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Old 07-19-2009, 04:39 PM   #1
JHowell37
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Default Changing radiator end tanks without breaking tabs

I didn't actually replace this end tank with a new one because this radiator is no good. I just removed and then reinstalled the end tank so I could take pictures of how I did it. I've gotten good enough at it that I can now do it without breaking tabs or breaking away the old tank. I can do the job in less then an hour.

The first picture shows the tools you'll need. Notice that the screwdriver is skinny enough to fit between the tabs. The smaller hammer is a body hammer. It's not necessary, and any other type of light weight hammer will suffice.

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The socket shown in the first picture is 36mm. Use it to remove the nuts that secure the transmission cooler in the second photo. You may want to use some liquid wrench/pb blaster, etc if they don't want to move easily. You can also use a 36mm wrench for this job. In a pinch, you can probably use an adjustable, but if your tool box is that limited, you should probably pay someone else to do this. It may be easier to place the radiator on the ground and have it vertical so you can put some weight down on the ratchet/wrench to remove the nuts.

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The third picture is after the nuts have been removed.

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Take the screwdriver and insert it between the tabs as shown in this picture. Use the hammer to LIGHTLY tap it in as far as it will go. Then pry up slightly. You'll need to repeat this step all the way around the radiator.

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This is how it should look when you finish prying up all the tabs.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:40 PM   #2
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This picture gives an idea of how much the tabs need to be moved back. Those on the left have been lifted.

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The corners can be a little tricky, but you'll figure it out.

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Once it looks like you have enough clearance slide a small screwdriver in and behind the edge of the plastic tank and pry it off. As the tank comes off, it should push any tabs that hadn't been moved enough, out of the way.

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This is what you'll see when the tank comes off. Notice the old gasket in there. Remove it. The new tank should come with a new gasket.

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Notice there are no broken tabs.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
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This is the transmission cooler. You'll need to replace the two o-rings. I believe the o-rings I used had an O.D. of 1 3/16". Reinstall the transmission cooler in the new end tank. Make sure the o-rings stay in place and tighten the 36mm nuts, but don't go overboard as you can crack the tank.

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Place the new tank gasket on the radiator as shown. Standing the radiator up on its end will help keep the gasket in place.

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With the radiator still on its end, put the tank back on. Rather then try to bend the tabs more to give extra clearance, try and get one end down and in then move to the other.

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Once the tank is below all of the tabs, place the radiator back on the workbench. You'll need to have something to clamp the tank on. I used some woodworking clamps. Make the clamps snug, but don't go too far and risk cracking something.

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Use the dolly from the first photo to support the bottom side of the radiator. Support it on the retainer strip. Then use the hammer and tap straight down as shown in the picture. Tap down as much as you can, and then do the ends. Remove the clamps and tap down any remaining tabs. Then flip the radiator over, reinstall the clamps, and tap down the other side. I used the larger hammer, but if you're not comfortable hitting your radiator, use the smaller one.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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This is how it should look with the retainer strip back down. Notice, no broken tabs.

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To make sure you don't have any leaks, give each tab a squeeze with a pair of pliers. I used a vice grip, so I could set the clamping force and have each tab bent to the same position.

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Use the needle nose vice grip to squeeze this hard to reach tab.

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Finished. Notice there are no broken tabs. The tabs received minimal stress. You could probably do this job 2-3 times before the retaining strip starts to develop problems and cracks. Reinstall the fittings for the oil and transmission coolers, the temp sensor, drain plug, etc. Reinstall in the car, fill with coolant, then top off the oil and transmission fluid. Check for leaks.

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Old 07-19-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fogey1 View Post
My question - while the side tanks are off should the tabs be annealed? If not, why not?
I didn't see a need to do so. Others disagree despite my repeated success. If you go back and look through the pictures, you'll see one photo where half of the tabs have been moved, and the other half haven't been touched. The tabs really don't require that much movement to release the tank. If it makes you feel better to anneal the retainer, have at it. I understand the WYAIT justification, but I don't see a real benefit to doing it. If anything, you'd be better off doing something constructive while it's apart like figuring out a way to really flush it out.
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:43 PM   #6
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If I did it again, I'd probably do both tanks. I can honestly say that this job is so easy, that I would be willing to replace the other side as a WYAIT thing, just so I could have a chance to really get it cleaned out. To put it into perspective, this job is so easy, the radiator in the pics actually has a leaky core (which I found strange.) I had already done the job on the radiator in my car. But I didn't take pictures of that one. So I was willing to do the same job on this one just for the sake of photos, so I could share the info.

There's 2 reasons I'd change both sides. Although the other side isn't stressed as much, the seal in it is just as old as the one that went bad on the other side. The tank is just as old as well. And if you notice in the first picture that shows the tank removed, there's a bunch of gray, greasy looking **** inside the radiator. And it's not water soluble. But mild solvents will remove it. With both tanks off, you don't have to worry about solvents attacking the plastic or seals. I also have to wonder how much of that stuff is inside those narrow passages, restricting the flow of water, or insulating it, and causing it to retain extra heat.

The other problem is there's a phenomenal amount of **** that builds up on the outside. But those fins are so delicate, even pouring water from a pitcher seems to bend them. They make fin rakes but those are actually calculated in "fins per inch." I'm not sure if you can get one for "fins per centimeter."
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:43 PM
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