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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys I write to you from the parking lot of a Fred Myers very frustrated. 1993 Ford mustang 5.0 I have replaced my radiator 5 times, and every single time, it starts leaking from where the fins go into the side tanks. I've been struggling with this issue for 3+ years. After 6 months or so, it just starts leaking.

I have a sve aluminum radiator with the sve stainless overflow tank (14 fl oz, which I think might be too small) I have tried several different brands, champion, griffin, etc and they all get this problem. I have done extensive flush with distilled water. The voltage in the coolant reads 0.25, which I've read it needs to be below .3. I thought I fixed it because I found out a bracket was making frame to rad contact, unisolating the rad from the frame and causing the high voltage (it was at .4 sometimes .5 volts) but apparently not because yet again it's leaking from where the fins meet the tank.

Is it possible my overflow is too small and it gets air in the system, then causes the leaks? Or I'm overfilling the system and it gets overpressurized? I'm so frustrated, the car just got repainted bright red, I've put hundreds of hours into this thing and I just can't get the radiators to stop leaking. Any help PLEASE post it.
 

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I’ve never seen an issue like that before, but I’d investigate the possibility of some type of structural tension/pressure/vibrations causing this. Does the car have all of it’s support braces properly installed?
 

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I haven't heard of this either. My first instinct is to suggest that the radiator core be grounded to the chassis. Interesting discussion about this here: Radiator ground wire
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Crjackson, the first 5 radiators I went thru I had the OEM core support, recently the core support got bent from a tow truck(rad looked fine but it did get pushed up) and I had to weld one of those tubular lower core supports on, but I made sure there is not tension on the the radiator, still have the rubber isolators, no metal to metal contact... Do I don't think it's that, but maybe this most recent leak is from the bent core support incident?

And yadkin, I can never find a clear answer, I see people post on forums to ground the rad, but I've also read that you want to keep it electrically isolated. Voltage in coolant read 0.4 and I fixed my fan bracket to not make frame to rad contact anymore and the voltage in the coolant dropped to 0.25, which I thought I was in the clear under the 0.3 volts, but now I'm not sure.
I'll post more info tomorrow, I'm tired.
 

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Like a lot of subjects there is controversy and discussion, which is why I provided the link. However, the two objects are connected together electrically regardless of rubber isolation. In this case the current runs through the fluid. By mechanically bonding a ground wire with less resistance, the current has to flow through the wire.

The issue then becomes what happens to the aluminum, naturally a sacrificial anode to steel (iron). Unless you have a dielectric coolant and perfect physical isolation you cannot prevent the electrolysis. Thus we have a tradeoff; corrode internally through the fluid or externally through a bonding wire.

Corrosion through a fluid will tend to focus at a point, and you have no control over where that point is. Corrosion through a bonding wire will have tend to distribute the corrosion uniformly across the surface of the metal.
 

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While pure distilled water is not a good electrical conductor, it's critical to use antifreeze as well. It contains sacrificial chemicals that will try to bind to the rust in your block instead of allowing the aluminum of your radiator to eat itself trying to restore it. (I'm not a chemist and can't think of the proper term, but aluminum is always eager to turn iron oxide back into pure iron. It's the opposite of an oxidation reaction. That's actually how thermite works; the two are just very finely powdered and combined.)

I've never cared much for aluminum radiators, as they are a very expensive way to shine up the inside of my water jacket!

The kicker is I don't know if there's a good brass one for your car either; most modern tanks are garbage bonded plastic, and cause their own special brand of problems after a couple of years.

I sure wish you well with this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ive been using prestone 50/50 premixed coolant, and distilled water only. I got the sacrificial anode that hangs from the rad cap and it's still intact but has definitely corroded some, but the problem persists.

If I ground the rad to the core support, I'm pretty sure it will raise the voltage in the coolant back up to .4 volts, like when my metal fan bracket was contacting the frame and the rad, which I'm scared is the problem. You could be right though, I've seen a few forums where people said their aftermarket rads came with a ground strap.

Then again, my heater core does not leak at all, to my knowledge at least and I've put probably 10k miles on the car like this. If it was electrolysis wouldn't my heater core start leaking as well? It's aluminum....I have thought of going back to a brass rad, but I just see sooo many guys running these aluminum rads in their foxes with not a single issue in years ...something is up!

I had to replace the rad on my 88 Camry as well several months ago. I was nervous because it was an aluminum rad. Haven't had one single issue with it and that rad does not have a ground wire to it, just rubber isolators. The engine is iron as well. I just don't get why my mustang is seemingly cursed. Thank you all for replies.
 

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Have you tried a new cap? I was fond of my oem cap on my 4.6 mountaineer and never thought anything of it. I put in a new radiator and it started seeping at the seams. It would spring leaks in the hose connections for the heaters all the time. I haven’t had an issue in many years since I replaced the cap.
 

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I know I’m late to the game, but I went through 2 SVE Aluminum Radiators in about 18 months, both were leaking where the tank met the core. I was able to get LMR to give me credit for the SVE radiator, and I replaced it with a Mishmoto radiator in December 2015. I have not had a radiator issue since then.
 
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