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Old 22 Apr 2010, 10:46 am
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Default Our Honda has a radiator leak- what can we do to temporarily remedy this?

We own a 1992 Honda Accord. It has had a small coolant leak for some time now. The leak appears to be getting progressively worse. We need to replace the radiator, but we don't have the money for it right now. Would some stop leak additive work?

I have noticed that some coolant is getting out, and gets on the engine. Possibly, the coolant gets on the exhaust manifold, and it makes smoke come out from under the hood. It's quite embarrassing when sitting at a traffic light. Is there anything I can do (besides the obvious route of replacing the radiator) to prevent the smoking from happening? The temperature usually stays in the normal range. It is not overheating. It is just that after a little while of running, the coolant leaks out, gets on hot components of the engine, and makes steam or smoke. What can I do to temporarily solve this problem?
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Old 22 Apr 2010, 11:01 am
TK TK is offline
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Well stop-leak additive will definately slow the leak (won't fix it) but you should know that it's a much higher thickness/viscosity than normal radiator solution and if it's leaking on the exhaust manifold it's going to produce a much darker cloud of smoke and on top of that it will smell awful. So if you're planning on using it just keep that in mind.
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Old 22 Apr 2010, 11:16 am
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There is radiator leak stuff you can buy, the name escapes me now.It comes in a small tube and is brown, I'll look it up.
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Old 22 Apr 2010, 11:31 am
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Make sure you know where the leak is coming from. Make sure its isn't 2 leaks or different leaks altogether. There are adhesives for this out on the market.
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Old 22 Apr 2010, 11:46 am
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Additives that 'stop' radiator leaks will ruin your cooling system. If you keep driving the car and it overheats you may as well kiss it goodbye. It will cost more to repair the head than the car is worth. This is a rare weakness with all Hondas so replace the radiator ASAP! Check Autozone, Advance, Pep Boys, etc. -- they all sell replacement radiators that fit better than OEM units for 1/3 the cost.
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Old 22 Apr 2010, 12:01 pm
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No stop-leak - additives will gum up the cooling system and won't even fix most leaks in modern radiators. They were meant for copper radiators with copper tanks, where nothing flexed. Most radiator leaks now are from cracks in the plastic, and those only get worse.

Your Honda has plastic tanks, and the most common reason for that to leak is a crack in the plastic where it flexes (especially that flat spot on the top of the passenger side). My daughter's radiator cracked there and I figured I could get JB Weld to hold it a week or so. Nope - the first time the system pressurized the crack extended itself right through the JB Weld!

The best you can hope for is a way of diverting the spray so it doesn't get on the engine. You may be able ot use duct tape along the top to knock the spray down and turn it into a drip.
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