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Thread: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

  1. #1
    Mr. Fix it Sucked In Traveler's Avatar
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    Default Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    In the donor truck we bought to use under the '86 the radiator had a leak. Someone didn't set the fan clutch after putting the new water pump in and it came off the engine.
    It fell and tore a couple tubes.

    In our never ending desire to fix things our self at least once we decided to try this job.

    Looking around in the internet there is little to no information on removing or replacing radiator tanks yourself at home.
    We searched for special tools to do the job and came up empty handed.
    Our first attempt we used ratchet straps to try and compress the tanks while we bent the tabs back and that didn't work out too well.
    Next we were looking using a hydraulic press but that would not allow us room to work around the tanks.
    We came up with this setup.
    It is a couple 4x4s with some all thread and a chunk of rubber to help disperse the weight on the top.


    After you get some pressure on it, go around and start bending tabs back.
    Be careful not to pry on the tank itself, in this case we used a big screw driver and was able to apply the pressure against the wood.


    The normal thought would be to straighten all of the tabs, but leave them slightly bent it helps to put them back into place.


    We used a tig to repair it. Then we put it back together and pressure tested it. I will put up more pics later.
    The 0-ring gasket tends to grow and doesn't want to fit back into the groove, so you may want new ones, we just cut it and allowed the ends to over lap and used a little silicone to hold them in place.
    We used a hammer and a Vise grips to close the tabs back down.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sucked In sheepman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    Wow thats more then I would have done. I would have just hauled to the rad. shop to have it fixed.

    About how long did it take to do once you figured out how to do it.

  3. #3
    Mr. Fix it Sucked In Traveler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    Figuring out how to build the press was the hardest part.
    After that, maybe 20 minutes?
    It wasn't long.
    We only pulled one tank first, when we tried to tig it, the cores would just melt away, so we blocked those two off.
    After it cooled we clamped it back together, put the bottom tank on removed the top tank. That took about 20 minutes.
    I hope tonight we can put the other tank back on and pressure test it all again.

    With all of the bronco and pickup radiators we have thrown away in the past because of cracked tanks, or leaking gaskets I sure wish we would have figured this out sooner.

  4. #4
    Old Gray Mare Sucked In Dman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    Wow, you can have a standing ovation for that one. Way to go.

  5. #5
    Mr. Fix it Sucked In Traveler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    First we tried to just tig the cores and it was just too dirty to get it to flow right.


    So we just blocked off those two rows at each end.


    Next we lay the 0-ring back in. For whatever reason they tend to grow a little. The best course of action would have spent the couple of bucks and got new ones.


    Being anxious to see if it works, and not wanting to waste money if it didn't we proceeded to cut it to fit.


    We used a couple dabs of silicone, not to seal, just to hold it in place during assembly.


    Next set the tank back on, then take a hammer and gently go around the and bend the "rail" that the tabs are on back up against the tank.
    This starts the tabs back in the right direction and holds the tank on while you clamp it.



    After you have clamped it back in your jig take a pair of vise grimps and pinch the tabs back down.
    Use vise grips because once you have them set it will give you equal pressure on each of the tabs all the way around the tank.
    You should go all the way around twice.

    Nest remove the jig and pressure test it.


    Not really having any clue how tight to clamp the tabs back down we did have some leaks, so we removed the pressure and tightened the clamps down a little more.
    We tested it to 15 pounds and it held great, get up around 20 pounds and it would start to seep. The gauge could be off so that is why we went a little higher than cap pressure.
    I hope it will hold. We will find out in a couple weeks, but knowing it can be done it huge, next time we will use new o-rings.

    I hope all of these write ups help someone else someday.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sucked In sheepman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    When you bent the tabs back did you have it in the press?

  7. #7
    Mr. Fix it Sucked In Traveler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radiator repair/tank removal and install.

    The first time we bent the tabs back we did have it in the press.
    Once we got them all bent we removed the press and pressure tested it.

    Once we found that we had leaks we relieved the pressure and just bent the tabs farther without the press.

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