Everyday Hercules – Aluminum Radiator R&D, Part 2: Design & Prototype

What haven’t I said about Ford’s F-150? It’s reliable, affordable, capable, comfortable, and all the other -ables that you’d want from a truck, except for one. It’s not invulnerable. Like every vehicle, time takes its toll and something’s bound to break. If you’re lucky, you have some time before those tolls hit your F-150’s cooling system, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Mishimoto is working on a radiator to allow you to do just that.

Our last look at the 2015+ F-150 revealed that our radiator needed to replace not one, but three different factory radiators. Our goal was to combine the features of the two light-duty radiators and the heavy-duty Raptor radiator into one even better aluminum radiator. To start that process, we measured all three radiators, making sure to note any mounting locations, then brought in a 2018 Raptor to gather even more data.

The next step in creating our aluminum replacement radiator was to bring all our measurements into 3D space and begin designing. To make sure our radiator would perform better than even the heavy-duty Raptor radiator, we decided to increase the core thickness from 26 mm (the thickness of the Raptor radiator) to 52 mm. We kept the exterior dimensions of the radiator the same as the stock radiators to ensure it would fit like the OEM rads. That might sound like we’re leaving a lot of performance on the table, but with a 100% thicker core, we’re confident our radiator will outperform the stock radiators.

With our radiator rendered in the digital world, we needed to see if it would fit in the truck. To do that, we turned to our 3D printer to create the end tanks and our fabricator to weld up a prototype core. Once the plastic end tanks were linked to our aluminum core, we could pull the stock radiator out of our volunteer Raptor and test fit the prototype.

Two of our engineers, Ye and Dan, finessed the grille off the Raptor and then began draining the coolant, unclipping wiring looms, and coaxing coolant hoses off the stock radiator. After carefully removing everything in their path, Dan and Ye lifted the stock radiator out of the engine bay. It’s comical to see the radiator outside of the Raptor and to think that such a feeble radiator is trusted to cool such an imposing truck.  After setting aside the stock radiator, we bolted in our prototype and checked fitment with all the ancillary components.

Our prototype fit like a glove. Despite a core that’s twice as thick as the largest 2015+ F-150 radiator, we had no problem fitting the fan shroud or hoses between the radiator and the engine. If our radiator was going to cause an issue with any of the 2015+ F-150 models, it would be the jam-packed 3.5L Raptor. With our prototype test fit complete, we can move on to test-fitting the real thing. In the next post, we’ll be looking at our production sample radiator and seeing how it fits in the Raptor.

Stay tuned for the next update, and feel free to let us know what you think!

Thanks for reading,
-Steve

3 thoughts on “Everyday Hercules – Aluminum Radiator R&D, Part 2: Design & Prototype”

  1. Hey mishimoto I love your guys products I personally have a mishimoto radiator and silicon hose kit in my 2012 GMC Yukon slt now all I need is a transmission cooler I know times are Changing and cars are getting newer but just don’t forget about us old guys either I would love for team mishimoto to produce a transmission cooler for the 5.3 v8 just an idea thanks love u guys

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your kind words and your support! I’ll pass your interest in an earlier trans cool on to the team. We just finished up developing a trans cooler for the K2 platform, so it’s definitely something we’ll look into.

      Thanks again,
      -Steve

  2. Awesome. Been waoting for something like this from you guys. You guys have very few options for our F150s 2015s specially the Coyote Platform. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to Part 3.

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