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Radiator leak '98 LS 400


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Hello everyone

Another great bummer to me day before yesterday morning, i left my home went to the petrol pump and as soon as i left the station i noticed some smoke coming out from the front grille but that was for only 5 secs and disappeared, i thought it was nothing so i went on ... as soon as i noticed the temperature needle it starting to jump i stopped the car to the roadside immediately popped up the bonnet and looked... there was no spill but only water being evaporated from the radiator... at that time i let it cool down and poured whatever water i had in my car and drove it to the petrol station slowly by the time i reached to the petrol station the temp needle was on the red spot... anyway i stopped at the station bought some engine coolant and poured it in along with some more water... i started the car and it appeared fine at that time... i kept it idling for lets say 5 mins and then a passerby told me hey you got a massive leak in your radiator.. i came out of the car and saw ... wow engine coolant was spill every where coming out like crazy... it was leaking from the water tank see below image... it was leaking from that plastic strip (on which the yellow sticker is there, this image i clicked was later on )



Now what to do? i came out of the petrol station and thought that i should probably go to a repair shop before it gets too late ... i went to the repair shop, this guy told me you have to wait i will check and then i will inform you, i told him that i have to go to my office also and i dont have any other car with me right now, he told me that i cannot help because i need to check and other crap.. i got frustrate thinking in mind that this guy did not even looked inside the bonnet only talking, anyway i came out of the garage

I went to one of the spare parts shop and purchased 2 gallons of engine coolant since i decided to go on a expedition trip which was 20 Kms away (~13 miles), not to mentioning that the temperature outside was 45 deg C

I reached there somehow managing and stopping in between pouring in more coolant.. there was a time when the temp needle was at the top and literally fell down due to so much heat in the engine, i know it was not good but i had no other option i searched there for a mechanic and found one who repairs the radiator and will do it within 2 to 3 hours...

This guy was a shade tree, umm not exactly a shade tree but with similar conditions..



The above huge pile of radiators gave me a good punch of confidence ...... yes you are right these radiators are for the trucks


This guy was repairing this mercedes truck when i reached

Now coming to my lexus... the mechanic guided me and i parked there


Dismantled the radiator



Opening the water tank


The whole strip got cracked


The below was the best part to unclog the radiator grills...... this guy is using the engine dip stick.. what an idea!


Original water tank vs the counter fake, yeah its a local



After this, fixing this tank onto the grill is a bit difficult process, you have to remove a rubber gasket , clean the rubber gasket, clean the metal frame, apply the adhesive on the grill ... place the rubber gasket and then again one layer of the adhesive and then clamp the teeths of the grill.

Fixing the teeths to this water tank is a lengthy process, usage of hammer pliers and what not once that is done, then it will be the time for pressure testing/ hydro testing and this will be done in a pure shade tree style see below, this swimming pool is just home made, the mechanic is applying the air pressure from the air gun


There it goes underwater


Good job guys no leak!



All fixed and done, total time it took about 3 hours and i am back on my wheels and to the power of V8, i just really wonder that these guys who dont have good shops, fancy graphics can be your life saver especially when you dont have any other car to drive nor the time.. even though the place is not clean, regardless he did a good job and uptill now it working fine with no leaks at all, i even tried at pushing the gas all in revving upto 7k ... no leak its tight... these guys deserve much more

Overall a good experience and hey i forgot to mention that i even poured some egg white just to try my luck that it will hold the leak but i was unlucky since the whole water tank was ripped




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hmmmm so it is same same everywhere, leave the car, we will check and will get back to you ... i am amazed by the quality of the build in these cars not to mentioning anybody can easily repair them

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mohammed, I think I am in the same boat you were in last month! Started the car up this morning, turned the AC on and went back home to let the car cool down inside. And in a few seconds I hear a loud bang, turned around to see some smoke, didn't know where from. Walked back to the car, there was leakage from under the bonnet on the driver's side and a foul smell. There was hot air coming from the AC at max cold setting.


Told myself I didnt have time for this right now and drove my other car out. Too damn hot outside! 😂


I Did take a couple of pictures before I left home in the morning though. Haven't gone back home yet, I guess I'll try to get it fixed tomorrow if I get the time. Curious, Mohammed, did you not hear a loud noise when this problem occurred in your car? I heard a loud release like from a pressure pump or something similar. 

IMG_0744 copy.jpgIMG_0742.jpg
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Well to be honest it happened to me while i was driving so i cannot say about any kind of noise... although my AC was giving chilled air even after the radiator leak AC was chilled

did you find out where the leak is coming from?

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Just got it fixed today. Found out too late the AC wasn't working because of a cracked pipe that runs between the condenser and compressor. Had to get the pipe replaced, fill in the gas again.

The tank was cracked just like in your case. Decided to replace the radiator altogether. The mech suggested I install the Japanese variant with double tank(?), I agreed to it. Installed the new radiator and everything seems in order now. 

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Mohammad , being so old, I have seen about every "shade tree" item along the way. I guess every radiator shop I ever used had the same water tank to test the radiators with that you showed.. but like Moe said, I would/did just replace the radiator they are so cheap now..  and plentiful..

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Yeah the double tank issue...... i was also offered the same advice that to replace my whole radiator to double core/double tank... what my mechanic told at the shade tree that the your current radiator is only 24 mm width of the core.... double core it will be increased to 42mm..

Moe did you find any advantage with a big radiator and how much did you paid? does your car have two fans in the front?

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