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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2002 S10 pickup. ZR2 4x4. 183,000 miles. I picked up a new duralast radiator at Autozone. $202 for this thing. I’m putting it in and the lower cooler connection on the passenger side doesn’t want to reach. I previously had a Spectra premium. It had a fitting that sticks out. See in the picture. I had a real b of a time trying to stretch the line to fit into the duralast rad. I had to lift the bottom corner out of its hole and pull it closer. I then had to put the piece with the little clip on it onto the line to start. I then had to pull the bottom of the radiator over to start the piece into it. Finally got it. Put the radiator into the hole where it’s supposed to be. PITA because it didn’t want to reach. Had me nervous the stress was going to pull it out. On I went to the bottom hose. Got that on. Got the top cooler line on. Went to the other side got the cooler lines on. Took a look back at the lower connection and, you guessed it. It pulled out. Not happy. I can’t just leave the bottom of the radiator out of its hole. I’d be afraid it would end up in the fan and I’d have bigger problems. Should I just take it back and find another brand? Is there an easy idea for my current situation? The pics are the new radiator with the line not reaching and the old radiator showing the extension pieces spectra uses. The spectra pieces will not work with the Duralast. I’ve got it back on again. I’m yanking on the pipe and it’s not coming out. I don’t know if I trust it though. Advice?
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
That's a hefty price for a replacement radiator. I'd definitely return it, since it really doesn't fit properly.
Curious why this will be your 3rd radiator. Doing some hard off roading?
No, not at all. Last one was in 2014. All I do is drive on the highway. I really don't need the trans cooler. As much as they like to leak, I should just delete it but, at this point. This next radiator should be the last I buy for this truck. It's 20 years old. 14mpg. No bueno with today's prices. I don't imagine there is a whole lot of pressure in those lines. Maybe I could cut the cooler line and lengthen it with hose and clamps if I can't find a suitable replacement? If so, do you think I would need to flare the ends or would enough hose bridging the two be fine?

Editing this post to say, I can't find any radiators that have those extension pieces aside from an even more expensive model at Rock Auto. More Information for LILAND GLOBAL 1826AA
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Most radiators at AutoZone are Spectra Premium. They are relabeled Duralast.
Hmm, well in any event. This will not reach and the old Spectra part number isn't available anymore. The new part number doesn't seem to have that so unless I buy that $248 aluminum one (don't really want to) looks like I need to modify the line like Oldeerslayer says. I'm grateful for his experience and advice because I definitely want to fix it right the first time
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you're paying for a new part that should fit and doesn't, then time to return it. If you're not doing anything special with your truck, then I might suggest getting a used rad from the junkyard. You can clean it and pressure test it off the vehicle to ensure proper function. Then should be an easy fit.....
I'm wondering if the trans shop took any slack (if there was any) out of the line when they rebuilt the trans because it should reach. Even the AC Delco radiator I see at rock auto looks like it has the same fittings. I would think that duralast would fit or, they'd have had a lot of returns by now
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My bad, I meant compression UNION. It doesn't have to be any high pressure design. The fluid in the cooling lines is under relatively low pressure. @Tranzman can tell you exactly, but I'm under the impression it's under 50 psi.
Awesome. It's funny. I was just on youtube looking for info about this. A guy was doing his water pump on his blazer. He found that the previous owner must have done a hose repair as I was originally thinking. He was kind of moving it around and the hose would move. Loose clamp apparently. He used a compression union he bought at the auto parts store. I took two screenshots. Is this the part you would use to do yours? The guy on the video said it didn't leak. I only need to gain a 1/4 inch or so. This looks like it would do that and no flaring involved. (I've never flared a line)

The video is here if anyone is interested. I thought it was quite a coincidence. Didn't look like this blazer has the snap fittings like my truck though. Maybe it was an older blazer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have seen pressures as high as 125+ on the dyno. most do not go over 100psi. that is why you don't want plain fuel hose on a trans-cooler line. Power steering return hose works well.
Do you recommend the compression fitting over the hose and clamp method?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
YES!!! I have done that in the past, now i own a flaring tool and just put a small bubble flare on the tube that has been cut off. Every tube that didn't have a way to stop the slip eventually slipped off and spewed fluid everywhere at the most in opportune time...
Ok, good. the only caveat is, there appears to be about 1 1/2 inches between the flared ridged on the cooler line that snaps into the radiator and where the line starts bending downward. Is that enough room to fit a compression fitting into? I can't really tell how far the line goes into the union. In the guys video, it looked like he cut pretty close to the radiator flare. I guess as long as you have enough, that's the main thing. I really don't want to screw up and end up worse than when I started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Only tangential to the OP. However, I am on my 7th radiator in my 2002 2.2L. That is original + 6 – from AutoZone. The AutoZone units all had a liftetime warranty. All, or almost all, were Spectra, Spectra Premium, or Duralast. There have been multiple failure modes. The 1st replacement occurred in 2006, and they have been quite evenly-spaced over time. 2 – of those replacements occurred since 9-2018 when I overheated the engine, which likely degraded the headgasket and possibly warped the head. Not certain there are any other obvious issues to explain the radiator failures besides road salt and poor quality in construction. At least 1 – of the radiators appeared to develop a leak in the very bottom of the “coil” due to corrosion.
Any chance of electrolysis in your case?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Well I got the compression fitting on and the radiator all installed. I don't see any leaks as of yet. I refilled it with just water to check for leaks. I figured I will just drain the radiator again and add the proper amount of coolant. I let it warm up good and it climbed to 208 while I was checking for leaks and keeping a close eye on the temp. I shut if off because I didn't want it going to hot. Already did that when the radiator puked out. I had my Actron scan tool hooked up. The gauge in the dash agrees pretty well with the tool from what I see. Within a couple of degrees. I'm letting it cool down before opening the radiator to make sure it's still full. The overflow jug didn't go down at all.

I know antifreeze is also summer coolant. Is it possible that the excess temp is just from having straight water in the system or, do I likely have another problem? Last time I changed the radiator I didn't have a problem. Of course I didn't go straight water either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
208 is fine as oldeerslayer said. Using water for leak testing is ok. It won't cool as efficiently as a proper mix of coolant and water. Depending on operating conditions, the water might be good enough to operate without overheating.

After testing completes, it can be a bit challenging to get to the correct mix of water and coolant though. When you drain the water, there will always be some remaining in the system. Make sure you account for the water that could not be drained when you're adding coolant/water mix for regular use.....
That was my line of thinking but I wasn't sure if cooling would be sufficient
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Well, I have the truck finished. No leaks. I have added coolant and put about 35 miles on it with no issue. 🍺 Thanks for the advice. The compression fitting added the needed length to take the strain off of the line. I appreciate you guys.
 
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