I wish to clean out the tubes of my radiator by poking wire down them all. The radiator is otherwise good, and the fins haven't detached from what I can tell. Question is, what's the best way to access the tubes; take off the bottom tank, or go in from the top tank? From the top tank it would seem easier as only the front or back would need to be unsoldered.
Is an ordinary blow torch sufficient to do this? It would appear impossible to keep all the solder molten at the same time to get the tank/back/front off.
Also, some time ago I found a piece of rusty metal in the bottom of the radiator and pulled it out. Later I discovered this to be a baffle. How important is this and where exactly in the bottom tank does it go?
Before anyone says just take it to a radiator shop, for one thing it is extremely inconvenient due to working hours, and most stories I've heard about T (and other) radiators being worked on in such places have been disasters.
I'm not aware of any baffles in the bottom tank? There was one in the top tank and if it ended up in the bottom,you could just flush it out. Rodding a radiator is a fun job,but doable. It will be easier to go in through the bottom tank,but if your baffle is loose in the top tank,you will have to remove the back of the top tank to resolder it. getting a good seal around the water inlet is tricky. I use a propane torch and 50/50 solder. As always a clean surface is mandantory to get a good solder joint. I media blast mine and use a good flux,followed by a water rinse to remove any excess flux.(very corrosive)
i agree no baffle in bottom tank of rad, if the bottom tank of rad is water tight the best way to rod it out is to remove the top tank, one piece at a time heating the solderd seam with a suitable torch heating an inch or two at a time and blowing out the molten solder with air blo gun. i remove the front and back plates first then the top with a little care and a soft flame no damage to the materiel will occure, if the tubes are round use a 1/8 brazeing rod no sharp edeges on the end or tube damage will occure. some times the lock seams in the tubes will leak after rodding out, when i do one of them i remove both tanks so i can test all of the tubes before reassembly, swaves some cursing
You may want to attach a water hose on the bottom hose connection and slowly start filling it from the bottom up and watch inside to see if all of the tubes fill at the same rate. This will also indicate which tubes have a restriction and needs to be rodded (running a rod inside the tube) to dislodge the restriction.
When you run a rod inside the tube you want to have some water in the tube as this will aid in softening the debri, plus it will help flush it away after you break it up. You don't want to force the rod through the blockage as you may rupture the tube, you need to work it up and down to break things loose. Then flush water through the tube.
Typically it's the outside tubes that plug first.
To remove the tanks you need to first remove the excess solder around the perimiter of the tank. Place the radiator so the solder will flow down hill when applying heat at the top and slowly work your way down to the bottom, do this for all four side. A wire brush will aid in removeing the solder as it starts to melt.
Next step would be to apply heat again to the joint are and lightly tap the tank with a rubber mallet just enough so as not to dent or damage the tank. As you work this step you may find the tank will start to break loose from the header plate. Start on the long sides and then work the two short sides next. This can be time consuming so as not to damage the tank or radiator header plate. As you may need to repeat this a couple times.
Be carefuel of overheating the copper and brass as you may damaged the material, just enough heat to melt the solder. If you need to pry or bend the metal be sure to apply heat while doing this as you can cause the metal to fracture.
As for the baffle it's there to restrict flow to improve on cooling.
Main thing is to take it slow and have patients.
Mr. John H, it is not that big a deal, we used to take the tank off every couple of months and rod out the tubes, the water here is so hard and full of lime it is hard to believe. We used a Coleman gasoline blow torch and the great big old soldering iron that you either heated with the torch or set in a bed of coals. I would not want to do it anymore, but I would think that with the modern tools and the help here on this Forum, it would be pretty easy, and if nothing else, you tried.
Thanks everyone for your replies...I'll definitely give it a go now.
I did actually poke a wire down one of the tubes that you can see through the filler and some mud started to rise to the top, so I figure I can only improve it if I do the same to rest of them.
As for the bottom tank baffle; there was definitely something attached just inside where the lower hose connects and had to use long nose pliers to pull it out. The picture in the Snyder's catalog shows something in their replacement bottom tank. If it's just there to restrict flow, then would it not be possible to put a restriction in the hose instead?
Why not take it to a radiator shop and have it professionally cleaned and flushed? Most radiator shops have a massive tank in which they can submerge the whole radiator in a caustic solution that will disolve any calcium deposits in the tubes. It will also remove any improper, oil based paint from the fins that inhibit airflow and heat transfer. Once returned to you, it will be nice and clean and you can apply the proper radiator paint to the tubes and fins. This is one job I always let the experts handle. Thanks. Jim
That would be fine, as long as you INSIST that they DO NOT pressure test it! T radiators are not designed for 15 lbs of pressure! Sure way to ruin an otherwise good core!
If your radiator is still on your car get a couple of gallons of vineager from the store and use that. A radiator man told me that and it does work.
Put it in your car, drive or just run it for a while and then flush.