Aluminum radiator install tips - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Aluminum radiator install tips

I recently completed installing a ProAlloy (S111 proRad-FP) radiator in my '06 Exige. Installation was pretty straight forward. Though, fiddling with the condensor tabs and fasteners (located on the front underside of the radiator and accessed through the grill opening at front of the crash box) was the most time consuming and annoying part. I would recommend doing a search about radiator installation and, at minimum, reading the following LT thread before proceeding with your installation:

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f25/...g-lines-99370/

In addition to bman6074's tips, I came up with some additional tips that were helpful in completing the installation with the least amount of brain damage:

Condensor tab fasteners - as per bman6074, I also found it necessary to slot the radiator so that it would slip into place. Also, I placed the washer and nut onto each fastener and used a small piece of masking tape to hold them in position before sliding the new radiator into place. Once the new radiator was in position, I reached into the opening under the radiator, pulled off the tape, and spun the nuts down as far as possible before finishing with a wrench. Using tape to hold the preinstalled washers and nuts in position eliminated the brain damage of installing the washers and threading nuts blindly in a tight space.

8mm fasteners on the radiator mounting bracket - at the factory, Lotus installed these fasteners with the washers and nuts on the underside of the mounting bracket pinched against the foam. I reversed the fasteners during reinstallation by sliding the 8mm hex-heads into place coming from under the mounting bracket and attached the washers and nuts from above. This eliminated the hassle of sliding washers and nuts between the mounting bracket and foam while threading the 8mm hex-heads.

Foam rubber replacement - the radiator foam rubber filler strips on each side of the radiator (on my car) measured 1.25 inches square by 9 inches in length. I noticed that the foam fit somewhat loosely with the new radiator as compared to the OEM radiator that I just removed, and that is because the ProAlloy unit is just a tad less wide (maybe 1/4 inch?) and the foam may have shrunk over time. So, I added a strip of black rubber foam (made by MD, 1.25 inches wide and .375 inches thick, glued into place with 3M adhesive - both found at Lowes) to widen the OEM rubber filler strips. My plan was to glue the rubber filler strips to the sides of the fiberglass radiator shroud rather than to the radiator as the factory had done. The MD rubber came with adhesive already applied to one side and covered by a paper pull-away strip, and I positioned the MD rubber with its adhesive side against the radiator shroud. Why? I figured the glue would not get baked hard and dry by the radiator that way as had happened with the factory installation. With the radiator already installed, I came up with the "zipper" technique to glue the filler strips: I pulled the MD protective paper back about 1 inch, attached a loop of duct tape to each side of the paper strip and neatly glued the duct tape flat against itself (loop was about 12 inches long once in place), folded the duct tape loop back against the MD protective paper, slid the foam filler strip into position on each side of the radiator with the duct tape loop hanging out, and removed the MD protective paper with a gentle and steady pull. The result was that the rubber foam filler strips were neatly glued into position against the radiator shroud without bunching up, any smeared glue or brain damage.

Refilling the coolant - I used my trust Gates AirLift to pull a vacuum and refill the coolant with NO HOSE BLEEDING required in about 5 minutes from start to finish. There is just no other way to do it IMHO. Knock yourself out if you want to screw around burping and bleeding the hoses for hours on end.

2006 Exige - Phantom Black
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the pointers, I have to take this project on myself as I'm catching the smell of radiator fluid on occasion (07' Exige - Stock Radiator). Not looking forward to it. How much time did you have into your project?

Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming, and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 09:52 AM
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I found that cutting two "little" slots in shroud big enough to slip a ratcheting box wrench in to access the A/C condensor tabs & fasteners makes quick work for something that can be sooo time consuming.

"This car is more fun than the entire french air force crashing into a firework factory." - Jeremy Clarkson

2005 BRP ELISE:
Sport Pack, Hard Top, Black Mesh Grills, Cup Air Box, TitanQR, Difflow diffuser, Larini Club Sport Exaust, Rear Panel Delete, RTD Brace w/Nitron Toe Pins, Mono-ball bushings, PRORAD, Reverie CF Side Scoops & CF Splitter, CF door pulls, Odyssey PC680. Filled seams including a custom one piece front paint protection film.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
Thanks for the pointers, I have to take this project on myself as I'm catching the smell of radiator fluid on occasion (07' Exige - Stock Radiator). Not looking forward to it. How much time did you have into your project?
Excluding time to remove the clam, I estimate actual work time to remove the OEM radiator and install the ProAlloy radiator took about two hours. That time excludes time lost to problem solving of the matters mentioned above.

Refilling the coolant about 1/2 hour including setting up the equipment (compressor, AirLift hoses, etc.), refilling (maybe 5 minutes), cleaning up and putting away the equipment.

2006 Exige - Phantom Black
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by surferpkt View Post
I found that cutting two "little" slots in shroud big enough to slip a ratcheting box wrench in to access the A/C condensor tabs & fasteners makes quick work for something that can be sooo time consuming.
Good tip.

I used an angled box wrench, which provided just adequate room to work (maybe 1/8 turn of the nut per rotation).

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Lotusmotion View Post
Good tip.

I used an angled box wrench, which provided just adequate room to work (maybe 1/8 turn of the nut per rotation).
The ratcheting box wrench I used had a swivel head as well. I first drilled to pilot holes about a 1/4" bit I believe then cut between so the slot was 1/4" x 1". It gave me enough room to to do a full 1/4 turn rotation vs the 1/8" tiny turns I was getting beforehand. I believe I read the tip on the Seloc TechWiki app.

"This car is more fun than the entire french air force crashing into a firework factory." - Jeremy Clarkson

2005 BRP ELISE:
Sport Pack, Hard Top, Black Mesh Grills, Cup Air Box, TitanQR, Difflow diffuser, Larini Club Sport Exaust, Rear Panel Delete, RTD Brace w/Nitron Toe Pins, Mono-ball bushings, PRORAD, Reverie CF Side Scoops & CF Splitter, CF door pulls, Odyssey PC680. Filled seams including a custom one piece front paint protection film.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2015, 04:39 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I am in the process of doing this right now and have a couple of stupid questions:

1. When I tighten the hose clamp on the bottom of the radiator hose going into the fitting that runs to the back of the car, I am unable to tighten the hose clamps hard enough to prevent the hose from moving (ie. you slide the hose back on the fitting). It's barbed so I doubt the hose will come off but if I go any tighter on the clamp, the screw slips and will go no tighter. I never paid attention to how tight it was from the factory before starting.

2. How important is that foam? Mine was beat off coming off. Is it there for any specific purpose?

Thanks!

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2015, 03:55 AM
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I didn't have a vacuum system when refilling. But I have an EZ Bleed for brake systems which pushes pressure from a spare tire. Coolant filled the EZ Bleed bottle, then the spare tire pressure pushes that into the system. Air in the system is pushed out. I used a flat plate with a fitting clamped onto the fill bottle. Once in place, the system is filled and air expelled in literally seconds.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2015, 04:56 PM
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The foam is there to help force air to go through the radiator rather than around it.

Mine survived well when I took it out, I used my fingers to pull it away from the shroud, which meant that I was able to pull the rad out with the foam in tact. Then I used a putty knife to strip the foam off the end tanks.

On reinstall I used 3M 90, but was unsure if even it would become unglued so I grabbed some 1.25" x 3/8" foam and used it to address the slightly narrower proalloy radiator.

Its probably not a good idea to tighten the clamps too much, as the coolant heats, it will heat the pipes and they will expand, if the clamps are too tight, since they don't really expand they will chafe the rubber over time.

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-06-2015, 09:41 AM
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Just finished this project up - wow what an experience! Probably 20-22 Hours of time plus about a month without the car waiting on parts.



On my 2007 Exige several fasteners were rusted solid. In addition the steel brackets which are glued to the air conditioning condenser were completely rusted out. Fortunately I was able to pull those brackets off, and order new ones without having to replace the whole condenser. I also found the plastic shroud which covers everything from the radiator to the access panels was broken (B122K0001K). The threaded fastener clips found all over these cars are a bad application on plastic it seems. If you use to much force screwing in the bolt - the plastic will crack.

Thanks to all those before me that shared their knowledge - no way I could have done it without that information.

One quick pointer -

1. Like others my foam insulation around the radiator was destroyed - it turns out Lowe's sells weatherstripping that is 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". That is larger than OEM but it will compress nicely for a tight fit around the radiator.

Shop Frost King Air Conditioner Wall Sleeve at Lowes.com

For some time now - I have been getting whiffs of anti freeze in the cabin. Took her out for a spin just now and happy to report no smells picked up. Also temps seem down a few degrees (187 to 183) - but it is only 66 here today. Regardless - car is running like a Top.

Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming, and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.
- Ralph Ellison
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-06-2015, 10:38 AM
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One thing I forgot to mention, I have a set of midget wrenches, they really helped out with this job, I used them to get into tight places at the top of the radiator and to loosen the shimmed clam bolt you access by the windshield.

Also dropped a wrench behind that panel behind the front wheel, but I used a small magnet with a hole drilled in it attached to some wire (not stranded) and what able to fish it out easy enough (hurray for fiberglass!)

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-06-2015, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jds62f View Post
One thing I forgot to mention, I have a set of midget wrenches, they really helped out with this job, I used them to get into tight places at the top of the radiator and to loosen the shimmed clam bolt you access by the windshield.

Also dropped a wrench behind that panel behind the front wheel, but I used a small magnet with a hole drilled in it attached to some wire (not stranded) and what able to fish it out easy enough (hurray for fiberglass!)
Agreed - also on that same bolt - you can screw it into the clam a bit - then slide the door hinge panel up from the bottom. (That hole is slotted in the door hinge panel.)

Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming, and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.
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