Radiator Endoscopy Party

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

At 8AM I was at Natick Radiator Service where I met Rick, the owner.  The business has been in his family for two generations and his son also works at the shop (although he wasn’t there today).  Rick was referred to me via two people in the Minute Man Model A Club and had given a cooling seminar at one of the club meetings.

I knew I was in the right place when we walked into the shop and there were 4 Model A radiators sitting there.  They were all for a later year Model A (and wouldn’t fit in my car) but it was still good to see that this guy “had a clue”.

First thing Dr. Rick did was stick a camera into the radiator to see what was happening. http://www.youtube.com/embed/41LtYCYBvEE.  This was really neat to watch.  You want to check it out.

Then we back flushed the system, filled the radiator with some acid, let it sit for 30 minutes, and flushed it again. A bunch of crud was blown out of the system and the flow test was better…. but still not great.  Rick thought another round of acid with a 1.5 hour wait would help.  We filled the radiator with more acid.  Rick made a quick call to Dickie, who is a local Model A guru whose shop is 1 mile away.  I visited Dickie and his shop… a bunch of Model A guys stopped by during my hour at this shop including Bob40 and Harold L. In total, I saw 3 model As that morning.  Dickie’s shop is FILLED with cars and parts.  There is the 1928 Buick, the old Rolls Royce, the campers, the XXXXXX.  He has it all…..including piles of parts that look like cars could be under them.  Dickie is in the process of rebuilding his Model A and was showing off the freshly painted fenders (they were like mirrors).   Some of his cars, like one of his plows, are camouflaged (check of the photo and see if you can find it). 

Now back to the Radiator Shop.  Rick emptied out the acid, flushed the system again, and let me know that he thought things were flowing MUCH better.  Now, Rick did say that there were still some tubes that looked clogged and that to see if this repair works we would need to “experiment” and put it back in the car.  So that is what I am going to do.  If the repair doesn’t work, I need to consider rodding, recoring or replacing the radiator.  Rick suggested that rodding it might not be a great idea because the old systems often can’t take the process.  This leaves recoring or replacing.  Oh, and Rick gave me a parting T-shirt that matches his.  Again, great people.

This afternoon I may try to put the radiator back in the car.  I’m still exhausted from lack of sleep, but think that doing this TODAY will give me the ability to test the “fix” in time to do something else.  Tuesday and Wednesday I have meetings and a conference to attend and won’t be able to work on the car.  Wish me luck.  I will try to document the re-install.

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