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Old 05-25-2005, 11:05 AM   #1
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Default Radiator replacement

I think I have to replace my radiator. The plastic trim on the driver side has been leaking when hot since January. I tried some stop leak products (Prestone and Bar'* Leak). They worked a bit, but it'* leaking again.

Replacing a radiator seems to be a manageable job. Any tips? I am thinking of going with a remanufacturered/recored since they are probably a bit cheaper. Any thoughts on that?

Finally, a couple of years ago, not understanding that it turns to mud, I drained my green coolant in the rad and replaced it with Dex Cool stuff. That I don't think caused any problem, but I'd like to go back to green completely. How do I get everything out? Those off the shelf cooling system flushes?

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Old 05-26-2005, 08:27 AM   #2
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Best way to flush it all out is to put a hose to one of your heater hoses and flush. Basically the same as those kits.

Dex cool is supposed to be a better long term lubricate etc than the green. I would like to swap over to Dex myself.

Your mud situation may have happened from the stop leak products.

BTW petcock is hidden, it'* on the driver side basically underneath the radiator in the bottom metal support. And if your clamps are original (spring loaded type) and you can afford $40 go to sears and get the hose clamp remover tool. It'* invaluable when you use it.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:53 AM   #3
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So, I just take a heater hose off and start hosing in water and let it drain out of the petcock? Start the engine?

Maybe, once properly flushed, I'll go completely to Dex Cool instead of green.

No, the mud was there well before that, almost as soon as I put the Dex Cool in.

Thanks for the feedback. Yep, I know all about the petcock; had some problems with it back in January.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:56 AM   #4
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Shouldn't need to start it up. You should just be able to flush. Since you have mud it would probably be a good idea to pick up one of the kits with the flushing/cleaning stuff from like Prestone. It would have good instructions...probably has you drain, refill with water and their goop...run for a period then drain and flush.
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:27 AM   #5
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Before you replace it, make sure that the hose clamps are tight and that it'* not just leaking around one of the hose ends.

Replacing the radiator isn't a difficult job; it took me less than an hour on my '92 SSE */c last year, and I didn't need to look at the shop manual.

Be careful, though, when ordering the new/rebuilt one because there are multiple versions available. Make sure that you get the version that has the fittings for the oil cooler (driver side, plastic tank) and tranny cooler (passenger side, plastic tank) and also that it has the opening for the coolant level sensor (passenger side, plastic tank). The one you get won't come with the level sensor, so you'll have to remove your old one, rinse it out, and plug it onto the new radiator. As I recall, figuring out how to remove the sensor and install it on the new radiator was easy.
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:51 AM   #6
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No, the rad is leaking for sure. On the plastic part on the driver side, there are fins. Two of the fins, facing the front, are bulged and slightly cracked, and spew out coolant when the car is hot.

I plan on taking the rad in to a rad shop to see if it can be repaired for cheaper - the new is $240, with the necessary openings. Yes, I did read your post from last year. Good info there, and now.

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Old 05-26-2005, 11:51 AM   #7
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Agree with billha,

Make sure that you get the correct radiator... I have seen in the past where it has taken 2 or 3 tries and sometimes 2 or 3 parts stores to get the right radiator...

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Old 05-26-2005, 12:15 PM   #8
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I have had good luck ordering radiators on line. I usually don't have to pay much more than $100.

On the mud....green and dex cool are NOT compatible. The mud might be the result of mixing the two.

On changing to dex-cool...Dex cool works fine when it works fine, BUT, according to reports on this site and elsewhere, Dex-cool is formulated using an organic acid technology, which under certain circumstances can break-down harming engine gaskets. No such problems exist as far as I know with the green stuff.

I would fill with water, run it for a while after the thermostat is open, then drain it all including the block - twice- then if the water looked nice and clean, re-fill with green 50-50.
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore

I would fill with water, run it for a while after the thermostat is open, then drain it all including the block - twice- then if the water looked nice and clean, re-fill with green 50-50.
How do I drain the block (easily)? I looked for the block drain plugs last time; could not find them.
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Old 05-26-2005, 01:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill buttermore
I have had good luck ordering radiators on line. I usually don't have to pay much more than $100.

On the mud....green and dex cool are NOT compatible. The mud might be the result of mixing the two.

On changing to dex-cool...Dex cool works fine when it works fine, BUT, according to reports on this site and elsewhere, Dex-cool is formulated using an organic acid technology, which under certain circumstances can break-down harming engine gaskets. No such problems exist as far as I know with the green stuff.

I would fill with water, run it for a while after the thermostat is open, then drain it all including the block - twice- then if the water looked nice and clean, re-fill with green 50-50.
There are a few coolants that are compatible with Dex-Cool..... But if the basic Green and the Dex are mixed it will result in mud.... A good friends mother put basic prestone green in her car ( 2001 Impalla ) I opened the radiator car ans saw it... I had her take the car to the dealership and have the system fully flushed and refilled with Dex-Cool...

I would Use Dex as long at the system is watched and kept up... Allowin any air into the system( running low on coolant ) is from what I understand to be a bad thing to do with a Dex Equipped car, or any car for that matter...

On a side note if anyone feels that Dex is not for them, there are many good longlife coolants out there... My 91 is filled with prestone longlife, I was going to switch it to dex but I was tooo lazy to do it right, so I just went with the longlife greenish looking stuff...

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