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Cooling System Upgrade for your Jeep Wrangler

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This upgrade was done on a Jeep CJ but you can do the same to your YJ, TJ or just about any Jeep.

After installing a new performance 360 in my CJ, the factory-style radiator struggled to keep the temps down. Even in 80°F weather, the temps rose to 220°F+ quickly and never went south.

I had previous tried a popular budget upgrade, using a FlowKooler water pump and a Taurus SHO dual electric fan, but it made little difference (even though the new fan drew more air through the radiator than it had ever seen). Perhaps the four year old bargain, three core parts store radiator just wasn’t up to the task anymore.

Seeing how I had already invested a small fortune into my beloved CJ7 (it was my 16th birthday present and my first car) over the years, it was time to bite the bullet and move up to an aluminum performance radiator. Aluminum is said to make for a much more efficient radiator which dissipates heat quicker than its typical brass cousin. It was time to do some research and find what I needed at an affordable price.

My search brought me to Champion Cooling’s all aluminum radiators. I made a call and they went into great detail, describing their product and what I could expect  from one of their radiators. He told me that Champion has a radiator for just about every Jeep application from the 80’s to current models. Whether you have a CJ, FSJ, YJ, TJ, XJ, MJ, ZJ Champion has you covered and if you have something less than a Jeep like a Chevy, Ford, Dodge, they still have you covered. Champion has been supplying radiators for years for the racing and off-road market. They have been tested time and time again everywhere from the track to the desert to the rig that is your dual purpose daily driver. Rick told me that because their radiators are built to last and perform exceptionally well they are sold with a lifetime warranty. And the best part, its price is comparable to premium conventional radiators

Based on my conversation with Rick, my order was for their 3 core model CC583. They offer up to 4 cores for the CJ but it doesn’t have AC and I don’t live in the desert.  The 3 core would be more than adequate for my Jeep.

Less than a week later the UPS man was at my door. The radiator was well packed in Styrofoam and bubble wrap to protect it in shipment. Unpacked, it looked good enough to frame and hang on the wall.

The radiator was finished nicely, the aluminum shined good enough for a show car and the welds flowed beautifully. Putting the new and old side by side gave me more of a perspective of the obvious differences. The Champion was “bigger” in every aspect. The mounting brackets were solidly welded to the unit where the factory radiators aren’t and can crack over time. And it was much “cooler” looking than that old black piece of painted brass.

A radiator swap on a CJ or Wrangler is a piece of cake,  a few hours at the most, a job that anyone with a few simple hand tools and a repair or factory service book can easily do. The old radiator was already out,  the new Champion radiator was dropped in and fit perfectly. The electric fan was bolted in place over the radiator and we were almost ready.

After the hoses and transmission lines were reconnected the radiator was filled with coolant. The new cap supplied with the radiator sports a nice Champion Cooling Logo adding that custom touch to the install. The entire install took about an hour and went perfectly. How does it work,  GREAT! My initial test showed temps around 200. A far cry from the 220+ I was experiencing prior to the swap.

Champion also has radiators that will fit Jeeps converted to Chevy engines. They have been expanding lately and also carry shrouds, overflow tanks and electric fans ranging in size from 10 to 16 inches.

Ready to move up to aluminum? Check out their website at www.championcooling.com

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