This post is a belated attempt to convey a previously undocumented saga, that of our busted radiator.
Our passenger side radiator began leaking as we passed through Virgina in May of this year. What began as a small leak, akin to a piss stream from a baby mouse turned quickly into a bubbling geyser. Our many attempts to fix the leak (without removing the radiator) which included JB Welding the increasing number of holes and alternately pouring ground black pepper and stop leak into the coolant system met with systemic failure. Eventually we resolved to remove the radiator and attempt a more dexterous fix. What we found was horrifying….
After cleaning this up I slathered it in high temp silicone to no avail. I even entertained the idea of isolating the corrosion and pouring epoxy into the radiator – at the time I was epoxying my bathroom pocket door. What I ended up doing might seem crazy, but was actually stood a more reasonable chance of success.
With a sawsall and a sharps chisel I hacked (I would say removed but it was definitely a hack) out at least a third of the radiator core. I did not intend to go this far but the further I went, the more just crumbled away. I ate away at the core, back to where the tubes seemed strong and then cleaned it up using pliers and sand paper.
I then fitted some gauze…
…and JB Welded the plates, top and bottom. For anyone who knows or can figure out how the radiator works from these pictures, I hope you will agree that this stood a slim if not fair chance of success.
I tried to get other ideas from the MCI bus nuts network (a Yahoo group) and the internet at large, but with a top speed of 12 kbps available only from the top of a 12 foot ladder, alternative solutions were hard forthcoming, cripplingly slow at best.
The reason we went through all of this was because from the scant research I was able to do and the few folks I called, even a second hand radiator stood to set me back just under 1000 dollars. A guy from the MCI bus nuts network offered me one for 250 but it was as many miles away and in a similar condition to the one I had left. Someone else had one for 750 but it was down in Jersey. Eventually, as I was about to start scratching around scrap yards when my friend Adlai (the dreadhead guy in the video) found one for 500 in Kerhonkson, a few hours away from where we’d been parked up in Broadalbin all summer, unable to move. My Mom paid for it because she is a darl and the rest is history.
The following video shows in a bit more detail what we were up against. As ever the main obstacle was my lack of ingenuity, experience and general manliness.
The radiator works fine, and we just scored another back up one for 300. We’re parked up at a mechanics now getting some other much needed work done (again courtesy of Mom). All being well I’ll be posting about that tomorrow so look out.Show on map