Radiator repair or replacement 1926
I have a seep 2/3rds of the way up on a radiator that “looks” good. I went through the forum postings since 2008 and need advice on repair and replacement options.
I sent it to a radiator shop who quoted 600 dollars for a recore. I need a better option. Reading posts, some of you mention getting a new core for a Clark fork lift which fits the Model T Any ideas what model to get ? old forum post “there is a stock core for a Clark fork lift that is almost identical to the T high radiator! Forget the Clark number, but a radiator shop found it for me for 'Chugger'a while back.”
Texas Radiator in Dallas was mentioned as a place for repair .
Repairs mentioned in old posts include soldering and flushing then putting in pepper or using sealant. If I did this and it seals I would of course have to tell the next owner of the T the radiator was not in good shape but is this worth a try ?
Some posts tell of $ 600 quotes and then finding a shop doing the work for $ 65 dollars. Any advice appreciated. old posts excerpts below.
“, I filled to just above the baffle with 50/50 water mix and all of a can of black table pepper. We have many miles on the T since 2008, no seep and no leak. Hope this helps and good luck. Bill V.
One, get some Ultra Black sealant made by Permatex and seal it from the outside. You should be able to hide the sealant. It'll hold practically forever.
Two, use soft solder and a cool torch. I've done radiator solder repairs with a BIC cigarette lighter on the road and they've held. “
I'd spend $800 for a new Berg's before I spent $600 on a recore. If I could get a recore for $300, I might do it. But, try some stop leak of some sort. If it quits leaking and it cools, then great. If not, you're not out much. Both of ours have new Berg's. One because the radiator didn't cool worth a dang in addition to the recurring leaks. The other because of recurring leaks, but it was in such bad condition, the radiator shop told me not to bring it back again. The lower hose connection was just about rotted off. It did still cool, though. I didn't throw it away.
I did spend $800 on a Bergs for my 26 tourer, and was one of the best things I ever did. It is a very rugged design with extra reinforcement down the sides. Problem with my original was that its ability to cool just got worse and worse. Cleaning it out didn't help so I assume it was a case of fin detachment. Plus the inlet was almost rusted away.
I had my 26 rad repaired locally. Price was cheap, but, soon it sprang another leak. I realized I would be forever dealing with this. Any home repair to stop a leak is only going to coat the passages and make the radiator less efficient.
I bit the bullet and saved up for a new unit from Bergs. Wow, all American made and superb quality. More rows than the old one and it cools much better.
Now the cost is long behind me and the worry is too. I can drive my car anywhere, any time, and that is priceless.
I guess if nobody in NJ and OR can pump their own gas (from another thread), it's possible that nobody in IN can repair a radiator! We live in a throw away world and radiator repair shops are vanishing, but, they are still used. A little aluminum radiator in a Kia may be cheaper to replace than repair, but, not so on everything! Call a local equipment rental place and ask them where they would take a backhoe or dozer radiator for repair. You also have a lot of agriculture in IN. Ask a farmer or tractor salesman where he'd get a radiator repaired. By the time you ship one back and forth to TX a few times, you could have bought a new one! My last recore was in 1999, and, when all was said and done, came in at less than $100 below a new one. I've bought a couple of new ones from Brassworks since then and had several repaired, but, no more recored. Good luck.
Without a doubt the best value for the buck is a new Bergs radiator.
Buy new, you'll be a happy man !!
If its an outer tube, it could be pinched off and soldered with minimal damage to the appearance if done correctly. I had a very small seep where a tube entered the tank at the bottom on a radiator Texas Radiator recored 15 years ago. I had took it to them for repair. They pulled off the bottom tank, cleaned it and leak checked it. I installed it but it still had my seep. I went down to Texas Radiator and explained my problem to the owner, Wilson Peters. He gave me some powder he called the "radiator man's best friend". I put it in with the coolant and voila! no more leak. Maybe, you need to find a more sympathetic radiator shop.
Ted, I remember my Dad taking the tanks off his truck radiator and pinching off the top and bottom of a couple cores and soldering them. The outside of the radiator looked like it had never been touched. I do recall a certain amount of cussing while he was putting the tanks back on but he got the job done. I also saw him put the fan on an old Studebaker truck into the radiator and for that he cut a couple fins away. Clipped the cores and pinched and soldered them. It stopped leaking and that old truck just kept on going. I guess the depression taught him pretty good to get by with what you've got.
When I first got into Model T's a T guy told me that in addition to the T repair books, nothing pays greater dividends that a new radiator and gas tank.
I have become a believer...
John, whoever told you that was correct. Nobody told me that, but I have arrived at the same conclusions.
There are cheaper ways to "get by" and keep a car going, but those are two components which can make driving your T a headache. Buy those new and don't worry about them any more.
Might be able to solder. The repair would show. If you pinch off and solder, you would lose some cooling ability. It's hard to get a recore to fit the hood correctly. Best is to get a new radiator
Can you tell exactly where the leak is coming from? If you can isolate it to a particular tube, you can then drill a small hole at the top & bottom of that tube and inject RTV sealant into the holes. That way you have blocked off and abandoned that particular tube, which should make almost zero difference in your cooling.
I've done this and it worked good, and was nearly free.
So back in 1937, you were stone broke, driving from Oklihomer to Callifunny. No drills with RTV, no BIC lighters, and Maw just used the last of the black pepper to make that old boiled shoe taste like something. Mmmmm GOOD! If you were lucky, you had some left over coffee grounds, and the old flivvers' water letter outer made you hot water. Heck, some LYE soap and you could wash yer hands too.
Ill be danged; lookie up there in that thar nest for a couple of eggs...
Two eggs and 2 minutes (are those 2 minute eggs???) and not a drop of water loss. Holds a full radiator ALL summer. Call me a liar... I'll be laffin'. Put yer $600 into some new tires.
BTW... the 175F was after a 10 minute full speed run at 46 mph. As hard as I try I cant seem to do anything right.
This is the very same radiator as acquired. Its only been hosed clean and a coat of black rustoleum applied and a few fins straightened with some needle nose pliers... Oh and two eggs. Note: NOT a Ford radiator!
You have "A SEEP" and nobody can (will) fix it?
That's a sad state of affairs.......
And why does a radiator that doesn't leak need any explanation anyway?
Can you actually get to or see where the seeping is?
It would help if you can post a photo showing where exactly it leaks.
A quick Australian bush fix was to whittle a piece of wood so you could stuff it into the leak. The wood swells and seals of the leak.
Depending where the problem is it may even be an invisible repair ( If its on the side of the core)
I used to go to a farm where they had a 1920's Dodge 4 and it had numerous little wooden plugs in the radiator core, some had been there for years and it still held water and cooled the motor. The wooden plugs often didn't block of the tube just sealed the leak.
Depends on the kind of seep A Running seep or a Simple seep.
This one I call a running seep.
Noticed on tour a bit of spray over the hood on onto the windshield. But it was a sunny day
Looked at front end of the '24 and saw the droplet stains.
Then lifted the hood with motor running...
'Running seep', seeps a bunch when running Had to add water every 5 miles 'til we got her back to the hotel.
Fix for Lizzie's running seep was supplied by Brassworks....
Now the '23 developed a simple seep, fix was a bottle of Barrs Stop Leak.
Simple seep going away with Barrs.
I'm with you Dan!
It would be a really cold day before I'd drop $800 + because of a little leak in an otherwise good radiator.
You do what you have to do if you don't have the money. I just got tired of taking it off and on to have it repaired. I don't like to be putting water in or watching it drip out on a regular basis. I like to drive my car, not worry about it.
Putting any kind of stop leak in it is a sure way to decrease the effectiveness of the already aged cooling system. Start saving if you can because the new radiator works (and looks) so much better.