How to Repair a Leaking Tractor Radiator


Radiators on combustion engines are important in keeping the engine cool and operating properly. A leak in a radiator can grow over time as the increasingly warm fluid in the coolant system increases the pressure. By following a basic process you can repair that leak in the radiator within a couple of hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle of liquid correction fluid
  • Plastic bucket
  • Screwdriver, Philips or slotted
  • End wrenches
  • Socket set
  • Metal brush
  • Solder flux
  • Propane torch
  • Silver solder
  • Fresh antifreeze
  • Identify the leak on the radiator by using the bottle of liquid correction fluid and drawing a circle around the part of the copper mechanism that is leaking coolant. The correction fluid is quick drying and easy to see.

  • Drain the radiator contents into a plastic bucket. Follow all local disposal regulations; antifreeze is a toxic chemical that can entice children and animals to drink it due to its sweet taste. Do not reuse antifreeze because particles can enter the fluid, clogging the small openings in the cooling fins of the radiator.

  • Use the screwdriver to remove the coolant hoses from the radiator and allow the excess fluid to drain into the bucket.

  • Remove the radiator from the tractor using the end wrenches and socket set. Different tractors will have different attachment methods to the engine frame.

  • Place the radiator on a firm workbench at a height that is comfortable for you to work on the coolant mechanism.

  • Thoroughly clean the area that will be soldered by using the metal brush and remove all built-up debris. It is best to expose the surface to a shiny copper color so the solder will adhere properly.

  • Apply a generous coating of the solder flux to the area that is to be soldered. The flux allows the solder to "flow" in and around the small opening for a tight and clean fix.

  • Heat the area with the propane torch with the blue tip of the flame. Keep the heat localized so you do not overheat the surrounding area. Overheating the radiator with the torch can cause an existing solder joint to melt, creating another leak.

  • Apply the tip of the solder to the joint that is in need of repair. The solder will "flow" into the opening. Allow the solder to build up around the hole and then withdraw the propane torch.

  • Allow the radiator to cool and inspect the solder repair joint visually.

  • Put the radiator back in the tractor in the reverse order that it came out. Fill the radiator with fresh antifreeze and check the area of the repair for leaks. Start the tractor and allow the engine to come up to operating temperature.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use a stop leak product in a radiator as this will clog the openings of the radiator and cause it to overheat.

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