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Old 11-26-2002, 04:31 PM
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Radiator Question

Hi Guys-

This is my first visit to your forum, and am in need of some advice.

My car - 1981 Mercedes has the non-turbo motor. I bought it with 200K miles, and a fresh rebuild on the motor. It now has 240K miles, almost 5 years later. It runs good.

I have noticed over the past year or so a tendency to run a little bit warm....not hot, just warmer than it used to run. At a stoplight, the needle will rise above the line on the temp gauge that indicates 100 (only 80 and 120 have numbers) As soon as I take off again, the needle moves back to it's normal position.

So, being the frugal person I am, I found a rebuilt radiator on eBay, purported to fit my car.
The fittings on the replacement radiator for the transmission-cooling lines seem to be missing, although there are two plugs on the underside of the bottom, facing straight down. I can see that these two plugs only lead to the general reservoir, and must be for draining.

The radiator in the car now has fittings that come straight out the back at the bottom of the radiator. Hoses have about 6 inches of rubber flex, surrounded by wire wrapping.

Did I get a replacement for a manual transmission?

Can I make this new one work?

Did I get hosed?

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Old 11-26-2002, 05:17 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,877
sounds like a hose job to me

You need a radiator that is the exact duplicate of what is in there now. Personally, I would not purchase a used radiator for installation in any of my cars. The best source for radiators that I have found (last one I bought was an all steel radiator for a 1980 300D) is Ben's Macon Radiator Service, (478) 743-5548.
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Old 11-26-2002, 10:16 PM
Piotr's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Middletown, DE
Posts: 739
What you are describing is probably not the radiator problem, or you would be running hot under load (Highway speeds). My bet would be your radiator fan (either switch or clutch), or, if you are leaking coolant, a water pump. However, water pumps on MB fails rather rarely. Above 45 mph the flow of the air over the radiator is sufficient to cool it. If the car does not run hot while driving, your radiator (and the radiator/expansion tank cap) is probably ok. make sure that your radiator fan kicks in at idle when the temperature gets high enough.
1985 190D 2.2l Sold-to Brother-in-law
1996 Mustang 3.8l -"thinks it's a sports car"
1988 Grand Wagoneer - Sold (good home)
1995 Grand Cherokee Ltd -"What was I thinking??!!"
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Old 11-28-2002, 11:43 AM
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When car is warm, and hood is up and engine revved, I cannot hear much in the way of the "whooshing" noise I would expect from the fan biting the air.
When I cut the motor off, the fan blade turns a few revs, after the engine has stopped.
Does this mean the fan cluth is bad?

The electric fan in front of the radiator does not come on....never seen it on, but never had the temp up real high, either....just warmer than it usually runs.

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Old 03-07-2003, 08:28 AM
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Here's an update.
We determined that the fan clutch was weak. My mechanic held the fan blade with his hand, and had me start the engine. He was able to hold the fan still with little effort, and when released, would start turning with little force....he "caught" it easily when moving, and forced it again to stop.

So we replaced the fan clutch.

After a couple of weeks of driving it like this, it still wasn't right. After about 12 miles of traveling to work, the temp needle would still creep upwards, past where it belongs.

I would usually then use the heater to cool it down.....that would keep the needle in the correct temp range. For a few minutes this would work well, but eventually the system would start to get too warm. As cool as it's been, this would not work once the weather warmed up.

So I decided to shop for a new radiator. I found a guy selling radiators on eBay, and asked him for a quote. He told me that he could supply me with a new radiator for $170. delivered price. So I used PayPal to email him funds, and soon had a new Valeo radiator at the door. This seemed like a very reasonable price to me. My radiator would be shipped from their NY warehouse, although I was dealing with the Ft. Lauderdale office.

Well, I installed the new radiator, and made a mess in the driveway doing so. One of my transmission lines was balky, and replaced it.
Got the new radiator in, and all hoses and lines hooked up, and began to fill with fluids.

Horrors! The fluid started leaking out the lower seam as soon as I stated to fill it. More mess, and now I had to test the warranty claims service from this radiator distributor.

After a couple of emails to my contact, I was told that a new radiator would be sourced, and sent out to me.

These guys put a new BEHR radiator into an employee's car, and had him personally deliver it to me on the other side of Florida.

It's in, and tight, no leaks.

That's Service!

So I can say that I would highly reccomend this outfit, if you are looking for a radiator to fit any of your vehicles.

I cannot say enough about the customer service of CROSSflow Radiator, and Tony in particular. Their man Edward drove all the way to me in Clearwater, from their warehouse in Ft. Lauderdale, on his day off.

CROSSflow Radiator
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Tony (sales rep) 954 383-0793

Thanks CROSSflow!
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Old 03-07-2003, 12:24 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 571

Hope things have cooled down for you with the Behr. It's just my opinion, but Behr is the only radiator that I would put in my MB.

Regarding the fan clutch. It's my belief that these devices are too often mis-diagnosed. You read stories about people sticking pencils into them while moving. etc. and that may not be a good test, let alone somewhat dangerous. They activate at a given temp. and rpm.

Check out what MBDoc had to say in this thraed:

viscous fan
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:13 PM
Posts: n/a
Followup -II

Another followup, to anyone interested.
New radiator works great, but that pesky temp needle still reads above what I think it should.

So back to my mechanic, to get a new thermostat. We were going to do this before, but did the fan clutch instead.

He puts his little socket wrench on the thermostat housing bolts, and announces that they will surely break off before they come undone.

Well, we then made it so the electric fan was on all the time, hoping to keep it cooler. It just did not work, the car ran fine, not overheating, but still warmer that it did the past two or three years.

I took it home, and applied P. B. Blaster to the bolts, and tapped them gently with a small hammer a few times, and more P.B. Blaster.

The next day, I got my wrench on the bolts, and got them started out. The "tink" as the bolts started out was like music to my ears!

Back to the mechanic, who seemed surprised that I was able to get the bolts loose.

Anyway, the thermostat that came out of it was a German one, with no markings as to it's temp range. The rubber grommet/gasket was silacone sealant...but you know, it never leaked.

Anyway, my guy uses the truck thermostats, because they are available with a lower heat for down here in Florida. New grommet too. The M.B. thermostat also has a hole in it that facilitates the air to purge from the system, the one that came out does not.

She now runs cool as a cucumber, right at or below that line on the gauge, with the A/C on too.

The engine must be much happier....I know I am.
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