The CSF Radiator Challenge!  CSF vs Masiv

by Mike Kojima and Khiem Dinh

During the summer CSF radiator launched a bold ad campaign with MotoIQ: the CSF Summer Challenge.  CSF boldly challenged the entire radiator industry to s shootout to see who makes the most effective radiator with us conducting the test.  CSF's only rule was that a radiator for the challenge had to be an off the shelf part built for a given car available to the general public, not a one off bespoke radiator designed just for the test.

Only one company rose to the challenge to take on CSF, Masiv.  Masiv is a company that is well known in the industrial heat exchanger world and is now getting into the high performance automotive radiator business.  Masiv has just released a heavy duty radiator for the Scion/Subaru FR-S/BRZ.   CSF also had a radiator for the same cars and we happened to have several examples of the car around the palatial MotoIQ megashop available for testing

In order to stress out the cooling system we picked our Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S which happens to be supercharged and also equipped with a CSF radiator.  The supercharger would greatly increase the overall thermal load on the cooling system and we figured someone who is a forced induction system owner woul be a prime candidate for an upgraded radiator.

The CSF radiator is a state of the art high performance racing heat exchanger.  The tube design is called a B-Tube. The B-Tube does not use rows of tubes like a traditional radiator but has a long thinwalled plate much like a tube and fin intercooler.  The B part of the tube is an internal rib which both strengthens the tube and helps exchange heat to the outside of the tube better.  This exchanges heat 15% more effectively than the traditional oval shaped tube and is the same sort of tube used in the CSF GT-R radiator.  
A strong machined aluminum drain plug is used and the radiator employs a standard SAE cap. Made of all TIG welded construction, a CSF radiator also has a 40% higher burst strength than stock.  Finally the radiator end tanks are hand polished for nice looks!
Made of aircraft grade aluminum, the radiator core itself is 32mm thick vs the stock 15mm which is more than twice the thickness!  Typically a good heat exchanger design is less that 1.5" thick for best efficiency and the CSF falls right into this range.  
The Masiv radiator is about as opposite of a design from the CSF as possible.  It is a traditional design with brass tubes and multiple rows soldered together.  It is much thicker than the stock radiator as well as the CSF radiator.
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Graham Downey
Graham Downeylink
Monday, January 19, 2015 12:34 AM
im surprised Mishimoto or koyo didn't send a radiator for testing. thumbs up to Masiv for taking on the challenge.
Monday, January 19, 2015 3:00 AM
One important variable was not disclosed by this test: price.

If the masiv is half the price of the CSF, i do think it is worth the difference. If the pricing is equal, then ...

Not so surprised about mishimoto or koyo not acting. Their brand is already well established, only challengers can benefit from this test.
Monday, January 19, 2015 6:03 AM
If Mishimoto had sent in a radiator there would have been a good chance that it just leaked all over the floor. Would have been interesting to see how Koyo stacked up though.

You all should have weighed the coolant in each radiator as well. The smaller CSF holds less fluid and that would contribute a lot of weight savings as well, potentially more than the weight of the radiator itself.
Monday, January 19, 2015 6:57 AM
269.00 for the CSF, but I am not able to find a price on the Masiv website. There would have to be a pretty significant price difference to make it worth it.
Monday, January 19, 2015 9:13 AM
I would also be interested to see how the koyo performed under this same test. Doesn't the motoIQ FR-S with the innovate supercharger have a koyo? Could you borrow that one?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 19, 2015 10:44 AM
The test was only for the companies that accepted the CSF challenge.
Monday, January 19, 2015 2:44 PM
I'd like to see a Trackspeed Engineering Miata radiator go up against CSF.
Monday, January 19, 2015 8:32 PM
That 'Masiv' (ironic?) radiator is pretty cool, but I think it's better placed on a truck or a vehicle where reducing mass isn't such a priority. I just cannot see why you'd want it on a Sport Compact, I mean the test proves that it is overkill on a small engine, even when it's boosted.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 9:04 AM
-MASIV radiators use a 25 micron copper splitter fin -this is pretty much state of the art for fin design.
-The rads also use a custom low profile 19x1.2 mm tube which is the most aerodynamic in its class.
-The MASIV 86 radiator uses 2 rows not 3.
-The MASIV radiators use a 100% lead free construction giving all joints higher strength than conventional copper-brass radiators.
-Despite the air pressure drop being higher on the MASIV radiator being the thicker of the 2, it was obvious that both radiators were toe to toe. Meaning, that had this been a track test, with more airflow and pressure than the typical dyno fans, you'd actually see the MASIV radiator scale up.
-We know this because we've had a 630HP NSX running competitively with our radiator with a similar sized core, in Arizona for the past year finishing on top NASA AZ.

Granted the fit and inferrence issues we definitely need to refine this preproduction sample (as this was manufactured using hard tooled dies). Thanks for the review but we'd like to get in touch with you regarding some issues that would require correction for purposes of balance and accuracy.

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