How To Test a Radiator

Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:38 am

Yesterday I brought Rambo to the shop for a couple jobs I intended to do. First was the radiator. Rambo had made a mess on the floor where I parked him last fall... coolant was everywhere. I got the radiator from the pile of parts known as either #10 or "Pyle". :D Condition unknown, so I decided to test it. Here's how I did it.

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The test base is a simple particle board base bolted on over 3 shop cut gaskets to provide clearance for the tube ends.


I applied just a few ounces of air pressure using this rig made from odd ends lsying around the shop. The regulator is in addition to the one feeding the air hose, and the double gauges are further assurance that the pressure doesn't get too high. It's enough to turn up the regulator just enough to see the gauge move.
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A windex bottle filled with soapy water is a handy leak detector, tire mounting lubricator, carburetor leak detector and is kept handy. I found and repaired only one very small leak.

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Here's the payoff... I added a full gallon of coolant to Rambo's radiator, and today it's dry as a bone so I may not change the radiator at all! :shock:

Now I can concentrate on rebuilding the TC block and adding it while the hood is off.
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Last edited by George Willer on Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:26 pm

:wink: Good deal George :!:

Just to clarify one point you made Do Not Use more that 3 or 4 psi or you will be looking for a new radiatior whether you needed one before or not. That is all the pressure you need to find a leak I came up with the 3-4psi as the is the rating of the cap the IH dealer gave me. To help find a leak faster you can pressureise it and put it in a tank of water too.

Billy

Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:18 pm

Cowboy wrote::wink: Good deal George :!:

Just to clarify one point you made Do Not Use more that 3 or 4 psi or you will be looking for a new radiatior whether you needed one before or not. That is all the pressure you need to find a leak I came up with the 3-4psi as the is the rating of the cap the IH dealer gave me. To help find a leak faster you can pressureise it and put it in a tank of water too.

Billy


Billy,

I'm sure you're right. I doubt I used as much as a pound of pressure... just enongh to make the guage needle move any at all. I recommend not using any more than the bare minimum. The soapy water (a lot of soap in the water) will make a mass of bubbles wherever there is a leak, and has the advantage of having the radiator easily readily available for whatever repair may be necessary. Also easier to rig than a proper tank like the radiator shops have.

Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:04 pm

I like the test rig george. May need to do that for mine.

Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:13 pm

Another alternative I have used rather than making the hose adaptor is to just stick the air hose in the neck and pack a wet rag around it. also prevents excessive pressure buildup.