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Boiling a radiator?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by sickquad, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    I saw in a previous thread people talking about boiling off a radiator before installing it on a fresh engine. Can anyone tell me why a radiator should be boiled off? Is this just for a previously used radiator going on a new motor?

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  2. BigBadJap

    BigBadJap Registered Member

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    Boiling it is supposed to clean out any crud that's in the radiator. They also pressure test the radiator to make sure there are no leaks. I guess the idea is, that after spending all that money on a rebuilt/new motor, it would be a shame to watch it burn up on account of a blocked flow radiator - which can be tested for $20 bucks. My radiator guy recommends that it be done every couple of years, or at least a power flush since coolant breaks down and starts to erode solder after a couple of years.
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    To clean it out properly, one header tank needs to be removed. Then a piece of metal that just barely fits inside the cooling tubes is run through each tube. This pushes out any junk that's trapped in the tubes, blocking coolant flow. This process is called "rodding" a radiator. Then it is boiled in a solution that cleans out the remnants of sediment and corrosion (and also removes all the paint). They'll flow test the core, reinstall the header tank that was removed, and leak test the radiator.

    Around here, they charge around $100 for this, if you remove the radiator yourself and bring it into the shop. This is where you get to make a decision. Most radiators for our stuff cost $130-150 for a brand new replacement. So do you want to spend a few extra bucks for a brand new one, or save a few bucks to have a nice, clean "old" radiator that may have unseen weak spots that are about to corrode through from the inside and start leaking soon? Personally, I spend the extra money to know that I have a new radiator that should be problem-free for another 10-20 years. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif It provides peace of mind and is one less thing to worry about when I'm far from civilization. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  4. 87BrnRsd

    87BrnRsd 1/2 ton status

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    Boiling out a radiator isnt a bad option. You dont HAVE to get a new one. If you take it to a respectable radiator shop, then they will tell you if it is worth boiling out or not, and not just boil out a bad radiator and take your money. Just take it somewhere respectable and youll be ok.
    -Harrison
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    How do you know that halfway across the "core", there isn't a weak spot, as HarryH3 mentioned? I doubt they can *really* know if there's a thin spot in there.

    If the cost is $40 or something, it wouldn't be bad, but if the radiator is bad enough to need rodding, it's probably bad enough to be replaced.
     
  6. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Autozone has a real good 3 core in stock at even the smallest stores for $149
     
  7. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    It's your time and your money. But for $40 or so difference, I'm not gonna take a chance on a 20+ years old radiator crapping out on me in the middle of nowhere. There are huge expanses of wilderness out here in the west, so it's quite possible to be stranded a very long way from civilization... /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif

    I went through this last year with my S-Jimmy. $100 to repair the original 1991 radiator, or $140 for a brand new one. It has the aluminum radiator with plastic side tanks. One tank had a crack, so I figured that it probably wouldn't be too long before the other side did too. So for $140 I had a new radiator with tranny cooler and engine oil cooler. (Plus, with either option, I still had to remove and reinstall the radiator.) /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     

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