Getting started on a radiator leak repair is an important way to keep you engine healthy. The radiator is an integral part of the cooling system in your vehicle. It circulates the coolant through the engine block so that it does not get too overheated and cause the pistons to burn up. When there is a small leak in the radiator you should make sure that you fix it immediately. Many do it yourself mechanics are a little intimidated when it comes to repairing a radiator leak. However, with some simple tips this job is very easy to do.
Pull Radiator from Car
In order to do your work on the radiator it is important to first remove it from the vehicle. Drain the radiator first before unhooking any of the hoses and carefully remove it without damaging any of the fins.
Know the Radiator Type
When it comes to auto radiators there are two different types to be aware of. The first is a vertical flow radiator. The second is the cross flow type of radiator. You can easily find out which one you are dealing with by looking at the way the tanks are situated. If they are running in a vertical position then you have a vertical flow radiator. After you know this you will need to determine if the tanks are metal or plastic. Finally, take a look at the core of the radiator itself. Determine if the tubes and fins are made of brass, metal, or aluminum.
Find the Leak
Before you can do any radiator leak repair you will need to find where it is leaking. This can be quite difficult if it is a small leak. As the coolant runs through it can be sprayed from the fan, and by running down each of the fins. There are some areas that are prone to leaking on a radiator that has some age to it. One of the most common is along the solder seams between the core or the radiator and the tank. Another common area where radiators are prone to leaking is at the stress joints. These areas are located near the outlet and inlet tubes.
Apply New Solder
With a copper or brass radiator you can repair the radiator at the failed seams by removing the old solder and applying some fresh solder. Simply heat up the old solder and scrape it away. Once the radiator seam is clean, then apply new solder.
Use Radiator Filler
When there is a crack in the plastic tank of the radiator you can easily fix this with the use of some radiator sealant. This filler is simply poured into the radiator and allowed to run through the tank. It will fill in any holes and coat the inside of the tank.
Use a Patch
Another method for radiator repair leak is to apply a cold weld epoxy to the area where it is leaking. It is important that you clean the area first before applying the epoxy. The trick to using this method is to suck the epoxy into the area through a vacuum hose. Simply move the overflow line to a vacuum port. Remove the distributor cap and try to turn the motor over a few times. This will create a suction that will pull the epoxy into the radiator.