Just noticed my baby is showing a wet radiator and it looks like theleak is not from any of the fittings. I do not want to use any "stop leak" junk. I also do not wish to plunk down the cash for a new rad. How succesfull are repairs and how can I find a trusted shop?
Some shops wont take a chanch repairing an original radiator because of its age. Eventually the tubes get brittle and if its rodded out the tubes can be damaged and make things worse. You can pinch off a tube or two as that has been done many many times and will stop a tube leak. You can get lucky and fix it easily. Eventually it gets down to how much you want to spend. A cheap patch job on a 100 year radiator usually doesnt pay off in the long run and it usually winds up being short. I finally bought a new Bergs radiator for my 24 Coupe rebuild. I have 3 radiators that I was going to pick from but after close inspection the money spent would be better spent on a new one. This is one item on a T that eventually will have to be replaced.
If you have a show car and everything has to be strictly "correct" to earn points, you'll need a radiator with round tubes. New round tube radiators are available. But for a driver that doesn't need to earn points, you can go with a new flat tube radiator that cools better. Most people won't know the difference. Either way, I agree with John that trying to fix up an eighty-year-plus radiator is likely to turn out penny wise and pound foolish in the long run. I am notoriously cheap, but I got a new flat tube Berg for my TT project.
I do not think this is an original radiator. It looks to good. Any sure way to tell?
I have two original radiators which have been recored by Click's Texas Radiator in Dallas and work well.
A minor leak can be patched with black hi-temp silicone.
I once repaired an outer tube by slipping down the fins, wrapping with brass shim stock and soldering.
If the radiator repair shop operator wants to help you out and fix it, it can usually be done. About 10 years ago, I was used to the radiator shop in Richardson saying modern radiators I took in could not be fixed and that I needed to a new one. I took my M Farmall original radiator to T. Goad in Greenville to have it repaired. It had about seven pretty good leaks. I asked him if he thought he could fix it or would I have to replace it. He replied, without testing it, I am sure I can fix it. And he did.
The best thing you can do is to ask around people who have had radiator work done in your area and find a radiator shop they recommend. Then take it in and let the people there examine the radiator while it is still on the car so they can see where it is leaking. They will tell you whether they think it can be repaired, give you an estimate, and then if you want them to do the job ask if you can remove the radiator and bring it in for repairs.
Sometimes you will gain a few years if you do that, sometimes not. It's somewhat like gambling. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose and sometimes you break even.
It looks to me like it was recored in the past and seems in pretty good shape till now. One idea I had was to run it so it will warm up and block the overflow tube so some pressure will build up and allow me to more precisely see the leak location.
Good or bad idea?
No picture of the inside, but it looks like a previous repair may be involved.
From the looks of your pics it looks like a flat tube radiator to me. Your T looks like a 26 or 27 to me. And if it is a flat tube radiator it possibly could be an original as Ford did use a flat tube in 26 or 27. These radiators were not as thick as the round tube. The round tube radiators were thicker at around 3 inches. The thinner flat tube type were only an inch 1 3/4 or so. Thoses are only estimates but it is a noticable difference. Lets hope its has been recored in the past so it may be a newer core.
From the the picture, it looks like 2 leaks. One near the top and the other a couple of inches up from the bottom. It could actually be only one leak near the top and the water running down the side and then back toward the front near the bottom. There are a couple of places toward the top which could be the cause of the leak. One is the top tank soldered joint. This might be fixable in the car if that is the only leak. The other is where the tubes solder into the top. That is harder to fix and I would advise a shop fix it.
If the leak is in the tubes themselves, then it might be time for a new core or new radiator.
A lot of radiator shops will recore an original radiator, especially if you're willing to use a replacement flat tube core, but the shop nearest me that I would trust, wanted way more to recore with a flat tube core than I could buy a Berg's for. As others have said, trying to do a repair yourself is hit and miss, and you ay not be successful. Definitely do not use a stop leak product. The stuff ought to be removed from the market. There might be a type that is OK and will not clog, but most will form an oatmeal type deposit inside as I found out the hard way. I'm lucky I didn't burn a motor up. Its no wonder it was overheating.
Norm, you are the eagle eye. I never noticed that till you said so. I just walked out to take a look and I do not think the top spot is leak. Must just be the angle of the fins. I will have to consult my clubmembers as I recall one fellow at a past meeting mentioned a shop with good abilitis. I bet it is even in our meeting minutes if I recall (I am the secretary). Now all I gotta do is find that issue and make the call.
Either way, it feels like a radiatorectomy comming on.
Will let you all know.
Well, Merry Christmas to me, it is fixed. Yet another reason to belong to a T club. I asked around and was referred to a small shop right here in my town that does only one thing. Old radiators. They boiled it out, fixed the leak, put on a new tab at the bottom for the wire loom, straightened out the fins on the front side, and painted it. Total cost = $65.00 and I just reinstalled it. Thanks Keith for the info.