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Radiators and Parts for Saturn SL

High-performance radiators belong to the heat exchangers class because they use liquid to cool the engine. They also heat the interior of the vehicle by transferring thermal energy from one medium to another. While Karl Benz has been credited with inventing the original radiator, it was Wilhelm Maybach who came up with the honeycomb radiator.

What is the difference between crossflow and downflow radiators?

When it comes to aftermarket performance-enhancing auto parts, the radiator in your Saturn has an important job. Its job seems pretty straightforward: keep the vehicle's engine from overheating. Advances in technology allow even the simplest of components to be optimized for performance, including your Saturn SL's radiator.

As the name suggests, a Saturn SL downflow radiator not only uses a water pump but also takes advantage of gravity to do some of the work. The coolant flows horizontally starting at the top, then takes a vertical route through the core, and finally through an outlet at the bottom. This gravity-aided system promotes quick circulation of the Saturn's liquid coolant.

On the other hand, there is the Saturn SL crossflow radiator, where the coolant flows very differently. Rather than having tanks on the top and bottom, the crossflow model has its tanks positioned on the left and right side. In this way, the coolant starts at one side and flows to the other side. This is intended to slow the flow of the Saturn's radiator fluid, promoting better cooling of the engine.

What other types of Saturn SL radiators are there?

Up until the mid-1980s, copper and brass radiators were installed in some vehicles. Back then, copper and brass were widely used since they were a great conductor of heat coming from the Saturn's engine. Nevertheless, these two metals are not as strong as aluminum, requiring that the tubes be small in diameter to better handle high pressure.

Many Saturn SL radiators are made from aluminum. Though aluminum is not as heat conductive, it makes up for this weakness through its strength and durability. This means the diameter of the tubes can be wider, allowing more coolant to flow through it. Furthermore, aluminum is approximately 60% lighter than brass or copper. This makes it great for high-performance and vehicle racing applications.

What's more important: tube size or quantity of rows?

With the advent of aluminum radiators, people have shifted their focus on the size of the cooling tubes and core thickness. When it comes to vehicle performance, it's very important that the radiator you choose is fully capable of displacing the Saturn engine's heat.