Radiator change issues; hilarious story, though. - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-14-2007, 10:09 AM   #1
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Default Radiator change issues; hilarious story, though.

Hello. I haven't posted here in a while mostly because I've been busy, but also because my car has been doing well but has had nothing interesting done to it. However, I now have a strange radiator problem, and I don't know what to do about it.

I had several cracks in my radiator. They were all over, and because I have an oil cooler as part of the main cooler, my coolant and motor oil mixed. The oil pressure went awry, and I burned my oil and coolant. The engine overheated just to 220F but no higher, and only for the few seconds it ran like that.

I was on my way to work when my radiator almost exploded, and my friend and I took out the radiator in a dark parking lot. It went well. I bought a new radiator with a lifetime warranty, but when we went back to install the thing, it was too dark outside.

My friend used his 108 hp 1993 Nissan Sentra to push my Bonneville across 96th street in Indianapolis and over to a gas station. The owner let us install the radiator in the well-lit area that also shielded us from the sudden rain. There, we changed the oil, added transmission fluid, and installed the new radiator. The car started up and ran much better than ever, but smoke started coming randomly from the middle of the radiator block where there weren't supposed to be holes. We figured it was the rain water evaporating, but then we saw the oil leak.

There'* some oil leaking from the very middle of the radiator, but we can't see any holes or anything. It'* directly from the radiator itself, I think, though it could be from the metal tubing that brings the oil to and from the giant metal piece. Just when we had the car completely taken apart and put back together, it leaked out all my oil. I had just put in a longer K&N oil filter with 4 quarts of fully synthetic Valvoline and a quart of Lucas synthetic oil stabilizer. It all just leaked out, and I can't at all see from where. It completely sucks that I lost all that oil. Would Auto Zone refund me the oil that was lost if the radiator is the culprit?

What are some steps I can take to find out what could be the problem? Please give me any other tips as well, and I'd be glad to answer any questions addressing stuff I haven't covered. Thanks a whole lot.
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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First of all, Lucas is the worst thing you could do to your oil.

www.bobistheoilguy.com

So in a sense, losing it is a good thing. Run good-quality dino-juice or synthetic. Your choice. Neither will give you any advantage or disadvantage in these motors. It'* all about how often you want to change your oil.

Secondly, we need to know specifically WHAT is leaking from WHICH part of the radiator. You have coolant, engine oil, and trans fluid. What was leaking before, and what is leaking now?

Can you get pics? I've never heard of what you describe.
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:11 AM   #3
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Check the hoses, pipes and fittings that carry the oil and trans fluid very carefully for pinholes with the car running - a pinhole could be spraying oil onto the radiator. That would be my guess.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:13 PM   #4
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To elaborate further on WillWren and BillB above, the transmission and oil lines inside the radiator do not extend into the large metal finned area. They are simply tubes w/fins on them inside the plastic endcap of the radiator.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:56 AM   #5
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We fixed it!

I checked out Bob'* oil site, and I'm still unsure about the absolute effects of Lucas oil additives, but I'm on straight 10W-30 synthetic for the time being.

My friend bought a roll of teflon tape and put about 3-4 layers of it around the oil return line on the radiator. He screwed it in with fair aggravation, but it fits now, and there'* no more oil leaking (as much). There'* a lot of oil stuck in the front bumper - right under the radiator - from the last spill. Ultimately, however, we found the problem was that the radiator leaked out oil from around the oil return line. The teflon helped, but I have doubts.

I'm aware that teflon tape is used in heaters and such, so it should still be good with my oil temperatures, right? I have no oil temp gague, but I guess it'* my engine'* temperature.

I'm just waiting now to have the teflon bust out under 40psi. Do you think that'* going to happen any time soon? My main concern, though, is why there was enough clearance around the oil return line to have the oil leak so much. I think the line is iffy because all the oil leaked out in about 2 minutes before we put on the teflon. I'll try to get some pictures.

As for the oil mixing with the coolant, I don't know how or why, but it either mixed with it or the oil suddenly became darker after the leak and smelled like antifreeze for no reason at all. I'd really love not to have smelled antifreeze on the oil dipstick, but I did. Now, however, the car is running just fine.

Finally, my water pump is squeaking strangely. I added some water pump lubricant, and the squeaking died down a bit, but it comes back every now and then. The lubricant additionally cooled down my engine about 10 degrees or so, I believe.
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:14 AM   #6
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You are right to have your doubts. If you have a leaking fitting that you cannot trust, replace the line with a new one. From the dealer, both new trans cooler lines are only about $56. If that teflon taped fitting fails, and sprays oil all over your hot exhaust manifold and burns your car to a cinder, or when you lose all of your oil between Spudtown and Podunk at 3:00AM one cold winter night, the cost of the proper fix is gonna seem small indeed. A good radiator shop will have the proper fittings or know where to get them.
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Old 03-20-2007, 02:28 AM   #7
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Fair enough. I really do want to fix it, and I'm treating the teflon as a very temporary fix. I've had someone go as far as to suggest getting a new belt that doesn't go on the supercharger and just making the oil lines avoid the radiator, but I'm not going to try that at all. That would be nasty.

So, I'll have a look at that and give you an update. Thanks for the really fast response.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:34 AM   #8
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Can teflon be put on there for security? I had my friend wrap some tape around the line, and it was incredibly more difficult to put the line back in. However, it'* securely in there, and it feels great.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:41 PM   #9
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Teflon tape should be used on sealing threads, like tapered pipe threads, where the threads themselves form the sealing surface. If that'* where your teflon tape is, that'* fine. However, most line fittings are flare fittings where the line nuts pull the flared pipe end up to seal against an inverted cone fitting. The seal in this type of fitting is made between the male and female conical surfaces. Teflon has no place in that type of fitting.
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:30 AM   #10
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Yeah, I don't have any teflon on the flare. I'm good then, right?
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