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Radiator Q's - brass / aluminum

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by Big_Moose, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Big_Moose

    Big_Moose

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    Concern w/radiator after flush questions about radiator :(

    After having my radiator flushed yesterday, there was a ton of casting sand removed from the radiator; however, there is still a lot of casting sand in the radiator. My dealership buddy who did the work personally, says all the Lx470's he see's are prone to the head gasket problem and / or radiators filled with the excess casting sand from the engine. Since we caught this early (replaced PHH, etc.), I show no signs of overheating, even with the A/C on in LA traffic / heat.

    I need to get a replacement as soon as possible :D.
    So through an archive search I found the following part#:

    16400-66081 - aluminum rad
    16400-66040 - brass / copper rad

    It seems most prefer the brass-copper radiator over the aluminum.

    1. is this due to the easy or field repairs?
    2. the aluminum leaks at the plastic bucket joint?
    3. Can the 3-row brass-copper radiator handle the SC mod?
    4. Anybody try a "complete" aluminum radiator

    My mechanic (at Lexus) says he rarely sees any replaced radiators (aluminum/plastic) fail / leak. My aluminum radiator in the FJ55 w/454BB adequately cools the beast & has lasted through numerous trail runs.

    So whats the concensus about replacement type of radiator?

    Thanks

    Joe
     
  2. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Joe,

    The part numbers are correct (musta been one of my posts :D ). Generally the more rows the better. It is important to note that both radiators have plastic tanks. I have a 3 row in my 93 (original, un-touched) and I have had a blower for one month short of three years. Mine has worked out fine. The relation of coolant sludging SEEMS to be more prevelant in vehicles with aluminum radiators. Brass cores are somewhat easier to repair under less-than-ideal conditions.
    Photoman has a custom(read EXPENSIVE)racing radiator in his 97. Even with that he battles heat.
    I prefer the 3 row radiator. In addition, it is significantly cheaper than the 2 row radiator.

    MY .02
    Dan
     
  3. Big_Moose

    Big_Moose

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    Dan

    Yup, one of your previous posts! This changes my line of thinking with the copper-brass radiator having plastic tanks.

    Is the copper-brass radiator a crossflow or standard style?
    I also noticed the aluminum was a tad bit more costly, but might have a change at a decent priced unit.

    Joe
     
  4. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Both radiators are downflow.
     
  5. Rich

    Rich

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    Joe,

    Is the stuff you see in the radiator gray? Scoop some out with a screwdriver and rub some between your fingers. Is it like a fine, little bit gritty, clay? If so, I don't think it is casting sand. I think it is likely corrosion inhibitors that have precipitated out from the coolant. Given all the reports of this I have come across, I have become very skeptical of the Toyota red coolant. As far as I know only Toyota is recommending this particular formulation.

    Anyway, an alternative to replacing the radiator is having a good radiator shop remove the top and bottom tanks and then rod out the core. The tanks get put back on with new gaskets. If you do the removal and install of the radiator the radiator shop should only charge in the neighborhood of $100, plus or minus depending on local labor rates. Many shops will not have the equipment to remove and reinstall the plastic tanks, so ask around.

    Another factor to consider is it worth spending $100 for rodding an old radiator to avoid the incremental cost of a new radiator? I don't know how long the plastic tanks hold up. I suppose if I were going to pay the going rate for somebody else to remove and install the radiator I would go with a new one.

    If you want metal tanks you need to buy an aftermarket radiator. Others have posted their experiences with aftermarket radiators here and on 80scool.

    Keep in mind this grundge is already spread through out your cooling system (heater cores, engine block, head, and hoses) and even if you replace the radiator whats already in the system will move around over time and show up in the radiator again.

    Also, presuming that the grunge is a coolant problem, if you keep using the same coolant you have been, with the same service intervals, I would guess it is likely to come back again full force.

    I have switched over to plain old Prestone coolant. As I said I am skeptical about the Toyota red.

    Rich
     
  6. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Rich,

      I was under the impression that the "grey matter" was a result of mixing coolants(I could certainly be wrong). I am an original owner, red since day one, changed every 2years or a bit earlier, 111,000 miles, no grey matter. Maybe I have been lucky.

    Dan.
     
  7. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    I understand Rich's skepticism and his reluctance to use the Toyota red coolant. The jury is still out on the cause of the "gray matter" that sometimes clogs 80 series radiators. I won't rehash all the arguments pro and con (you can search the archives if you're interested) but I prefer the following:

    * Change your coolant every year. Toyota's specified intervals appear to be too long. Do a complete cooling system flush (details in the archives.)

    * Use Toyota red and distilled water mixed 50/50.

    * Never mix any other type of coolant no matter what anybody tells you to the contrary.

    If you choose to use another brand coolant then follow the same advice as above; substituting a quality brand coolant for the Toyota red.

    -B-
     
  8. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    B, ya distilled is a key factor which almost nobody follows. Most just run the tap for what they need.
     
  9. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    I third distilled water, Forgot to mention that all of my coolant changes have involved distilled or reverse-osmosis water. I also use reverse-osmosis water in the water injection system.
     
  10. Rich

    Rich

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    I wouldn't be at all surprised if mixing coolants could cause inhibitor fallout.

    I went back to Prestone based on my previous experience using it with aluminum engines with zero problems.

    Using distilled water is good practice that I follow, but I wouldn't hesitate to use drinakable tap water when in need.

    Rich
     
  11. Big_Moose

    Big_Moose

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    Rich

    Been out wheeling over the weekend! Hopefully everyone had a great holiday wheeling weekend! Now back to the radiator / coolant issues ~

    The material flushed from the radiator is / was a grey, grunge, gritty (similar to lapping compound) goop. Reviewing with my Lexus buddy, his experience with this engine & toyota engineers, that the material is residual casting sand rather then precipitated inhibitors / "goop" (technical term :D) from contaminated coolant.

    He mentioned that in his experience, that most of the contaminated coolant mixtures he sees result in a "gelatin" type consistancy, which can be translucent to grey in color.

    Thought about the rod-out option, but figured a new radiator would be the best option in the long run.

    Thats the tough part about this situation! Probably have residual grunge in the heater cores & hopefully I can replace / or Muratic acid cleanout the rear heater core fairly easy.

    I have been running Prestone coolant in my Griffin Aluminum radiator in my FJ55 for a couple of years with no problems.

    Joe
     
  12. Big_Moose

    Big_Moose

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    Maybe the Toyota Red Coolant requires purified water (RO,DI,distilled,etc) to keep it "nice & happy", or it is highly reactive with the various dissolved solids, salts, ionic balance, etc., in unpurified water. With that thought, I wonder if cruisers running the red coolant & "tap" water produce the precipitated grunge / gunk?

    No problems from running Prestone & tap water in the aluminum radiator in my FJ55.

    Food for thought........

    Joe
     
  13. Rich

    Rich

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    Well, that's fascinating. The stuff I saw was such a fine powder that I didn't think it could be casting sand. But, having never seen casting sand, I can't really say.

    The case I saw there was a lot in the top tank of the radiator. You could scoop it out with a screw driver and it was more like a clay / mud than sand.

    If it is left over from manufacturing I can say that I am a bit surprised that they are so sloppy. Certainly would have merited a TSB, an early flush, and a coolant filter install.

    I can say this about the aluminum radiator, even with a bunch of crud in it, the engine did not overheat, even with 100+ degree desert driving.

    Rich
     
  14. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Even though it has only 2 rows the aluminum will transfer heat more effectively than a copper one. Plus each additional row is less efficient than the previous as the air gets hotter with each row it passes through. The muck in those radiators which I think some attributed to the aluminum is probably some residual material from manufacturing or inproper maintenance. I have a 96 which now has 113k on it. Bought it with 38k have changed fluid using Toyota red and distilled water and checked today with no muck. I didn't drain it down as that comes soon but did scrape around with a screw driver and came up clean.