Radiator Blinds

Engine Oily Bits, Ignition, Fuelling, Cooling, Exhaust, etc.
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osholt
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Radiator Blinds

#1 Post by osholt » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:56 am

I think this is the right board to post in as radiator blinds are relevant to engine cooling but it could have quite easily have fit in elsewhere too.

We replaced the front grill and bumper on my car a few weeks ago to smarten it up a bit. While doing this we noticed that there is radiator blind fitted. It is rolled up at the bottom of the radiator and looks like it could be deployed using a cable presumably to the drivers footwell. It looks like it has not been used in probably decades and any electrical or mechanical linkage to it are no longer present or well hidden.

I didn't spot any markings on it. Were these commonly fitted? Does anyone have any history on this kind of addition?

Thanks,

Oliver
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TedTaylor
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Re: Radiator Blinds

#2 Post by TedTaylor » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:30 pm

My father had one of these fitted to one of his cars - think it was his Austin A35.

The idea of them is that you pull the end of the linkage under the dash (on my dad's it was a cable with bobbly end to hook into a slot on a bracket also screwed under the dash) to make it come up and blank off the radiator. Release the cable and it returns like a house roller blind to make the radiator clear again.

This enabled the engine to run warmer so the heater was hotter ( :roll: ). Useful in VERY cold weather like the winter of 1962/63 when he fitted it.

Hope this makes sense :?

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Re: Radiator Blinds

#3 Post by johnnydog » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:13 pm

My father had a Wolseley 1500 in the early 60's on which he fitted a radiator blind. I don't remember much about his use of it, but in those days you also put a parrafin heater under the sump to warm the oil whilst the car was in the garage during the winter months!
Even if you regularly use your Triumph in the winter, I wouldn't suggest there is any particular need for it with our English weather. Our Triumphs do tend to run cool anyway (when the cooling system is in good order) and any restriction on the airflow at the front will obviously increase the coolant and running temperature, and, from experience, increasing the coolant temperature isn't always conducive to smooth running, ie.increasing the possibility of fuel evaporation in the carbs especially on tick over or when you come to a temporary stop.
Maybe try it whilst the weather is cooler and seeing what difference you see on the temperature gauge. My cars run best when the gauge sits just to the cool side of 'N', and they all have standard 82* thermostats in them.
It maybe should be classed as a 'period' accessory and left as just that.
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Re: Radiator Blinds

#4 Post by osholt » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:00 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I don't intend on using it as I think it is beyond salvageable. It's more of a historic curiosity. I won't be removing it unless the radiator desperately needs to come off which I think is unlikely.

I am more interested in who the manufacturer would have been, the popularity of them during the 70s etc. Were they common place? I'm guessing not based on your replies.

I haven't been able to find any specific information on period manufacturers. I presume this wasn't a Triumph / BL accessory which could be ordered?

I need to take the prop shaft off and inspect (and most likely replace) the UJs soon so I might try and get some photos or find some remnants of old cabling or holes cut for the blind.

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david_rachel
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Re: Radiator Blinds

#5 Post by david_rachel » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:25 am

I remember seeing the blinds advertised in places like Autocar, Motor and Motorsport back in the day. I run with an exterior radiator grill muff on my MG 1300, fully closed during the winter :D

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Re: Radiator Blinds

#6 Post by Alec » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:00 am

Hello all,

the Jensen 541 had a flap as part of the radiator intake which could be varied depending on ambient temperature, a very neat idea. Personally I think it was a more attractive car than the later Interceptor. If you use Google image syou can see pictures with it open and closed.

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Re: Radiator Blinds

#7 Post by Clifford Pope » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:35 pm

They were really a hangover from the days when cars didn't have very good thermostats, or none at all, and relied on mostly thermosyphon for coolant circulation. So regulating the radiator temperature was often the only effective way of management in cold weather.
But in a decent cooling system with a working thermostat, the radiator temperature is irrelevant. It is the thermostat that controls the temperature - all the radiator does is dump any excess heat passed to it by the thermostat.

A certain amount of cooling is nonetheless done by direct airflow over the engine block, and in arctic conditions that can be important.
More critically, excessive cooling of the carburettors can be a problem, hence the various devices to manage that - air shields, heated manifold, heated air intake with manual Summer/Winter control, or thermostatic.


Going one stage further than the paraffin heater under the sump was the reminiscences I heard of life in back-woods America during a big freeze. It was important when getting home to drain the sump immediately before it cooled and became too sluggish. Then you left the can on the hot stove over night and poured it back into the engine before setting out.

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Re: Radiator Blinds

#8 Post by johnnydog » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:00 pm

Clifford Pope wrote:Going one stage further than the paraffin heater under the sump was the reminiscences I heard of life in back-woods America during a big freeze. It was important when getting home to drain the sump immediately before it cooled and became too sluggish. Then you left the can on the hot stove over night and poured it back into the engine before setting out.
Bit of a faff if you just needed to pop out for a loaf of bread.......! :lol:
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Re: Radiator Blinds

#9 Post by tony » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:49 am

My A35 circa 1962. Spent a lot of time in the snow then. Wish I still had her :roll:
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Re: Radiator Blinds

#10 Post by Dave B » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:26 pm

tony wrote:My A35 circa 1962. Spent a lot of time in the snow then. Wish I still had her :roll:
Tony.
My aunt had an A35 around that time, and my job as a young lad was to operate the indicator switch, which as you know, was in the centre of the dashboard. It was a little more difficult on her next car, an Austin 1100 ! Happy days :)
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