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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2002, 01:23 AM
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Repairing a radiator

How hard is it to repair a leaking / smashed radiator? It looks like just two rods are cut, and not too bad. I have some soldering experience from a long time ago when I was learning to solder rain gutters. I just don't want to take it to a radiator shop and get charged $$$ if i could do it myself.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2002, 08:30 AM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

If there are just two tubes leaking you might luck out. If you can get to the ends of the tubes, clean them THOROUGHLY. Bright shiny copper all the way around the opening is your goal. Then you have two choices. If you can join the ends, solder them back together. If not, pinch them off and solder them closed. Losing two tubes won't seriously affect the cooling capacity.

If neither of these is possible, the next route is to unsolder the top and bottom tanks. Then you can identify the bad tubes at each end of the core, and solder them shut there.

Before getting too carried away with a DIY project, I'd take it to a shop and ask what they'd charge to fix it. My guess is that it wouldn't take too long for a pro to do it, so it shouldn't cost very much.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2002, 09:05 AM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

Jeep radiators are a problem for lots of shops to repair. They unsloder the top and bottom tanks and that leaves the core. Then they either rod out the core or throw it away and resolder in a new core. Replacement of the tubes would not be done. The problem with Jeep radiators is that they used very light metal tanks. Just by unsoldering them you can destroy the metal and then you're toats. A good radiator shop can do the job, but be prepared for sticker shock. In some cases it's almost less expensive to buy a new radiator. You'll just have to check this one out locally.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2002, 10:05 PM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

Thanks. Yeah, the reason I was thinking about doing it myself is because the radiator is like new. I think I only have about 6000 miles on it. It is an aftermarket (part of the problem) and it was located back real close to the fan & clutch. I was removing the spacers from my skid plate and was going to mess around with driveline angles to reduce vibration. Well, I forgot that the fan would move fwd after that because the front of the engine moved fwd, and so the clutch ate some radiator.

It is such minor damage, maybe I will get lucky. I will try to post some pics if I am successful. I am going to put in a flex fan for now and eliminate the clutch. Hope this works!
post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2002, 02:16 PM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

Well, it isn't pretty. But it wasn't too hard. I got a small spool of acid core solder for $5
I had quotes from $50-$100 to repair it from local radiator shops.

post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2002, 02:37 PM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

Sounds like an easy fix to me for a rad shop. I spent almost 15 years in 2 different ones. All they will need to do is clean it then cut the 2 tubes at each header plate then solder the holes closed. There's no need to remove the tanks if you are not going to rod the radiator out. I know of none that do that for a "standard repair". Costs around me run 35 to 50 for a standard repair. It might be wise to do some price checking because it is real easy to do more damage than good yourself. (since it's almost new) It is almost an art for good rad repair.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2002, 05:50 PM
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Re: Repairing a radiator

Radiators are EASY. Just use acid core solder. Wire brush. FLUX..... clean every thing twice.... get it nice and HOT.

Just heat the bad tubes at the end where they meet the tanks, pull the tubes and bend them outta the way. Usually we leave them in the radiator, just cut the tubes a little short to provide working room. Heat the tank and send in the solder. If you turn the radiator around, the solder will flow easily into the hole and flatten out. It takes patience, and practice. But once you know how to do it.... you'll do it with out a hesitation.
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