Monday, July 24, 2017

Rad, Dude

It was cool enough to be out in the garage on Sunday (only 95!), so I tackled a project I'd been itching to finish: cleaning up my radiator.

I have a radiator with a newer core that works ok but leaks and could be easily repaired.  But I also bought an original 'perfect' radiator that allegedly works better than the newer cores, because the spacing between cores is a bit larger and therefore has better flow through the radiator.  I figured, what the heck; if I ruin it, I lost some money but I've got a backup.  So I took it apart.

Here's where I started...

And where I finished.  I didn't take disassembly-reassembly pictures because I forgot, and it was still pretty hot out.

I removed the fan shroud and mounting brackets first.  Then, I desoldered the top tank (fun!), and found a ton of crap in it.  Apparently, 50 years of buildup were dislodged while I was banging on it.  I left the bottom tank alone and just cleaned it up.  It does look like the radiator was serviced at least once as not everything was actually soldered in place.

I tapped out some dents in the top tank and fixed what looked to me to be small leaks (though they could have been caused by me while removing everything).  I ran everything except the core through Master Blaster to get rid of multiple layers of paint.

I also found a couple of pinhole leaks (so much for 'it's perfect!') and fixed those, I think.

It wasn't that hard to put everything back together.  The tank was easy, just taking diligence and a lot of solder.  The mounting brackets were not too tough once I got everything lined up.  The fan shroud was a pain since the parts that attach to the mounting brackets have no holes for the solder to flow through.  But, I got it all buttoned back up.  It only took me 7 hours.

Tip for next time: Don't do this when it's 95 degrees because you need to use a blowtorch, which is also rather hot, and having a fan running puts out the torch.

I think it's good to go, but I'll run it through a pressure test by someone that can fix whatever I messed up.  I have to install the captive nuts that are used to mount the radiator to the car.  I will probably paint it, but who knows--maybe I'll leave the tank all shiny since it's cool.  Hopefully, all is well and I didn't just spend a hot, humid day for nothing.

EDIT: I had a pressure test done, and found one tube was damaged and needed to be sealed off.  Otherwise, it's good to go.  I did it right.

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