dimeadozen Reader
2/25/12 7:55 a.m.

Yesterday on the way to work, my upper radiator hose worked it's way loose from the neck at the radiator. Having an awful sense of smell, I ignored the whiffs of coolant smell for a few miles until the air coming out of the heater turned cold just as I was approaching an exit ramp. For what it's worth, the temp gauge only started to climb as I was exiting the highway, and never made it out on the normal range before I shut the car off.

After reattaching the hose to the neck with no fewer than three clamps and filling with fresh coolant, I drove it home with the needle on the temp gauge sitting where it always does, and the heat working again.

The problem is that the little lip at the back of the plastic hose neck is not there any more. It does not appear to be a fresh break, and in fact, when I looked inside the upper hose, I did not see any indentation in the hose indicating that it had ever held the hose on.

This hose was on the car when I bought it 3 years ago, with no issues before this, and it's still soft and pliable. Yesterday was by far one of the coldest mornings of the year, so I'm guessing there was shrinkage of the plastic on the filler neck that allowed the hose to work its way loose?

The vehicle in question is a '91 Infiniti G20 with 201,000 miles on it. According to current household budgeting, it only needs to last me until the fall. I REALLY don't want to throw a new radiator on it.

A co worker who is a former line tech suggested heating a chunk of steel with a torch, and using it to mushroom the end of the neck, forming a new lip. Has anyone ever tried it on this plastic? Will it weaken the rest of the neck? FWIW, the plastic is not crazed or showing any obvious signs of age or heat. Well, other than the lip that broke/wore off that is....

Should I just leave it triple clamped and forget about it, while paying more attention to anything I smell in the future while driving? Add some sort of adhesive between the neck and hose?

minimac SuperDork
2/25/12 8:11 a.m.

I wouldn't do it. Heating(melting) the plastic will change the properties in that area. A new hose, a couple of clamps, maybe rough up the neck with some emery cloth. Make checking all the clamps a thing at oil change time and you'll be good to go.

Ranger50 Dork
2/25/12 8:38 a.m.

Ditto on the emery cloth, but I would add, with a VERY CAREFUL and STEADY hand some crosshatch patterns from a Dremel for extra grip. I would also spring the coin for a T-style clamp over worm gear. They are wider and grip tighter then the worm gears.

iceracer SuperDork
2/25/12 5:21 p.m.


fasted58 SuperDork
2/25/12 5:32 p.m.

Ida clean the hose innards and the neck outtards w/ lacquer thinner or sumthin' to be absolutely bone dry upon reassembly, clamp as said

ditchdigger Dork
2/25/12 6:04 p.m.

It isn't a silicone hose is it?

Silicone hoses do not grip like rubber ones do. You know when you release a hose clamp and have to twist and pull and fight to break the joint between the hose and nipple? Silicone doesn't stick like that and can be a pain if there isn't a bead to clamp to.

Streetwiseguy SuperDork
2/25/12 6:51 p.m.

Buy a new rad. Now, unless you like walking while you change your head. If you try, you will be able to break the rest of the plastic outlet. That is where 100% of plastic radiators fail catastrophically, since it is the hottest part of the rad. They may seep anywhere, but they fail there.

weedburner New Reader
2/25/12 7:47 p.m.

I made a steel insert to replace the broken plastic neck on my astrovan. Used ultra black RTV to glue it inside the stub of plastic that was left. Basically, I turned a piece of tubing to the id of the plastic, the outside was turned to simulate the missing plastic, including a bead for hose retention. I lightly sanded the id of the plastic as an attempt to promote adhesion, then spread a thin film of RTV on both the inside of the plastic and the outside of the steel insert. Twisted and pushed the insert into the plastic then let it cure overnite. Works great for me, it's been on there for a couple years. Somebody should make something like this, i'm sure they would sell.

BobOfTheFuture HalfDork
2/25/12 9:05 p.m.

Wait. If the hose is that soft its probably old. Old hoses get soggy, and the pressure can make em want to pull off. Get a new hose and clamp, And call it a day. Just keep an eye (nose?) On the coolant.

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