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Old 11-07-2017, 09:37 AM   #1
HankHill
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Default Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Got a leak that seems to be coming from one of the radiator fins.... For a long time it was slow enough that I could add some coolant once every couple months, but within the past few weeks it's started leaking faster.

I haven't been to the local yard in a while, so I don't know if any of the S series cars there even have decent looking radiators. But if they do, would that be worth taking a chance on? I think my worry would be that there's some corrosion/debris in the transmission cooler loop that would find its way into my trans.

If not, what are the recommended aftermarket replacements? I found an old thread (http //www saturnfans com/forums/archive/index php/t-171023 html) where OldNuc recommended Silla or Delphi, but neither of those models seem to be available any more. This car really isn't worth spending more than $70 or so on.

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Old 11-07-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Get a new radiator.
Don't get a used JunkYard one that would probably have the same weak point that causes these radiators to be eventually replaced.
If your Saturn rolls it is worth spending $70.00 on.
- otherwise you can lease an Escalade for $899 a month (as seen on TV)

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:07 AM   #3
HankHill
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

I get what you're saying... pretty much what I was expecting to hear about the junkyard option. But there is quite a range in price for the "new" radiators for these cars. On partsgeek.com, they range from $55 (TYC) to $155 (AC Delco). Amazon has one (Sunbelt) for $48.

If there are folks on here who have had good experience with the radiators on the cheaper end of the range, then for me it's a lot easier to justify one of those.

If I end up having to spend $155 for the ACDelco, then when it's all said and done I'll have spent ~$180 in parts, shipping, and coolant on a car that I probably couldn't sell for much more than $600-$700 because of a list of other issues with it.

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

I put in a junkyard radiator that came off a car 117k. It still works but this was a few months ago. Obviously you are taking that risk that something could be wrong with it. I rolled the dice anyways and its still fine for now, no obvious issues, my coolant still looks nice and green (it was originally filled with green) and no overheating. I inspected it for any cracks or leaks, and cleaned it out with a hose before using it

I did it because i wasnt sure about the cheap radiators i saw, that were straight hit or miss. The reviews said that the radiator was good for a short time then something would break. And the car i got mine off of was well maintained with little rust, unlike the other cars thee that smell like cat urine and cigarettes with 200-300k and a load of rust.

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

New ones are so cheap why would you even bother?

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:44 AM   #6
HankHill
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
New ones are so cheap why would you even bother?
I guess I'm trying to ask if the "cheap" ones are any good or not. If the ones in the $50-$60 range are known to last for years and years (or a specific brand within that range), then yes, it's an easy choice. Based on what I saw in the 6-year old thread mentioned in the OP (http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/arc.../t-171023.html), I get the impression that's not the case though.

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Old 11-07-2017, 10:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Examine the warranty offered from each manufacturer/distributor and pricing. There's a range of prices with at least two giving a limited lifetime warranty - one is double the price of the other. Just be aware, domestic brand names may no longer be domestically made. OEM may be made in USA or Mexico/Canada. Mexico is no longer a third rate manufacturer when GM outsources manufacturing to any country making parts under quality control to GM specs, no different to aftermarket manufacturers agreeing to the same specs. Since labor costs tend to be lower from overseas/Mexico, prices reflect this as lower and better competition.

Your choice to go with questionable junk yard radiators unless you spot one in immaculate condition or buy one with a good warranty at very competitive prices.

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Old 11-07-2017, 11:13 AM   #8
underthehood
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Given the age of these cars and the miles they are accumulating a $75 (I have used these https://smile.amazon.com/Spectra-Pre...eries+radiator) lasts just fine. In every case either something else went gravely wrong with the car or they were wrecked. No need to spend more.

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Old 11-07-2017, 04:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

FWIW, last time I bought a radiator, it was an Advance Auto CARQUEST Part No: 431460.

It listed at $93, added an $8 oil filter, bringing it up to over $100. That allowed me to use a 40% off coupon code, out the door price with tax for both was $64.

It's lasted 6 months so far, so too early to tell

I would have bought a junkyard one - there was one that was shiny, few dings on the fins so it looked like a newly installed unit - but the car was gone when I went back to pull it.

My final option would have been an RA1145, still available on eBay, but that was around $120 and I got this one at half the price.

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Old 11-07-2017, 08:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

I'll second underthehood on the Spectra radiators. Put one in years ago and have had zero issues.

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Old 11-08-2017, 01:31 AM   #11
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

I can 3rd the Spectra Premium radiator. I purchased mine from RockAuto for my '02 SL2. The fitment was very good and the install went fairly well (minus a small issue at the lower trans cooler line connection). It has been over a year now and it is still leak free and performs well.

I believe they cost in the $60-$80 range, so it's a good deal IMO.

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Old 11-08-2017, 10:56 AM   #12
HankHill
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Default Re: Junkyard radiator... worth taking a chance?

Cool - thanks all! I'll give the Spectra a shot.

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