August rolled around again, and as it is wont to do, has been warm.
Having spoken to a radiator shop and been quoted a significantly higher price than I could afford for repair, I decided to set about and attempt a repair on my radiator myself.
The filler neck had what looked like some sort of putty or mastic spread all around it in a messy fashion.
I pried at it a little with a screwdriver and a large chunk fell off, showing it to actually be lead solder. Whoever put it on did it badly.
I decided to cut my losses, and while holding the cap in my big pliers, I heated it up with my gas torch. It popped off with relative ease, showing a lot of dirt where it had split away from the top tank, and was being held in place around about one fifth of it’s circumference.
I used a steel wire wheel to clean both the top of the tank and the filler neck. I then added soldering flux, heated them both and tinned them by adding solder to each face, ensuring good adhesion.
I then lined the two pieces up and heated them so the solder flowed and melted together. Hopefully a permanent repair.
The radiator had been leaking along the seam between the fins and the top tank. I cleaned it up and attempted to solder it up with my gas torch, which proved to have a flame too broad and too hot to easily work with.
I was able to make a good seal, but it wasn’t the tidiest of work. I went to the store and bought a torch with a much tighter flame pattern, adjustable temperature also.
The tighter flame allowed me to control the heat better, and so I soldered up the rest of the seam.
This method allowed me to improve my technique and make a much more tidy repair.
I built a rather Heath-Robinson testing rig, consisting of the garden hose and some duct tape.
With the seam no longer leaking, the pressure testing identified a small crack in the top tank.
I cleaned the area around the crack mechanically with a wire wheel, then chemically with acid flux.
I soldered the crack up and tested it again. This time it didn’t leak.
I cleaned the metal down of old flaking paint and gave it a coat of semi gloss black. I ran out of paint, will continue the rest with a new can.