What to do with this Tercel's plugged up radiator.
My '84 Tercel temperature gauge approaches the red mark when I drive on the
highway. At speeds under 40, it's fine. Turning on the heat inside the car seems
to make the needle go down a little. I have had the thermostat and radiator cap
replaced. My boyfriend checked the water pump and pronounced it OK (he's a
weekend mechanic). He thinks the radiator is clogged. Is there a way to check
this? And if so, do I have to buy a whole new radiator, or can it be de-clogged?
TOM: Some radiators can be flow-tested, and if they are plugged up they can be
"de-clogged." But for this radiator, it's just not worth it, Debbie.
RAY: Right. Based on your description of the problem (the high-speed
overheating), and the things you've already tried, it almost certainly is a
plugged-up radiator. So I'd just have your boyfriend check the core for any
signs of deterioration, and if he sees any at all, go ahead and get a new
TOM: A radiator for this car should cost less than $200, which is cheap -- as
far as radiators go. And I'm sure your boyfriend is dying to learn how to put
one of these in (fortunately, it's very easy on a Tercel).
RAY: But in the meantime, Debbie, I would urge you not to drive it. If the
temperature gauge is near the red mark, you're overheating the engine and
risking serious long-term damage to the engine. And unless your boyfriend is
dying to learn how to install a new head gasket or cylinder head, too, I'd park
this thing until it's fixed, OK?
* * *
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RAY: You'll learn the surprising answers to all of these questions, and more, in
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