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Re: Rodding out radiators

Murari asked:

> I'm experiencing some cooling problems at highway speeds in my
> 85 VW Scirocco and have two possible causes in mind. 
> The first : a partially open (stuck) thermostat
> The second : A clogged radiator.
> I would very much be interested in rodding the radiator out. 
> Have you ever had this done one one of your cars ? Would I
> need to find a "radiator place" ? (Must admit I've never seen
> one of these)

By all means, try the thermostat first.  Test the new one in a pan on 
the stove using a candy thermometer to make sure it DOES open.  Do 
this before installing it.

Rodding out is the NORMAL procedure when you take a radiator to 
a rebuild shop.  They remove the top and bottom caps, run a rod thru 
the cooling tubes to remove sediment, re-solder the caps, test it, 
solder up any leaks, and you're ready to go.  This is usually less 
than $100.  I have had this done many times, and it beats the heck 
out of buying a replacement radiator!

CAVEAT: I don't know the drill for aluminum radiators.  This is all 
as per the brass radiators which have been used up till the past few 

There are always radiator shops listed in the yellow pages under 
"Automobile Repair & Service".  Just call one and ask them about the 
radiator on your car - they will know what can be done with it.

> My mechanic wants to simply replace the radiator (more moolah
> and less head-scratching for him I guess :)

Most mechanics don't know squat about "Repair" these days - the 
only term they understand is "Replace".  So his attitude does not 
surprise me.  But he can pull that radiator in 20 minutes, I'd bet.  
At least he can make some $ on that.  You can take it to the radiator 
shop if they won't stop by and pick it up.
> Also, If I do find one of these radiator shops, I guess I'll 
> have to remove the radiator and take it to them. Correct ?

See above.  You can pay the mechanic or DIY.  Remember, removing a 
part is a basic mechanical service and if a shop will NOT do it, you 
badly need to find a different shop which does not have its head up 
its fundaments.

Al Powell, Ph.D.                 Voice:  409/845-2807
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.          Fax:    409/862-1202
College Station, TX 77843