Have you ever used stop leak in a rad!

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by kup99, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. kup99

    kup99

    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    I have a small drip coming from my rad, and am wondering (when I find it) if I can somehow stop the leak.

    I am wondering if anyone has ever used a stop leak type of product, and if it worked or not?? Side effects to the rig (waterpump, hoses etc.)

    Thanks,
  2. osagecruiser

    osagecruiser

    Messages:
    2,256
    Location:
    Kansas!
    have'nt used stop leak but i have used a can of ginger...yes the spice ginger...my dad swore by it and it works!

    osagecruiser
  3. kup99

    kup99

    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    Really... how much did you put in... did you just pour it into the rad?? please explain!!
  4. MTBGUY

    MTBGUY

    Messages:
    187
    I've heard cayenne pepper is a trick used by big-rig drivers that have small pin-hole leaks. Never heard anything of ginger before. I've never tried either so could be urban legend?

    Ive used Bars stop leak before on small leaks until I was able to get a new hose, etc. It works fairly well, but will eventually gunk up your cooling system if you leave it in for a long time (like several months).

    Its best to stop the main cause of the leak of course, I'd consider Bars Stop leak a temporary (or pink panty):princess: fix to get the car home.

    This could be a good excuse to get that all-metal nice new radiator you know you want for Christmas but the spouse is giving you a hard time about!
  5. MTBGUY

    MTBGUY

    Messages:
    187
    Supposedly Bars works by using a "seal-sweller" which also conditions seals and gaskets in the cooling system.

    I was happy with it when I used it, but did have some gunk to remove by flushing when I left it in for a year forgetting to change it after replacing a hose........:doh:
  6. kup99

    kup99

    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    I found the source of the leak... it is along the bottom of the seal (above the oil cooler connection) of the rad.... probably just let go a tiny bit when it got real cold, and my rad froze up on my..... I think my rad is brass..

    can this seal be soldered up to stop the leak? any other fix other then buying a new rad... this rad was just bought by the PO so it is in great condition (other then a very small break in the seal)
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007
  7. osagecruiser

    osagecruiser

    Messages:
    2,256
    Location:
    Kansas!
    with the ginger you pour an entire regular sized can directly into the radiator...apparently as the ginger gets hot and is forced through the whole it forms a glass that stops the leak...it will work on small leaks but not major ones and it has worked everytime i have needed it

    osagecruiser
  8. Firedog

    Firedog SILVER Star

    Messages:
    458
    Location:
    Southwest Virginia
    I've used pepper, egg, interior screws right into the hole, and Barrs. I consider them all to be a temporary fix. The tank may be able to be repaired or replaced, if it's just a pin hole and you pay attention to it, you should be able to get it to a radiator shop to let someone look at it.
  9. gray

    gray

    Messages:
    1,450
    Go down to Autozone etc and get some ALUMASEAL liquid in the bottle; if you can't find that, get the Alumaseal in the small plastic tube. Both are a mixture of tiny aluminum flakes and some sort of vegetable matter; probably why the ginger works, this is just a bit more scientific. It does work IME and will not plug anything up. It won't work for a hose leak or a large radiator leak, but OK for small pin holes, even worked on a couple of water pump gaskets and an intake gasket once.

    I've used it for 30 years in a dozen engine; no problems.

    I would not recommend anything that says Supersealer; some of those can block up the radiator, IME.

    X2 on getting it fixed right eventually, this will buy you time to plan your next move.
  10. kup99

    kup99

    Messages:
    1,045
    Location:
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    I bought some Bar's and am going to give it a shot tonight.. it is a small leak so I am hoping that it works or at least gets me through for a couple of weeks so that I can take it in when I am on holidays!!
  11. podiev

    podiev

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Philippines
    I used Prestone Stop Leak for radiators twice and it worked for me. When I got my HJD81, PO just used distilled water. Since I need to baseline, I had my mechanic friend do a complete flush. In the process, he said that the radiator need to be serviced (he replaced some gaskets) but he also mentioned that this is a one time fix. If the gasket breaks, I need to replace with a new rad. After refilling with Prestone coolant, everything was ok for about 3 months. Then I noticed that the level in reservoir slowly goes does but I can't see any leak underneath the car. This goes on for about two weeks with me just refilling the reservoir. Finally, I saw a leak near the bottom lip of the radiatior(thank god for the green color). Since I can't find a used HDJ81 radiator from the surplus parts centers here and getting a bnew one from Toyota/Denso is economically way out of my price range, I asked around for advise and somebody led me to the Stop Leak option. What have I got to lose? So I bought one and emptied the contents to the rad. And voila, leak free.

    After six months, I did another drain and refill. After a day, radiator started to leak again in the same spot. I bought another bottle of Prestone Stop Leak. And voila again, leak free now for another 8 months already. I hope that I can continue with this solution for now till I find a decent source for an HDJ81 radiator. Or maybe the stop leak will be my permanent solution - costs be about $5 only a bottle

    Maybe stop leak solution it will work for you also (as long as your leaks are not that mechanically serious). Try it - worst case, your back to the same situation.

  12. CJF

    CJF

    Messages:
    6,375
    Lots of nifty "try it; it works!!" suggestions.

    Every one of them makes a clogged heater core that much more likely. (A heater core is NO fun to replace.)

    And a clogged radiator as well, but the user usually doesn't care about that, as that's what they're trying to get a few more miles out of.

    Repair/replace the radiator.

    Curtis
  13. gray

    gray

    Messages:
    1,450
    IME the Alumaseal has never plugged up anything. The Prestone Supersealer did. For both posters with leaking radiators, the proper fix is to take them out of the vehicle and down to a radiator shop to see if they are fixable; usually a good shop can fix just about anything. They take the top and bottom "tanks" off the radiator, push thin rods down each tube to clean out any crud, corrosion, etc, then reattach the tanks (repaired if needed), then pressure test for leaks, repair any they find, and paint it for you, black. Usually this type of repair is 1/10 the cost of a new radiator; depends on your local economy and if the repairman's shop is in his basement or in a high rent district. The guy I've used is like the first example; he will rebuild any radiator for $50. In the Philippines, I would guess half that amount.
  14. roncruiser

    roncruiser

    Messages:
    943
    Location:
    San Diego
    Don't do it.
  15. scottm

    scottm

    Messages:
    2,550
    Location:
    Third Coast, USA
    I've heard they used oatmeal in olden times, let me know how that works!

    I froze the radiator and block solid in my Audi at O'Hare, made it to an oasis on the Chicago tollway before things got ugly. The upper radiator neck had sheared off the radiator from the expanding ice, it was solid ice inside the hose and radiator. I spent hours there trying to thaw the whole mess by running the engine intermittently until it the temp started to spike, then shutting down. The -50F windchill made it interesting, I ended up moving next to an idling semi with ground effects, that cut the wind enough to let the block stay warm. Eventually the radiator got hot in a rush, and blew ice and steam out the upper neck. I poured stop leak into the radiator, filled it with water, and reconnected the upper hose to the remaining radiator neck. When it got hot the radiator blew steam from all sides, but the leaks plugged and it held. After topping it up and idling a while to be sure, I drove the remaining 150 miles home without another leak. At one point I had to stop at a truckstop where they blasted the car with hot air 'till the heater core thawed and I had heat again. I was shaking too hard to keep driving without heat. I never fixed that radiator, drove another 100k and sold it with 250k on it. And I ran Dexcool.

    I've been told most manufacturers put stop leak in new cars at the factory, not sure if that's true, but it makes sense.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2007
  16. Chevinater77

    Chevinater77

    Messages:
    235
    Location:
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Instead of dumping something in, why dont you drain the radiator, clean where the seal is cracked and jb weld or soldier it, or take it to a shop that can repair it! I would be leery of dumping any product in your cooling/heating system
  17. gray

    gray

    Messages:
    1,450
    Most stop leaks contain vegetable matter of some sort, so that old oatmeal story you heard probably worked, to some extent.

    When I first started having a leak due to the PHH, I was traveling and did not know where the antifreeze was going, just noticed a slight whiff of antifreeze and saw that my overflow tank was a couple of inches low. As I was traveling out of state, I added the Alumaseal and it may have slowed down the leak a tad, but again, this was a hose, and none of the radiator leak products will work on a leaky hose.

    Point is: after replacing my PHH I looked in my overflow tank; there was some grayish colored sediment and a very small amount of a fibrous material, almost like dryer fuzz, but stiffer; that was the plant material in the stop leak. No problems in 75K miles since then, no clogging, no overheating.
  18. Bars "Gold Seal" is finely ground ginger root. Bars makes other products but this is the only one that I would use and then only under dire circumstances. If it is just a leaking radiator and if you can afford the down time and the expense, then buy a new radiator and know that the repair was done right and you will not worry about it on every long trip and every time your wife drives the truck.

    -B-
  19. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    West Slope Colorado
  20. Tools R Us

    Tools R Us

    Messages:
    17,794
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    I always carried a couple of tubes of powder type Alumaseal in the 40. Have had a few times where sticks got jambed into radiators, the Alumaseal would seal them up enough to get the rig home. I only see that type stuff as emergency use, temporary fix type product.

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