radiator stop leak stuff

alphatarget1

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2001
5,714
0
76
Was looking at a friend's Maxima and noticed that the radiator has coolant seeping out, where the plastic meets the metal. I don't think the friend wants to sink a whole lot of money into this so my question is- do you guys know of a cheap and easy fix? Do one of those stop leak liquid stuff work?
 

Pulsar

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2003
5,225
306
126
Absolutely positively DO NOT PUT that crap in ANY car.

I'm sorry, but I've had a hack.... I mean a 'mechanic' put that in my car without my knowledge at a local shop. Not only did the leak not stop - he put so much in that it clogged my heater core (nice $500 approx replacement there) AND the channels in my radiator (another approx $500) from all the clumpy gloppy crap it created.

Fix it right. You'll all be happier in the end.
 

Ronstang

Lifer
Jul 8, 2000
12,424
4
76
Listen to Pulsar, stop leak is crap. It probably won't solve your friend's problem anyways as it sounds as if he has a leak at the tank to core seal. You didn't have these problems in the old days when radiators were all metal and soldered but there is a rubber seal where the plastic tank meets the aluminum core in modern radiators and when they get old they start leaking. Another common problem is the tanks get brittle over time and crack.

Modern radiators are pretty cheap anyway and if you source one from the local parts place or radiator supply you will likely get one for under $200 and I have seen some that come in around $100.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,858
110
106
Change the radiator. Look in your yellow pages for a Radiator Repair Shop in your city. Bring them the car, let them change it. It will run about $350 installed on average and will come with usually a 1 year / 12,000 mile warranty. And since the shop does the install, if it does fail in that time, they cover the labor as well.
 

Vette73

Lifer
Jul 5, 2000
21,505
6
0
Yep change it.

Check out rockauto.com, Advance, or AZ for new ones. If its to much call a radiator shop to see how much to rebuild it.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,214
2
0
I imagine that stuff does work to some degree but probably only with a very very subtle leak. And to work it is by definition changing the content of the fluid, so in theory I would not want to do it.

And theory aside it seems everybody above this post hates it, so...yeah, I'd fix that.
 

Bignate603

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
13,900
1
0
Radiators are cheap and its pretty easy for someone that's never done it before if you just go get a manual for your car. Radiators are surprisingly cheap.
 

alphatarget1

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2001
5,714
0
76
If it were my car I would've changed it already. I think she's in a perpetual state of being tight on money and shelling out 100 bucks for a radiator is a lot.

But then I changed my dad's car's radiator a few weeks ago and ended up frying some electronics/wiring that caused the car to stall... That had never happened to me before.

Then again, I wouldn't buy a salvaged title car for 3k, especially if I had never looked at it.

Poor car :(
 

Vette73

Lifer
Jul 5, 2000
21,505
6
0
If it were my car I would've changed it already. I think she's in a perpetual state of being tight on money and shelling out 100 bucks for a radiator is a lot.

But then I changed my dad's car's radiator a few weeks ago and ended up frying some electronics/wiring that caused the car to stall... That had never happened to me before.

Then again, I wouldn't buy a salvaged title car for 3k, especially if I had never looked at it.

Poor car :(
ASh her whats cheaper, a new Rad for a couple hundred or a new motor AND new Rad.?
Rad. is not like a radio or power windows. If it does not work then neither will your engine or Trans for long.
 

SonicIce

Diamond Member
Apr 12, 2004
4,774
0
0
stop leak fixed a heater core leak for me but the leak kept returning after about a week
 

Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 9, 1999
43,265
2,366
136
Ha ha, yeah, EVERY serious mechanic or gearhead friend I've ever heard opine on the subject has been totally against sodium silicate but I used it successfully more than once on my series of high mileage "no one will kill me for this car" Toyota/Datsun Corolla/Corona/510/210 beaters back in my PI days.

Heh, I ended up "specializing" in bad neighborhoods where other PI's either wouldn't go or lied to their lawyer clients and said they had gone and found nothing, hence my need for cars that not only wouldn't attract attention but that no one would want to jack me for.
 

Pacfanweb

Lifer
Jan 2, 2000
13,058
27
91
Don't laugh, but try some black pepper in the cooling system....it's an old-timey mechanic's trick, and I've seen it work many times for small, seeping leaks.

Note that this is a temporary patch, but won't gum up your cooling system like stop leak will.
 

kornphlake

Golden Member
Dec 30, 2003
1,555
0
76
I used 1800radiator.com a few years ago, the price was good back then for my vehicle. They ended up shipping the wrong radiator and I didn't notice until I'd spent an hour or so pulling my old radiator out and the new one didn't fit, I called them up and they ended up refunding a pretty good portion of the cost, and sent the correct radiator overnight. It seems like I ended up paying their cost which was around $70. A year and a half later the radiator started leaking again, I called them back and they sent a replacement the next day at no cost, no problems with the second radiator for the last 4 years. Overall I was pretty pleased with the purchase, the wrong radiator they sent first was for a 95 model year, my vehicle was a 96 model year, it was probably an honest 1 in 1000 mistake when they took the order.

I bought another radiator for a different vehicle at an autozone or kragen for about $200 but only because I was 800 miles from home and needed a radiator that day so I could get home and back to work on monday morning. If I'd had the time to shop around and order something I could have saved a lot of money on that one too.
 
Last edited:

Kelvrick

Lifer
Feb 14, 2001
18,441
3
76
stop leak fixed a heater core leak for me but the leak kept returning after about a week
It has worked for me as well. It lasted for a few days to get back home and then to drive it out to pick up my new radiator. Then, on a 30 mile drive to my at the time girlfriend's house so I could use the garage to install the new radiator.
 

allanon1965

Diamond Member
Mar 14, 2004
3,427
1
81
go to the local GM dealer and ask for the pack of cadillac coolant sealant tabs....they are required when changing the coolant on a caddy engine, have been since the mid 80's or so... dont belive me? check out a caddy from 86 to 96 and look at the radiator core support top cap, there is a sticker there that states failure to use sealant part number ******** will cause major engine damage. They had a serious problem with casting porosity in the engines...the tabs will not plug up any passageway in the heater core either...stuff works suprisingly well...some of the ingredients are ground up almond shells and some other spice like stuff....
 
Sep 7, 2009
12,960
2
0
As others have said - don't add anything to your cooling system (egg, copper crap, stop leak, etc) JB Weld from the outside is about the only thing I'd try.

I'm also not a fan of junkyard radiators unless it's a very rare vehicle and you get it cleaned.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY