Ford F150: Radiator Reviews

Keeping your Ford F-150 truck's engine cool is the smartest thing you can do if you want to keep your truck for a long time. Your radiator is one of the most important component that is responsible to keeping your engine going. Here is a breakdown of the most popular brands.

By Jeffrey Smith - September 17, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

The radiator in your Ford F-150 is one of the most important components in your truck. When it is time to replace the original, there are many factors to consider. A bad one will cause you nothing but pain and suffering and could end up costing you more in repairs than what you would have paid for a higher quality option. On the other hand, over paying for a radiator designed for racing or off road use is not the wisest thing to do if you are just a daily commuter.

Besides the price, the environment the truck is in should also be a determining factor in which brand is purchased. Some radiators are well designed for harsh fluctuations in weather. The type of coolant should also be considered in the type of material that is used in the manufacture of your replacement radiator. Some of the most popular brands are: Spectra, Vista Pro, C&R, and Sunbelt.

Spectra and Vista Pro are perhaps the more often used replacements because of their fitment to the Ford F-150 OE. Vista Pro is a direct OE replacement and has a drop-in fit. Spectra is identical to Ford's OEM radiator in every way, and Sunbelt has excellent fitment as well, while being a bit thinner than the OEM it replaces. C&R radiators will need a little more customization and is highly sought after for off road racing as it is the primary manufacturer used in NASCAR, Sprint Cup, and Indy Car racing.


Vista Pro
Price $200-$550 $170-$520 $700 $100
Use General General Racing / Off-Road General
Warranty 2 Year Limited Limited Lifetime 1 Year Lifetime
Material Plastic tank-aluminum core Copper and brass All aluminum Plastic tank-aluminum core; all aluminum; copper and brass
Best Quality: C&R

Best Value: Sunbelt


Price: $200-$550

Use: General All Purpose

Warranty: 2 Year Limited

Composition: Plastic and Aluminium

The Spectra radiator is designed identically to Ford's OEM radiator so it is easily installed with little to no modifications necessary. This radiator design is good for extreme fluctuations in ambient temperature. This radiator has received good reviews with a chief complaint that the O-rings in the transmission lines where they go in and out of the radiator are a bit thin. Spectra is manufactured under ISO 9001 / TS 16949 quality systems. For the moderate price point on this radiator and the drop-in installation, this is a good choice in replacement radiators.

Vista Pro

Price: $170-$520

Use: General All Purpose

Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Composition: Copper and brass

The Vista Pro Ready Rad is a good quality direct OE replacement radiator for Ford. This means it is basically drop in ready, easy to install and the fitment will be nearly identical to the original. Although this is a copper and brass radiator, it has a plastic tank seal that optimizes sealing surface for a longer lasting seal. Other design improvements over the OEM is the Stress Flex side column design for greater strength against vibration, pressure cycle and distortion as well as O-ring /grooves in the flange oil cooler. This patent pending design provides a better seal. Given that the radiator is composed of copper and brass, care must be taken to use the correct coolant type. The long life coolants are designed for aluminum radiators and can potentially eat through the solder causing leaks. As long as the right fluid is used in this radiator, the price point along with a limited life time warranty makes this a very good choice replacement.


Price: $300-$2400

Use: Racing, Off-Road

Warranty: 1 Year

Composition: All aluminum, tank and core

The C&R replacement radiator is one of the highest quality radiators on the market today. C&R have furnace brazed cores with no epoxy for the strongest, lightest weight, highest efficiency, most reliable, and longest lasting. These are the radiators used in NASCAR, Indy Car, dirt track, and off road racing. They will need some customization to get the correct fitment. With a very high price point and only a one year warranty, it is difficult to endorse this radiator for an OEM replacement for anything but an off-road or racing application.


Price: $100 - $150

Use: General All Purpose

Warranty: Lifetime

Composition: Plastic tank-aluminum core; all aluminum; copper and brass

The Sunbelt radiator comes in three different compositions: plastic tank with aluminum core, all aluminum, and copper and brass. These options make it one of the most versatile replacement radiators in the market. Sunbelt also makes a standard and heavy duty version. The fitment is excellent; drop-in with little effort. The chief complaint is that it does not come with a radiator cap. It is approximately .75 inch thinner than the OEM radiator. Given the low price point, available options and lifetime warranty, this is probably the best value in aftermarket radiators for the Ford F150.

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