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Old 05-18-2009, 08:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New radiator blown after 3 months

I got a leaky radiator replaced in February, and the new one is leaking. I immediately suspected the radiator cap, so I got a new one yesterday. The car is currently at a shop now awaiting another radiator.

My questions are:

(1) Is there anything besides a bad radiator cap that could cause the radiator to blow so early?

(2)When I realized that I had a radiator leak, the temp gauge went above the second line, but never made it into the red. It stayed there for no more than 2 minutes. Is this enough to cause HG problems?

(3)The shop that installed the radiator has offered to replace the radiator, but seeing as this could have been caused by a bad radiator cap, is that fair for them to eat the cost?
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you spotted an actual leak or is there an air bubble?
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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There was definitely a leak. I lost nearly a gallon of coolant. At first it seemed to be coming out of the petcock, then I thought it was a hose. I tightened both, and refilled the coolant, when I saw the coolant coming out of the bottom seam where the core and the end tank are crimped together.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Woo.. I don't think that's something caused by a bad cap then. A bad cap wouldn't hold pressure and coolant either leaks or steams out.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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^^^ agreed, if your worried about a bad cap, have them replace your rad and just get a new cap.... but to me judging by your statment, sound's like a bad rad assembly. it's just an end tank crimped on to the the core, now welds... so it may have just gotten seated badly in the factory.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What if the radiator cap wasn't releasing at all? When my first radiator blew it's end tank, I re-sealed the end tank onto the core with some JB-Weld. Once it got up to temperature, the end tank would swell, and it started springing leaks all over the place. Anyway, I'm surely going to let the shop eat the cost. I just want to know why my car is eating radiators. Do you think I should be worried about the headgaskets?
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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headgasket, hmmm... from my experience, i was always told that high temps @ long periods of time are what warp the heads, and cause head gasket issues. from what i'm reading from your info you weren't in the high end for very long and i'd say your safe. if it were my car i'd judge by time and heat. how long i was in that zone and how bad the temp was, so for me i'd say your safe. you could always do a leak down test after your rad is replaced. :-)
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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hmm.. swelling = too much pressure... that would usually imply a block somewhere, or collapsed or kinked hoses. and with a new cap and new radiator, still leaking... so the culprit may be elsewhere. and even so, too much pressure should still be steamed/leaked off from the cap or into the overflow (unless it's over full).
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoshi View Post
hmm.. swelling = too much pressure... that would usually imply a block somewhere, or collapsed or kinked hoses. and with a new cap and new radiator, still leaking... so the culprit may be elsewhere. and even so, too much pressure should still be steamed/leaked off from the cap or into the overflow (unless it's over full).
The new cap was just purchased after the second radiator blew. The hoses looked good, but the old radiator cap looked messed up.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm pretty stumped. A messed up cap should just leak (which explains coolant loss). Was the gasket all split and stuff? That could mean overpressure still, which causes the gasket to split. The end tank spewing leaks implies bad radiator (this happened on quite a few WRXs IIRC - Radiator failure - Page 2 - NASIOC). Good looking hoses could still have blocks in them, but if the coolant is circulating and pressure is normal when they installed the 2nd radiator (and I'm assuming they checked), there shouldn't be any reason to think that the hoses are the problem, nor that there is a block in the radiator.
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Old 05-19-2009, 05:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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A messed up cap will either cause a leak or prevent the loss. No loss= excess pressure, neoshi is right, check all everything in the cooling circuit. Inspect your thermostat for debris. Inspect/check for a head gasket issue. Check your AT fluid, if applicable. (Don't laugh, I have seen an AT fluid cooling circuit fail in a radiator that was working properly)

Put on a 7 lbs cap. I race with a radiator guy and he puts a 7 lb cap on everything. Especially the new plastic/aluminum radiators. You will have to add coolant occasionally but it prevents failures.

If everything else checks, replace the cap and just call it a lemon from the factory.

As Forrest Gump says, "$hit happens"
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Old 05-19-2009, 05:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Why would the new rad not have a new cap installed? Check for hose collapsing when engine is revved as an indication of blockage. Regardless, If cap is OK the rad will not blow unless it was defective no matter what the issue is UNLESS there is a massive HG failure. Curious, was #2 rad a used part from a salvage yard?
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The '03 to '05 radiators don't have caps on them at all. The cap is on the turbo reservoir. The 2nd radiator that blew was brand new. Thanks for all the replies regarding the cap. If there is something wrong with the hoses, it's the bottom one that would be collapsing, right?
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Should be the top because that's the one that flows into the radiator, right?
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Old 05-19-2009, 02:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guroove View Post
The '03 to '05 radiators don't have caps on them at all. The cap is on the turbo reservoir. The 2nd radiator that blew was brand new. Thanks for all the replies regarding the cap. If there is something wrong with the hoses, it's the bottom one that would be collapsing, right?
Thanks, Got it now. I learn something new everyday. Turbo. Hmmm. If turbo is watercoloed could the seal be blown and pressurising the coolant somehow? Sorry, a little far-fetched there. Just trying to figure out what could cause so much pressure so fast that a cap wouldnt save the tank. (other than boiling water/steam). If water pump is funky you can get huge steam too. Luck with this, man.
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