View Full Version : radiator exploded need advice

08-24-2004, 11:14 PM
i was driving and my car started running hot. i pulled over as quick as i could, but traffic was heavy and it kept rising. it didn't get to the red, but when i pulled over, i heard it boiling. i popped the hood and heard something that sounded like cracking. i jumped back just in time to see my radiator explode and shoot steam almost 40 feet in the air. i recently replaced the timing gears, so the thermostat is new and i though the radiator cap was new. would the cap have done this???

and most importantly, can my radiator be repaired??? it split the plastic piece on top. i know this plastic top is useless, but can another one be put on it??? i plan to ask some radiator shops around here tomorrow, but i usually get better info from you guys. if the thermostat was stuck, wouldn't it have built up pressure in the block and not the radiator. man, i'm so pissed. my car is covered in coolant and so am i.

David Neibert
08-24-2004, 11:22 PM
Nope plastic radiator can't be repaired...worse yet blowing the radiator tank usually means your your head gaskets are leaking combustion gases into the cooling system. I think you said it best.

sc overdrive pulley (18 psi - goodbye head gaskets)


08-25-2004, 12:01 AM
not exactly what i wanted to hear, but honest at least. i hadn't thought of that. is there any other way that the radiator could blow. and a pressure check would tell me if the head gaskets are bad, but is there any other way to tell if that is the case???

08-25-2004, 12:14 AM
My plastic upper radiator tank cracked after I replaced the radiator cap. The old cap was holding only 5psi, and as soon as I replaced the cap the tank couldn't take the pressure. This happened over a year ago. I've never experienced a head gasket failure, but I don't think mine are blown.
You cannot replace the tank for the simple reason that it's not sold separately. In addition, if the radiator is old, the metal tabs that hold the tank will be weak and will break off as soon as you bend them.
I recently saw a post by someone who wanted to sell a new radiator cheap.

08-25-2004, 12:18 AM
Not sure what caused it to blow but as far as that plastic radiator, I just got a drop in solid metal radiator from www.RadiatorExpress.com shipped for $185.00. Came with the "Removable" Intercooler Bracket. Tip is to buy it from them on E-Bay as it will save you about $30.00.

08-25-2004, 01:29 AM
hey, thanks for that link. i'll just get a new one. i didn't know they were that cheap. 180 isn't bad.

08-25-2004, 02:35 PM
You can get new tanks put on long as the core is not brass. Only aluminim (I think I spelled it right) core can be fixed. Sometimes.

08-25-2004, 06:45 PM
I installed one from radiator express about two months ago. Very happy with the design and ease of installation.


08-25-2004, 07:35 PM
Hey Guys,

Did somebody chime in about a radiator exloping, becasuse this is right up my alley :rolleyes: ! I have blown up two radiators and I just found out that the previous owner before me blew up one! Pretty ridiculous ain't it! That cap was probably the cause, just like someone posted earlier about he replaced caps and the tank could no longer handle the pressure. Or Dave's theory sounds very valid also!

I relaced my thermostat to a 160degree and bought a little bigger radiator(which probably didn't help it at all, but it sounds like it would help). Also the radiator fan plugs, to run the fan motor, in our cars are prone to come out even with the retainer clip holding it on (with my car atleast). So then the fan will never kick on and help with cooling the radiator.

This is what I have ran into in the past and this is what I have found to help me with the problem. It hasn't happened for about a 11/2 years!

Hope I helped a little,

Michael Mattix
08-25-2004, 07:49 PM
I've installed one from radiator express and I'd say I'm pleased. Although, you can choose the "buy now" price off of ebay and save 30 or 40 bucks I've heard. I was too late, but you might have better luck.

08-29-2004, 07:09 PM
hey, thanks for the site. great price. i tried to put your email address down to give you "express points" (some sort of discount) but i couldn't get your email address on here, sorry.

09-01-2004, 10:52 AM
Cool thanks, but hopefully I won't need another radiator from them for quite some time. Haha
I just give the SCCOA's name to them when ordering and give this site credit. Hopefully we can keep them making the extra bracket for all of us on their rads. RadXpress has a good radiator as it is the all metal kind. Mike38SC makes really nice aluminum ones but my budget could barely afford this one right now.

09-01-2004, 06:38 PM
If I had only gotten to this post a day earlier. I have a freaking pile of radiators. I would have let one go for $20