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 Write-Up: Radiator Replacement

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96riv
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:52 am

AA wrote:
Getting ready to replace my radiator this weekend. She's gone 236k miles with almost no trouble - only a minor leak at the connection near the upper radiator hose. I've been keeping her full with water and water wetter over the summer. It's going to get cold soon; I figure if coolant is going back in there, no sense in letting it leak back out.

This write-up looks straightforward, should be helpful on Sunday when I start tearing stuff apart..

Gates upper & lower hoses ordered from Rockauto. Not a bad price at $30 for both.

Doing this job would be nice in 75 degree weather in Phoenix. but Ohio in December? BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:58 am

It's been a mild season so far. Report says 47 F on Sunday. Heated garage is backup!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:41 pm

albertj wrote:
BMD wrote:
Man, I'm on my third rad in ten years and now this one is starting to leak too. Is there a copper or aluminum version from the after market that exists, 'cause these plastic tanks suck. This leak is coming from the fan support that is built in to the rad, I know its probably repairable, but you still have to drain it and remove it to do a solid repair, and at that point you might aswell slide a new one in there. frown

I bet the real problem is your rad is banging around in its location - you can use extra weatherstripping foam around it when you replace it this time to cradle it in place. Foam is available at pretty much any hardware store/home center. Comes in rolls, neoprene or butyl, has an adhesive strip. Layer the strips to build bigger thicker sections.

Thanks albert, thats probably true, but I still think a more durable material than plastic would have been a better choice for the tanks. By the way has anyone here installed the aluminum rad from ZZP? What knid of mods are necessay for the install, looks like you can order some spacers for the fans.... what else?

Also, I was wondering, I still have my last tank which leaked on the driver side and this one is leaking on the passenger side, is it possible to pull one tank from one of the two rads and combine them to make one good rad?
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:07 am

GM used to sell the tanks separately for just that reason, but quit telling the techs to repair the radiators some years ago.

The real question I think is can you get the crimps off without banging up the tanks?
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:50 am

I just learned firsthand what a PITA these things are myself...

Rather than the attaching point for the fans, the plastic tank in my OE Delco/Harrison radiator cracked where the A/C condenser bolts to it (Seriously, they don't support the condenser at all??)

The worst part was trying to get the new so-called Delco / VISTEON unit installed... Because of the tight slots at the bottom that have to fit the condenser, and the angle that the radiator has to go into the car at, I wrecked my back all over again (and literally could not have even done it without help from my friend in a frickin' WHEELCHAIR!)

The plastic tanks on the radiator are bad enough, but I've been worried about how long my heater core will last ever since we learned that the weird, non-replaceable heater-hose-tube/spring-loaded-throttling valve is plugged into the alternator-bracket to reduce the coolant velocity through the aluminum heater core because of erosion...

sick
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:00 pm

Got 'er done! Took my time on this job, a few breaks throughout the day, ran some errands, etc. Started at noon and finished up around 6:30pm. I think 4 hours is enough time if you have everything ready to go.

Thanks to Abaddon for a good write-up. I pretty much did everything in the same order, mostly straightforward. Only surprise was I twisted the head off one of the front screws holding the top radiator cover while trying to remove it. Tried drilling it out and broke off my bit inside! Rather than waste hours trying to fix, I decided one screw isn't going to make much difference, so let it go. Otherwise, everything went smooth.

Thanks to deekster caddy for selling me a brand new OEM radiator unit. Identical to the original, working great so far!

Notes:

- I didn't completely remove the top cover or the bypass hose to the overflow bottle. Instead I just removed the screws, flipped it over and laid it above the front of the engine. Worked pretty well.

- Heading Abaddon's warning, I used the drain cock under the car to drain the coolant. This made things a LOT cleaner. Removing the bottom panel under the radiator was pretty simple rolling on my creeper. Didn't need to raise the car.

- At first unsure about the condition of my original hoses, I bought Gates brand upper (21361) & lower (22154) hoses from Rockauto. Turns out the originals were not cracked or leaking at all, but I used the new ones anyway. The lower hose needed 1" trimmed from the radiator side. Upper hose fits fine as-is.

- I reused the OEM spring hose clamps instead of going with new screw/band clamps. By pre-installing the clamps a couple inches inside each end, then slipping the hoses into place, the clamps can then be expanded and moved into place. I used Channellocks to expand the clamps.

- Cleaned my overflow coolant bottle with a mixture of water, soap, and pea gravel. It wasn't too bad, but it hadn't ever been cleaned. Might as well.

- Of course, new coolant is 50/50 DexCool. After seeing how clean the inside of my radiator and hoses looked, and having not changed that coolant in over 5 years, I see no reason to use anything else. Superior product with superior results.


_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:23 pm

yay! I was really worried about shipping that thing. Glad it is working well.

I still use DexCool too. For all the bad things people have said about it, the only car I know that had a major issue (turned to brownish mud) had 12 year old 140K mile coolant in it...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:20 am

I'm not out of the woods it seems - have a leak. Here's the story:

Last night, after I installed the radiator, upper & lower hoses, and TOUCHED NOTHING ELSE, I filled the radiator with 50/50 coolant and ran the engine for a few minutes until the t-stat opened, then topped it off. Then filled the overflow container. I was sure I did everything right, and really didn't think to do a test drive. The car was running idle 15 minutes, no leaks.

This morning on the way to work (30 min drive), I noticed within the first half mile the sound of squealing belts. Strange because the engine wasn't even warm yet. It is very wet and rainy (flooding) here, so I figured a puddle splashed up in the bay. On the freeway I hear it again. It seemed to happen at slower speeds when accelerating or decelerating. When I arrived at work, I notice steam coming from the right side. Popped the hood and saw lots of coolant all over the belts, underside of the hood, etc. I suspected the lower radiator hose was leaking, but hard to diagnose with so much rain. It was also hard to see how much coolant was leaking out.

Leaving from work late, I notice right away power steering is weak, lights dim. squealing belts, again before it heated up. As I'm headed home, I notice the LOW COOLANT lamp comes on, so I stopped and bought a gallon of DexCool, added to the overflow tank. The rest of the way home steering and charging returned, but still I knew it was loosing coolant. The whole time I'm thinking about that lower coolant hose, and how the old OEM clamp might not be doing its job.

Got home and pulled into the garage. Dried everything under the hood with towels. Turned the engine on, inspected the lower hose with a light and mirror. I couldn't see a drop of coolant coming from the hose. I'm perplexed, because as I'm wondering what else it could be, coolant starts slinging off the accessory belt and hitting me in the face! I almost think it appears to be coming from the water pump area!

But what are the odds? Coincidence aside, is there any logical reason for the water pump (original with 236k original miles) to fail during the first few minutes of driving after a radiator swap? I do have a new water pump sitting on the shelf, waiting for this day (I bought it 5 years ago), but I almost can't accept this is happening. I'm still not sure, but shifting away from the coolant hose at this point. What scenario would cause the pump failure at this exact moment? Or is there something else that I could be overlooking?

scratch

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:49 am

The water pump was bad. I knew as soon as I took the belt off and rotated it by hand. Swapped in a new one and everything seems back to 100%. That's got to be the weirdest timing for the pump to fail. In hindsight, I want to think it was a result of changing the radiator or coolant, some unknown debris that migrated into the mechanics, air in the system, or the increased demand of a new, cleaner-flowing radiator - that finally killed off the pump. If it was on its last leg, it never showed any signs before yesterday.

Moral of story: always have an extra water pump on the shelf at home - you never know when you might need one at midnight on a work night, until it happens. The receipt shows the purchase from early '07!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:09 pm

AA wrote:
The water pump was bad. I knew as soon as I took the belt off and rotated it by hand. Swapped in a new one and everything seems back to 100%. That's got to be the weirdest timing for the pump to fail. In hindsight, I want to think it was a result of changing the radiator or coolant, some unknown debris that migrated into the mechanics, air in the system, or the increased demand of a new, cleaner-flowing radiator - that finally killed off the pump. If it was on its last leg, it never showed any signs before yesterday.

Moral of story: always have an extra water pump on the shelf at home - you never know when you might need one at midnight on a work night, until it happens. The receipt shows the purchase from early '07!

I would not dwell on the WP failure. Good news is you caught it when it was convenient to replace. On my car I replaced the WP before it completely failed, when it started making sound like marbles in a can. That sound is the impeller bopping around on the shaft. WP housing acts like a crude bell and impeller acts like a crude clapper. Hence the crude "marbles in a can" ringing sound. As designed the WP will work for a while when partially failed, if only because the coolant does not put up much of a fight to flow. If you look at where the WP is it won't take you long to figure out two things. One - they are taking advantage of coolant temperature to encourage flow. Two - the WP does not have to push a very tall column of water while working.

For those of you looking for something to read, here's a worthwhile 20 minutes - The Crankshaft Coalition Wikiarticle at the link has info about practical automotive cooling systems.


Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:24 pm

You're right. I guess I should be happy it's done and out of the way. I took some pics and will post a write-up soon for anyone needing a reference. The shop manual's instruction is laughable.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:49 pm

I would guess the same cause as you - it was very near it's time, and the fresh clean coolant washed away the last remnants of sealing from that inner bearing. At least you get a nice coolant leak instead of pitching the fan through the radiator like the old days!
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:07 pm

I'm just glad the radiator is fine. You packed it nicely, and it appeared brand new, but you never know - there could have been a mouse nest in there, lol. After suspecting the hose, I then turned to the radiator, but no leaks were found. In a way, the pump going bad and getting replaced is a big relief!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:32 pm

AA wrote:
You're right. I guess I should be happy it's done and out of the way. I took some pics and will post a write-up soon for anyone needing a reference. The shop manual's instruction is laughable.

I have a few pictures posted when I did mine. When my pump went, I got a very fine mist of coolant, but not enough to make the belts squeal. Mine made a grinding noise. There was no doubt about it when I removed the belt, I could grab the pulley and wobble the pump quite a bit. When I removed the pump, you could see where the impeller was starting to chew up the pump inside.


_________________
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Best MPH, 116.06 MPH, Best ET, 11.54
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:00 pm

Thanks, Larry. Mine was wobbling some, but not yet grinding the inside of the pump. it was making no noises, yet leaking badly enough that I lost over a gallon of coolant within 50 miles. If you're wondering whether this much coolant loss makes the engine run hotter, yes it does! Mine was reading about 205ΊF at 60 mph cruise, about 25ΊF higher than normal with the 180Ί t-stat.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: This write up helped me DIY my radiator too!    Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:40 am

Thanks for the write up on this.

Mine went bad about 3 weeks ago... see the two splits in the black plastic?


So I did all the steps and it wasn't too bad.
The old one coming out


New one back in


Couple of things I did notice:
1: I bought a used one from a 95 Riviera and the trans cooler connections seem much stouter than my 96's... they had all metal around the connection, why mine was a stamped metal piece...much thinner
2: We do have a two piece lower hose connection type..a lot of guys ask about that

I did put the upper radiator hose on wrong at first. I had the connection to the engine part too deep on the tube and I used the clamp in the wrong spot. When it got warm it was squirting out the side of the hose against the clamp... that upper ring on the metal tube is where the hose should stop, not go around and get clamped there...bad idea smile You can see in the last photo above, it's too deep onto the engine...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:28 am

I just replaced mine a week ago. It was leaking in the same place.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:21 pm

I must say, the Riv is a very easy car to work on. I've replaced the supercharger, the radiator, the oil pan, suspension parts, etc... and it's not ever been a huge hassle..

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:09 pm

Agreed. I showed a friend of mine, who owns a MB c280, how easily it is to work on. Now he calls my Riv a "tractor", lol. Very well, if paying $200 for an oil change makes a car something special, I guess mine will be a tractor. No kidding, replacing my radiator cost less than his oil service!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:48 pm

Hey guys, I noticed this a.m. that I had a small plate sized dark spot in the driveway. Looking at the radiator I think it's coming from the lower tranny line...

I noticed when I installed that line it didn't seem to go in too deep before it got tight...so I decided to wrap some of that teflon wrap you see on water pipes..

I'm wondering if it's leaking past that. Is teflon affected by tranny fluid? I don't think so. And if not, I wonder if I should either take it off and tighten it good again, or double the amount of teflon tape..

Thoughts?

car is sitting in driveway until I get to it tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:42 pm

Mine did the same thing. It soaked the entire front moulding with trans fluid. Solution: unscrew the trans line, clean off the fitting, reapply Tephlon (I use the liquid tube type) and re-tighten. Applied about 10% more torque the 2nd time. So far no leaks after 3 months.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:48 pm

Thanks AA!

It's been about 3 weeks with the new radiator and that was the first instance, so I assume it finally got past the teflon and then started leaking...

I'll remove the bottom cover and should be able to reach up and clean parts & such.

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:16 pm

Radiator lines are flare nut fittings, NOT pipe threads. You should not use anything on the threads, a flare nut seals by pressing the tubing flare on the base/tapered part of the fitting.
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Natesriv
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:48 pm

okay, two sides...

so NO teflon (or at least a tape type)???

I can see how AA's doesn't leak if he used a liquid sealant...
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Radiator Replacement    Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:32 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:
Radiator lines are flare nut fittings, NOT pipe threads. You should not use anything on the threads, a flare nut seals by pressing the tubing flare on the base/tapered part of the fitting.

werd

Don't to anything to flare fittings except clean them and lube them... I've had mine apart once for the aux tranny cooler and once for the POS plastic radiator tanks, and no leaks whatsoever.

(Seriously - NObody else has any trouble getting the new radiator aligned to the mounts at that sloping angle??)
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Write-Up: Radiator Replacement
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