98 TJ, stock engine, 140K mi. Radiator caked with crust and leaking slowly. A radiator flush will probably just increase the leak, so am going to buy a new one. Found OEM units about $100. There are all kinds of sweet looking aluminum radiators for a lot more money - yes i want one! My engine has NEVER run hot, so I think OEM honestly works fine. Any reason to pay more for the nice looking aluminum ones (other than yes, they do really look cool!)
I bought a replacement radiator from Advance Auto Parts for $150 ($125 with discount) which I thought was going to be plastic like the original. When I got it home, I was surprised and happy to find it was all-aluminum. This was especially nice since the previous owner managed to blow a chunk out of the old radiator...
By the way, it was a Ready-Rad Radiator Part No. 431512. I can't guarantee that the one you get will be all-aluminum, but that's just what I got. If you do buy from Advance, buy it online and then go pick it up at the store so you can use one of their online discount codes.
I have a replacement from radiator barn, I paid around $110 I think, it came at the recommendation of Distortedtj and ageless-stranger who are both very knowledgeable in jeeps, ik that Jerry and i disagree on this cause we've had this conversation before but that's my .02
My only issue with the OE rad is the plastic upper and lower housings, that's what failed on mine.
Do I look like a cat to you boy? Am I jumpin' around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree? Am I drinking milk from a saucer? DO YOU SEE ME EATING MICE?
Any reason to pay more for the nice looking aluminum ones (other than yes, they do really look cool!)
No, there is no reason other than it looks cool to pay more for an aluminum radiator. but if that's your thing then go for it. I personally think they look cool as well but cat justify the price difference just to look cool..
I bought a Griffin aluminum for my 97 and I have one in my 89 YJ also. They are lighter than the OEM radiator and with an ARB bumper and Warn winch on the front I was looking to get rid of some weight on my 97. I also took out the A/C condenser since I was not using the A/C anymore to save a little more. I have had one OEM unit fail where the plastic tank is bonded to the core. Emotionally I have a hard time with plastic in my radiator. The aluminum radiator I bought also holds 25% more antifreeze, which can't be a bad thing. We do a lot of semi slow off roading on woods trails at times, not a ton of air flow. I have had the radiator in my 89 for 3 summers now and with a 180 thermostat in it the temp gauge rarely goes above 180.
As everyone has said, they look cool also. I am as proud of the way my engine compartment looks as I am proud of the exterior. Cleans up real easy at the car wash after a muddy, wet day of off roading.