now. It doesn’t come with a cap, though, but that’s a minor con.
3. Champion CC370 – Best Radiator for Big Block Chevy Camaro
And what does Champion Cooling have to offer? What are this brand’s biggest pros compared to the competition? This is an officially ISO-certified company – every single radiator manufactured by Champion goes through a number of rigorous tests. That makes the CC370 radiator “battle-ready” and fine-tuned for the Big Block engine, factory cooling systems, and the challenging American roads. All-aluminum, brick-strong construction is another pro.
That’s right: the main core, brackets, tanks, and fittings are all crafted from high-grade aluminum. Last, but not least, the manufacturer protects its product with a generous 60-day MBG (money-back guarantee). So, if you detect any manufacturing defects or just decide to go for another radiator, the brand will send you a refund. As for the cons, the included drain cock is somewhat defective. My advice – get a replacement cock. It will only cost $2-3.
There’s very little not to like about the CC370 radiator. Champion engineers went for an all-aluminum design to ensure steady performance and durability. On top of that, this rad went through numerous third-party tests and has proven to be a reliable option for the Big Block Chevy engine.
4. DeWitts Pro-series – Best Radiator for 1968 Chevy Big Block
If you’re a bit worried that the radiator replacement process will be too much to handle, you might want to put your trust in DeWitts. This is one of the most user-friendly and easy-to-install aftermarket units for the Big Block motor. The mounting process will take one/two hours max. Pro-Series is a US-made product, by the way, crafted using domestic materials and, much like Champion, tested for the US roads.
In addition, DeWitts covers the radiator with a lifetime warranty. There is one significant downside, though: this is one of the most expensive rads for Chevy’s engine. It actually costs twice as much as the rivals on the list. On the bright side, it features serpentine fins, press-formed end tanks, and a brazed aluminum core. So, should you pay the steep price? It’s up to you to decide! All I can say is that in the long run, DeWitts will be a reasonable purchase.
Although this Pro-Series radiator isn’t particularly cheap, it does carry excellent value and is more than capable of keeping the Big Block engine nice and cool. US-made, covered by a decent warranty deal, and easy to install, it’s a sure pick if you have a big budget so spare.
And that is it for today! The Big Block engine might not be the most capable unit out there. But, it does a pretty great job of powering Chevy’s heavy-duty trucks/SUVs. And, if you own an older-generation Silverado, or, say, Suburban packed with this motor, pay extra attention to the radiator. You can’t just pick any unit you like – it’s important to find the perfect pick for the Big Block.
With Speedway, you’ll get a decent-quality radiator at an affordable price. Prime Cooling, in turn, is all about cooling efficiency and boasts fast, charge-free shipment around the States. Champion features a 100%-aluminum build, while DeWitts is designed and built in America and takes zero effort to install. So, which brand do you think has the best offer? Share in the comments!