Here, our motto is “If it can be fixed, do not get a new one”. And we believe that is how everyone should think because who would want to spend extra cash on something, right? Plus, by repairing parts, you would be taking an eco-friendly step by reducing plastic or other material waste.
Just like most of the other parts, it is possible to repair the side tank of the radiator. And all you have to do is learn how to repair a plastic radiator side tank. There will be no need to go to a repair shop, nor will you have to call in a mechanic. You would be capable of doing it by yourself.
But there is a catch! You got to learn the process first, which is where we step in. And you do not have to worry one bit about the difficulty level because we have gone a ton of radiator repairs. And by now, we have enough knowledge and experience to make the process feel easy to carry out.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting the Repair
Before we move any further into the guide, we would like to make sure that you have a proper idea about the process. First, let us assure you that fixing cracks is a lot easier than it seems. However, it can become hard if you do not keep the operating temperature in mind.
The operational temperature of the repair for the plastic should be 200 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Additionally, it is essential to keep the pressurized coolant and hot coolant with you throughout the entire repair process. And do make sure that the welding process is being carried out perfectly.
Other than that, usually, the tanks are going to be of glass-reinforced nylon. And this material holds the ability to withstand rough and harsh operating conditions. For that reason, while repairing, you need to keep the temperature to the level where it is not too high, nor is it too low.
How to Repair a Plastic Radiator Side Tank?
Let us now focus on the thing that you are primarily here, which is to learn how to fix the tank. To keep things simple, we have huddled a step-by-step guide that should be easy to follow. And the guide is as follows:
Step 1: Get the Required Materials
Before moving into the other steps, you should ensure that you have all of the required materials with you. The essentials are the heat gun, v-groove, nylon rod, and a welder. For the welder, we would recommend getting the one that is highly accessible to you. You do not have to get anything that advanced.
And the other materials that we have mentioned should be easy to find. You can get them in any hardware shop. However, if you still can not find them, we would recommend visiting a car repair shop. Those would have all of the things we have mentioned here.
Step 2: Drain the Anti-Freeze
Now that you have gathered all of the necessary materials, you need to start with the repairing task. For this, first, you need to drain the anti-freeze. However, it is not necessary to drain all of the anti-freeze from the inside. Instead, you should get as much as possible.
Our recommendation would be to drain the liquid to a level where it is just below the leaking or crack line. That will make sure that the anti-freeze is not seeping out when you are carrying out the repair. Also, you would have to clean the crack or the leaking spot with a plastic cleaner.
Step 3: Use Heat
After the anti-freeze is taken care of, you need to get yourself a heat gun. Turn it on and soften the plastic using it. Make sure that the plastic is soft enough to stay in place but not melting. By making it soft, you are basically going to speed up the repairing process because soft materials are easier to work with.
On that note, do not turn the heat all the way up. Instead, heat it up slowly. Keep heating it up until you can see the v-groove area is getting a bit glossy. The glossiness should be both inside and outside.
However, if the crack is longer in length, pre-heat the whole thing part by part. For example, if the crack is 5 inches long, first, heat the 2.5 inches and heat the rest after heating the first one up.
Step 4: Melt the V-Groove
You now have to get the v-groove and melt it on the crack line. For this, a welder is a must. Use the tip and melt the v-groove right above the crack line. The welder will ensure that the groove is properly distributed along the whole line, which will eventually ensure proper sealing.
Step 5; Melt the Nylon Rod
After melting the v-groove, quickly get a nylon rod. Melt it into the v-groove using the welder. While melting the rod, you will notice that the groove is changing the color. It should be turning into light brown. Also, there is going to be a bit of fume, which is why you should carry out the melting processes in an airy room.
Step 6: Mix the Plastics
Now that you have melted both the nylon rod and the v-groove, it is time to mix all of them up. Use the welder to mix the melted components. Then, taking the help of the tip, apply the mix into the plastic of your best radiator hose clamps. Apply it until you notice that both the plastics have become the same color.
Do consider that the strength of the mix will depend on how properly you have mixed both of the components up. If the mixture is not proper, the sealing will not be that strong, and there will be chances of a leak occurring again. For that reason, we would highly recommend putting a bit of effort into mixing the plastics.
Step 7: Wait for the Resolidification
Once the mix is in place, all you need to do is wait for the plastics to become cold and get into a solid-state. For this, some of the plastic may take a couple of minutes, while some might take hours. However, we would recommend leaving the plastic out in the open for at least four hours.
That amount of time will ensure that the solidification is proper and the sealing is strong. Also, after the plastic gets solid, you should be able to use it like before. Insert the anti-freeze back into the tank and check whether the leak is still there or not. If you have applied the mixing properly, there should not be any leak.
Hopefully, we were able to show you how to repair a plastic radiator side tank properly. And now that you know the entire process, you no longer have to rush into a repair shop when the radiator gets damaged. However, as we have mentioned above, do put proper importance on the mixing step.