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Do we need to change that Long Life Coolant anyway?

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 #282588  by paintballdude05
 
Well looks like I just burnt through my 5th rad in the Intrepid in less than two years. Yesterday on the way home I noticed a flicker in the temperature gauge to which I found an empty coolant reservoir. I found some coolant residue on the passenger side of rad but nothing indicating a for sure leak. I tightened up the upper rad hose and hopped that was the issue. Well it wasn't, when I got home today the car was spitting out coolant from the passenger side. It looks like the crack is in the lower part of the radiator since the top part is dry. I'm currently out of town with the car for the week so I have to figure out some way of patching it so I can get home on Friday. I don't feel like buying a new rad because I can't get them at a discounted price in the town that I'm in. I'm looking at patching the tank/rad with JB weld so that I can finish off the week and get the car back home.

So to the point of this thread. Does anybody have any clue why I would be cracking so many of these? My water pump is less than a couple months old and the thermostat was a new mopar that was installed back in November. The only problem I can see is that the two timing cover seals were leaking when I did the pump. I had planned on fixing it in a few months when I did some more engine maintenance.

Now my permanent fix for the problem? I've been planing to build a custom all aluminum rad to replace these POS plastic tanked rads. I have a couple of extra rads that I could use to measure and get plans ready. I won't be able to weld to weld it together but I can get all the pieces fitted and then get it welded.
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 #282593  by 300maximilien
 
oh that sucks Stephan
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 #282595  by LUNAT1C
 
JB weld should limp you home... as for the rest you're on your own. Sometimes I wonder if the producer is using plastic pellets that are too weak... maybe too high of a brine content (had that problem with Sebring 2.7L coolant necks where it would crack on the drive home from the mechanic... lab test showed a higher than normal brine content which contributes to brittleness). If I still worked for Dorman I'd be curious enough to cut out a sample of the material from the notorious passenger end tank (yard car) and send it off for analysis... but I can't. I remember when mine blew. That was an expensive drive to work (via flatbed).
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 #282596  by Brando26
 
I didn't think the aluminum could be welded? Soldered maybe like a plumber pipe? Also curious as to why they use plastic tanks.. is it cost? Or because the plastic expands and contracts without breaking welds/solder joints?
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 #282603  by Bill Putney
 
brando26 wrote:I didn't think the aluminum could be welded? Soldered maybe like a plumber pipe?
YEs - it can be welded, but it loses about half it's strength when it is. If the design takes that weakeing into account, there's nothing wrong with it.
Also curious as to why they use plastic tanks.. is it cost? Or because the plastic expands and contracts without breaking welds/solder joints?
Yes - cost - and you can see the level thru it (for a little while anyway).
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 #282608  by grayslater
 
What brands of radiators are you using, Stephan?
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 #282614  by paintballdude05
 
LUNAT1C wrote:JB weld should limp you home... as for the rest you're on your own. Sometimes I wonder if the producer is using plastic pellets that are too weak... maybe too high of a brine content (had that problem with Sebring 2.7L coolant necks where it would crack on the drive home from the mechanic... lab test showed a higher than normal brine content which contributes to brittleness). If I still worked for Dorman I'd be curious enough to cut out a sample of the material from the notorious passenger end tank (yard car) and send it off for analysis... but I can't. I remember when mine blew. That was an expensive drive to work (via flatbed).
Yes it would be interesting to do an analysis of the plastic.
brando26 wrote:I didn't think the aluminum could be welded? Soldered maybe like a plumber pipe? Also curious as to why they use plastic tanks.. is it cost? Or because the plastic expands and contracts without breaking welds/solder joints?
Aluminum welding is pretty common actually. Our cars rear suspension cross member is a fabricated piece of aluminum. Like Bill said, costs is the biggest factor I would think. Most resto-builds you'll see aluminum radiators being used.

Here's what the passenger side tank looked like before the repair. The leak seems to be coming from the very bottom of the rad. You can see the aluminum tabs don't seem to be clamped on there very tight. I ended up taking a hammer and gently taping them closer to the tank to make that gap smaller. I then proceeded to cover 95% of the seem with JB Weld overlapping from the aluminum to the plastic. I'm going to let it dry till tomorrow morning when I'll go put it back together before work. That way it has the maximum cure time before having pressure and coolant attacking it. I hope this gets me through the week because I'm not very far from throwing in the towel and going to buy an LX or LY...

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 #282615  by paintballdude05
 
grayslater wrote:What brands of radiators are you using, Stephan?
My first two were Specters, this one is an AutoCool brand. It has lasted the longest out of them all. Looking on the AutoCool site however, I see their rads are lifetime warranty so I'll have to talk to Car-Quest about that.
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 #282677  by paintballdude05
 
I'm happy to report that the car seems to have stayed together, I haven't found a leak yet. I got up at 5am and it took me an hour to put the car back together from the rad being mostly pulled. Before reassembling everything I went over the JB weld with a heat gun to try and cure it a bit more. This was suggested on the JB weld site. The only issue I can see now is that I filled the car with distilled water only in addition to what was left in the rad and the block of the original coolant. This is making the car run maybe 5/8's of the way to the the 1/2 mark, usually the car is at about 1/8 from the 1/2 mark. Also, after the 20 mile trip to work the coolant reservoir ended up empty but I'm thinking the not so great filling job I did contributed to this. I refilled it, drove 5 miles to a meeting in a different office and once I was done there I inspected it to find that it hasn't changed. Now, fingers crossed that it stays together for a little bit longer so I can back home.
 #282704  by mister300m
 
That is a lot of bad rads for sure on a side note though you are now an expert on changing them out. :)
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 #282747  by paintballdude05
 
mister300m wrote:That is a lot of bad rads for sure on a side note though you are now an expert on changing them out. :)
Hahaha yeah I've learned quite a few tricks along the way so it's almost routine to me :whip