Plastic Radiators - Grrrrr

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:36
ThreadID: 65088 Views:2607 Replies:7 FollowUps:17
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I was driving home from the airport Saturday with the windows down and smelt coolant. Glanced at the temp gage and saw it peak then drop to nothing.

STOPPED and had a look. There was coolant everywhere under the bonnet. A little look found that the top plastic radiator tank pipe had bleep tered letting all the green stuff out.

Called the RAA for a tow but they have to send out a tech first to make sure it is not drivable.

That is when it got interesting.

He said that they are seeing a lot more of this recently especially with the earlier model magnas, and most are unlucky enough to cook the motor.

I had the beast tray topped to my repairer this morning (love that RAA premium) and he said exactly the same thing - he is seeing about 1 to 2 cars and 4bys a fortnight with the same problem - and there is no way of checking it before it goes crackle and snaps off or collapses. He also had a lot to say about modern radiators ... nothing good.

I rang David Jones at Engine Saver Low Water Alarms this afternoon and ordered an alarm. $160 is cheap insurance.

Thanks to Bill Roach and others on here who recommended David - and he said to say hello Bill.

Cheers

Pete
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Reply By: Member No 1- Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:43

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:43
"green stuff" kryptonite?

be good if they could devise a test so that the plastic bits can be checked to see how brittle they have become over time
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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:16

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:16
Not just the radiator - what about all the other bits made out of something other than metal that are critical to getting home safe?
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 23:18

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 23:18
like rad fans I was back in SA visiting ma and pa and looked forward to a drive of my old skyline I sold them
while it still hammered it seemed to be running rough

I investigated further and found 2 blades busted off of the plastic fan - thankfully rad was OK

and if you talking old holden motors thee is a lineup 100km long of people who never made it home due to both those crappy timing cogs and the distibuter cogs - neither which was metal
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Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:59

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:59
Hi Pete.

Phoned David the other day.
My insurance arrived yesterday.
Between all the plastic and alloy in the engine bay today, when it goes wrong its going to go wrong very quickly.
almost an essential add on.

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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:15

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:15
His new add on block sensor sounds interesting as well.

My mechanic was saying that a lot of european cars have low water sensors and alarms as standard.

Why has this not been a problem before? - radiators made out of aluminium, copper and brass - all metal - do not fatigue, crack and bleep ter like plastic. They may develop a leak but that is something you can fix on the road...

The RAA bloke said there is nothing much you can do - it will pass a pressure test one day and break the next.

I have been thinking how I could limp home from the middle of nowhere with a broken top (or bottom) radiator pipe or tank - perhaps build up someting that will hold water from plastibond or similar and drive with the pressure cap off?

Interesting problem.

Pete


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Reply By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:07

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:07
G'day Pete,

If it had to happen, just as well was in town....but thanks for the
reminder.

One of those things I was going to do too. -get an alarm that is.

Anyway, read your thread, rang David and ordered one for
the Troopy.

Cheers
Michael
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:36

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:36
That ole bomb of yours won't know what hit it. What with new suspension, new rims, new tyres, new winch, new spotlights, new low water alarm, new radiator, new seats, new bar work, new what else?(new driver?)....hahahahahaha



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Follow Up By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:18

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:18
S'cuse me.....

the old wagon is getting a bit of TLC prior to some serious
wanderings...


Might even wash it....))))))))))))

Cheers
Michael......who will eventually change his 'photo:))
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Reply By: Member - Ed. C. (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:26

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:26
What sort of hose clamp(s) are ya using?



Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 09:58

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 09:58
OEM Holden ones
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Reply By: Member - Effie C (NT) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:49

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:49
I fail to see how a low water alarm would help in this case, if it was a slow leak then yes I can see it helping but when the top tank goes west with all the water in one hit I feel it would be a case of too late for a warning.??????????
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Follow Up By: Member - Effie C (NT) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:51

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:51
PS I wonder if desert coolers do a aftermarket metal radiator to fit???

Attack the root cause rather then awaiting for the problem to develop.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:54

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:54
Low water alarm will come on as soon as you loose water, hence saying your engine
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:55

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 18:55
excuse the spelling, I am having a few not so quiet Rumbos
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:32

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:32
Effie

May be you should do some research on the Low Water Alarm. You can use the SEARCH function of this site to search the archives or Google it if you wish.
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 20:51

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 20:51
G'day Effice C,

Mate, it wouldn't have stopped the rupturing of the tank/outlet etc, but if Pete hadn't been driving with his window down and got a wiff of the coolant ## (see below), then he would've very quickly cooked his donk.... the price of the low water alarm would've seemed like loose change in comparison to the cost of rebuilding/replacing his donk.

## Now I'm gunna say something that's gunna get ME into hot water.......

Imagine if it was a person of the female persuasion who was driving the vehicle at the time..... she wouldn't have any idea what that coolant smell was..... she'd probably think the person driving the car in front of her was having some delayed gutural reations to last night's curry meal..... Thus, she wouldn't be likely to realise it was time to pull over.... Admittedly, even with a pretty large RED LED and a buzzer going off it's tiitts, she'd possibly just turn up the ipod so as not to hear the horrible buzzing noise.

To all those non-male readers of this forum who DO in fact know what to do if something does not seem quite right with their steed, please accept my apologies for the previous paragraph... I was generalising, which is a dead-set guaranteed way to offend a minority....

Cheers

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:00

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:00
Ooooooo..Bill........yer going to regret this......hahahahahaha



Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:10

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:10
"she'd probably think the person driving the car in front of her was having some delayed gutural reations to last night's curry meal."

Roachie.....you'll be sorry.lol lol lol
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:57

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 21:57
An 'over temperature' engine shut down does a great job too should an employee fail to notice all other warning devices. We had one operate just a couple of weeks ago protecting a well tuned John Deere engine and the guy had to perform his (expected routine) screen cleaning with a hot radiator:-))
Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 22:56

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 22:56
You can do the same thing with a pressure switch teed into the temp sender, when pressure is low it glows an idiot light or sounds an alarm

Cheers

Richard
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 06:23

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 06:23
you are right of course Roachie....but i'll never ever tell em your right
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 20:43

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 20:43
G'day Pete,
Glad you caught it in time (before it cooked). Could so easily have been a different story if you'd been driving with your window up.

I've never met David Jones and I have no interest in his business; I'm just a very satisfied client of his....he sounds like a thorough gentleman and his service is second to none.

I will always seize any opportunity to sing the praises of his "insurance policy".....

Cheers

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 09:33

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 09:33
I know I was thinking what if it had been yesterday with the windows up and the A/C running to help keep the engine a little warmer.

I had a top hose blow on a courier tray top some years ago and there was a huge gush of steam as the coolant hit the exhaust. This time there was no steam until I stopped, but I must have caught it just as it let go as there was coolant sitting everywhere.

The other trap is that if it starts with a small crack it will progressively empty the radiator but if you only check the water level at the overflow bottle there will still be plenty of coolant there. I always lift the cap when cold to check levels.

The new radiator went in yesterday - $840 for a generic unit. The holden original is over $1,400.

Cheers

Pete
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Reply By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 10:24

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2009 at 10:24
I have just ordered one for the Troopy and mentioned I saw the info on Exploroz.

David kindly reduced the price by $10.

Regards BooBoo
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