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Restoring a radiator.........

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gasalley, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. gasalley
    Joined: Jan 10, 2013
    Posts: 116

    from East Texas

    Radiator sprung a leak right after I lowered my car last weekend, go figure. I took out the radiator and it is currently being restored. Quick and possibly dumb question- What paint can i use on the radiator? Does it have to be high heat or can it just be a regular rattle can?



    Btw, anybody still running the original bug screen? Just kidding, but i got kick out of seeing mine for the first time.......

  2. jstanotheidiot
    Joined: Oct 23, 2008
    Posts: 136


    I would paint the core n polish the tank. I have used rattle can to paint many radiator's never had a problem.
  3. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    You can spend money on special radiator paint but in 50 years of hotrodding I've never found it necessary. I use Krylon semi flat black. The secret is to just dust the paint on. Just enough to change the color. You will need to paint it from many angles to get the paint inside the fins so build up can be a problem. This is not a fender so just change the color and be careful of a lot of build up.

    If a radiator shop is repairing it, it will probably come back already painted with radiator paint.
  4. Although I'd never use it again, I used what the local radiator shop uses, high temp black Rustoleum.

    I'd never use it again because I just don't like the finish or the dry time of the product. But it did work on my radiator. Now if someone can tell me how to get it off?

  5. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Most radiator shops here paint the radiators after rebuilding. Would look better with the top tank cleaned and the rest black though.
  6. Abomb
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,659


    Easy off and a pressure washer ???
  7. I know the shops here paint the older radiators after the vat and repair them. HRP
  8. theylive
    Joined: Feb 2, 2012
    Posts: 84


    Rattle can works great... just prep it right.
  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,911


    If the top tank looks good and isn't dinged up from years of abuse I like the look of them polished but a lot of them just look better painted. Unless you tell the radiator shop I take mine not to they always paint them after they finish working on and testing them. The cores corrode pretty quick if they aren't painted from what I have experienced.
  10. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,005

    from Dublin, OH

    I was told to use the cheapest rattle can black.
    As said above, you just want enough to change the color on the core.
    The cheap paint is usually thin and the thin paint won't build to quickly.
    You can paint the tanks with Krylon or leave it brass and polish it and polish it and polish it!
    After mine was "restored" it made a tremendous difference in cooling.
  11. Take a flat bastard to it, that will get it off real quick. :D

    In my entire life time I have never purchased radiator paint, I just blow a light coat of whatever is in the garage at the time.

    By the way if someone buys a '58 Buick with a metalic blue radiator that car used to belong to me. :D
  12. gasalley
    Joined: Jan 10, 2013
    Posts: 116

    from East Texas

    Thanks for all the info. It would look pretty cool to polish the top tank, but a lot easier to keep if i just shot it semi black. As you can see from the pics, i need to freshen up the core support too.......


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