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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Ive been going through coolant, and finally found theres a crack in the plastic behind the upper coolant hose.
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Barely could get a picture of it with a mirror and flashlight without removing the radiator. Looks like its about 2" long vertical.

Is it worth a try pulling it and using JB Weld to try and fix it or should I just get a new radiator?

Its never had any issues before this, no leaks, and is cooling the engine as it should. Has never overheated or anything.

My concern is that if it cracked there its probably an indication of the pastic as a whole being brittle. I'm not sure how old the radiator is, it was on it when I bought the van 4 years ago(120k miles) and ive put 70k miles on it since.

Any links to a GOOD quality radiator would be appreciated. I don't want to do this more than once and theres a lot of chinese junk out there, not sure what a good brand would be.

Thanks!

On another note I hooked up a vacuum gauge and it reads steady at 22Hg, increases slightly when revving the engine, but no fluctuations. Which was cool to see because its been idling rough and I was going to see a vacuum test would indicate anything. I think its my plugs and wires that have 60k miles on them lol...
 

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2005 Astro Cargo 4WD
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545 Posts
I fixed my cracked plastic tank with JB weld and window screen and it held up for a few weeks till I had time to replace it with a new one.
 

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Cooling is way to important to trust to a funky repair. I would replace the radiator. A 4.3 that overheats could cost a lot more.
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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If the leak is that hard to see and get to, you might have to pull the radiator anyway, to get it clean enough to use an epoxy sealer ( like J-B Weld Plastic Bonder p/n 50139 ) . It is a 2-part epoxy and a great product, but if you go that route, scuff it up good and use a small piece of screen for reinforcing (per Birdshake).
Permatex also sells a very similar 2-part epoxy product #84145.
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes I would have to pull the radiator to patch it, so I'm thinking replacing it. Don't want to pull it, patch, put it back in, then have to repeat with a new one.

I'm looking for an all aluminum one. Summit racing came up empty. Rock auto has 1, but it says its ONE row. What does the number of rows mean? Is 3 or 4 preferable to 1?

I am assuming that mine has the transmission AND engine oil cooler hooked up, but ill have to crawl under there again tomorrow to double check.

Anybody know how many rows the OEM radiator has? Cause this one has served me well, id be plenty happy if the replacement works as good as this one.

I'm totaly down to spend an extra $100 or whatever for all aluminum.

It baffles me how many car parts that are exposed to heat are made out of plastic. E.g the thermostat housing on my wifes ford escort, and the POS passat I no longer have. Have had to replace those because they cracked. My wifes is leaking again and i need to figure that out too lol.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Smarter to just replace it.

If it has failed in one place, it may fail somewhere else too.
Not really worth chancing it in my opinion.
As mentioned, accidental overheating can be disastrous and expensive.

If your leak is minor.. then keep a CLOSE eye on your level if you use it.
You can leave cap loose to prevent pressure build up.. but reservoir won't function correctly either. None the less, this works temporarily if need be.

Stock replacement units are cheap.
Upgrades are worth spending a little more.

Stock unit is 1 core 5/8" thick (adequate when new for general use)

Aftermarket upgrades are 2 or 3 core, double or triple the core thickness of stock.
They make nice upgrade direct drop-in radiators... someone here will post a link.
 

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Smarter to just replace it... someone here will post a link.
This is my recent experience with an all-aluminum drop-in upgrade...read it all to be fully informed before making a plan.

 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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Mine are both USA "custom fit" extreme high-performance radiators.
I didn't want to mess around.
I have the same exact model in both my 92 V8 van, as well as my stock 2000.

No mounting tabs, only 1 ATF cooler (different fittings), hoses don't match up either. I don't recommend this for the novice.. not even close to direct drop-in fit. But for me, I wouldn't have it any other way. They NEVER budge above thermostat temp regardless how hot it gets. THESE ROCK!!
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Not hard to do otherwise if you have common sense bracket fabricating skills.
My A/C condenser had to be custom mounted too.
But if you have to ask about custom fits, then this isn't for you.
I don't really suggest it either, other than sharing how I did mine, or for the guy who might be into performance custom work.
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Matching hoses was the hardest part
(my solution to the lower hose below)
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Most radiators (stock and upgrade) are now almost all manufactured in China.. and have been for some time now. I wouldn't be too afraid to purchase an Ebay upgrade drop-in replacement, since they call come from the same place anyway, stock or otherwise. Many here have had excellent success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is my recent experience with an all-aluminum drop-in upgrade...read it all to be fully informed before making a plan.

Just read your entire thread, thanks a lot of good info there. I think the radiatior you used was the one i was looking at on rock auto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mine are both USA "custom fit" extreme high-performance radiators.
No mounting tabs, only 1 cooler (different fittings), hoses don't match up either.
I don't recommend this for the novice.. not even close to direct drop-in fit.
But for me, I wouldn't have it any other way. THEY ROCK!!
View attachment 287560

Most radiators are now manufactured in China.. and have been for some time now. I wouldn't be too afraid to purchase an Ebay upgrade drop-in replacement, since they call come from the same place anyway, stock or otherwise.
Okay. Yeah i thought about using a universal which would give me more options on radiators, but i want one that fits exact. i dont have the time to be fabricating anything right now. Would love to... but no lol.

Im having an issue with ebay freezing when i load it on my phone, have tried to look there three times in the past day. Going to try my laptop and see if i can find something better thank rock auto.

This is a first gen van, are they the same across the 2 generations? If am i making it harder for myself searching for a 1992 radiator, i see a million for 1996+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
So I think Im going to go with this radiator:

Rock Auto Cart

Its the only all aluminum radiator that rock auto sells. Has anybody else used this one?


Says its only 1 core but its thicker than the original. I could not find any 2+ core 1st gen radiators anywhere...

Eddit: looked at my radiator and looks like i have trans cooler but no engine oil cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I bought my Liland Global Gen2 version from rockauto. I'm impressed. BUT...re-read the thread I linked you to, and pay close attention to my last few posts about the filler neck and the weak "rolled lip" the radiator cap relies on for a proper seal.
Yeah i read about that, and figured i could find some solution for it. What was the final result on yours?? Are you still having issues with it?
 

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I worked the rolled edge of the filler neck as close to original as I could, burped the system, let it fully cool with the bleeder bucket still attached, leaving the radiator topped off to the overflow tube, then carefully twisted on a new 16psi Balkamp safety cap and slowly lowered the lever. Operating temps have been spot on. I even went outside and confirmed just now, before posting this...the reservoir is exactly at "Full Cold."
 
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