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07-07-2005, 01:57 AM #1
After bush hogging and grading today, I found my tractor radiator had a "peeing" spraying hole near its top, actually in the front part of its top tank. I've never soldered one of these. I'm asking about it. I've soldered electrical connections, been welding since I was 8, and brazing since I was a teenager, so I feel confident in my skills, but there's always something new, isn't there!?
I understand that if you get one hot, you can melt the sound parts of the soldering and then you're screwed. Don't want to do that! I can get to the hole without removal of the radiator. The radiator is otherwise good-looking, no bent fins, etc. The hole isn't near any of the places where the tubes enter the top tank.
07-07-2005, 02:12 AM #2
If the hole is just in the tank it should be easy to cleanup with some emery paper and use some 50/50 acid core solder and a heavy solder iron to plug it up,you may need additional acid flux to help get the solder to flow. I have patched many tractor and old truck radiators and re soldered the mounting saddles with good luck.
07-07-2005, 02:42 AM #3
I wasn't sure a soldering gun would get it hot enough. I have a pretty heavy duty one. Never dealt with a radiator myself. Always took them to a shop.
Thanks for the info so far.
07-07-2005, 04:40 AM #4
I soldered up a small hole in the brass tube of a car radiator with no problems, without removing the radiator. Unfortunately I can't remember what I used! Pretty sure it was just an ordinary electric soldering iron. However, brass tubes are great stealers of heat, so if you can get a small gas torch in there without burning down the barn, so much the better.
Apply enough heat first to ensure that the inside of the tube is dry before cleaning. Don't use emery cloth, though - the glue might contaminate the surface. Use wire wool.
If the hole isn't small, consider soldering a small copper or brass patch on. It'll give the solder something to hold on to, and avoid the problem of trying get the molten solder to fill a hole, when it wants to run to the floor.
07-07-2005, 06:58 AM #5
I fixed a leak on my Chevy pickup radiator a few months ago. After finding the leak I drained the radiator. I then used a small piece of scotchbrite pad and some muriatic acid to clean the area (don't forget to wear rubber or nitrile gloves). I roughed it up with emery cloth and course steel wool and then cleaned with the acid on a clean cloth. I used copper pipe plumbing type flux and acid core solder which worked very well. After applying the flux I used a Harbor Freight propane mini-torch to heat the copper tube and applied the acid core solder to fill the hole.
So far, so good. It's been about 8-9 months now and no more problems. This was my first attempt at radiator repair. It's relatively easy to do, and unless you get it too hot you can't really do any additional damage by trying to patch it yourself. It's important to just get it hot enough to make the solder run and then remove the heat at that point. Good luck.
07-07-2005, 10:41 AM #6
Clean off the tank good first with emery or steelwool and apply acid flux and tin with solder, then apply a small tinned copper patch. If you are carful you can use a small propane hand held "prepo" torch. Keep a wet sponge handy and don't be afrid to use it if you think that the tank is getting too hot. My favrite small copper patch is a penny, heads up. I leave alot of solder on the penny so I don't to add any during the operation and use a wire to hold the penny in place when heating and then when the solder flows use the wet sponge to cool or more acid flux to cool, this also helps the solder to flow, but really gets to your nose so be carful.
07-07-2005, 11:23 AM #7
Seems like I used a 250w elec. soldering iron on mine. I made a copper patch about the size of a dime. Clean and tin it up real good.
07-07-2005, 01:18 PM #8
If it is in the seam where the tank is attached, there may be a crack in the solder. Sometimes it has been there for awhile and the brass gets corroded and the solder may not stick. I have used a small propane torch with success.
I have taken off tanks before by using a wire to suspend the radiator an inch off the ground with the wire on the filler neck. I go around the seam with a torch until the tank pops off.
07-07-2005, 01:38 PM #9
I've patched a small hole in my radiator before with JB Weld, never had a problem with it again, but the methods suggested already would probably be stronger.
07-07-2005, 01:58 PM #10
Silver solder, Stay-Silv flux, and a size 0 or size 1 tip with oxy-fuel will quickly repair the joint. The high silver content solders are stronger and cost more, but the "low temp" silver solders sometimes work well.
07-07-2005, 09:12 PM #11
Well, I've soldered it up now. It was a vertical surface, so it dripped some before I got the hang of how to heat the workpiece, but I got a nice "scab" over the little hole that was in it. When I cleaned it with a Dremel tool, I found that the hole had been patched before, a dob of solder that simply popped off when I applied pressure.. Thanks for the input.