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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2000, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

Installed new bombproof motor mounts last week and while test driving today smelled antifreeze. Looks like I have a small leak around the upper hose nipple area. How do you solder this? Will MAPP gas do it?I have done a lot of plumbing, is it similar, can I use regular solder? What about flux? I have access to an oxy/acetylene torch but have never tried brazing.

Max

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2000, 09:59 PM
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

It can be soldered, but it has been my experience that once you start leaking in that area of the top tank its time for a new radiator (or top tank at least if you can find one for your radiator). If you solder it you will just start chasing leaks. Face it, time for a new radiator, your peace of mind while a million miles from nowhere will thank you. BTW, I just bought a new radiator, they seem to last about 8 years, then the metal just starts getting thin.

Brad
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2000, 04:29 AM
 
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

I have used JB cold weld on radiators with good results. On what sounds like such a small hole this may be the way to go.



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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2000, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

Brad,
What did you pay for it? Nobody open today to check prices.

<<<I have used JB cold weld on radiators with good results. On what sounds like such a small hole this may be the way to go>>>

It is a very small leak, just an oozing really. Maybe this would be the way to go. I'm in the middle of an axle project and funds are tight right now.

Max

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2000, 09:16 AM
 
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

If it is just a stress crack where the top tube goes into the top (or bottom) of the radiator is can easily be torch soldered.
Take the rad out, lay it on it's face and wire brush the half circle on the cracked side. Leaving paint and scum on the good side helps prevent the solder on that side from flowing.
You only want to do one side usually because if you get the whole shebang too hot it may want to just fall out!
If you want to solder the whole circle, you need to prop up or wire up the tube as it might just fall out when you heat the whole thing.
Anyway, clean it up good and smear on some plumber's paste flux.
Next, strip the insulation off some stranded copper wire (12 or 14 AWG) will do.
Untwist the length a little to loosen the strands then cut a piece that will cover the leaky seam and then some then lay it down in the fluxed seam.
Have some water and fat plumbers acid core solder handy and fire up the MAPP torch.
As you are getting it hot, it helps to touch an area near the seam with the solder just to read the temp and know when it's time to apply the solder.
You want to get the one side of the tube hot enough to sink a couple of inches of the fat solder wire all in one shot.
The more times you re-heat to add more solder, the less chance of success you have.
The stranded copper wire filet greatly adds strength the to seam.
Just as soon as you sink in your solder and get a good flow, douce the tube with water and you are done.
Again, just try not to use so much heat that the tube completly unsolders.
You can even put a small piece of wet rag on the other side to prevent the original solder from flowing.
Since you've done a lot of plumbing, you get the idea, It's just like soldering copper water lines except the rad tube doesn't have a sleeve fit and not a lot of joint contact so you have to be careful to keep the tube in place during soldering. You have to consentrate the heat and do a quick and complete job of it before you have a chance to unsolder the core.
Done correctly, you new joint will be stronger than original due to the copper filet. This also works well on the notorious lower tube crack that you get from hoarsing off and on the hose.


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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2000, 10:55 AM
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

The other replies are missing my point. YES, it can be fixed if soldered correctly like John suggests. Over the years I have had ZERO luck with JB weld on radiators, it always finds its way around it. BUT, LIKE I SAID, IF THE RADIATOR IS OLD, YOU ARE GOING TO START CHASING LEAKS, AND YOUR VEHICLE IS NOW UNDEPENDABLE AND MAY NOT GET YOU HOME! I don't know about you, but peace of mind is very important to me while wheeling far from home. My new radiator cost around $225. If yours is the one with the filler offset to the drivers side, there is not a new top tank available. Both times I've had to replace my radiator the first leak started exactly where you said, the metal in the top tank seems to start getting thin in that area for whatever reason. Bottom line, a repair you make on an older radiator is ony going to be TEMPORARY. This is not a place to be cheap. Just some advice from someone that has been down that same frustrating road several times.

Brad
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 10:11 AM
 
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

a new Radiator is the best ( also the most expensive option)

JB weld would be the fastest ( easiest, and cheapest)

Ive never soldered one, Ill probably try next time its needed.

I have used JB weld on a couple of radiators, its held for over a year at a time, just clean it well, and apply it like the directions say.

some of that bars stop leak wouldnt hurt either, after either "temporary" repair.



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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2001, 11:47 AM
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Re: Pinhole leak in radiator-how to fix?

i'm w/brad on this one![img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
if the rad is old-say like mine was 13 yrs, i would consider replacing if you have leaks now. i got a 3 row for $200 and runs cool. here in the desert heat in summer the cooling system is critical. i travel in some very secluded areas usually solo and need good equip! it helps if you travel in groups for help that is sure![img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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