A Closer Look At the Kustom Cooling Freightliner Cascadia Radiator

Share Article

Kustom Cooling has provided the Freightliner Cascadia owners with a radiator capable or surpassing the heat rejection requirements of the OEM radiator as well as addressing the multiple failure points that Cascadia customers are currently experiencing. The OEM Freightliner Cascadia Radiator has been managing to between 150,000 – 200,000 miles before failure. Some of the common failures that are being seen across the country are; coolant leaks at the point of the plastic tank and core connection, the thin core tubes break over time whether it be vibration or road debris being kicked up into the core, and the transmission cooler connection since the OEM radiator uses brass fittings in a plastic tank. A radiator was never intended to be commodity like brake drums or tires.

Freightliner Cascadia trucks have a cooling problem, specifically the radiator. The current design utilizes plastic tanks crimped to an aluminum core, essentially an automotive design not intended for heavy duty trucks. The design itself creates a number of failures that commercial trucks should not be experiencing. Kustom Cooling set out to address these issues, the result is a 100% aluminum radiator that utilizes a fully patented “Wavy Fin” design, set in a Bar and Plate configuration. The end result is a line of radiators that are far superior to the OEM or current aftermarket options when it comes to quality, performance, durability and overall reliability. The Kustom Cooling Freightliner Cascadia Radiator has been on the road in various fleets for nearly 3 years with over 500,000 miles logged without a single failure. Rather than simply talking about the product, let’s take a look specifically at what failure points were addressed so you can see firsthand why the Kustom Cooling Freightliner Cascadia radiator is far superior to any other option on the market.

Let’s start with the structural design differences between the Kustom Cooling Radiator and the OEM radiator. The industry standard is to use a tube to fin design, as mentioned earlier Kustom chose to use a bar and plate design. This really means nothing unless you can see the difference. The next structural difference is the fin design, the industry standard uses Louvered Fin design that’s seen on the OEM product as well as the aftermarket radiators currently available. Kustom Cooling chose to take a different route and utilized a patented Wavy Fin design. The Wavy Fin design prevents clogging of the cores as a result of road debris since there are no catch points; the fin is smooth from front to back and makes maintenance very easy and pressure washer safe. The fin is also stronger and less susceptible to bending or lying over. Additionally since there is more contact area of the fin to plate, the overall strength of the core is increased as well as providing a more uniform control of thermal expansion as the coolant temperature heats up.

Time to address some of the failure points the OEM Freightliner Cascadia Radiator is currently experiencing. First up, the Tank to Core connection, the OEM uses a plastic tank and an aluminum core; the two are connected by being crimped together. The burst pressure of the OEM connection is 45 PSI. Since Kustom Cooling uses a 100% aluminum radiator to include aluminum tanks as well as an aluminum core, the two welded together providing a burst pressure of 100 PSI and take the failure point completely out of the equation. Another significant difference is the tube wall thickness, the OEM tube has a wall thickness of .005, the Kustom radiator uses a wall thickness of .06 substantially more material to help reduce tube failure due to vibration and road debris. Now let’s look at the transmission oil cooler. The OEM radiator utilizes a steel oil cooler with brass fittings inside the plastic tank. The connection of brass fitting to plastic tank will fail over time and allow the transmission fluid to leak around the fittings. Kustom Cooling used an aluminum transmission cooler and aluminum top and bottom tanks, this allows a threaded insert to be welded into the tank and completely eliminate the failure point. The next failure point addressed is the brass inserts in the upper plastic tank, specifically the way the overflow tank mounts. The OEM design uses brass inserts that are pressed into the plastic tank. Over time as the radiator heats up and cools down and the continuous road vibration the inserts become lose and pull out of the tank. Kustom Cooling chose to completely eliminate the failure point by brazing aluminum threaded inserts directly into the aluminum tank. Finally, let’s take a look at the side channel. The OEM radiator adds a piece of C-Channel aluminum to hold the core together and provide rigidity. Kustom Cooling chose to use a piece of flat bar that’s tied into the upper and lower tanks along the continuous weld around the core to tank connection. There is also a piece of 1/4″ thick neoprene to help reduce the road vibration when secured inside the radiator channels.

Kustom Cooling has not only produced a structurally superior product but also addressed multiple failure points and come up with a solution for each and every one of them. The engine is the most important drive train component in the truck doesn’t it make sense to provide proper heat rejection and minimize failures that ultimately compromise the engine? The Kustom Cooling Freightliner Radiator is backed with the best warranty available, 5 year 500,000 mile manufacturer’s defect. With proper maintenance this will be the last radiator you ever purchase.

Kustom™ Cooling, LLC., the leader in Thermal Management Solutions, enables equipment to operate efficiently and improves productivity. Kustom Cooling has a solution for all thermal management needs whether simply reversing an existing OEM fan to maintain the cleanliness of the cooling core or need an engineered and tested complete OEM cooling package. Kustom™ Cooling can service your needs with the best quality products available on the market today. For more information visit http://www.kustomcooling.com or call 888.564.8890

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Bo Bettencourt
Kustom Cooling
541.267.6990 110
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website


Tube to Fin v. Bar and PlateLouvered Fin v. Wavy FinOEM Tank to Core Connection v. Kustom Cooling Core to Tank ConnectionOEM Plastic Tank w/ Steel transmission cooler v. Kustom Aluminum tank w/ Aluminum transmission coolerPlastic Tank with pressed in brass inserts v. Aluminum tank with brazed insertsOEM C Channel v. Kustom Plate with neoprene vibration dampener