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Old 06-18-2003, 02:43 PM
seacoast_benz seacoast_benz is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 180
Warning about radiator hot-tanking

Pulled the rad from an '83 380SL this weekend. Clogged with scale because the PO and his mechs couldn't be bothered to read the manual and use DISTILLED WATER for coolant changes.

I ran it down to the nearby rad shop. They were supposed to close one pinhole leak and rod it out, and nothing more.

This rad is one of the ones with an integral trans cooler; I dropped the unit off with the trans ports closed off with foil caps and wire, to keep foreign matter out.

The wankers couldn't remember my instructions, and they tossed the rad into the hot tank with the rest of the day's work, after having pulled the foil caps off.

It came back to me dribbling greenish Bob-knows-what out of the side tanks *and* out of the trans cooler ports. Lovely. Wonderful. Great to know that Americans are as quick on the uptake as we always have been.

Anyway, there have been posts here in the past about keeping Mercedes ATF rigorously free from exposure to coolant. Apparently even microscopic amounts of coolant can cause rapid clutch face wear. Several members go so far as to use a dedicated funnel for ATF adds, in order to eliminate the risk of using one that has had coolant poured through it in the past.

Needless to say, the mixture of old coolant and other garbage inside of a hot tank is probably *not* what one wants to send back upstream into the trans when re-installing a tanked radiator!

I am going to rigorously flush the trans section of this unit with acetone and alcohol and distilled water, and bone-dry it, before it goes back in the car.

I recommend that anyone planning a radiator service exercise equal care. Frankly, I should have assumed the usual modern lack of professional competence on the front end, and put on threaded caps with threadlocker to the trans cooler ports so as to keep the shop guys out of there.

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