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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short I suspect that local AAA mechanic may have cracked my 2002 TrailBlazer 260k miles factory original radiator. This was during an Oil Change where they also might perform 'Courtesy Inspection'. Cap is currently 90 degrees clockwise from position I would normally expect (see photo). Also I can't loosen/remove the Cap--it seems overtightened. Vehicle driven only 14 miles since Oil Change and is leaking Coolant along top just left of Fill Hole. Cracks are hairline along plastic molding lines.
Watched several videos of various ways to repair this (assuming I can get Cap removed. Key first step.) Is Plastic Welding better than JB Weld Radiator Repair Kit(or similar epoxy-like patching)? Any first hand experience or advice is welcomed.
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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT EXT
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I would trust a new rad much more than adhesive that may-may not adhere to the plastic
Rockauto has new radiators for $77 which is a pretty decent price in my opinion
 

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I worked next to a real solder-n-torch radiator shop and you can't believe the things people tried to patch a plastic tank radiator.

It NEVER worked and it many times caused so many seriously overheated engines that lost head gaskets - and in the case of aluminum engines - sometimes the loss of the block and head.

Bad idea - I wouldn't do it - and radiators are inexpensive - they really are.
 

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Get a new radiator! Don't mess around with a "Repair?" that might or might not get you stranded at 3 am in the rain and your overheating! Not much you can do if it breaks on the road?
 

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Get a new pressure cap too. It might have been instrumental in blowing to radiator tank out.
 

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I owned a radiator shop and although I never saw the repairs that worked out, I saw a lot of plastic repairs that lasted a short time and failed at a bad time. I agree with what seems to be the consensus here, replace that 260 k radiator. It doesn't owe you anything!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I owned a radiator shop and although I never saw the repairs that worked out, I saw a lot of plastic repairs that lasted a short time and failed at a bad time. I agree with what seems to be the consensus here, replace that 260 k radiator. It doesn't owe you anything!
Just now I noticed a typo in my posting--vehicle has 150k miles, not 260k. Anyhow I "chickened-out" on the DIY Repair/patch. So I had my mechanic do the whole job. Not once but twice he and I discussed installing a Murray radiator (which was the brand he originally suggested to me ). But when I went to pick up the vehicle yesterday lo and behold he told me he installed a Modine radiator (and a new Radiator Cap--because old cap was seized/stuck)--repair Invoice shows "C2458 Radiator" for $278 . A couple questions:
1) in general is a Modine C2458 better worse or equivalent to a Murray (same as Spectra Premium) radiator?
2) I can't find a Modine C2458 on the web. So I don't know what the Manufacturer's warranty is. Mechanic says he warranties the whole job 90 days. Although initially when I proposed buying/bringing my own part he said he won't warranty anything. But if he buys the part I get 1 year on the total job. Now he says 90 days. Should I be looking for a new mechanic? I moved to this area only 15 months ago, I sure miss my old mechanic (extremely trustworthy and honest for 15 years we used him) who is now 3 hours from our new home...
3) when we we discussing Estimate on the radiator job he indicated he has to mark-up Parts to maintain profit because his Shop Rate at $100/hour is lower than his competitors. I would be OK with Parts Mark-up of 10-15% to cover logistics of Ordering, etc but this convoluted math on Parts Markup vs. discounted Shop Rate seems odd/questionable to me. Am I wrong here?
4) the radiator job also included fixing A/C--Leak Inspection, Evacuation/Recover, Recharge and replacing a bad Schrader Valve. I paid $812 (not including $24 Virginia Tax) which is slightly lower than the $837-$999 indicated by NAPA Repair Estimator for this Radiator plus A/C job. Was this a fair deal, or is this another reason I should be looking for another mechanic? BTW although this shop owner has many years experience as a mechanic he has been operating this/his own business for only around 2 years. And he currently has only 1 mechanic (looking to hire more--if he can find one!). In the past year I observed he had at least 2 other mechanics/helpers but they are gone now.
Thanks for any input...
 

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Two things:
1. He didn't install the part you had agreed upon.
2. He cut the warranty period by 75%.
Personally, I would be skeptical of doing business with him again.
 

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As far as far as parts markup, you have to consider that if the radiator fails, during his warranty period, he has to supply the labor and coolant to change out the defective radiator. Modine is a major manufacturer in the radiator industry including OEM supplier. Murray is a parts supplier and while they normally have solid parts, they source from many manufacturers. You likely got a decent quality part.
I would consider a new mechanic only because of the warranty issue. 90 days is a subpar warranty on new parts in my opinion and the fact that he backed off the 1 year he initially offered would make me look elsewhere. Price seems reasonable though for the ac repair and radiator replacement .
 
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