Finding and fixing a brass radiator leak on tour

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Finding and fixing a brass radiator leak on tour
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 05:32 pm:

Let's say you're on tour and your brass radiator starts leaking badly. How would you find the leak and make a temporary repair to finish the tour?

A recent post mentioned using the Right Stuff if you can pin-point the leak...but how to best pin-point the leak?

Would plugging up the radiator and submerging it in your hotel bathtub show where the leak is via the trail of air bubbles?

Are special rubber plugs for this purpose available?




(Message edited by m2m on May 18, 2017)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 05:51 pm:

Sorry to hear you're having an issue on tour.

This may not work if it's leaking really badly, but I have had good luck on two different cars using the bar-leaks flakes in the plastic tube that you can buy at auto parts stores. It might be enough to get you through the tour, but you would want to flush the system and fix the leak for good once you got home.

If you can find rubber plugs big enough at a hardware store, you could try submerging the radiator in the hotel bathtub, but it might not bubble unless you can feed it with pressurized air, maybe from a tire pump?

Good luck and let us know how it works out! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 05:57 pm:

Mark, hypothetical question I'm not on tour :-)

I know the black pepper and other emergency fixes; but I want to know if the radiator will emit air bubbles when submerged under water in a hotel room bathtub.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 06:14 pm:

Well, glad to hear you're thinking ahead! :-)

I doubt it would bubble unless you could pressurize it. Maybe fabricate one of the plugs to include a valve stem so that you can pump air into the radiator with a tire pump?

Don't forget you have to plug the overflow as well as the inlet and outlet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Prince Madras, Oregon on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 06:19 pm:

I don't know about a radiator but I emit bubbles when submerged in a hotel room bathtub. I don't know what you consider a permanent repair but I have used ground ginger and it has been working for many years.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 06:22 pm:

If you need to MacGyver your way through a plug job while on the road, a roll of electrical tape and the bottom cut off a small plastic soda bottle goes a long way. Then you can blow through the overflow to pressurize it. Wide electrical tape makes the job a little easier. I also want to say if you fill the bathtub with hot water you won't need to pressurize it. The air inside the cold radiator will expand and look for a way out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 09:17 pm:

Cut a bicycle inner tube opposite the valve stem. Clamp the two ends on the inlet and outlet. Plug the overflow ( from inside if possible), put the cap on and pump up with air. Submerge and look for bubbles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chadwick Azevedo on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 10:02 pm:

I had a fan blade go into my radiator on an endurance run. Fortunatly I had a honeycomb so I was able to run rags thru the core covering the massive hole and then bailing wire to hold it all in there. A container of bars leak held it all together for another 180 miles that day.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ivan on Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 10:28 pm:

You say it is leaking "badly" but all is relative. How much water are you losing over what period of time ?? A cup per day ? a quart per hour ?

Dennis Prince's suggestion is an age old remedy that does work with small leaks / cracks etc. You put the ground ginger in the water and it makes it's way to the leak. Being a dried fibrous root, the particles swell in the water and help bung up the hole. Being a natural fibre, it can be flushed out if/when you need professional repairs when you get home. Or the fix may hold for years?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 02:11 am:

Thanks for the replies; some good ideas there.

I would have thought if a brass T radiator is leaking water it would certainly leak much thinner air when submerged even without pumping air in to raise pressure; not correct?

Submerging in hot water would no doubt help as Walter mentioned.

To make life easier when doing this I was thinking of buying some cork style rubber stoppers, see:

https://www.sciencecompany.com/Black-Rubber-Stoppers-Size-Chart.aspx

http://www.widgetco.com/epdm-rubber-stoppers

Anyone know off-hand the size of the brass radiator inlet and outlet plus the overflow?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 02:28 am:

Here's another approach... If you have overnight And you are going to remove the radiator you can repair the crack or pin hole leak on the Nonpressurized T radiator with your Ultra Black that you should be carrying for applying to gaskets in case you need to change any. you can also glue on a patch using a piece of shim stock.

This Ultra Black or The Right Stuff can also stop a freeze crack leak on the block.

Think "Flex Seal" as Seen on TV... The Permatex gasket sealer has many uses on your Model T!!

Can also repair a tear in your top or seat!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Jefferson, Ohio on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 07:12 am:

Could you leave the radiator cap on and induce air via a small hose attached to the overflow tube by attaching the small hose directly from the tire pump barb fitting to the overflow tube? That way the only thing you would need is 5 feet of small hose which could be carried in the tool box.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Bender Tulsa Oklahoma on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 08:15 am:

You won't like this but it works, has worked and will work again.
Fan got loose, six or seven leaks, all stop in a matter of seconds using black pepper. Finished tour and another couple of thousand miles.
I have used this old trick on a lot of tours when someone had a leak start.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dean Kiefer - Adams, MN on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 09:35 am:

How much black pepper does it take? Is a typical restaurant type shaker about the wright size?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:20 pm:

Carry a pepper grinder with you so you can adjust the grain size to match the size of the damage -- those tiny packets with the fine stuff may not do the job!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:30 pm:

And a scale to measure the proper amount. I find 437 grains works best on most leaks. Make sure to calibrate before use and don't weigh where there are any air currents.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:40 pm:

For small leaks, carry either of these.

For large tube leaks, take your needle nose pliers and pinch the tube above and below the leak.

3

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:46 pm:

Maybe the Tulsa Club can conduct tests to see which is better; black pepper or ginger. Any white pepper or jalapeno powder guys out there?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dean Kiefer - Adams, MN on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:54 pm:

If 437 grains of pepper work perfect than a restaurant shaker will be fine unless someone put to much pepper on there potatoes and gravy first.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andre Valkenaers on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 01:20 pm:

As Mike said, this one you will not believe but I can assure you, it work very well and I used it often to bring a tractor home from the field for final repair.
With a needle nose pliers pinch the leaking tubes above and below the leak. Make the engine running and fill the radiator with water and add a FRESH EGG. The egg will coagulate and the solid parts will close the leak.

With the pepper and some salt it should make a fine scrambled egg.

Andre
Belgium


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Bender Tulsa Oklahoma on Friday, May 19, 2017 - 05:45 pm:

No testing needs to be done, half a dozen packs of pepper from the cafe will do just find.
Hal a set of scales in this part of the country may get you an extend stop by the police explaining the need for them in your Model T. LOL
Constantine you have way to much free time on your hands, I can tell. LOL


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chadwick Azevedo on Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 08:31 am:

Whatever pepper you use Make Sure you smell it first to make sure it's fresh.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R. S. Cruickshank on Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 01:56 pm:

Years ago (maybe 45-50) I used a product called "liquid glass". You need to empty any antifreeze out and use only water. As I remember the only place to get it was at a drug store of all places. It will seal a leak even if it is in the head and last for a long time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George n LakeOzark,Missourah on Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 02:29 pm:

I used FlexSeal and sprayed some into a small plastic (Desposable)cup and using a small brush got it on to the leaky tubes. Also changed the spray button to one that had a straw and shot some more on. So far no weeps or leakage


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gene Carrothers Huntington Beach on Sunday, May 21, 2017 - 02:46 pm:

George, So do you think the Flex Seal is the same as Ultra Black except in a spray form?

I got that idea the other day after watching the commercial. I wonder if it sticks and is as tough as the Ultra Black?

Great idea


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George n LakeOzark,Missourah on Sunday, May 21, 2017 - 03:49 pm:

Gene, I have no clue. Haven't been able to give it a weak test other than a driveway warm up. I've been have fuel delivery problems I'm trying to sort out. Runs 5 mins than dies. Getting the cowl tank out for cleaning and lining has been a bear. Not as easy as the black book sez.


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