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Discussion Starter #1
Ok gents, Im thinking its time to try and clean out some of the crap thats accumulated in my rad fins over the years/miles. Theres just so many little "noogies" and stuff in there and I hate it so I want it cleaned. I realize that removal of the radiator is best but since we are doing major on the car at the end of the drving season I wanted to try and do this in situ for now. What prompted this is that the car is running a little warmer than usual(runs nominally around 95 deg instead of the usual 90 deg) while Im driving(even at expressway speeds) and then it cools right back to 85/90 deg once stopped. I say thats radiator airflow. The fans(3 of them) all work and come on at the proper time(right when the needle gets close to the 1st line past 90 deg which is 105 deg) and, they also come on right away when I turn on the AC. The fans do drop the temp as expected so Im thinking I have lost some radiator air flow. All other cooling system operations are good: Clean & topped up coolant, rad cap is fairly new, no coolant leaks, no coolant in oil or any of that crap.

I believe Travis(VulcanGrey) has a procedure posted but thats for a different year car and its total removal. Im hoping to be able to get in there with either an air compressor or just a garden hose with the "jet" setting and get some crap out of there without doing anything else.

I assume I blow air or direct water out towards the front of the car and be careful not to upset any electrical stuff. I dont mind eventually pulling the radiator but Id rather save all that for the major since the car will be down for a while and we will be doing the coolant and some hoses then anyways.

Tenks for any good advice.
 

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It's a pain in the arse. If you blow the stuff out of the radiator your just blowing it into the condenser.

You need to drop the pod they are contained in, make sure you have a floor jack supporting it, it's bloody heavy. You need to disconnect the oil cooler from the pod and swing it out of the way, no need to disconnect the lines, there should be enough slack. Then you need to unbolt the A/C condenser and swing that out of the way. Be very careful working around the fan shroud, they are very delicate and get brittle with age. The fans will be in the way, I would use compressed air to blow it out moving the fan out of the way as you go.

I think the best method is to just remove the radiator and reassemble it. I understand your problem but that car had a major cooling system service not long ago.

Robert
 

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I've done an '83 turbo as well, it is easier than my 89SE.

Drop the whole pan/shroud with radiator, oil cooler, and condenser (if fitted?)

One person can do it if you are talented with raising and lowering a jack with your legs... But it helps to have a second person to raise the assembly back into place.

I would also replace all the cooling hoses, if they haven't been recently... THere is a list of them that can be bought from the local auto parts stores for less than $100.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've done an '83 turbo as well, it is easier than my 89SE.

Drop the whole pan/shroud with radiator, oil cooler, and condenser (if fitted?)

One person can do it if you are talented with raising and lowering a jack with your legs... But it helps to have a second person to raise the assembly back into place.

I would also replace all the cooling hoses, if they haven't been recently... THere is a list of them that can be bought from the local auto parts stores for less than $100.
The cooling hoses were all done at the last major(2009) and appear to be in excellent condition. The radiator even has extra cores which was also done in 2009.

When you say drop the whole "pan/shroud with radiator, oil cooler, and condenser", do you mean that will all come out as one unit or something? I can get help with the jobs so two people is doable.

I'll take a look when I get home tonight. Damn - I could probably leave it as is until the major later this year I just hate knowing the rad is getting dirty and buggy! :mad:

Thanks for the tips.
 

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I also agree that the only way to do a "proper" job is to drop what Lotus calls the "cooling package". Best to have a helper, there are a LOT of screws and it is not easy to reach all of them on both ends. The parts of the cooling package, the radiator and condenser coils, are very delicate so you cannot force or handle them roughly. It *can* be done without dumping the A/C but it is even harder to do then, leaving those hoses connected. You will be amazed at the amount of stuff accumulated in the coils. Dump the anti-freeze and raise the front of the car way up. Take your time and make a lot of notes and take pictures.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I've cleaned mine twice over the years. You do NOT need to break the A/C lines or oil cooler lines apart.


But DAANNNG, two or three sets of hands makes the installation job a LOT easier.




PS Plan on replacing the square-section foam around the radiator if it's original. It will probably be deteriorating anyway. You can buy it at Home Depot (window air conditioner seal)

:clap:

PS: I reverse-blow the rad every spring with a leaf blower. But that is NOT a substitute for removal and cleaning.
 

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The Cooling "Module"

I have done all this twice and also replaced my whole fiberglass pod (thank you Lotus factory sale!). The original pod was pretty much shredded by the PO. Assuming you have the same basic setup as my 89 non-SE - center Setrab oil cooler, captured AC line from the condenser through the side wall of the fiberglass pod here's what I recommend based on my experience:

1. Disconnect the oil cooler. In spite of some reputation as delicate if you have the proper wrenches and take your time disconnecting the oil cooler is not too bad. That will allow you to get the oil cooler lines out of the way and to get the oil cooler out of the car.
2. You do NOT have to disconnect the AC lines from the condenser, but you will have to swing it out of the way and handle it delicately. You ought to clean it as well as the radiator.
3. There are 3 main bolts holding the fiberglass pod to the body (the structural floor of the front boot) on each side of the pod. These take all the weight of the pod and when they are released the pod will drop. Make sure everything else is cleared like the oil cooler lines and several electrical lines which are fastened to the pod. Also check your AC line. On my 89 Turbo it is routed through the fiberglass pod. You do not need to take the pod off completely to get the radiator out, but the fact that the AC line is "captured" in the pod is a major PITA. I ended up modifying the pod on my car with an access channel and plate in order to be able to clear the AC line and drop the whole pod out of the car and wheel it around. If you do this getting the radiator in and out is much less stressful. But, you CAN get it out without freeing the AC line. If you do not the pod will not be free on the passenger side because the AC line will be routed through the fiberglass. You either have to disconnect the AC (not recommended) or "hang the pod down. There is some flexibility in the AC line, but be careful.
4. You can use a floor jack (if you do not have access to a lift). If you use a floor jack I would recommend strongly making a stable holder to "receive" the pod. As noted it is heavy. It will also have a tendency to fall or twist backwards given that the radiator is mounted on a slant. If you have access or have a lift you can do all the dismounting work with a table under the pod to take it weight and then lift the car up and away from the pod. I have done this both ways and really like using a lift but this may not be possible for you.
5. Once the pod is disconnected from the boot floor it will flex like hell - it does not have a lot of structural integrity - be careful. If it already has any damage it will have even less structural strength. The oil cooler has two bolts holding it to the floor of the pod, the radiator has four bolts - two each side - securing it to the pod. I took all the fan motors out of their holders to reduce weight and then popped off the fan shroud before removing the radiator.
6. If you are working alone another alternative (I have done this once) is to use long bolts or threaded rods in place of each of the large bolts which secure the pod to the boot floor. I did the first "drop" using a KwikLift and a creeper and working alone under the car. It ended up the safest way for me to do that was to one at a time replace the securing bolts with threaded rod and them simply lower the pod down by unscrewing the bolts from inside the boot floor - just kind of easing it down. It also made re-installing pretty easy because the rods just slowly pull the pod back up into place and you have a lot of latitude in getting the initial alignment set up. This is an option if you don't have a floor jack.

This is a tough job - it will be pretty dirty under the car unless if is a true garage queen, stuff is heavy, things are awkward. If you've done it before it is easier the second and third time. I have a lot of pictures of the project the first time I did it (pod not removed from the car entirely) which I would be happy to send to you if you think they would help. Just PM me with an email address and I would send them as attachment. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have done all this twice and also replaced my whole fiberglass pod (thank you Lotus factory sale!). The original pod was pretty much shredded by the PO. Assuming you have the same basic setup as my 89 non-SE - center Setrab oil cooler, captured AC line from the condenser through the side wall of the fiberglass pod here's what I recommend based on my experience:

1. Disconnect the oil cooler. In spite of some reputation as delicate if you have the proper wrenches and take your time disconnecting the oil cooler is not too bad. That will allow you to get the oil cooler lines out of the way and to get the oil cooler out of the car.
2. You do NOT have to disconnect the AC lines from the condenser, but you will have to swing it out of the way and handle it delicately. You ought to clean it as well as the radiator.
3. There are 3 main bolts holding the fiberglass pod to the body (the structural floor of the front boot) on each side of the pod. These take all the weight of the pod and when they are released the pod will drop. Make sure everything else is cleared like the oil cooler lines and several electrical lines which are fastened to the pod. Also check your AC line. On my 89 Turbo it is routed through the fiberglass pod. You do not need to take the pod off completely to get the radiator out, but the fact that the AC line is "captured" in the pod is a major PITA. I ended up modifying the pod on my car with an access channel and plate in order to be able to clear the AC line and drop the whole pod out of the car and wheel it around. If you do this getting the radiator in and out is much less stressful. But, you CAN get it out without freeing the AC line. If you do not the pod will not be free on the passenger side because the AC line will be routed through the fiberglass. You either have to disconnect the AC (not recommended) or "hang the pod down. There is some flexibility in the AC line, but be careful.
4. You can use a floor jack (if you do not have access to a lift). If you use a floor jack I would recommend strongly making a stable holder to "receive" the pod. As noted it is heavy. It will also have a tendency to fall or twist backwards given that the radiator is mounted on a slant. If you have access or have a lift you can do all the dismounting work with a table under the pod to take it weight and then lift the car up and away from the pod. I have done this both ways and really like using a lift but this may not be possible for you.
5. Once the pod is disconnected from the boot floor it will flex like hell - it does not have a lot of structural integrity - be careful. If it already has any damage it will have even less structural strength. The oil cooler has two bolts holding it to the floor of the pod, the radiator has four bolts - two each side - securing it to the pod. I took all the fan motors out of their holders to reduce weight and then popped off the fan shroud before removing the radiator.
6. If you are working alone another alternative (I have done this once) is to use long bolts or threaded rods in place of each of the large bolts which secure the pod to the boot floor. I did the first "drop" using a KwikLift and a creeper and working alone under the car. It ended up the safest way for me to do that was to one at a time replace the securing bolts with threaded rod and them simply lower the pod down by unscrewing the bolts from inside the boot floor - just kind of easing it down. It also made re-installing pretty easy because the rods just slowly pull the pod back up into place and you have a lot of latitude in getting the initial alignment set up. This is an option if you don't have a floor jack.

This is a tough job - it will be pretty dirty under the car unless if is a true garage queen, stuff is heavy, things are awkward. If you've done it before it is easier the second and third time. I have a lot of pictures of the project the first time I did it (pod not removed from the car entirely) which I would be happy to send to you if you think they would help. Just PM me with an email address and I would send them as attachment. Good luck!!
Thanks so much, Tom - PM sent!
 

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Ok gents, Im thinking its time to try and clean out some of the crap thats accumulated in my rad fins over the years/miles. Theres just so many little "noogies" and stuff in there and I hate it so I want it cleaned. I realize that removal of the radiator is best but since we are doing major on the car at the end of the drving season I wanted to try and do this in situ for now. What prompted this is that the car is running a little warmer than usual(runs nominally around 95 deg instead of the usual 90 deg) while Im driving(even at expressway speeds) and then it cools right back to 85/90 deg once stopped. I say thats radiator airflow. The fans(3 of them) all work and come on at the proper time(right when the needle gets close to the 1st line past 90 deg which is 105 deg) and, they also come on right away when I turn on the AC. The fans do drop the temp as expected so Im thinking I have lost some radiator air flow. All other cooling system operations are good: Clean & topped up coolant, rad cap is fairly new, no coolant leaks, no coolant in oil or any of that crap.

I believe Travis(VulcanGrey) has a procedure posted but thats for a different year car and its total removal. Im hoping to be able to get in there with either an air compressor or just a garden hose with the "jet" setting and get some crap out of there without doing anything else.

I assume I blow air or direct water out towards the front of the car and be careful not to upset any electrical stuff. I dont mind eventually pulling the radiator but Id rather save all that for the major since the car will be down for a while and we will be doing the coolant and some hoses then anyways.

Tenks for any good advice.
If your car still has its original radiator (which would be now a grand 25 years old) you should really be having the thing replaced or recored.

When I was restoring my '83 10 years ago I noticed that the rad had a small leak so pulled it to get one of the end tanks re-soldered.

On removal of the tank it became apparent that over 50% of the cooling matrix was completely blocked with calcium deposits, so I had it recored.

At least have the rad flow tested on removal to ensure its efficiency is 100% to prevent future engine problems.

Cheap insurance IMO.

(BTW you can prevent calcium buildup in radiators by using distilled instead of tap water mixed with anti freeze)
 

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Radiator-new part instead

Really cheap and more cost/performance effective than re-coring the old junk:
The radiator my buddy used was a Modine 1R2268. Core size is 31 X 11-1/8 X 1-1/2. Side tanks add to the width, so overall width is something like 36 inches. Application is 1987 to 1990 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) with a 4.0L engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If your car still has its original radiator (which would be now a grand 25 years old) you should really be having the thing replaced or recored.

When I was restoring my '83 10 years ago I noticed that the rad had a small leak so pulled it to get one of the end tanks re-soldered.

On removal of the tank it became apparent that over 50% of the cooling matrix was completely blocked with calcium deposits, so I had it recored.

At least have the rad flow tested on removal to ensure its efficiency is 100% to prevent future engine problems.

Cheap insurance IMO.

(BTW you can prevent calcium buildup in radiators by using distilled instead of tap water mixed with anti freeze)
Hi Wayne - my radiator was replaced in 2009 at the last major service and even received extra cores at the time. The catch is that the car has had like 25K++ miles put it on it since then, lots of that highway & high-speed cruising which just adds to the bug count.

The rad is in good shape, just need to get in there and work out some of the stuck stuff :)
 
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