Refilling radiator 2002 Dodge Stratus

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Old 04-04-10, 03:05 PM
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Refilling radiator 2002 Dodge Stratus

So I got a hole in one of the bottom tubes of my radiator (dont ask... lol) The tube was mangled and cut pretty bad so I ended up just crimping and soldering the one tube shut. I'm hoping that there is not some sort of circuit there that needs to be completed- with all the other tubes I'm hoping the coolant won't miss the one blocked tube.

I put the radiator back in, but when I started the engine and filled the coolant reservoir up, and let the car warm up, nothing was going into the radiator via the upper or lower radiator hoses. I even drove the car around the block. I took the radiator back out and nothing was in it. I obviously shut the car off because I was worried i'd crack the block or burn out the water pump or something- it just seems like no water is getting to the radiator!

So I am wondering if I need to hook up the lower hose, "prime" the water pump by pouring coolant down the upper radiator hose until it's full? Then hook the upper hose up and let it run? Adding to the coolant reservoir as needed? There is no radiator cap on the radiator itself... it's on the reservoir.

Help I am so engine stupid!
 
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Old 04-04-10, 04:27 PM
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Since coolant goes in and out of the reservoir at the bottom - pouring coolant to the top of the reservoir may not help, if the top of the reservoir is not higher than the top of the radiator. (On my car, the top of the reservoir IS higher than the top of the radiator -barely. In theory then, that will allow automatic syphon action, if you pour the coolant to the very top - but you would have to pour very slowly, and have a place for the diplaced air in the radiator and engine to go. Read on)

Do you have a plug at the thermostat? If you do, you could undo the plug(if you can), and then with that out, undo the upper radiaor hose and pour coolant in the upper radiator hose, and do it until it comes out at the plug. If you have no plug, maybe you need to undo the thermostat and pour coolant into there and watch for it to show up in the reservioir - or pour it in the reservoir and see that it starts to get to the top of the stat opening.

When working with transfering coolant, it helps to have a turkey baster.

We'll see how close I am when someone that has actually done this, on a radiator capless car, gives their opinion.

....................................................................................................................................

I thought of something else, and came back: Maybe your reservoir easily detaches, like mine, so that you can hold it up in the air higher, when you add coolant to it.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 04-04-10 at 05:10 PM.
  #3  
Old 04-04-10, 05:29 PM
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I would think that there would need to be some coolant inside the rad for the thermostat to open up to allow a complete flow which could draw the coolant from the reservoir tank into the rad. I also am interested in hearing what the pros say on this around how a refill should be done, but just as in plumbing drains , somehow you need 'air excaping behind water' so that it will be displaced as coolant enters the system. Why would Chrysler eliminate the rad cap in the first place? Cost savings or other? Just curious.
 
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Old 04-04-10, 05:29 PM
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I think the problem was that both the radiator and the water pump was dry.

I put as much water into the radiator as I could before I installed it, then connected the lower hose and poured water down the upper radiator hose until it was full (I had it up in the air higher than the reservoir, and water finally started coming out of the reservoir.

Then I made a funnel that would fill up the radiator as high as I could... then I hooked the upper hose up. Seemed to work fine that way.

I'll probably have to keep an eye on the coolant level for a while in case there were any air bubbles in the system. But I'm glad that it looks like my home-made soldered repair is going to work! At least for a while until I can get it into the repair shop.

thanks!
 
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Old 04-04-10, 06:52 PM
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It may be easier and cost less to get another radiator at a used parts facility. It isn't like buying used brake rotors.
 
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Old 04-04-10, 07:05 PM
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Yeah, I thought of that. There's a place I know of up in Norfolk that I could call. Being Easter weekend, nothing was open. I just wanted to fix it so my wife would be able to get around this week while I'm gone to work. If the repair lasts, I might just forget about it for a while. Seems like a new radiator is about $130, and the bottom edge of the fan where it clips onto the radiator is also broken... another $130. Not to mention the entire bumper as it wraps around the bottom is all cracked. Very bad weekend.
 
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Old 04-05-10, 11:16 AM
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A used one is probably $50 or so. I have bought used ones befvore with no problems.
 
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Old 04-05-10, 04:52 PM
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Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Upper hose...(You didnt mention which engine....) will be a "BLEEDER" screw. Open it, fill the bottle until coolant comes out of the bleeder. Close the bleeder and start the car, and let it IDLE. when the fan comes on, adjust the level in the bottle......

You WILL have to do this regardless of New or used, dead or alive, or white and Black.... If the system gets "AIRBOUND" or isnt allowed to "BURP"....it will never get coolant flow.

To disspell a popular myth.....Your water pump does NOT " PUMP" coolant.....It merely "Swishes it around. The flow comes from the pressure created by heat transfer and expansion......(It isnt an overflow bottle..It is an EXPANSION TANK)
 
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