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Old 03-15-2010, 06:20 PM   #1
cmpcpro
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Default Crack in Radiator End Tank

Hey guys I just found about a two or three inch crack in the drivers side radiator tank.. can those tanks be replaced or am I looking at a whole new radiator? Is there anything I can do for now until I figure out what to buy? Thanks!

I will def. replace whatever I have to in the next day or two but can I atleast drive on it for now? I mean, I have been driving on it for about a week or atleast a few days, but I don't want it to burst open or anything and dump out all my coolant, is that possible with these cracks? Thank you so much guys!

...
Christopher May
2002 Saturn SL2 5Spd.

Last edited by cmpcpro; 03-15-2010 at 06:30 PM..

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Old 03-15-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
cmpcpro
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

http://shop.oreillyauto.com/ProductD...ype=31&PTSet=A

Is this an okay radiator guys? I was going to order it right now. The local shop wants $80 to fix my original one, he says it's a better radiator than aftermarket ones.. I don't really know what to believe, what is a good radiator? I realize it's a super easy job to replace, but I would rather not keep doing it..

...
Christopher May
2002 Saturn SL2 5Spd.

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Old 03-15-2010, 07:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmpcpro View Post
Hey guys I just found about a two or three inch crack in the drivers side radiator tank.. can those tanks be replaced or am I looking at a whole new radiator? Is there anything I can do for now until I figure out what to buy? Thanks!

I will def. replace whatever I have to in the next day or two but can I atleast drive on it for now? I mean, I have been driving on it for about a week or atleast a few days, but I don't want it to burst open or anything and dump out all my coolant, is that possible with these cracks? Thank you so much guys!
Duct tape really does work miracles. I would put some duct tape on it if you are just trying to get a few days out of it. Unfortunately these radiator tanks are plastic so there isn't really a "repair" for them. You're in it for a new raditor. However, you can take comfort in knowing that every S series owner will replace the raditor at some point.

-Robert

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Old 03-15-2010, 07:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Get the radiator replaced. You can get one from autozone or order one. Will probably run about $150. Most people have replaced theirs due to the crack; some will say the Spectra Radiators from autozone will fail. I haven't had any issues.

I would NOT use/reccommend Duct Tape. Sorry Robert... Duct tape is good for holding things together, but I have never used it in a car engine situation.

Replacement is best.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

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Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Get the radiator replaced. You can get one from autozone or order one. Will probably run about $150. Most people have replaced theirs due to the crack; some will say the Spectra Radiators from autozone will fail. I haven't had any issues.

I would NOT use/reccommend Duct Tape. Sorry Robert... Duct tape is good for holding things together, but I have never used it in a car engine situation.

Replacement is best.
Thanks guys, Kragen had the Ready Aire for $95. I have them holding it until tomorrow morning for me.
Thanks

...
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Get the radiator replaced. You can get one from autozone or order one. Will probably run about $150. Most people have replaced theirs due to the crack; some will say the Spectra Radiators from autozone will fail. I haven't had any issues.

I would NOT use/reccommend Duct Tape. Sorry Robert... Duct tape is good for holding things together, but I have never used it in a car engine situation.

Replacement is best.
So you haven't used it before? Yes, duct tape is an excellent fluid sealer for very temporary situations. Its good to keep a roll in the back of the car. If you blow a radiator hose you can wrap it in duct tape and will be happily surprised at how well it works.

-Robert

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Old 03-15-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

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Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
So you haven't used it before? Yes, duct tape is an excellent fluid sealer for very temporary situations. Its good to keep a roll in the back of the car. If you blow a radiator hose you can wrap it in duct tape and will be happily surprised at how well it works.

-Robert
I haven't used Duct Tape in a car application. Don't plan to either. Not knocking you; but just not my thing. In the 13 years of my ownership; if I have had an issue; I want to get it fixed right the first time, instead of having to add getting rid of duct tape goo after fixing something. Just adds an extra un-needed step in my opinion.

Not for everyone...but you can use what you feel comfortable with...
Sometimes I think of Duct Tape as a flat version of Stop Leak when used in a car.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
So you haven't used it before? Yes, duct tape is an excellent fluid sealer for very temporary situations. Its good to keep a roll in the back of the car. If you blow a radiator hose you can wrap it in duct tape and will be happily surprised at how well it works.

-Robert
I've used it on a garden hose. Worked for the whole season. Got a new hose for the next one :P

...
1996 SL2 5MT. 239KMs. Gone, but not forgotten.
2000 SW2 5MT. 133KMs. Gone, but not forgotten.

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Old 03-16-2010, 07:03 AM   #9
DonP
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Give the location of the end tank leak doubt duct tape would work well. On a hose you can wrap the tape on itself and get a decent bond that can hold for a while, not the case with the end tank.

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

get the plastic welder looks like a black epoxy tube from autozone, etc...
that stuff works well on many types of plastic.
Clean up that crack real good, then sand some scratches into it.
mix up the plastic welder and put it on thickly. If it works with the plastic it actually melts and bonds the plastic parts.

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:25 AM   #11
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
get the plastic welder looks like a black epoxy tube from autozone, etc...
that stuff works well on many types of plastic.
Clean up that crack real good, then sand some scratches into it.
mix up the plastic welder and put it on thickly. If it works with the plastic it actually melts and bonds the plastic parts.
So, basically you aren't sure if this stuff works then?

As I mentioned....REPLACEMENT of the Radiator is the best way to go...DO NOT use Stop Leak or any type of Plastic Weld type stuff. You run the risk of this stuff itself getting into the coolant system and contaminating/compromising the rest of the coolant system leading to larger and more $$$ repairs.

I mean, feel free to do what you wish; but in essence, plastic radiators were not meant to be plugged up with Plastic Epoxy or Stop Leak. If they crack and leak, REPLACEMENT IS THE BEST .

I'm sure that Low Saturn would be more than happy to show a photo of what a gunked up radiator looks like when this plastic epoxy is applied to an S-Series radiator. (Hint: It's NOT a pretty picture.)

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
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Original Engine/Auto Trans
02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


92 SL1
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Duct tape for car repairs....

<--- Hmmm, where have I seen that before?



(It was on there when I got the car - have a new door panel waiting for me to get around to it)

...
...Wait, what, I actually won that eBay auction? Guess I now (12/2008) own a 1998 SL2, silver, 5 spd :p 102k @ purchase, now 169k
And now (7/2010), a Craigslist 1997 SC2, white, 5 spd

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:00 AM   #13
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Just picked up my new radiator when the car cools off in an hour or so Ill go swap it out real quick..

...
Christopher May
2002 Saturn SL2 5Spd.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:04 AM   #14
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

You will know if it works pretty quickly.
I have done a lot of various glue jobs with that plastic welder and when it works it works great. All depends on the base plastic. HDPE or polyethylene plastics it does not like.
I think the radiator plastic is good with it.

I actually repaired a split radiator plastic end on my 94 buick roadmaster using PL Premium polyurethane construction adhesive. Removed the end cap, took out the engine oil cooler, made a stainless steel shell insert out of sheet steel to fit inside the end cover. Mixed up the PL with wood sawdust and glued it all together. The sawdust lets it cure in thick layers as it is moisture cured. It also expands, swells up as it sets. the entire plastic end became really solid and strong. It might not have needed the Stainless insert i made.
Be careful when bending those aluminum tabs and reseal with a little silicone the rubber gasket.
It has held up for 5 years.
I added another external oil cooler.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:09 AM   #15
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Quote:
You run the risk of this stuff itself getting into the coolant system
not possible. The plastic welder cures rock hard. little pieces wont break off. I also repaired some legs of a skillet. Those legs get a lot of heat on them and did not effect it at all.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
not possible. The plastic welder cures rock hard. little pieces wont break off. I also repaired some legs of a skillet. Those legs get a lot of heat on them and did not effect it at all.
Thanks for the advice guys, but I've already bought a brand new radiator, and I would rather not glue anything just incase I go somewhere far, I absolutely hate to break down.. I always carry (Even in the Saturn) a trunk full of tools and spare parts. I have hoses, belts, sensors, and so on back there.. theres nothing worse than sitting on the side of the road hoping nobody hits you..

...
Christopher May
2002 Saturn SL2 5Spd.

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Old 03-16-2010, 12:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
You will know if it works pretty quickly.
I have done a lot of various glue jobs with that plastic welder and when it works it works great. All depends on the base plastic. HDPE or polyethylene plastics it does not like.
I think the radiator plastic is good with it.

I actually repaired a split radiator plastic end on my 94 buick roadmaster using PL Premium polyurethane construction adhesive. Removed the end cap, took out the engine oil cooler, made a stainless steel shell insert out of sheet steel to fit inside the end cover. Mixed up the PL with wood sawdust and glued it all together. The sawdust lets it cure in thick layers as it is moisture cured. It also expands, swells up as it sets. the entire plastic end became really solid and strong. It might not have needed the Stainless insert i made.
Be careful when bending those aluminum tabs and reseal with a little silicone the rubber gasket.
It has held up for 5 years.
I added another external oil cooler.
The highlighted statements don't sit well with me, especially when you are talking about repair on a coolant system. Saying that something "May" work or "When it works, it works great".... I would rather have something be fixed, rather than thinking in the back of my mind if an inexpensive fix is going to hold up.

Your situation sounds like an isolated case. I am sure that others will chime in on this repair.

Coolant systems on a car are a vital part to the operation of the vehicle. Just as an example...let's say If you were to find a brake pad replacement that was made from some kind of material that "when it works, it works great"....would you want that material in your brake pad trying to stop you in your vehicle if it was only guaranteed to work on the basis of "You will know if it works pretty quickly."

Not trying to downplay your fix, but to me, it just doesn't seem like a safe or good alternative to replacing the part that is bad.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
94 SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

Never Forget
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02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


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Old 03-16-2010, 01:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

Arguably best to skip the plastic weld/epoxy type repairs, for what will likely be repair that lasts a short period of time compared to the nominal life of a radiator. And when you factor in the time and effort to remove, dry, surface prep, repair, let it cure, and reinstall, you likely have exceeded in time value the cost of a new radiator, especially if you have to do it again.

Keep in mind that it is plastic that is failing due to age deterioration and heat/pressure cycling. The plastic is failing at the weakest point, but the rest of the radiator is the same age. You may fix the spot that failed, but the next weakest area can be expected to fail before long.

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Old 03-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

some people are just more willing to repair busted up stuff, like me.
And to live with the consequences. I will simply fix it one way or another, it gets fixed or it gets junked.

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Old 03-16-2010, 02:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Crack in Radiator End Tank

i just recently repaired my rad in my 04 cavalier with a bolt 2 washers and 2 rubber gaskets.i also replaced the 2 end covers on my 92 sc2's rad last summer.never had a problem with either one of them yet.

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