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superhawk996

Bar's Leaks for coolant

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I've used it a few times and it's pretty awesome stuff.  I only use the pelletized in liquid, the brown powder, and the brown discs.  They sell a several different flavors.  The three I've used seem to work just as well.  It's always been on small leaks where I couldn't really see the exact source, just the area where the coolant was coming from, but today was different.  The radiator in my 'new' motorhome was pretty clogged up, right after getting it cleared it started spraying.  I thew in a bottle of the pellets in liquid and it instantly stopped.  A few minutes after shutting off the engine, it had only run a couple minutes, one of the holes started spraying again.  I re-started it and it stopped right away, then I let it run about 15 minutes to get full temp & pressure, still no leaks.  Sure, it's not the 'right way' to fix something, but it works and manufactures have been using the stuff for decades on botched engine designs that they couldn't seal.  Tho I shy away from it for some vehicles, I've yet to encounter a problem due to using it.

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I’d not trust anything like that beyond short term fixes.  Used something similar (not Bar’s), and it held on a cross-country trip. When I flushed the system, the leak returned.  Dismounting the radiator and taking it in to be repaired at a local shop was the more permanent fix.

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I would worry about plugging the heater core.  When it is zero out, you want all the heat that you can get.

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I've never seen it cause a clog other than in the hose to an overflow reservoir and it's just a soft clog.  If you let the cooling system run low air in the system might cause the Bar's to start clogging stuff, dunno.

 

I've seen several cars go long term with the stuff and not leak again.  Carlos used it for a cracked cylinder head in his Cougar.  From memory it wasn't permanent and would need a re-dose once in a while, but that's a lot of heat & pressure to contend with.  I've only flushed the stuff out on one occasion and the leak didn't return, but the chance obviously exists.  Because I'm doing other cooling system repairs I'll be flushing it out of the motorhome soon and see what happens, if it leaks I may put it back in or might replace the rad, haven't decided yet.  A copper/brass rad like it has is over $600, a Chinese aluminum/plastic is $160ish.  I haven't checked to see what a re-core of mine would cost.

 

GM and Jaguar used it in some cars from the factory after realizing they'd fucked up the design and there was no other cure.  They didn't call it Bar's, but from everything I've read it's the same stuff.  If you look at GM's cooling system tables and the Bar's tablets they look identical.  GM used it in many, or all, iron block/aluminum head and all aluminum engines for a long time.  Jag used it in their V-12s that had wet cylinder head studs, maybe other engines too, they'd let coolant seep into the cylinder heads and mix with the oil.  Removing one of those heads is a mother fucker, but they don't leak.

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I've used it in emergency situation,blown head gasket 1400 miles from home, followed instructions and to my utter disbelief it did work.

 

When I finally replaced that gasket 1.5 years later I was equally surprised that  other then some crap in reservoir system was pretty clean.

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Did it start leaking again or you just decided it was time to take care of it?  It's shocking how the stuff only plugs up leaks, almost like it knows where you want it to clog something up.

 

I just remembered one engine that did have some crud build up from Bar's, a 2000ish 5.7 Chevy truck with a bad intake gasket, a common issue.  They use a plastic/rubber gasket that cracks & deforms kinda pushing out of place.  Bar's will stop it, but over time the gasket keeps deforming further.  He ran it for a very long time, would only check the coolant when he noticed it overheating, would top it off from the garden hose and add more Bar's.  By the time I took it apart there was quite a bit of crud in the system, I'm assuming from it having air in it and the stuff hardening, maybe compounded with the tap water.  It wasn't a hard crust, just nasty goopy shit.  It had no issues after replacing the gasket so apparently nothing clogged up.

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It was perfectly fine, but that was too much for my comfort level so I gave it proper fix before next cross-country trip.

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Makes sense.

 

I just got off the phone with an old timer at Bar's.  The pellets, tablets, and powder are apparently all the same stuff in different forms.  They came out with the pellets after OEMs bitching about spillage with the pellets, they can be messy.  He also confirmed that the GM tablets are just re-branded Bar's tablets.

 

We talked about the situation with my motorhome and he said I probably don't need to add any more after I finish doing the other work, or to add 1 tablet per gallon just as a backup, normal treatment for a leaking system would be 2 per gallon.  Not pressing me to fully treat it again makes me think the guy's actually looking out for the user instead of pushing product sales.

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Also, it's been in use by more OEMs and for a LOT longer than I knew, since the '50s.  GM, Jag, Rolls, Ford, probably more.  The military apparently also uses it.

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This is a interesting thread.  I have always feared the stuff and just fixed the leak but there are times when a easy fix would be great.  I detest the new plastic/aluminum rads over the old copper and often it is the seal between the plastic/aluminum.  Do you think this would work long term in this area? 

2 hours ago, superhawk996 said:

The pellets, tablets, and powder are apparently all the same stuff in different forms.

That is good to know.  So you find your coolant system capacity and add the amount per the chart?

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7 hours ago, blackhawkxx said:

This is a interesting thread.  I have always feared the stuff and just fixed the leak but there are times when a easy fix would be great.  I detest the new plastic/aluminum rads over the old copper and often it is the seal between the plastic/aluminum.  Do you think this would work long term in this area? 

That is good to know.  So you find your coolant system capacity and add the amount per the chart?

The old copper ones outlast plastic/aluminums for sure, but they're heavier and more expensive, and appear to need to be bigger to dissipate the same amount of heat.  The copper radiators can't be used with some modern coolants, the solder will get eaten away.  An all aluminum radiator might be the best option across the board.

 

I've probably used Bar's for plastic tank leaks, but maybe not since they're usually fairly cheap.  Plastic/aluminum failures are almost always either the seal or the plastic cracking, almost always right near the upper hose.  

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A very large portion of Jeep JKs in the 2012-2018 range develop a leak at the seam on the driver's side near the bottom.  All in the same place.  I replaced my radiator, as I was unsure of Bar's in a modern vehicle.  After this discussion I'd probably try it.

 

I've never fully understand the physics of why it works.  I can picture a couple of processes going on there, but would love to see some documentation on it.

 

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I think the particles get lodged in the leak then harden with heat & air exposure.  They warn that if your system is neglected and you have any partial clogs/restrictions you should clean it out first.  The guy I talked to has been with them forever, he could probably answer better.  It was a decent conversation and hold time was almost nothing, you might enjoy it and will ask stuff I didn't.  My main reason for calling was because I was planning to do something odd with the motorhome.  I expected to hear "stop being a moron" and instead got "great idea, but you probably don't need as much of our stuff as you're thinking".  I asked a few unrelated questions and we had a little bit of general chat about the stuff.  I discovered why I couldn't find the powdered version any more, they stopped making it a couple years ago, damn.

 

I was hesitant to suggest it for your Jeep, we had that conversation, but in retrospect there's probably no good reason for that hesitation.

 

The motorhome's overheating under heavy loads was a clogged up radiator.  Of the tubes I could see only about 1/3 of them were flowing.  Prestone super flush did nothing noticeable.  Hydrochloric (diluted Muriatic about 1/3 acid:water) let it flow again.  I was standing there thinking why does my butt/back feel hot & wet?....it developed three misters, I guess it was going for the evaporative super cooling.  After adding the Bar's, not even a wet spot developed.  The not warming up problem is the thermostat, it opens at around 100F, and now that the radiator is flowing it won't get any hotter unless I block the radiator's air flow.

 

The therrmostat housing is stuck hard, today's project, probably another acid attack.  It's an aluminum housing and stuck to a steel stud.  I need something to eat the corrosion sticking it, options on hand are Oxalic, vinegar, citric, and Muriatic.  I might have some others.  What would you suggest?  I'm not in a rush for it to work, I have other projects I can play with while it eats.  My first thought was penetrating oil, but I pried on it pretty damn hard and it didn't budge so I was pretty sure it would become an acid job and didn't want oil in the way.

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If you start with something like acetone/ATF mix, if it doesn't work, then the acids will never work either since the surfaces are coated.  If you start with an acid, and it doesn't work, you will have acid inside a joint still doing its thing.  Hmmm.  You can work your way up from safe-ish acids like vinegar.  Also, vinegar is the best for removing aluminum oxide, either as paint prep or to release stuck parts.  So yeah, that.

 

Oh, fuck, I just realized I'm recommending vinegar instead of acetone AGAIN.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, SwampNut said:

If you start with something like acetone/ATF mix, if it doesn't work, then the acids will never work either since the surfaces are coated.  If you start with an acid, and it doesn't work, you will have acid inside a joint still doing its thing.  Hmmm.  You can work your way up from safe-ish acids like vinegar.  Also, vinegar is the best for removing aluminum oxide, either as paint prep or to release stuck parts.  So yeah, that.

 

Oh, fuck, I just realized I'm recommending vinegar instead of acetone AGAIN.

 

 

No acid needed, just had to feel around and find that under the nut was a bracket, and the stud was actually a bolt/stud.  Once removed the housing came off pretty easily, imagine that shit!

 

The thermostat is an impressive all brass marine looking thing, almost hurts to put a normal one in.  But a working cheapo beats a broken fancy one.

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After assembling and before filling I pressure tested it to see if the short run was enough to seal up the radiator and it held.  I only got to 7psi, arm got tired trying to inflate the mostly empty system, but it was enough to inspire some confidence.  I reinstalled the Bar's treated coolant I was able to capture, topped it off and ran it up to temp, so far so good.

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There is one downside to using Bar's.  After all the work I went through to get the system clean I won't get to enjoy seeing sparkly clean bright green coolant in the reservoir once it starts mixing with the treated stuff.

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My position is that if a radiator needs more stop leak after a repair, you're better off replacing the radiator.

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The radiator wasn't repaired in a true sense.  I put stop leak in and ran it briefly to see if it would work and it did, but I had to drain the system to replace the thermostat and could only capture some of the treated coolant for re-installation.  I don't know the system's capacity, but the treatment was probably at the low end of concentration and some of it was lost.  Also, the radiator sprung three leaks right after being cleaned out so logic would dictate that there's a few more just waiting to happen so if I'm keeping that radiator I wanna keep the stop leak in it.  I'm guessing it has about 1/2 of the recommended amount of Bar's in it now.

 

$700 for what appears to be a direct replacement radiator vs. taking a chance with the $6 bottle of Bar's on an engine that's already a little bit fucked up while having 200 mile RV towing coverage and the farthest planned destination is 160 miles from home....Bar's it is.

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True.  No places near you that can repair radiators?  The shop near me fixed lawn mowers, so I’d expect to find the service at a place that actually fixes stuff rather than swap parts.

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6 hours ago, Zero Knievel said:

True.  No places near you that can repair radiators?  The shop near me fixed lawn mowers, so I’d expect to find the service at a place that actually fixes stuff rather than swap parts.

There is one not far from here, but I'm pretty sure the only real cure would be a re-core which is probably pretty spendy, but should be less than a whole new one.  Stop leak also eliminated the need to remove the rad.  If it were physical damage that popped a tube or something like that then it would be cheaply fixable.  If it starts having problems I'll look into the cost of a re-core before buying a new one.

 

It's interesting that the three visible leaks it sprung, there may have been others I didn't see, were all in a small area, all on the front row of 3 tubes and all on the very front edge of those tubes.  About a 4" circle of leaks on a pretty huge radiator about center line with the fan and towards the cold side of the rad.  My guess is that the corrosion or whatever was clogging it up was concentrated in that area for whatever reason and it damaged the tubes.  Or whatever the junk was combined with the acid to create something that eats copper.  Acids are great, and a mother fucker, the more I learn about them the less I know.

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Posted (edited)

The radiator shop I used growing up would unsolder the tanks and use flat rods to rod the radiator tubes out.  I bought a '70 428 Mach I new that always ran hot.  When stopped at a light or a train crossing, the dual vacuum advance/retard would run the idle up to 2000 RPM.  Finally after a summer run from Louisiana back to the Texas Panhandle, it started blowing steam out of the top tank seam.  I took it to Alvin's Radiator to have it repaired, and he said he found 1/3 of the tubes plugged with some strange stuff he had never seen before.  He thought the stuff had probably been in there from day one.  After he rodded the radiator and reassembled it, that car never overheated again.  Running that hot did, however, cause the nylon teeth covering on the timing gears to eventually disintegrate.  Luckily the engine wouldn't run, so it didn't plug up the oil pump intake.

Edited by FiXXation
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I bet you wish that you still had that car.  It would be worth a lot.

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MachI.thumb.jpg.47023f3f1836df79eee09b53d666d171.jpg

 

Six years ago when my grandson, who lives with us, started seriously thinking about real cars instead of video games.  We pulled the covers off so he could see what old iron looked and felt like.  We put some air in the circa 1982 model tires.  That was probably the last time it was completely uncovered.  It is 50 years old now.

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20 hours ago, FiXXation said:

MachI.thumb.jpg.47023f3f1836df79eee09b53d666d171.jpg

 

Six years ago when my grandson, who lives with us, started seriously thinking about real cars instead of video games.  We pulled the covers off so he could see what old iron looked and felt like.  We put some air in the circa 1982 model tires.  That was probably the last time it was completely uncovered.  It is 50 years old now.

Wow......just wow.

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