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Old 02-17-2020, 07:17 AM   #1
shew01
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Default Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

About 6 weeks ago, a Model A mechanic noticed that my aluminum fan blade was very loose when I took the car in for other repairs, and I agreed to have him replace the fan. (I'm glad he noticed the fan blade. I had checked it when I purchased the car about 4 months earlier, and it was tight right after the car purchase. But, when the mechanic found it, the fan definitely had a wobble. I was shocked at how quickly the fan blade loosened. The inside of the fan mount surface was gouged out from the wobble when he gave me the old part after replacement.) It is my understanding that the top radiator hose has to be removed to remove the fan. (My car has two upper radiator hoses because the previous owner installed an adapter for a temperature gauge in line with the original top hose.) He was able to replace the fan and reuse the existing upper radiator top hoses, which were semi-hard from wear.

Prior to fan blade replacement, the radiator did not leak. After fan replacement, the radiator leaked. The mechanic told me about the leak, and he thought the leak was at the upper radiator hose clamps, which sounded reasonable at the time. He tightened the upper hose clamps and told me that I might need to replace the clamps if it leak continued.

Yesterday, I replaced the upper radiator hoses with new Model A parts from Bratton's. Replacing the top hoses and clamps solved most of the leak, but now it appears that there is a drop of antifreeze coming from somewhere around the upper tank every minute or two. (Unfortunately, the drop eventually appears to hit the fan blade, which sprays a mist of antifreeze everywhere.) I'm assuming that either I or the mechanic stressed the tank when removing the upper hoses and caused a small crack somewhere around the upper radiator tank.

I plan to try some stop leak to see if I can get around this issue. If that doesn't work, I have some questions, assuming that there is a small crack somewhere around the upper radiator tank:

1) Is it possible to repair a radiator tank without removing the radiator from the car? (Removing a radiator looks like a lot of work, and it looks like it's possible to have all sorts of hood alignment problems when putting it back together. I've replaced radiators in newer cars, but I'm still new to Model As, and I've never removed a radiator from a Model A. For me, I suspect this could be a "Pandora's Box" reassembly issue.)

2) Can someone post some pictures showing how the upper tank connects to the radiator?

3) What is involved in getting the hood (and associated parts) realigned when replacing the radiator?

4) Does this repair even seem to be a likely permanent fix? Would I be better off just replacing the radiator with a new one?

5) I've read nightmare stories about new radiators that don't quite fit. If I end up having to replace the radiator, who makes a Model A radiator that actually fits?

6) What words of wisdom can you share with me?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:40 AM   #2
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Check PMs.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Actually, removing the radiator is among the easiest things to do on a Model A.

Remove the headlights by unbuttoning the connections on the ferrules below the lamp, removing the horn wire, and then remove the entire light bar including lights and horn together without changing their "settings." Four bolts between the light bar and fender brackets.

You judge - I have removed a radiator without removing the headlights. Its possible but a toss-up to the ease of removal/pulling off hoses/extra work in the headlights.

Remove the four bolts holding the shell to the radiator. Lift shell up and off the radiator fill connection.

Remove the two (in your case perhaps three) clamps. You've already had the hoses off and things haven't "baked-in" yet so this should be easy. Remove the hoses.

(OBTW, probably all your tugging and pulling at the hoses has affected the solder joint at the hose ferrule to the upper tank. Hard NOT to do in replacing hoses with new even using a saws-all on the hoses.)

Then, undo the two bolts with springs holding the radiator base to the frame. You want to carefully make a sketch of how the parts are put together (or refer to the Service Bulletins for a pix.)

The radiator at this point should be a "walk-away" to the work-bench/repairer.

You can resolder this yourself if you can test with soap bubbles and find the leak with a modest supply of air. Don't pressurize over 3 to 5 psi.

Otherwise I would have the radiator brought to a shop and you decide the degree of "reconditioning" you need to do. Any Model A NEEDS an optimal radiator as the original design is a little "short" (IMHO) Best would be BEST, if you can afford the full boil out, rodding, thermal paint, whatever.

With the radiator OUT is the time to do these things, of course.

Re-doing work to get to deferred work is such a downer.

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Old 02-17-2020, 10:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Two things to add to Joe's post. First, I always remove the front bumper first. Only two nuts and it just makes everything easier. The take the rear hood hinge post loose. If there are shims or washers under it, Make sure they are saved. Then it's best with two people, just open the hood slightly, lift the rear up and slip the whole thing back a bit to slip it out if the front mount. Carefully set it aside and proceed as above. Replace in opposite order, no other alignment needed.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

You can screw around and remove the radiator later or get it over with and remove it now. Have a professional do the repair, You will not regret.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Bergs radiators are a drop in fit, no fussing. Also are known for their cooling capacity - not unusual to have to run a thermostat with the Bergs so coolant temps get up to operating temp. They are expensive, but in my opinion are the best, there are other choices, opinions vary.


Do searches on radiators and then on Bergs if you want more info.


I've read it is not uncommon to develop a leak where the neck attaches to the upper tank, if leak is there perhaps brazing or solder would be a quick fix? Perhaps run it with the fan belt off to help locate the leak?
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

I may be having some good luck today. I added some stop leak, and it appears to be holding.


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Old 02-17-2020, 07:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

There is a very easy fix for something like this although not it is not "proper".
However it works.
To do the repair you need to be able to clean the metal all around the crack/hole a half inch or so. Once it's clean cut a piece of 100% cotton cloth (think Tee shirt material) in a shape that will cover the area. With your thumb and forefinger saturate the cloth with silicone caulk and cover the area pressing it on to make good contact but not squeezing out the silicone. The patch is best if it isn't thick but the material still needs to remain saturated with the silicone.
I've used this technique many times on many things and it works rather well. Matter of fact I did this on the upper tank of my AA close to ten years ago now and it is doing just fine.
If you use black cloth and black silicone it won't be very noticeable at all.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1crosscut View Post
There is a very easy fix for something like this although not it is not "proper".

However it works.

To do the repair you need to be able to clean the metal all around the crack/hole a half inch or so. Once it's clean cut a piece of 100% cotton cloth (think Tee shirt material) in a shape that will cover the area. With your thumb and forefinger saturate the cloth with silicone caulk and cover the area pressing it on to make good contact but not squeezing out the silicone. The patch is best if it isn't thick but the material still needs to remain saturated with the silicone.

I've used this technique many times on many things and it works rather well. Matter of fact I did this on the upper tank of my AA close to ten years ago now and it is doing just fine.

If you use black cloth and black silicone it won't be very noticeable at all.


Hmmm... That may be worth a try. There wouldnít be much to lose if it didnít work out for me.


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Old 02-17-2020, 09:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

I agree with Daren in post #5 - save yourself a lot of trouble and remove the radiator and take to a good shop. They can clean the stop-leak out. Been there, done that.
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

I learned the hard way on my "T". Do the job properly and drive worry free.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Soldering is not an easy job for the inexperienced hobbyist. Solder uses flux to get it to stick to nice clean surfaces. All the flux in the world won't get it to stick to dirty surfaces. There is only one way to clean this stuff up well enough to do the job. Other sealants may work for a while but it wouldn't be for long term.
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

My replacement radiator arrived over the weekend. Iíve been reading in Les Andrews book, page 1-235 ff, about how to replace it. Iíve looked for radiator shops around Roanoke, VA, but they no longer do repairójust replacements. Iíll keep the old radiator as a spare, hoping to find someone to repair it later.

Iím a fair shade tree mechanic, but Iím still new to Model As. I donít underestimate my ability to create unnecessary work for myself (or damage to the hardware) on this task. ;-)

Someone, please correct me if Iím wrong.

1) It looks like the headlight bar can stay in place, but the wiring needs to be removed, correct? (But, leaving the headlight bar in place goes against the suggestion from Joe K above. I can definitely see Joeís reasoning.)

2) If I remove the headlight bar, how can I avoid changing the ďsettings?Ē

3) My car has a stone guard on it. (Please see pictures below.) Are there only two screws holding it on? Or, is there a hidden attachment somewhere?

4) The license tag bolts are close to the stone guard. I donít know if I can remove the stone guard without removing the light bar. What do you think?

5) What else should I be looking for that Iím currently missing? Iíll definitely want to make lots of pictures as I take things apart.







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Old 03-23-2020, 05:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Last time I had a radiator out, I left the headlight bar where it was. I drained the cooling system, disconnected the wires to lights and horn, removed the shell, undid the hoses and the two bolts that hold it in. Then, I took off the bonnet (hood) and the two radiator stays. I don't bother with propping up the front of the bonnet in situ - I think it is easier to just take it off and be done with it. Then, simply lift it out.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:09 AM   #15
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

It isn't hard to replace one, just awkward so have someone help. Depends on how the PO installed the old one, if they used the proper bolts/springs. Keep the old radiator as the stop leak will probably hold. Let me know if you need a hand or have a question. I can do it myself on my old cars but it is nice to have help to keep from scratching the paint on my good one. If you have to do it by yourself then put some vice grips on the bottom of the bolts that stick up through the crossmemeber, you can take the pin out of the top and use a ratchet to get the nuts off. Put something over the fan so you don't hit the old or new radiator and wiggle it loose if you have to.once everytking is unhooked. Shell and guard should come off after you get it off the car.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:19 AM   #16
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Good idea to wrap the fan. I hadnít thought about that. It would be a shame to mess up the new radiator.


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Old 03-24-2020, 09:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

An alternative is cardboard covering areas on the radiator you want protected.
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:24 AM   #18
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Remove the license plate from the light bar, 2 screws on the guard and it lifts off. Then remove the shell after you've disconnected the wires (disconnect the battery first).
Then R&R the radiator.
Paul in CT
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Quote:
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An alternative is cardboard covering areas on the radiator you want protected.

Excellent idea.


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Old 03-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #20
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Default Re: Is it possible to repair the upper radiator tank without radiator removal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 flamingo View Post
Remove the license plate from the light bar, 2 screws on the guard and it lifts off. Then remove the shell after you've disconnected the wires (disconnect the battery first).
Then R&R the radiator.
Paul in CT

Thanks. I didnít consider that.


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