Broken radiator petcock - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 07-05-2008, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default Broken radiator petcock

I KNEW I shouldn't have fooled with that stinkin' piece of plastic. I was finally flushing and swapping out the Dexcool and the t-stat in the wife'* '96 SSE. Everything went fine until I had it all done and was clearing the air out of the bleeder. Turning the engine off should have sucked the extra antifreeze out of the expansion tank. But i could hear air being sucked in at the petcock.

At which point, I fooled with loosening and resetting the petcock. The plug part came off in my hand, but it looks like some tip broke off of it.

I don't know what it looks like in one piece. Would it be possible to pull one at the boneyard and have it work? Or would a radiator shop have something that would permanently close it off? That'* fine because i never intend to use that piece of junk again. If I drain the coolant, I'll just unhook the hose.

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Old 07-06-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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It takes about 5 minutes to pull a radiator and they aren't that expensive to get fixed at a radiator shop. You can either pull a cheap one at a junk yard and save some money or take yours to the shop. If the petcock doesn't seal properly, it won't be a fix for most do-it-yourselfers. My choice would depend on your radiator. If it is one with metal end caps, get it fixed!! If it is plastic end caps then you can check the junk yard for a matching one with metal end caps but they are hard to find. When I got mine repaired last year, the radiator repair guy was impressed and said "I've not seen these in a long time. Don't ever replace it, they're much better."
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:41 PM   #3
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Sorry, My bad. I forgot that with many radiators you can replace the petcock with one from the auto parts store. Either way, it'* got to come out and it'* an easy fix. Mine is welded in place but has never given any trouble because I don't use it. If it did break or leak I would probably just seal up the hole with the welder.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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Thanks. I pulled the radiator. The plug from the store wouldn't seal. The hole in the plastic had been worked over too much at some point. Just my opening and closing it once broke whatever seal it had going.

I overthreaded a steel plug with an o-ring into the hole. It snugs down tight. The plug should hold with the o-ring flushing around it. I won't be using it again. I did something like this to my wife'* Ford Exploder and it lasted a couple of years till she traded it in.

I imagine the radiator shop can't do anything inexpensive with the fouled up plastic. Next week I'm on staycation, so I'll be hitting the boneyard.

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