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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 03-07-2002, 05:58 AM
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TallPaul TallPaul is offline
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

On my '95 F150, I have been seeing drippings of antifreeze on the lower cross member below the radiator. My mechanic showed me a greenish stain around the radiator tank seam. The radiator tanks are plastic! Is it new radiator time? I was planing on dumping a bottle of Bar's Leaks into it in hopes of fixing it, though that probably is only a temporary fix at best. What do you think? Will the Bar's Leaks cause problems elsewhere in the cooling system? Is there another leak sealer that works better (or works at all)?

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Old 03-07-2002, 08:51 AM
michaelskerrett michaelskerrett is offline
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Post Plastic Radiator Leaks

It's time to replace the radiator. The leak goop will probably not fix the leak in the plastic anyway, and it will for sure work its way around the engine and gum everything else. Usually the hardest thing to fix, like the heater core. In the metal tank days you could solder the seam to fix small leaks. I think the new tanks are made with recycled plastic and are almost impossible to effect a repair on a seam. Try the junk yards. They usually have servicable radiators for a lot less than the dealer will charge you. If not then go to a good radiator repair shop and get another opinion.

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Old 03-07-2002, 11:37 AM
cajunbronco cajunbronco is offline
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

A radiator shop can replace the tank.Had one replaced on the wifes Burb for about $100.I bought a new radiator for my Bronco for about$180.

Billy
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Old 03-07-2002, 11:44 AM
msj6819 msj6819 is offline
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

If you want a cheap fix, at least for a while, try JB Weld. I just fixed a slow leak from a lower corner seam on my 95 with JB Quik (the 4 minute stuff). I put on two coats with about an hour between them. Put it on thick, I used a package's worth between the two. If it's cold outside, keep it warm with a heater or high wattage light bulb so it sets up better. Most people laughed at me, but it's held for a week now with no problem, and my grandpa has fixed large holes in radiators and a cracked engine block for the long term. It's a good fix if you don't have the spare cash for a new radiator right now like me.
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Old 03-07-2002, 07:13 PM
larry derouin larry derouin is offline
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

>If you want a cheap fix, at least for a while, try JB Weld.
>I just fixed a slow leak from a lower corner seam on my 95
>with JB Quik (the 4 minute stuff). I put on two coats with
>about an hour between them. Put it on thick, I used a
>package's worth between the two. If it's cold outside, keep
>it warm with a heater or high wattage light bulb so it sets
>up better. Most people laughed at me, but it's held for a
>week now with no problem, and my grandpa has fixed large
>holes in radiators and a cracked engine block for the long
>term. It's a good fix if you don't have the spare cash for
>a new radiator right now like me.


THERE IS A PROCEDURE in Haynes Manual for tightening up leaks at the gasket on the tank/core, using , of all things VISE-GRIPS. Basically you take out the radiator and CAREFULLY pry the tank off of the tangs, clean it and the gasket thoroughly, and reclamp. I've seen it done a few times and if you use some RTV when you re-assemble, it works pretty good.

I'd pull the radiator and reclamp in the area of the leak and put it back in. it might make a diff. If it doesn't then go to the next step.

Never had any problems with BARS-LEAK. My 93 is running with it in Rad and no problems.


Larry

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Old 03-08-2002, 11:20 AM
PAUL_2 PAUL_2 is offline
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Plastic Radiator Leaks



Tall Paul , Is your radiator leak consistant ? What I have found on mine is it will leak maybe 2 or 3 Oz when the outside temp gets in the 30's & below . Once the temp goes up the leak goes away . The leaks most often occure on the left tank area simply because the coolant coming back from the engine enters on the left side & its the hottest. You can usually repair those rads once , replace the seal , But becuase you have to bend those aluminum tabs that hold the tank to the core they wont survive being bent for a second repair .

A new rad from Radiator.com is $123 , no tax , $5 shipping & if you order before 3pm they have it to you the next day . It will be a Modine , Exact same fit .
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Old 03-08-2002, 12:11 PM
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

I don't think leak is constant. In one month (100 miles per week) it is only down about 1-2 inches in the rad and the overflow jug is empty. The only evidence I have seen is the stain along the seam near the top and the residue on the cross member. My mechanic says it will only be seen leaking when I first start it up, before the thermostat opens up. Dosen't make sense to me, but he said there is more pressure then. But the evidence seems pretty good and I don't really want an overheat, possibly on a long trip sometime, so I'll just have it R&Rd and be done with it. Thanks. BTY, the re-crimping idea sounds good. Would have been just the thing when I was young, single, and much poorer, but now I just don't have the time to mess around with it.

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Old 03-08-2002, 07:10 PM
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

I wouldn't recommend using any 'gunk' in the cooling system. Seems like the down side far outweighs any upside. My newly purchased 94 came with a leak. Actually the prior owner neglected the cooling system pretty bad. The coolant turned brown, rust I presume. Anyway, the local Ford dealer wanted $660 for a new radiator and all new hoses. Ouch! A friend of mine recommended a local shop so I called them. They use Modine radiators, which I've heard are good but have no experience with. They replaced my radiator, all my hoses including upper, lower, thermostat bypass hose, and the oil cooler hoses, a new thermostat, and flushed the block (since the coolont was brown). The bypass hose was in really bad shape and probably would have stranded me in the next year. All this was $409 out-the-door. The lower hose w/oil cooler joint and 2 small oil cooler hoses was $70 just for the part so not counting hoses the job would have run closer to $300. The Ford quote did not include a new thermostat & gasket or the block flush. The thermostat was in terrible shape and may have been a source of some of the rust. I would use this as an excuse to get a good radiator and all new hoses and thermostat. Piece of mind is worth something.

Good luck!

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Old 03-11-2002, 07:17 AM
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

Thanks everyone. The new radiator is in. Got it saturday. Figured as long as truck is in for radius arm busing, might as well get the thing fixed up right. Thanks for all the help. And I did not put any gunk in the rad (just have to return the stuff and get my money back.)
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Old 03-14-2002, 09:47 AM
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

I used Bars Leak in my F-250 for same problem. Stopped the leak and holding for 12 months now. Try it. Cheap fix, if it works for you.
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Old 03-14-2002, 01:55 PM
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Plastic Radiator Leaks

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Old 03-14-2002, 01:55 PM
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