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Old 10-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
flypa38
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Default DIY radiator repair?

Any of you had any luck with real radiator repairs at home? I'm not asking about leak stop products here..... I've soldered small leaks in tanks before with success and repaired overflow tubes, but have any of you ever attempted a re-core or other major repair at home? How about dis-assembly enough to get to the core tubes?
Secondly any tips for repairing a small dent on my radiator top tank? Cant get to the inside of it......

Thanks!
Johnny
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
R Pope
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I have both shortened and narrowed rads, but never again since I discovered a rad shop!
Try soldering a nail to the bottom of the dent and pulling it out.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
lostn51
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I tried repairing mine once and failed miserably. Its sometimes a lot cheaper (and less stress) if you can find a radiator shop to fix it for you. They can tear it down rod it out and put it back together again in less time than it takes for us to find the crap to do the job with. And where else can you get a paint job that never dries..........

Billy
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
porknbeaner
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flypa38 View Post
Any of you had any luck with real radiator repairs at home? I'm not asking about leak stop products here..... I've soldered small leaks in tanks before with success and repaired overflow tubes, but have any of you ever attempted a re-core or other major repair at home? How about dis-assembly enough to get to the core tubes?
Secondly any tips for repairing a small dent on my radiator top tank? Cant get to the inside of it......

Thanks!
Johnny
I have popped the tank tops off to rod the core out, I have never replaced a core that I can think of right off the top of my head. I pretty much always solder up any leaks that I get at home. I must say though I have made some worse before they got better a time or two.

A quick easy way to get a dent out of the top is to drill a little hole in it and stick a sheet metal screw in it then pull the dent with a slide hammer. Then a little spot of solder will repair the hole.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
manyolcars
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

All the local radiator shops have quit doing car radiators. They WILL do them but insist on $400! I spent hours on google trying to find the info to repair a radiator and got stupid websites. One said, find out where the leak is then install a new radiator. Someone please post tip size, gas pressure, brand of flux and solder.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I tried to pull a dent with a nail tacked to the top tank of a 40 ford,,thought I would save a few bucks,,ended up taking it to the radiator shop and paying more than the original quote for repair.

I will come clean and tell you guys I was too embarrassed to take it back to the original shop that quoted me the price. HRP
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
White_Attack
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I took a radiator core to a shop recently and they said they would have to re-core it. . . for $400! So I bought another one for half that price -used. But it works well =)
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I built Radiators for a couple of years here in Phoenix in '82 and '83. Most that try it at home run short of very specialized tallent real quick. It is super easy to make a good header leak just soldering a tank back on. Do yourself a favor, take it to a shop and have it done. I just had one rodded at a local shop a week ago and it cost 90.00 to do.That was at Performance radiator here in Phoenix.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:50 PM   #9
ClayMart
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lostn51 View Post
... And where else can you get a paint job that never dries..........

Billy
Well... since Earl Scheib closed, nowhere, I guess. Except maybe at the shops that do driveshaft rebuilding!
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:48 PM   #10
mustang6147
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I repaired mine between rounds at the drag strip, only because it was the final round late in the year. I replaced it Monday morning....

I know enough to leave it to the pro's and and not plug my cooling system with additives...
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I tried on my daily driver Buick in '78. I succeeded..........in making the guy at the radiator shop richer.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:55 PM   #12
manyolcars
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

there has to be someone on the HAMB who knows how to solder a radiator
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:06 PM   #13
eugene vik
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

well i was a broke stock car racer with a lot of leaks and no money so i soldered

use acid core, tin and brush just like fluxing for leading, use pressure tester and fill with water cap and test
try to find the old acid core solder
use a propane torch or use a leading flame on torch for soldering

i got a tank on my farm tractor to do soon
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #14
HemiRambler
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I switched the lower tube on one. Removed the tank. Removed the tube. Spun a brass "freeze plug" to solder in old opening. Cut undersized hole on opposite side. Hammered the lip to duplicate the factory edge. Soldered tube in - inside and outside - they angle cut them so you can also solder it to the bottom center of the tank - at least on this one they did. The hardest part of it all was putting the tank back on - that could drive a fella crazy - might have been better off with multiple torches ??
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:57 PM   #15
56don
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I re-soldered the upper mount that came off on a used 34 radiator. It also had a seam that ruptured on the upper tank and I fixed that. I didn't use solder per se. I reattached it with body lead using the same technique as you do when leading a fender. I used the acid,tinning compound,wax, paddle,etc. Its seems to be holding good. It also passed a pressure test.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #16
gearhead1952
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I spent $300 having the radiator recored in my f1. The guy did a sloppy job. I don't recommend Arvada Radiator on sheridan. Left bits of solder inside, bent fins on the new core and there was a leak where the lower core met the tank. I used a mapp gas torch and plumbing flux and solder to close it just because that is what I had. Has held up fine for at least two years now. They use solder that melts at different temps in order to put them back together so go easy with the torch as you can melt out a lot of solder quickly.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #17
porknbeaner
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manyolcars View Post
All the local radiator shops have quit doing car radiators. They WILL do them but insist on $400! I spent hours on google trying to find the info to repair a radiator and got stupid websites. One said, find out where the leak is then install a new radiator. Someone please post tip size, gas pressure, brand of flux and solder.
I use ruby red flux and whatever solder that I have lieing around. I like rosin core solder but I have even used acid core solder or solder with no core.

If you use an aceteline torch use about a number 3 tip and don't make your cone real tight. I normally use a propane torech unless I am going to use silfoss. I very seldome use silfoss, soft solder works just fine and you don't have to get it as hot.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:23 PM   #18
jazz1
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

So often a rad in need of repair is due for recore or replacement,,,Had enough of removing a rad to repair leak only to get another leak a week down the road. I had a rad shop recore the rad in my '41 IHC. $500 but I now have a better rad than what is currently available on the market for my truck
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:21 PM   #19
Rusty O'Toole
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manyolcars View Post
there has to be someone on the HAMB who knows how to solder a radiator
I know but I can't teach you in 2 minutes. You have to learn to solder. The metal has to be clean and bright, you have to tin it. Then put the parts together as tight as possible, get the right amount of heat and flow the solder in. Getting the heat just right is more important than the solder. And it has to be clean and tinned or it won't take the way it should.

It takes quite a bit of practice to be any good. Once you have the knack you can flow the solder like water and fix a leak in minutes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: DIY radiator repair?

I've done a few. A couple 50's jag radiators, one or two from 30's chevys, and some quick repairs on others. Only trouble I've really had is, on the ones with the cast hose necks, getting the hose neck to make a good joint with the tank.
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