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What is a radiator core (and how do you tell if it is a 2, 3, or 4 core)? I've done a search on this topic (both here and at howstuffworks.com) but still do not really understand it. Are the cores in the tanks on the sides of the radiator?

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the "core" is the part with all the fins on it that actually does the cooling. when it says it has a 3 core, for example, it means there are 3 rows of cooling tubes going across(or down, depending how it is set up)the radiator. more "cores" genarally means more cooling capacity. it is easy to figure out how many "cores" a radiator has. just take off the cap and count how many tubes make up the thickness of the radiator, front to rear.2 cores seems to be the norm, with 3 and 4 cores in "heavy duty" applications, like trucks or hi perf cars or cars with air conditioning.
 
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