Aluminum Radiator Issue - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Aluminum Radiator Issue

March 2018, I bought a well known brand of aluminum radiator. Last week, I sent it back under warranty because it was seeping coolant. Today I got an email from the company that it was not covered under warranty because the "inside is completely rusted. This was caused by using a corrosive substance other than the approved permanent-type antifreeze designed solely for radiators". This is quite perplexing because the only thing I put inside my cooling system was permanent type antifreeze and distilled water. And notice they didn't include a picture of the hole that developed in the radiator due to it being completely rusted. But again, I don't know of any aluminum that rusts. Do I fight this, or suck up the $300 I paid for a radiator that didn't even last 10 months (it started seeping in December 2018), and go with something else. Here are the pictures that were sent to me.
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I've started a blog about my car and adventures: http://65mustangfun.blogspot.com/

1965 Fastback, 289, Toploader 4 Speed, owned by me since June 1980. Originally a C-code with a C-4. 5R09C16****
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 08:55 PM
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Looks like you have rust from your engine. ECP makes a great radiator for $219.00. All 3 of my cars use them including my driver.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 08:57 PM
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That is pretty rusty ,question is why?
Aluminum is pretty repairable
I have a Champion in mine and it's not rust stained like that


Brad
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 09:16 PM
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Aluminum doesn't rust. If that is, in fact, rust, it's a rust stain from rust elsewhere in the cooling system and shouldn't have ANY effect on the radiator. I would fight it, starting with your State's Consumer Protection office.

Bart

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 09:32 PM
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I was expecting the company to state the hole was due to electrolysis.

It is unusually rusty in color . mine still looks new after 7 plus years .

68 302-4V w/1.84",1.54" ported , Comp XE268H , 2200 rpm Hughes converter, 3.25 9" w/10x2.5" shoes , MSD box/distrib , RPM intake , 670 Holley , cross flow aluminum radiator , Granada discs......


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 09:45 PM
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I would fight it. Since aluminum doesn’t rust, how could rust colored water or even rust deposits from the engine put a hole in a new radiator.

What brand? Would be nice to know who doesn’t stand by their warranty.


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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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I would fight it. Since aluminum doesn’t rust, how could rust colored water or even rust deposits from the engine put a hole in a new radiator.

What brand? Would be nice to know who doesn’t stand by their warranty.
I'm going to email them back and ask for an explanation on how the aluminum rusted, and explain to them that all I ever put in my cooling system was antifreeze and distilled water. The water from our well is really hard, so I don't dare put it in a radiator. If they end up telling me to kick rocks, then I will come back with the name of the company. I would also like a picture of this hole that was eaten through the aluminum and causing the leak.



I've started a blog about my car and adventures: http://65mustangfun.blogspot.com/

1965 Fastback, 289, Toploader 4 Speed, owned by me since June 1980. Originally a C-code with a C-4. 5R09C16****
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Here is my draft reply to the company:

1. The radiator is made of aluminum. How did the aluminum rust as aluminum does not rust? What you are seeing in the radiator are rust stains from the coolant from an iron block, which does rust, staining the radiator. I can't imagine these stains caused a hole. If you notice the tubes at the top of the radiator are clear of any debris that could clog the flow of coolant and cause issues.

2. How was it determined that a corrosive chemical in the coolant caused a hole in the aluminum? I don't see any evidence of a hole caused by a corrosive chemical.

3. What was this corrosive chemical? In the time that I've owned this radiator, the only chemicals I put in the cooling system were automotive anti-freeze and distilled water. No "water wetter", rust inhibitors, water pump lubricants, etc. Just anti-freeze and distilled water. I have an aluminum water pump and a pot metal thermostat housing on the same engine, and neither one of these items have developed holes from this mysterious corrosive chemical.



I've started a blog about my car and adventures: http://65mustangfun.blogspot.com/

1965 Fastback, 289, Toploader 4 Speed, owned by me since June 1980. Originally a C-code with a C-4. 5R09C16****
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
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If they end up telling me to kick rocks, then I will come back with the name of the company.
I'd like to know the name of that company right now. After all, they brought you to this point with what seems a blow-off response. If they make good on it then that's to their credit. If not, we'll know that too.
Either way good info for VMF readers.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 10:34 PM
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I would do an inexpensive pH test on your coolant. As an HVAC tech I use test strips to check pH levels on coolant that flows through boiler aluminum/stainless/copper heat exchangers. If your coolant passes the test (acidic or alkaline) the manufacturer doesn't have a leg to stand on.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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I would do an inexpensive pH test on your coolant. As an HVAC tech I use test strips to check pH levels on coolant that flows through boiler aluminum/stainless/copper heat exchangers. If your coolant passes the test (acidic or alkaline) the manufacturer doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Funny you should mention that. I still have the 1.5 gallons of the coolant from the radiator sitting in my shed. Where do I find the test strips?



I've started a blog about my car and adventures: http://65mustangfun.blogspot.com/

1965 Fastback, 289, Toploader 4 Speed, owned by me since June 1980. Originally a C-code with a C-4. 5R09C16****
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 10:51 PM
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Pool chemical supply store, or Amazon of course.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 12:02 AM
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 12:08 PM
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They are wrong in their statement about it being rusted. Corroded would be the correct answer if there is an issue with the aluminum radiator. There is always the possibility that they did not manufacture it correctly or it could be directly related to the use of distilled water. How long did the car sit before it was brought up to operating temperature once you added the anti-freeze and distilled water? What ratio did you use? How long does the car sit in between driving times?


Distilled or demineralized water should only be used if it is going to be mixed with at least a minimum of 35% coolant to 65% water ratio. The coolant is required to neutralize the aggressiveness of the mineral hungry water... Food for though.

Passive surface films must be created to properly protect the soft metals in the cooling system. The passivation process requires heat and flow in the system to effectively develop these surface films. If the car was run up to operating temperature once you added the coolant mix then there is less of a chance the distilled water would have an effect.

The key is to immediately run the vehicle once the radiator has been filled. Storing a new radiator with only water, particularly distilled, and anti-freeze may allow for bacterial growth and/ or corrosion of the untreated surfaces, both of which may result in leaks, or damage to the radiator. Using distilled water will increase the radiator's susceptibility to damage as distilled water is not electrochemically balanced; it is stripped of impurities and therefore ionically hungry, which will cause it to attack soft metals more aggressively.


It's been awhile since I messed with metallurgy issuesbut thought I would through in my .02. This is not to say that using distilled water caused the issue but something for everyone to research and think about. I'm in the process of looking at radiators now so I too would be interested in pics of the leaks and who the company is. Good luck, Jim

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 01:05 PM
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Read the following. Possibly a cause of your problems or maybe not.

Radiator corrosion

The rust in the systems is also very hard on components. The rust is really small particles zooming through passages and slowly sands away material. Think of a sand storm.

Granted, the radiator could also be at fault and possibly would have been repaired under warrantee if not for the rust stains. The rust is cause to believe the cooling system was not properly maintained in the past, either by your or the previous owner.

Gary
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