The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson

Overview      The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944    The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Serial Numbers for WWII Tanks built by the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development)AC Spark Plug   Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   GMC   GMI   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Saginaw Steering Gear   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck and Implement Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar   Caterpillar   Clark Equipment Company   Cleveland Tractor Company    Cummins Engine Company   Cushman Motor Works   Diamond T   Federal Motor Truck   Harley-Davidson   Indian Motorcycle   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Marmon-Herrington Company    Massey-Harris   Pacific Car and Foundry   Reo Motor Car Company   R.G. LeTourneau   Seagrave Fire Apparatus   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
   B.F. Goodrich    Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  


 Harrison Radiator Division of General Motors Corporation in World War Two
Lockport, NY
(As Delphi Thermal Systems)

This page updated 5-3-2018.

Harrison Radiator Division, because its product cooled various fluids heated by the internal combustion engine and was not seen, it has been overlooked as an important and major contributor to the winning of World War Two by the US and its allies.  However, heat dissipating equipment in the form of radiators, oil coolers, intercoolers and other types of heat exchangers produced by Harrison were prevalent in WWII military equipment to cool engine oil and coolants for many applications, including combat aircraft.  Without the radiator and oil coolers tank and truck engines would have overheated and stop running, and military aircraft would not be able to obtain the high altitudes needed for combat without intercoolers bringing down the temperature of air being supplied to aircraft engine carburetors.

In 1943 Harrison had 6,003 employees and on April 14th of that year it won the Army-Navy "E" award.  See more on the award at the bottom of the page.  Harrison added four stars to the flag over the next two years.

As one can see below, Harrison Radiator Division supplied a myriad of important cooling equipment for many types of weapons and equipment during WWII.

A World War One Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force.  During this conflict Harrison supplied radiators for the "Jenny".  Author's photo.

Harrison patented the radiator with the hole in the center of it to allow the propeller shaft to exit the engine.  Author's photo.

Harrison Radiator World War Two Product Groups and Applications
Product Group 1945 Percentage Products Applications Notes
Misc 3.8 Heat exchangers PT Boats PT boats have been placed here in that they were the only US Navy combat craft of WWII that were not diesel, as they were powered by Packard marine engines that used high octane aviation fuel. See the excepts from the Motor Torpedo Boat Engineers Handbook below.
Tanks and Trucks 18.9 Radiators, oil coolers M4, M5, M10, 2-1/2 ton 6x6 GMC and 1-1/2 ton 4x4  Chevrolet trucks These are the known vehicles.  There are no doubt many more.
Aircraft 43.4 Oil coolers, diverter valves, radiators, and supercharger intercoolers A-36, P-39, P-40, P-38, P-47 P-51A, SB2C, B-17, B-24, B-25 These are the known aircraft.  There are no doubt many more with the large percentage size of this product group.
Marine Diesel 26.4 Heat exchangers, oil and water coolers Submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers. These are the known ships.  There are no doubt many more with the large number of ships built of various types.
Automotive 7.5 Radiators Automobiles All automobile productions stopped in February of 1942.  This would be a limited amount of service radiators to keep the existing civilian fleet running.

The M5 Stuart tank had two Harrison Division radiators to cool the twin Cadillac V-8 engines that powered the tank.  Author's photo.

This photo is from the 1942 GM Annual Report and indicates Harrison supplied the radiators for the M10.

This M10C Achilles is the British Lend-Lease version of the M10 Wolverine tank destroyer built by the Fisher Body Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, MI, and was photographed at the Bastogne Historical Center in Belgium in May of 2008.  The 6,706 M10s that were built were powered by twin diesel engines that were built by the Detroit Diesel Division of GM, which would have been cooled by two Harrison built radiators.  Author's Photo.

This M4A2(76)HVSS Sherman tank is located at the Beatty Street Drill Hall in Vancouver, BC, and was one of 7,508 M4A2s built by the Fisher Body Grand Blanc, MI Tank Arsenal during WWII.  The M4A2(76)HVSS was powered by two Detroit Diesel 6-71 engines which used Harrison oil coolers and radiators.  Photo courtesy of David Jackson, Jr.

Harrison provided two radiators and four oil coolers for the 2,135 M26 Pershing tanks built by Fisher Body and Chrysler at end of the war.  Author's photo from Fort Jackson, SC added 9-22-2015.

Harrison radiators cooled the engines for GMC built 2-1/2 ton 6x6 trucks.  Author's Photo. 

This former Navy 1-1/2 ton 4x4 dump truck was one of many types produced by Chevrolet during WWII and equipped with Harrison Radiators.  Photo courtesy of Rob Ellert.

In April of 1943 Harrison employees were notified that the M7 Motor Gun Carriage was equipped with Harrison radiators.  4,315 were built during the conflict.  Author's photo from the Patton Museum added 12-1-2015.

Harrison supplied  radiators and oil coolers for 4,731 M24 Chaffee light tanks during WWII.  Author's photo from the Ropkey Armor Museum added 12-1-2015. 

This M4A2(76) photographed at the Milford Proving Grounds was one of  2,854 built by the Fisher Body Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, MI.  Previously 4,614 with a 75mm main gun had been built by Fisher.  These came with two Harrison radiators, two oil coolers and one transmission cooler.  The M4A2 was powered by twin Detroit Diesel engines and many of the M4A2 tanks were supplied to the Russians under Lend-Lease.  Those going to Russia came equipped with Harrison by-pass valves on the oil coolers to assist the oil warming up on engine starts in the cold winters.  Photo added 12-1-2015.   

The P-51D Mustang, along with the B and C models, were powered by the Packard built V-1650 Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which to many made the Merlin powered Mustangs the best piston powered fighter aircraft ever built.  In any event, the engine built up a lot of heat that needed to be dissipated through its radiator, which was supplied by the Harrison Radiator Division of General Motors.  Author's photo.

Even today, 70 years later with newer technology and materials available, the Harrison radiator built during World War Two is still considered to be the best unit to cool the Mustang.

The following is from an online "white paper" from the 51 Factory that rebuilds Merlin engines in San Mateo, CA.

"Radiator:  The original Harrison radiator is an excellent design and very efficient but is somewhat susceptible to plugged tubes as they are relatively thin and narrow.  Keeping the coolant clean and free of contaminates is critical.

The replacement truck core type radiators are less efficient, having fewer tubes with a larger cross section; however, they are less likely to become plugged with corrosion particles, silicates, and contaminates.

The best system is an original Harrison radiator in excellent condition having 95% or more the tubes open and maintaining clean coolant".  (Bolded added for emphasis by DDJ)

Today Mustangs are worth several million dollars and an engine rebuild starts at $100,000, so making sure the engine is properly cooled is important for correct operation of the aircraft. 

Here is the complete "white paper" from 51 Factory.

This diagram illustrates P-51 cooling system and the location of the Harrison radiator in the air scoop.  Illustration added 10-6-2015.

The Lockheed P-38, powered by twin Allison V-1710 engines, was instrumental in helping the US win back the Southwest Pacific in 1943-1944.  Depending on the model, P-38s had Harrison radiators, oil coolers and intercoolers.  This particular model is a P-38J.  Author's Photo.  

 P-38 radiators were located in the twin booms for all models.  Author's Photo.   

This is how a Harrison radiator would have been mounted in boom of the P-38.  Author's Photo. 

Previous to the P-38J and L models, the intercooler was long tubing located along the inside leading edges of the outer wings, which used conduction between the two metal surfaces to cool the air going into the carburetor.  The J and L models had a core type intercooler moved to the center intake below the engine while the two outside intakes are for oil coolers.  Author's Photo.

The oil coolers were always mounted below the engine in all models of the P-38.  Author's Photo.

Here a World War Two worker at Harrison Radiator assembles the cooling tubes for an oil cooler.  Once assembled, the tubes all have to be soldered together.

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt used Harrison intercoolers to cool intake air from the supercharger.  Author's Photo.

The shape of the P-47's fuselage was determined by size of its Harrison intercooler and General Electric super turbocharger system.  This example of off a this system is on display at the National Museum of WWII Aviation in Colorado Springs, CO.  Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

The museum has taken one of the exhaust outlets off to show the what the Harrison Radiator intercooler looks like.  Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

This photo gives a better view of the intercooler.  This is an excellent display as it the turbo system was so important to the success of the P-47, and yet because it is internal to the aircraft, is never seen. Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

This show how the exhaust and intercooler hot air exited the aircraft.  Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

Located on the bottom of the engine is an example of a Harrison oil cooler for the P-47.  Author's photo added 10-9-2017.

The North American A-36, the dive bomber version of the Allison powered P-51A, used Harrison Division built radiators, as did the Allison P-51A's.  Author's Photo.

The radiator was located behind the air scoop on the bottom of the A-36.  Author's Photo.

The Curtiss built SB2C also had its engine oil cooled by Harrison coolers.  Author's Photo.

The famous and distinctive looking Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.  When the US first entered WWII in December of 1941, the P-40 was the front line fighter for the US Army Air Force.  It defended the country and took the battle to the enemy until more modern fighters such as the P-38, P-47 and P-51 could be produced in quantity and enter the fight.  In the meantime, the P-40 held the line, for which  it gets very little credit today.  The P-40 took the fight to the enemy with the help of Harrison radiators and oil coolers that were located in the big and distinctive air scoop under the engine.  Author's Photo.

The P-40 used a Harrison honeycomb oil cooler that looked like this.  Illustration added 10-6-2015.

The P-39, also powered by an Allison V-1710 engine like the P-38 and P-40, was cooled by Harrison built radiators.  The radiator was located directly under the engine which is located behind the pilot.   Author's Photo.

The Bell P-39 was built in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY area, not far from the Harrison plant in Lockport, NY, where the radiators were built.  Today the Niagara Aerospace Museum, located at the Niagara Falls airport is part of what was the Bell Wheatland plant during WWII, has on display a P-39 found several years ago in a lake in Russia.

For more on this historic find and aircraft, the video below explains the significance of the aircraft.  Note towards the end at 3 minutes and 54 seconds the narrator mentions the original Harrison radiator was still in the aircraft and the Harrison ID tag is shown.

The famous B-17 Flying Fortress.  In 1939 Harrison Radiator Division engineers designed an intercooler to cool the hot air being supplied to the carburetors from the GE superchargers.  Harrison supplied many intercoolers for the B-17 throughout the war.  Author's Photo.

This drawing shows the location of the intercooler in a B-17 engine nacelle.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator, like the B-17, had one intercooler per engine that were supplied by Harrison.  Author's Photo.

The B-29's huge R-3350 engines required two GE superchargers and intercoolers each.  Author's Photo.

In August of 1945 Harrison notified its employees it was the supplier of elliptical oil coolers for the new Grumman F7F Tigercat twin engine fighter.  Author's photo added 9-22-2015.

The USS Slater DE-766 on display along the Hudson River water front in Albany, NY has at least two Harrison Radiator heat exchangers in the engine rooms.  Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

There are two Harrison Radiator engine heat exchangers on the GM Cleveland Diesel 8-268A service generator engine.  They can be seen along the floor line in the photo.  One is for engine coolant and the other is for engine oil.  Both use saltwater as the coolant.  Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

This Harrison Radiator exchanger is Model Number HE2120-354 and Part Number 8501957.  The Serial Number is 00-7360.  This is a replacement unit built on 12-5-1952.  With salt water running through it, it only makes sense that naval heat exchangers would have to be replaced on a regular basis.  Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

  Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

This is the second Harrison heat exchanger on the back up generator engine.   Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

The data plat on this heat exchanger shows the core was replaced in 1977 when the Greek navy operated the USS Slater.   Author's photo added 8-23-2017.

This Cummins Diesel Company engine was used in a WWII generator set that provided electrical power for small navy vessels during WWII.  The engine with a Harrison Radiator heat exchanger is on display at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum at the Columbus, IN airport.  Author's photo added 5-3-2018.

Harrison cast the "Cummins Dependable Diesel" into the heat exchanger casting.  Author's photo added 5-3-2018.

This is Model Number HE3403-300 with serial number K2323.  It was built on 4-25-1944.  Author's photo added 5-3-2018.

This is the USS Cod, a Gato class submarine from WWII on display at the downtown Cleveland, OH waterfront.  US submarines, along with other types of US warships, had numerous and various needs for cooling of all sorts of fluids within the ship.  The USS Cod, like many other Gato class submarines, was equipped with four diesel engines built in Cleveland by the Cleveland Diesel Division of General Motors. These were used for charging the batteries and running the generators which in turn powered the sub's electric motors while on the surface.  (This was different from the German U-Boats.  When on the surface their diesels would not only charge the batteries but also directly drive the propellers.)  The engines were cooled by fresh water circulated through cooling jackets around the engines.  The hot, fresh water was then run through a heat exchanger that used outside salt water as the cooling fluid.  Harrison Radiator supplied these type heat exchangers, or coolers as the navy termed them, for not only submarines but other ships during WWII.  Author's Photo.

This is the USS Yorktown, seen here in Charlestown, SC.  Ships of this size would have numerous and various applications for Harrison freshwater to saltwater heat exchangers or coolers.  Author's Photo.

This is a General Motors Cleveland Diesel 8-268 diesel engine driving a Westinghouse 3KVA generator which was used on many US Navy ships during WWII to supply ship's power.  The units utilized Harrison oil and water coolers.  Photo added 12-1-2015.

The Harrison water to water cooler.  Photo added 12-1-2015.

The Harrison oil to water cooler.  Photo added 12-1-2015.

The USS Kidd, DD-661, on display at Baton Rogue, LA represents the many different classes of US destroyers built during World War Two that would have had many different applications for Harrison built coolers.  Author's Photo.

In the September 1944 edition of the Harrison Chronicles it was noted that the USS Alabama was completely equipped with Harrison coolers.  Author's photo added 10-2-2015.

PT-199 passes by several ships in the invasion fleet to carry an admiral to the beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.  Three Packard engines powered a PT boat, each of which produced 1,500 hp, which produced a huge amount of heat for the Harrison coolers to dissipate.

In the background are a few of the 6,939 ships that participated in the Normandy landings, which was the largest fleet ever assembled.  Immediately behind PT-199 is a hospital ship, with others on the horizon.  Many of these ships had Harrison coolers, as the Navy called heat exchangers, working to cool various applications within.  Note in the Motor Torpedo Boat Engineers Handbook directly below that Harrison was specified to replace Elco coolers or heat exchangers for both oil and water for the Packard 4M-2500 engines.




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