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  #1  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:11 PM
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Leaky W123 Radiator: Repair or Replace?

Hello,
Last week I noticed a bit of coolant on the front of my engine. It was splattered around pretty randomly... all over the hoses, fan shroud, valve cover, etc. So, I cleaned up the mess and started watching it like a hawk for the next few days. I'm pretty sure that the coolant is leaking from the top seam of the radiator, where the plastic meets the metal, running down the fan shroud, and hitting the fan. (A moment of silence for the late great Warren Zevon, please) I've also checked the cap for signs of leakage by wrapping it with a paper towel held on by a rubber band, but the cap appears to stay dry as coolant continues to pool at the top seam. It doesn't appear to be leaking down from the top hose either, though I haven't tried the paper towel test there (yet). Would it be better to just replace the radiator and hoses rather than attempt to get it repaired? From what the search turned up, it sounds like people are paying $75-150 to have their leaky radiators fixed, but because of the plastic/aluminum construction, the repairs don't always last. I can get a new Behr radiator with all the fixin's (2 hoses, mount kit, cap and drain plug) for about $200. Am I better off just replacing it? The procedure to remove and replace the radiator, 20-420 in the shop manual, looks pretty simple, although disconnecting the oil cooler sounds messy. Is it possible to do the job without disconnecting the oil cooler?

Thanks in advance,
Nate
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1985 300DT, Classic White, California, 159K
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:29 PM
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Replace it. Don't waste time and money on a radiator that old. (Assuming it is original.)
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  #3  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:33 PM
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New Behr for $200?

Well I just checked and that is a huge difference between a 82 240D radiator vs. an 84 300DT radiator.

Whats the difference folks?
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  #4  
Old 11-10-2004, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nategodin
The procedure to remove and replace the radiator, 20-420 in the shop manual, looks pretty simple, although disconnecting the oil cooler sounds messy. Is it possible to do the job without disconnecting the oil cooler?
From what I can recollect when I owned the 123, I believe that it is identical to my 126 (300 SD). The oil cooler can easily be unbolted from the main radiator using two bolts, one at the top and one at the bottom. No need to remove the oil cooler lines from the oil cooler and take the risk of cracking the oil cooler or stripping the threads in the process.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2004, 01:29 AM
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Thanks for all the quick replies.

Tangofox: Yup, I think you're right. The real question though, is how much of a pain in the @$$ is it going to be to pull the radiator?

Eric: I think the difference is that the turbo models have an expansion tank mounted on the fender; my non-turbo 240D doesn't. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I could tell you why that is.

Brian: I think (and hope!) you're right about the oil cooler. That's the "thing of it", as they say. The Haynes manual agrees with you, although the oil cooler bracket is attached with a clip at the top rather than a bolt. I figured I'd ask since the two manuals that I have give slightly different procedures.

Hopefully I can get everything installed before the snow starts flying. If only I had a heated garage... or even a paved driveway! Luckily, I have friends who are probably foolish enough to let me use theirs. I'll have to do my best to avoid rewarding them with a puddle of antifreeze. In the meantime, I'll try using a product like BarsLeaks. I searched for it on the forum, and if it's good enough for LarryBible's 240D...
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1985 300DT, Classic White, California, 159K
1982 240D, Metallic Silver-Blue, Manual Everything, 376K
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Last edited by nategodin; 11-11-2004 at 01:48 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2004, 09:53 AM
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A local shop recrimped mine this summer and it's been fine- $40
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2004, 12:34 PM
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You should be able to find a Behr for that car for under $161.00
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2004, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
You should be able to find a Behr for that car for under $161.00
at that price it might be worth it to just replace it, especilly if you see yourself keeping the car for several years
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:48 PM
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correct
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2004, 01:56 PM
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Just replace it, it is probably full of crap anyway.

$161 for a Behr! wow thats a good price I thought they ran in the $180-$190 range.
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2004, 02:52 PM
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Before you guys cry about the price of radiators too much......I had to replace the radiator in my wife's 560SL this summer, at the dealer. I got out of there lucky. The dealer actually only charged me suggested list: $640.00. Plus labor, plus upper hose, right around $950. The mental pain is worn off, but the fiscal pain is still being felt.
And I agree, if the radiator is old, replace it. Crude and such build up and cannot really be cleaned out. The plastic degrades and one day it just crumbles...at the worst time.
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2004, 03:18 PM
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Nate, years ago I went to school in Maine. Two friends were sitting at a bar having some beers. Finally, after a few, one fella says "Met ah girl from up Nawth" The other guy says "Bangah?" The first fella says "Nope, just met ah"
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'82 300SD - 361K mi - "Blue"

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

listen, look, .........and duck.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2004, 03:33 PM
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Replace it, don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Its gonna pop on you 20 miles from nowhere in the middle of the night.
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2004, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Nate, years ago I went to school in Maine. Two friends were sitting at a bar having some beers. Finally, after a few, one fella says "Met ah girl from up Nawth" The other guy says "Bangah?" The first fella says "Nope, just met ah"
Heh, that's an old one... I don't have much of an accent (at least, I don't think I do!) but I have been known to say "ayuh" on occasion.
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1985 300DT, Classic White, California, 159K
1982 240D, Metallic Silver-Blue, Manual Everything, 376K
1981 240D, Orient Red, Parts Car/Engine Donor, 145K

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. Hmm?" - Yoda
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