Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fixing your cars plastic tank radiator

I just ran on to a post on someone was asking how to fix a plastic tank on his car's radiator
Me being a radiator man and taking my craft seriously I had to post a reply. There were reply's with all kinds of answers to this persons question  none of which will work to fix his plastic tank.

This is a picture of a crack in a plastic radiator tank. This is the inlet tank of the radiator (their the one's that ALWAYS crack) The inlet tank receives the hot coolant from the motor and the inlet tank cracks behind the inlet connection as shown in the photo,  The outlet tank almost never cracks it's the one that get's the least heat and wear and tear.

A new tank pictured above that we can install onto a radiator is the only way to permanently fix a crack in a tank other than replacing the radiator entirely. I have never seen any other method work for more than a few hundred miles or a week or two. And that's because there's nothing on the market that will vulcanize with the tank material to cause a permanent repair, also the tank it's self is degeradated to the point of causing the crack in the first place so your trying to repair something that is beyond it's life span. The normal life span of a plastic radiator inlet tank is 7-10 years or around 100k miles. Some people get lucky and with the right circumstances I've seen tanks last a long, long time, but that's not the norm in the industry.
So here's what happens. You pull the radiator out of your car clean out a groove on the crack, wire brush it real good, clean it with acetone or some other cleaner, try to isolate the crack with wire ties and then spread $15.00 worth of JB weld or some other epoxy on it, by the time your done you've spent 4 hours and $50.00 worth of supply's on trying to fix it. Reinstall the radiator on your car and run it for a week or so just to find that sure enough it leaks again (and it will). After 31+ years in this industry and trying every thing that's come out to fix plastic tanks including  my own inventions, I haven't seen anything that works. ( in the late 80's when the plastic tanks first came out we had nothing to repair them with including new tanks! new tanks were not available yet!) So we tried everything you can imagine and some you can't.

 The answer is complete replacement. The new complete radiators you can buy now days are so inexpensive that it has made tank replacement obsolete on all but the big industrial radiators and the most expensive automotive applications which is unfortunate for the radiator shops as we used to make good money changing plastic tanks, but alas everything changes.

 If you know of a technique that works to really repair a plastic radiator tank I would love to hear from you, and as always if you have any questions please give us a call we are always happy to help.
If you can't afford to replace your radiator I suggest adding water to your cooling system and saving your money till you can get it fixed. Also if the leak is real big don't drive your car with it leaking as this can and will cause engine damage from loss of coolant.


  1. Hi,
    Would you please recommend a few online stores that sell plastic tanks for my 1992 volvo 940 plastic radiator? My inlet tank got a crack as you can imagine and I would like to replace it.

  2. Find a local radiator shop that has a good reputation and buy a complete radiator from them. You cant change a tank without the right know how, and for your model car its cheaper to buy a complete new radiator. David

  3. If you buy a radiator on line and you have a problem with it or it dosen't fit then all the money you saved will be lost in shipping the bad rad back and forth. I see this happen a lot customers come to the shop with a radiator that has been damaged during shipping or dosen't fit their car and the they ether have it fixed, which voids their warranty and costs them money or the ship it back which costs them as much as buying local, where as if they buy local and have trouble there is no shipping involved and locals will be able to help in ways online venders just cant. I love to shop on line too but you have to know where to draw the line. And most online radiator sales don't know much about radiators, that's why I started this blog. David

  4. Excellent way to show the process to Fix your cars plastic tank radiator

    hope that you will come up with more ideas about Plastic tanks

  5. Thanks Vincent and i agree your comments. It is a something different because i have seen most of the blogger wants to share general plastic tank and here you guys are excellent described.

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  6. I hope that wasn't too much of a stress. Fixing car parts can be an unpleasant business, given how they inherently connect to each other in all the near-invisible and infinitesimal ways. It's always going to be a very delicate process. In which case, you can stop and go to the center of this, such as questioning the material and composition of the radiator itself.

  7. I value your important and informative point of view here.
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  8. The inlet of the radiator always cracks due to the heat of the coolant coming straight from the engine. In my SAAB they have to keep the cooling fans running after the car is shut off to avoid this problem. Good thing it's not too hard to have replaced.

  9. Buying car accessories online can be easy unlike when you are going to the stores.

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  10. Hi,

    This is really a great blog. Thanks for Sharing this post with us.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I have fix car plastic accurate after read this info about how to fix a car.Keep up the wonderful work.

  13. I was in a bind 6 months ago, had a leak, and not enough money to buy a new one. I got Loctite plastic epoxy and applied it. No leaks yet. I've put the money aside for the new one, but I kinda wanna see how long it will last. I agree it is weak and brittle at the inlet, and will fail, but if you need to buy some time and can't park it, the correct epoxy can buy some in my experience.