Radiator stop-leak

Is there any kind of radiator stop-leak that is supposed to be the best? Normally I'd just fix the leak (remove radiator & have it repaired, etc).
But this particular leak is in the heater core of a vehicle which requires removal of the dash to change, which is a HUGE amount of difficult work, with the considerable likelihood of breaking something else during the process, etc.... or VERY expensive to have done. It doesn't drip out onto the floor; it just fogs the windows and gives an antifreeze smell. So in this case the old "stop leak"route is sounding pretty good. Put it this way -- it's the easiest thing to try first. I have heard claims that stop-leak it will plug stuff it's not supposed to, etc. But I am inclined to think that claim is exaggerated or false, since a hairline crack causing steam buildup on the windows is a thousandth of an inch wide -- which is what the stop-leak is forumlated to address -- is infinitely smaller than the passages in any radiator or heater core. I know there are several different types of the stuff. There's the silver granulated stuff, the goop with the little pellets that look like rabbit turds in it, and I think there is some that is basically just a liquid of some kind, maybe kind of thick or whatever. Which kind is best for what I am doing? This has piqued my curiousity. For example, does the stuff have to get hot to work? Does it have to be under pressure -- so that the coolant starts to escape through the fracture -- in order to plug it? I saw some demo's on youtube with mfgr's simply pouring some into a leaking can and the leak stops. I thought, what about when the metal gets hot and the fracture expands, and under pressure now... Please don't give me any crap about this jury-rigging fix -- you all have done stuff like this too, or tried to LOL Thx in advance.
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No crap, it can get you by till payday. You want to look at hose clamps going to the heater core, if their exposed they can loosen up.
--
They can have my command prompt when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.


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On Mon, 10 Oct 2011 20:44:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (James Goforth) wrote:

When I had radiator leaks long ago the silver granulated stuff worked every time for small leaks. Never had the cars long enough to know if there were bad side effects, but drove some at least for a couple years later. Years later I wouldn't use stopleak, and replaced a couple radiators and a heater core, but it didn't require removing the dash. In your situation I'd try the stopleak just as you are. Go with the GM tablets and see if that works. Any GM dealer has them. I bought a '90 Corsica in '98 and read they sometimes leak at the head gasket. I saw rust stains in a corner of a head, so when I did my initial new-old-car hoses/belt and fluid change I put the GM tablets in. Broke them up a bit first. Put about 60k all city miles on after that with no problems. About 4 years ago I added them to my '97 Lumina 3.1 when I became aware of the LIM gasket problems on that engine. No problems in about 60k miles since. I put new "improved" LIM gaskets in earlier this year, not wanting to push my luck. I can tell you the tablets scummed up my radiator fill neck and the overflow tank, but it wipes off fairly easily. I saw no sludge or contamination in the manifold and head water passages when I did the LIM gaskets. Probably changes state when it's exposed to oxygen, but you can look that up. Also believe the GM tablets are plant material, ground up ginger root and nut shells. Reason I didn't hesitate using the tablets is I read GM put them in some of their new cars, maybe Vettes and Caddys. Here, http://www.cadillacforum.com/forum/faq-46/gm-cadillac-coolant-supplement-2488 / Looks like they're a variety of Bar's stopleak. I just get them from a GM dealer. Keep in mind I don't know if they ever stopped a leak, just that they're probably the safest bet. If they don't stop your core from leaking, flush it out and try the silver granulated powder. One thing I don't know or can't recall from the old days is whether the leak comes back if you flush your coolant, so you have to put some stopleak back in.
--Vic
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And we learned they are usually short term fixes and unreliable. Given the amount of work and cost to repair the heater core, I may try it anyway. Worst case is you may lose the cost of the product, but if you don't overdo it, most likely.
It may be just a cheap to buy another car than have the heater core replaced!
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Ed said, "And we learned they are usually short term fixes and unreliable. Given the amount of work and cost to repair the heater core, I may try it anyway. Worst case is you may lose the cost of the product, but if you don't overdo it, most likely. It may be just a cheap to buy another car than have the heater core replaced!"
*****************************
Ed, I would venture to say a lot of people DO consider just getting rid of the car rather than replace a heater core. Some folks wouldn't really have a choice.
That's what really galls me about this: the expense and difficulty of repairing something that goes out THAT commonly.
I would hate to be the service manager at the dealership who has to tell customers such a routine thing is so expensive, the cost probably approaching four figures to fix.
No wonder people get so pissed off, don't trust mechanics, vow to never again buy GM , kids don't want to enter the automotive field etc.
What a GLARING design flaw.
And I wouldn't be too happy if I was a tech working at the dealership -- and had to go through all that contortionist routine every few days when someone came in with one of the zillion Blazers out there needing a heater core. I don't care how much the job paid, you'd really be earning it.
I have been reading on the internet in forums where the thread is about peoples' experience with stop-leak, and there actually is a fair amount of people who used it and then drove the car for years afterward and it still held. I'm not hanging my hat on that of course, but you know what I mean. If the stuff was totally worthless and NEVER really worked, there wouldn't be a dozen different kinds out there.
But I STILL haven't decided which kind to go with until I have more answers.... I look at it as that I have one chance. According to a comparo I found on the internet, the type that Bar's leaks is was described as "the only type even close to being permanent." I'll post that article if I can find it again. Thx. .
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I get my oil changes done at a local radiator repair shop. Bill has told me a few horror stories. In many cases, the heater core has to be replaced, not repaired. On certain models of Fords, the book time for the job is 8 hours. Dealership shop rates are $65 to $100, plus parts.
Used to be, it was a 15 minutes job to pull it out, a shop would fix the leak and another 15 minutes to put it back. I remember putting cardboard to cover the firewall hole on my Pontiac until I got the core back. .
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I also wonder why heater cores go out so commonly anyway. Compare it to the car's radiator, which often lasts the life of the car, even though it's spent years getting blasting at 70 mph into pebbles, bugs, sticks, rain, snow, and minus-20 degree air etc. By contrast, the heater core is enclosed in a box, inside the passenger compartment, untouched by anything, ever -- and they go bad all the time. Why is that?
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On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 06:23:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (James Goforth) wrote:

A/C condensers offer some protection for radiators. Personally, I've only had 2 radiators spring a leak, probably from pebble dings, and both had no A/C condenser in front of them. One other when I dropped a wrench, which bounced from grill to radiator, no condenser on that one either. Only one OEM heater core, and that from a plastic inlet or outlet tube. '85 Cavilier. The replacement I put in had copper tubes. Only reason a heater core should leak is shit quality. Never saw mention of your make/model. Sometimes you can find methods to change out things that work better than shop manuals. Pulling a dash isn't as hard as many suppose. If it's 8 hours @ $100 per at the dealer, and it takes you 16 or 20 hours, you're still making/saving good money. All comes down to tolerance of physic pain. Too painful for me, but my kid just replaced the dash on his Bonneville, and loved almost every minute of it.
--Vic
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James Goforth wrote:

The radiator is out in the elements BUT it is designed to handle that. The fins are more open, the core is thicker material, and the rain actually helps by keeping the unit cleaner. They also dry off real quick when they get wet and usually they are very well mounted so the flex and expansion doesn't bother them as much
The heater core on the other hand is a MUCH denser unit, fins are tighter, the moisture and crud just lay on it and cause rot. The way that air is ducted to it also means that water/snow can get in there and cause problems. Even if the drain works perfect there are areas where the weather stripping retains moisture and. The core also doesn't dry out real well. Many newer vehicles shut off coolant to the cores so they don't heat up and dry out, this is also why you get the mold smell with newer vehicles. The moisture allows mold growth.
Want to make that heater core last a LOT longer? When you take the car out for a drive, on your return trip turn the heat on full blast for the last 5 minutes or so. This will dry the core and the ductwork. Once a year crawl underneath and clean out the drains for the core. This is REAL important if you have pine trees or other needle type foliage where you park. That crud will clog the drain real fast. When you run the A/C during the summer it is also a good idea to run the heat for the last few minutes to dry out that core as well.
--
Steve W.

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I've never before had anything remotely resembling the misfortune of enduring such a pretentiously supercilious, unmitigated, steaming pile of shit in my entire existence.
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On 10/12/2011 2:30 PM, Steve W. wrote:

Another thing that people miss, is that salt mist/dust gets sucked into the heater in the winter if you are in the salt belt.
--
I'm never going to grow up.

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On 10/10/2011 11:44 PM, James Goforth wrote:

Go to a GM dealer's part department, and tell them you want the GM stop leak.
--
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PeterD said, "Go to a GM dealer's part department, and tell them you want the GM stop leak. "
***************************** Thx for the reply. Is that the same stuff as those tablets I've heard about ? Or something else. Mind if I ask why you'd recommend that over the other products available out there? TIA.
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On 10/11/2011 1:39 PM, James Goforth wrote:

Stuff works, GM recommends it. Is it better? Who knows, I've never run a controlled test.
--
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