Comfortable Cooling - Radiator R&D, Part 2: Test & Produce
Up until now, our 2014+ K2 Silverado radiator has been nothing more than a simple set of goals: create a direct-fit radiator that's larger, and stronger, than the stock radiator. After measuring the radiator and its home in the engine bay, we began working on our replacement.
Like many of our products, this radiator started life on a computer monitor. Jason took his measurements from the stock radiator and created a 3D model that would serve as the template for our prototype. Once the model was complete, we could transfer it to our 3D printer to begin the rapid prototyping process.
As the 3D printers wove a web of orange filament into the shape of the radiator end tanks, another piece of the 3D puzzle was being put together across the shop. Our head fabricator took a seat at his table behind the red curtain of our welding area and began fusing the pieces of our prototype core together. This core wouldn't hold any coolant, but it would let us test fit a dimensionally-accurate version of our radiator before beginning production.
With the end tanks printed and the core welded, it was time to see if our radiator would be right at home in the K2 or if we needed to go back to the drawing board. This test fit is a critical step in designing a larger radiator, especially for the K2. Our rad had to fit under the upper core support and still let the fan shroud mount without interfering with the rest of the engine bay components. Jason dropped in the prototype rad, slid the rubber bushings into the upper mounts, and spun the bolts into the core support. A few tweaks to the mounts helped get the rad to fit perfectly with the intake and our prototype test fit was complete.
But we weren't done with fitment testing just yet. Before we could call this project done, we needed to install a production version for the final OK. Jason made the final updates to his 3D model and we started manufacturing our production sample. A few weeks later, our all-aluminum K2 radiator was ready for its final test. For the last time, Jason removed the stock radiator from a volunteer K2 and installed our replacement.
Jason's diligent measurements months ago paid off and the production sample fit without a hitch. Fitting a radiator this large in the stock bay, without modifying anything on the truck, is no small feat. With a core volume 45% greater than the stock radiator and a 74% increase in fin surface area, our radiator is built to take advantage of every square inch of your K2's open grille. What you can't see from the outside, however, is what makes this radiator as strong as it is large. In the top and bottom eight rows of the core, we've used extruded and strutted tubes. These special tubes can withstand more internal pressure and help protect the radiator from any flexing that might happen over rough or uneven terrain.
The design and testing for this radiator is complete and that means that it's time for the pre-sale. For the next three weeks, this radiator will be available on our website at a deep discount. So, head over to our website and check it out, and as always, feel free to let us know what you think or ask any questions.
Thanks for reading!