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BARS LEAK..?? Good/Bad..?? Heater core advice..??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ESnacky6, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. ESnacky6
    Joined: Aug 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,067


    In my never ending quest to get my '65 Riviera completely roadworthy,
    I have encountered yet another little problem that needs to be addressed...

    I drove my car around for the better part of yesterday...
    (It's been at my 'buddy's' paint shop for the last 18 MONTHS,
    for those not-in-the-know...)
    It felt really good cruising around, visiting friends, 'showing off' my car,
    and getting 'thumbs-ups' and honks as I drove around town...

    But today, my windshield started fogging up REAL bad...
    the condensation didn't wipe off very easily, and it smelled of coolant...

    I figure the heater core has devoloped a little bit
    of a leak from sitting so long...
    not so bad as to get the carpet all wet, or leave a puddle under the car,
    but bad enough to create some steam, and it gets worse when
    I turn on the heat or the defroster...

    Finally, my question...

    How good is Bars Leak..??
    Some people say it's like magic, never had a problem...
    But I've heard the theory that it can clog up the water
    passageways inside of the engine too...

    I would think that could be more of a problem in an older engine...
    one that has sat for a long time, corroded on the inside...

    But my 425 was rebuilt 6 months before I took it to the paint shop...
    The oil has just been changed and it runs like a top...180 degrees all day long...

    Who has 'yays' or 'nays' on the subject..?? Does it sound like I nailed the problem..??

    Is BARS LEAK the answer that I'm looking for..??

    As always, Thank you for any help/comments etc...

    (By the way, I'm just waiting for a nice sunny day to take pics of the car...
    Wait and see...)

  2. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,449


    Reconnect the heater feed hose to jumper around the heater core. Replace the heater core when you have the time and money. Don't screw around with quick fixes, you get what you pay for...
  3. Crease
    Joined: May 7, 2002
    Posts: 2,873


    Never used the stuff, but sounds like your car is worthy of a new heater core. If the car was an old piece of crap, I would give it a shot. However, it sounds like the rest of the car is first class. Just my opinion, but I would replace it or get it fixed.
  4. cadlights
    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 865

    from Hooper, Ut

    Bars Leak works but it has a tendecy to clog things.
    If ya want something to hold ya over I recomend Alumaseal.
    It's a powder and works just as well but doesn't clog things as bad. Most older parts stores sell it. I'm not sure about Checker and auto zone. I've had good luck with it but some folks may disagree. Let's hear it.
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  5. briggs&strattonChev
    Joined: Feb 20, 2003
    Posts: 2,231


    just yesterday I was talking to a friend that has a late 80's ford pu, and he had to replace the engine in it due to overheating. The problem was, he had a leak, so he put the bars leak into the truck. After driving the truck about an hour or 2, the temp went really high. He got out and saw that there were no leaks, so he guessed it was a bad guage and drive on. A little while later the pickup started running shitty, so he brought it to his house. His mechanic looked at it, and found that the thermostat was stuck from a pellet in the bars leak, and it ruined the engine. The mechanic said the engine coolant has to be warm/hot when the bars leak is put into the system, so the pellets dissolve faster. Well he didnt have a warm engine when he put the bars leak in and that was the problem. Ive never used the stuff, but after hearing that I dont think I will..........................Briggs
  6. Deyomatic
    Joined: Apr 17, 2002
    Posts: 3,093

    from CT

    I've used it a few times on a few different applications. I've had it work very well on some fairly good sized leaks, It is only a temporary fix, though. It is usually a band aid to get you home.

    I agree with bypassing the heater core alltogether, isn't Santa Barbara fairly warm? Wear long pants and a jacket and you'll be ok. I don't have heat in any of my cars here in Phoenix.

    One leak in particular was on the front of my radiator, so as I was driving, the water sprayed onto the windshield. When you hit the wipers with coolant on your windshield, everything goes white. Like a shade was pulled.
  7. Mel
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 536


    I used it and it worked for about a week... then the spot where the Bars plugged the leak began to form a spider web of cracks making a really big mess of holes. Finally had to use a small piece of copper and solder up the holes and solder the copper over that for extra reinforcement. Personally, I would do it right the first time because I need a new radiator now... it's pretty bad and will break again since I tried to use a cheap fix.

    As for your heater core... I would bypass it for now until you can get it fixed properly or replaced. Not worth the hassle of doing it a second time.

    Just my $.02

  8. 67Imp.Wagon
    Joined: Jun 16, 2001
    Posts: 1,191


    I've used the powder Cadlights is talking about with good results. I have heard if you keep adding it over time that it can clog things up.
  9. Put in a heater core- that way its fixed- and breathing just a little antifreeze steam will make you pretty ILL.
  10. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,707

    Fat Hack
    from Detroit

    Like most others have said...either replace the core or by-pass it until you can. Bars Leaks doesn't work well on heater cores for some reason...and even if it DOES seal it for a little while, you'll end up with coolant spewing into your interior at the most inconvenient time!

  11. BELLM
    Joined: Nov 16, 2002
    Posts: 2,585


    CharlieLed is right on, as usual. Don't waste the price of a stop leak. Put the money toward price of heater core. And yes, you diagnosed right, classic symptoms of heater core leak. Bypass it now, replace when you can. If you patch it will crap out worst possible time. Don't try to repair it, replace it.
  12. lownslow
    Joined: Jul 16, 2002
    Posts: 1,921


    jack ,
    i would just replace the heater core . that way it is fixed right .your car is too nice to put a bandaid on it and hope for the best . i have had good and bad luck with that stuff .my olds needs the heater core replaced too . but i dont have the cash right now so i bypassed the heater core dont want that leaking all over your interior .....dude that sux...but atleast you are drivin her now........
  13. McGrath
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 1,414


    Bars leak has a tendency to stop up water passages. I had a major leak in the Radiator of my f100 when I first put the SBC in it. One can of Aluma-Seal fixed it, and that was nearly two years ago. Hasn't leaked since.
  14. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 7,245


    We were leaving Kansas City 10:00 on a Sunday night and my buddy broke a bolt on the radiator mount, needless to say the radiator got into the fan. The radiator had a bunch of small leaks. He was getting ready to call a tow truck and we found some BARS LEAK at the gas station. We bought two bottles and dumped them in and it stopped the leak. We used some wire on the mount and we drove home in one peace. (four hours)

    Will it fix your Heater Core? I've used it twice on a heater core without any luck. I discounected the heater and drove it until I had the money.

    But don't go on a road trip without it!

    Happy Trails,


  15. Fraz
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,818

    from Dixon, MO

    The aluminum powder stuff works great. First car I owned sprouted a radiator leak shortly after I got it and I was too broke to fix it. Grabbed some of the Aluma-seal and put it in there, ran the car for another 3 years with no more problems. I would recommend putting it in a warm/hot radiator, with the car running so that it'll circulate. And don't dump the thing in all at one time.

    Oh, and be glad you don't have a 59-60 Buick with a leaky heater core and live in the midwest where it's f'n COLD today. Mine's bypassed for the same reasons (leaks like a mofo).
  16. McGrath
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 1,414


    About 15 yrs ago I had a leaking Heater core, and no money to buy a new one. I fixed it with Aluma Seal, but the way I did it was almost as much work as changing it out. I used one of those little pumps that run off an electric drill, and a metal bucket full of water and Aluma-seal setting on an electric heat plate.

    I ran hose from the bucket, through the drill-pump to the heater core, and another hose coming back to the bucket. To get back-pressure on the core I ground down a piece of broom handle to fit inside the end of the exit hose, then drilled a 3/8" hole through it. I set the heat plate on a medium setting to keep it hot, but not boiling.

    Within 15 minutes it quit dripping on the floorboards, but I let it go for about a 1/2 hour just to be sure, then switched to plain water to flush the excess powder out of the Core.

    It was still leak free a couple years later when I sold it, but if you have the Money it would probably be better to put a new Core in.
  17. luckystiff
    Joined: Mar 20, 2002
    Posts: 1,471


    i say go with the bypass and fix when ya got the extra dough. thats what i did when the heatercore went in the wildcat. happended mid summer so i didn't have to worry about it for like 6 months. i was still using it as a daily car back then. enjoy having it back for a bit then when ya got a few extra bucks and a free afternoon change it out...ken....
  18. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,501

    from Hypocrisy

    Don't do it. All of these remedies are temporary at best and severely damaging at worst. I wrecked a perfectly good engine in my first Consul Capri that way, not to mention burning most of my forearm. If you're stuck a thousand miles from home, maybe it'd be worth using, but for a nice car like your Rivi, no way.
  19. 286merc
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,794

    from Pelham, NH

    My one and only experience, decades ago, with the pellet version of Bars was a disaster. I have found Alumaseal to be the best and used it in many vehicles with good results and never any problems.
    However back in the spring my 85 Dodge van radiator started a leak while I was out of state. The first and second places I went didnt have Alumaseal but the 2nd had Bars Aluminum something or other. It looked like Alumaseal mixed in with a liquid.
    I poured it in and havent had a problem since, no plugging the heater core either. Thats about 20K miles.

    Alumaseal and apparently the Bars version stop the leak by jamming the sealant into the hole and it then hardens where it is exposed to the air. In that case it would probably be a good idea to flush the system of whatever is still circulating. Im going to do that this weekend, finally, as we get ready for winter. And remember to carry a spare tube of Alumaseal just in case.

  20. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 13,553


    Forget the BARS LEAK,

    use fine ground black pepper,

    it works better and it's free at the local diner when your on the road.

    but if you give a shit about the car don't just treat the symptom,

    cure the disease.

    That stuff is like fix a flat is to a tire.

    (pretty much unanimous so far huh?)

  21. Smokin Joe
    Joined: Mar 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,769

    Smokin Joe

    I've got a 500 Caddy engine sitting in my shed because my brothers and sister kept putting stopleak crap in my mom's caddy till it plugged it up and fried it instead of telling me it was leaking so I could fix it. All it had was a leaky softplug. Softplug is a bit cheaper than a rebuild! [​IMG]
  22. ESnacky6
    Joined: Aug 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,067


    Allllrighty then....

    No Bars Leak...I promise...

    I'll block it off until I find a new heater core...
    Or until I tear into my console and yank mine out to get it fixed...

    Anybody do that before..?? Looks like it'll be a BITCH..!!!!

    Damn old cars... [​IMG]

  23. briggs&strattonChev
    Joined: Feb 20, 2003
    Posts: 2,231


    this summer I ran a demolition derby car, and it had a radiator leak and I dumped in a big container of pepper and it fixed a leak that I had. While I was using the car, the upper radiator hose blew out and shot hot pepper-water all over me and another driver. I never knew pepper could burn the eyes so badly...................Briggs
  24. 100% of the heater core problems i have had have always been the inlet or the outlet to the core.

    i say pull it braze the in and out tubes back up re-install and your done.

    just make sure u pressure test it before the reinstall part....ifn u know what i mean......

    have u been fiddling around in that engine compartment lately..could have put a little body weight on the hoses and created that leak
  25. ESnacky6
    Joined: Aug 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,067


    No, it's just been sitting at the paint shop...

    Everything worked just fine 18 months ago...

    I'm sure just a little part of it corroded just enough
    to cause it to leak and create a little steam...

    Just my luck that it's not easy to get at...AT ALL..!!!

  26. gege
    Joined: May 18, 2002
    Posts: 192


    bars leak in the old days meant you were drunk and could not make it to the rest room in time. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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