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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After several months of getting ready, over the past week changed out the maybe-original weepy radiator for a new C&R purchased from a forum member here. (Once we started, it was obvious someone else had been there before us...doing something).

While before beginning there was intention to document it all with photos, really the few posted here tell the whole story as much as it can be with pictures. Only words heavily peppered with a really old man's expletives can describe the fittings, nuts, bolts, and threaded inserts that had corroded far beyond any hope of easy removal.

That plus there are a few places, (plenum, fog lamps, and grill), where gaining access with any wrench or driver was...typical enough, even when they weren't all frozen together in rust. Now getting the valance, fog lamps, and underpans back together will be a necessary lesson in innovation. (Not sure now if we needed to remove both bolts holding the fog lamps...but we did).

Do not, do not, even think about doing this without a lift, at least two portable lamps, mini-flashlights, and someone to help.

Altogether, it took two of us 40 labor hours, working very slowly, very diligently, and very patiently, (4 days, 5 hours each). But, we only broke nuts, bolts, and inserts. Except for taking great care to not break anything else and the time it took to do that, the whole thing would have gone pretty quick and simple, which is why there is only a few photos showing the radiator tub dropped down ready for work.

We did not break the connections for the oil coolers, (just very gingerly pushed and twisted them around some). The air conditioning hoses and condensers are obviously designed to facilitate a radiator change, (just about the only thing that was), so no problems with that.
Added grommets to the radiator mountings where it attaches to the tub, as Wayne Ellison recommends. Interesting that the holes in the tub had already been enlarged to about 1/2in dia. so mounting bolts weren't doing much anyway.
Both lower tub mounting brackets were broke entirely where the upper strut meets the lower at the tub, so they were replaced with new from Lotus thru JAE. One of them had to be shipped in from UK. That they are broke after 40K-miles on the car suggests even the new ones are incapable of sustained loading and front end vibration and could be part of the weepy radiator problem. Guess they will last awhile anyway.

If anyone has any ideas about what to do with ripped out insert holes and getting a bolt or screw back into one please let me know...please.

Once the plastic parts are all back together...time to add coolant.
According to PO service records the old coolant was "global," which I think means OAT. The last few days spent some time learning some about coolants, and found other aluminum engine/radiator users have a preference for Zerex G-05.

Called PEAK tech rep to learn more about Last Charge Global, which is OAT, and decided maybe its the best choice, (only available at truckstops and diesel truck suppliers as its intended for big-rigs, although it is a "stocking-option" at WalMart).
Unlike other coolants, PEAK Last Charge technology maintains constant (no loss) suspension of lubricants and corrosion inhibitors and has a lot of each of them. So its better technically and there is no need to change it out before 1-million miles.

When using other coolants, even OAT or HOAT, once the lubricants and corrosion inhibitors start dropping out of suspension there is increasing potential for corrosion and water pump breakdown.

Also, according to PEAK, Last Charge can be used without the need for flushing if switching from non-OAT coolant, (just drain the old stuff out).
Whether G-05 or Last Charge, or any not 50/50 coolant, it MUST be diluted with de-mineralized water and NEVER topped off with anything else, like tap water.

So, going with G-05 if I can't find Last Charge locally...unless someone has a better idea?


CAPTIONS:
Photo 1 - Tub dropped down, old radiator out.
Photo 2 - View from front/left. Note A/C lines and oil coolers.
Photo 3 - View from left side.
Photo 4 - View from underside and behind.
Photo 5 - Beautiful new Ellison/C&R radiator...an engineering marvel. Thank you Wayne, thank you, for all your effort and assistance.
 

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There is no need to get anymore exotic than Prestone. The other more exotic stuff is intended for extended interval change. If you test your coolant every year and change it every 5 you can use any good, premium branded ethalyne-glycol based anti-freeze. If the water in your area is hard you can by pre-mixed antifreeze so you do not have to add water. Dropping the "cooling package" is a LOT of work! Test for leaks before you "button up" everything.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Test? Oh...right, good idea. Thanks for that tip.

Not sure about how fast additives settle out of coolants, but guess protection is lost at about 1:1 ratio so by the time its time to change, how many additives are left, and when was it that only half of them were still around working?
Found Last Charge Global 50/50 at WalMart for about $1 more than Prestone, so went with it.
Good luck anyone finding de-mineralized water, btw.
 

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Did you remove the front spoiler for a particular reason as it's not necessary in order to drop the radiator assembly? It is a PITA job though...

Which rivnut inserts are you needing to replace that were ripped out?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did you remove the front spoiler for a particular reason as it's not necessary in order to drop the radiator assembly? It is a PITA job though...

Which rivnut inserts are you needing to replace that were ripped out?
Its been too long since we tore it all apart, (week ago now), and I don't remember why we did what we did...made sense then.
Have Lotus manuals and Wayne's instructions, then from there we made the rest up as we went along.
It may have been we removed the valance to get more work-around room, and had already removed the spoiler because we didn't know any better.

One rivnut on each of the fog lamps and both of them at the front/top of the plenum...is all I can remember atm, then maybe some on the valance, but not sure about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Would have guessed M6. They appear to be fine thread?

Spent some time this afternoon cleaning rust and crud off nuts and bolts.

ATM thinking tack weld some nuts onto panel washers and JBWeld them in, (from outside because we can get to there), and hope they hold. Seems there are enough places where things are still good, so invented things will not take all of load.
Have to test that...are the valance and bumper cover PVC or?
Think epoxy will hold?
(Got two/three days to think about it, until we get back at it).

One of the mesh grill rivnuts is gone also.

The spoiler will be re-attached with nuts and bolts.
M6 seems about right, with large washers and maybe a small dab of silicone to take up the slack in hole diameter.
Removing the spoiler was a dumb thing to do, but hey, so far really happy about the new radiator.
 

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The bumper and valance (which Lotus calls a "spoiler") are polyurethane and as such not much in the way of adhesives sticks well. Epoxy might work. I've had good luck with epoxy putty on the fiberglass parts.
 

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John,
You didn't have to drop the tub, the radiator would have come out with the tub in situ, but now you have a good story. I will disagree with David on using any premium coolant. G-05 was developed by Valvoline (Zerex) for Mercedes Benz for use in systems with mixed materials (iron, steel, aluminum, plastic) which is what our cars are. It costs pennies more so why not. I also add Red Line water wetter to reduce surface barrier tension.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hello Wayne,
Besides all else, thanks for posting and the Water Wetter tip.

Found G-05 at NAPA, (the only local parts store that carries it, afaik). But it is only available here as straight concentrate and haven't found any de-mineralized water, (all the bottled water has minerals added), so got PEAK Last Charge Global 50/50, but its not in yet...still messing with the holes left by rotted out rivnuts.

PEAK LC is designed for long-haul trucks with aluminum radiators, and also has a stronger concentration of anti-corrosives and lubricants, so still guessing its appropriate?

About removing things, whether required or not, and except for the rivnut issues and other rusted nuts and bolts, having all those things out of the way surely made the work easier, especially when twisting and shoving the oil coolers around and its likely the reason for getting by so far without scrapping some skin off one or more knuckles. (Probably a first for me).

Today checking out whether riveting a plate with a nut glued on seems like a good idea, (similar to others on the car). And now learn there is a replacement kit for lost inserts on Ebay, but haven't found it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Been looking for water with label that clearly indicated "de-mineralized."

Just searched and find distilled water is demineralized, although there is some debate on whether distilled and demineralized are the same thing...depends on the purification process, (distillation is one), and what is and is not taken out.

From a practical use in radiators POV, seems they are close enough to the same thing.

If you really want to go off, get pharmaceutical grade water.
 

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Cal H
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Yes, been looking for water with label that clearly indicated "de-mineralized." Know I've seen that in the past.
Distilled water can leave some ions behind. Is that what you are worried about? I think you will be fine as long as you have water with less than 1ppm minerals.

Demineralized or otherwise known as deionized water is passed through an resin bed ion exchanger, removing ionic components. It removes dissolved material but does not remove nonionic contaminants, such as most organics. If you are worried about stray ions don't be. Deionized water is inherently acidic and contaminants (such as copper, dust, stainless and carbon steel, and many other common materials) rapidly supply ions.

Both types of water meet international quality standards, set by the British, European, American and Japanese Pharmacopeias. From a practical point of view, demineralised water is cheaper than distilled water and it can be used for the virtually same applications, with only a few exceptions.

These include, for example, in lead-acid batteries in vehicles or in the enamelling industry, where distilled water must be used. Some laboratory applications also favor double distilled water, and nuclear-powered ships and submarines also rely on it to cool their on-board reactor.
 

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Wingless Wonder
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You can't go wrong with Zerex Z-05. Our NAPA sometimes needs to order it in, have you asked? I can get it next-day without issue.



I've used distilled water in my radiators for years, never an issue with stray ions. (In fact, I'll tell you right now that some of my favorite beverages are also distilled!) <HIC>



"Crusty" radiators have been a thing of the past since HOAT and OAT coolants came into use, IMO.
 

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Distilled water can leave some ions behind. Is that what you are worried about? I think you will be fine as long as you have water with less than 1ppm minerals.

Demineralized or otherwise known as deionized water is passed through an resin bed ion exchanger, removing ionic components. It removes dissolved material but does not remove nonionic contaminants, such as most organics. If you are worried about stray ions don't be. Deionized water is inherently acidic and contaminants (such as copper, dust, stainless and carbon steel, and many other common materials) rapidly supply ions.

Both types of water meet international quality standards, set by the British, European, American and Japanese Pharmacopeias. From a practical point of view, demineralised water is cheaper than distilled water and it can be used for the virtually same applications, with only a few exceptions.

These include, for example, in lead-acid batteries in vehicles or in the enamelling industry, where distilled water must be used. Some laboratory applications also favor double distilled water, and nuclear-powered ships and submarines also rely on it to cool their on-board reactor.
I thought that is what the Pecktron Invertor was for? To mop up any loose ions! DI water is not the best thing, demineralized water is better for use in cars. DI water would be great if you had a Stanley Steamer. You boil the water on that car and that is normal! Water Wetter says you should NOT use it with anti-freeze, only water. I see no advantage with G0-5 and we have a lot of history using Prestone. Just about every car today has many different metals in the cooling system including a LOT of aluminum. As long as you are not trying to extend the service interval you do not need anything more than Prestone. On many tracks you are not allowed to use anti-freeze because if you leak it the track gets very slippery and it can become very dangerous. Just because something is more expensive or hard to get or is used in race cars, does not always make it better. Case in point, silicone (DOT 5) brake fluid.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
1. Read here somewhere, (but can't find it now), special instructions and comments on how to fill and bleed the coolant system. Seems I recall there was something I need to know about the tank over the right rear wheel and how to prevent coolant escaping onto the floor?
Any advice and recommendation would be appreciated.

2. Fastenal has never heard of a rivnut replacement kit. They did have a selection of inserts, but none of them worked because the holes are about the same size as the inserts available.

3. Made up some nuts and washers glued together with epoxy. The idea is to carefully slide them over the holes where the rivnuts were, maybe taped to an open end wrench, then once in alignment bolt the spoiler onto the bumper cover. Same with the plenum and fog lamps. May get around to trying this today, after the coolant is in and everything is tested for leaks.

4. Hat tip to everyone who has posted so far. Thanks.
 

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Cal H
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I took a close look at the eBay belly pan M6 repair kit insert . The instruction call for drilling out the rivnuts or enlarge the fastner hole to 9mm then screw in the insert with JB weld using a allen wrench. waiting for it to dry then use M6 washer/bolt to fasten the pan.

I found some cheaper inserts and they look the same. They come in many sizes with the most popular the M6/M8 sizes.

Inserts | Thread Inserts For Wood | M6-1.0 Insert For Soft Wood - Flanged - 900610-20 - Pkg Qty 50 | B435359 - GlobalIndustrial.com
 

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Try Mr. "G's" for all kinds of hardware including rivnuts. The bottle in the R/R wheel well is an overflow tank. After you fill and bleed the cooling system you fill the overflow bottle to the cold mark when the motor is cold. Once you have properly bled and filled the cooling system you check the cooling system level by looking at the level of the overflow bottle. It should always be between the cold and hot marks. Make sure the hose that runs from under the radiator cap to the overflow bottle is not plugged up. Make sure the header bottle is not all "gunked up" and the level indicator moves freely. It also can't hurt to remove the overflow tank and wash it out too.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #19
More really good ideas.
Thanks David, for your help and interest.
More in general, everyone's comments help to focus on an approach or perspective that sets a standard for appropriate Lotus care and maintenance. Its help that goes beyond technical...is what I'm trying to get across.

Okay.

Did the first run up to operating temp and no apparent leaks.
Likely buttoning up tomorrow, cleaning as we go.
 

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More really good ideas.
Thanks David, for your help and interest.
More in general, everyone's comments help to focus on an approach or perspective that sets a standard for appropriate Lotus care and maintenance. Its help that goes beyond technical...is what I'm trying to get across.

Okay.

Did the first run up to operating temp and no apparent leaks.
Likely buttoning up tomorrow, cleaning as we go.
Forgot to mention, the header tank, the one that has the radiator cap on it, is to be filled right up to the top when the motor is cold and you are not supposed to take the cap off when the motor is hot (even to check the level). Once the motor is hot you check the level by looking at the overflow bottle but that is correct only as long as the header bottle was full when cold. at least once a month you should do what is known as Owner's Checks. Among the things you check are all of the exterior lights, the motor oil level, the power steering fluid level, the coolant level, tire pressures (don't forget the spare!) and the warning lights on start-up. Also before any long trips. Think of it as a pre-flight for an airplane. Better to find a problem in your garage than out on the highway!
David Teitelbaum
 
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