4 Radiators burst in a year- any ideas? - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
Thread Tools Search this Thread
(Post Link) post #1 of 9 Old 18-03-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 16

Member car:


4 Radiators burst in a year- any ideas?

So here's the puzzle. 1999 Alfa 916 has gone through 4 radiators in 12 months and only 750miles.

Leaking cylinder head gasket? This was changed last time and no pressure in the coolant was found after the change. I really thought the problem was solved.

But it's leaking again. The usual pattern is a small leak develops (bit of steam visible when parked, stopping at traffic lights etc). Then about 50miles after first drips from radiator there is an almighty failure, and it's time to turn off the engine immediately and get the AA to tow it to the garage. It is currently at the small drips/visible steam stage and I'm very reticent to let it get to the bursting stage, so it's going back to a reputable Alfa specialist, again. Here's a picture, the leak is top left. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1363647946.220946.jpg

My thoughts are that it might be a cracked engine block- but if so why did we not find pressure after the CHG was replaced? Or maybe electrolysis (has anyone experienced this?) because of some stray voltage. This site describes electrolysis damage to radiator: http://www.aa1car.com/library/coolin..._corrosion.htm

Thanks in advance for any clever ideas.
ga99js is offline  
Sponsored Links
Status: -
AO Member
john_C's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: Carmarthenshire
Posts: 355

Member car:


Its likely due to increase of pressure somewhere. I am surprised your pressure relief cap isnt blowing in to the expansion bottle before it kills a radiator.

Have you looked / replaced the rad cap? its wont solve the problem but should stop you blowing rads.

I would be rigging up a pressure gauge to the system and monitoring pressure at a few points on a test run.

A few good articles on tinternet :
Home Made Cooling System Pressure Tester - Save Yourself £70 - Land Rover Zone

pressure test

Somewhere to start at least. I think you need to discount the obvious first,

Structural mounting, quick corrosion etc I would say are long shots. In the old days people used to put in what ever rad fitted using any brackets they could find and fill with water without inhibitor without any issues.
john_C is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: United Kingdom
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 131
Reckon you have got an internally collapsed hose somewhere.
steve050554 is offline  
Status: Suspension re-build complete, what next?
AO Member
GTV_Blue's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Leicestershire
Posts: 920
Images: 9

Member car:

GTV 3.0 V6 24v

Do they always fail in the same place? Is there any signs of external damage? How are the mountings is the rad loose and banging on something? TBH in a pressure failure I would expect a hose to go before a new rad! On older rads where there is corrosion and impact damage then failures occur in the rad.
GTV_Blue is offline  
Status: Deserter...
AO Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: North Yorkshire
Posts: 513
Wrong pressure rated or wrong fitment cap? At work I've seen brand new wrong caps fitted on various cooling system. Even if gets gases into the coolant from the head, block etc it should vent them without bursting the radiator. Do you have access to a pressure tester?
spike60 is offline  
Status: V6 Inside
AO Silver Member
ransoman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Aberdeenshire
Posts: 4,716
Images: 1
my money would be on the expansion tank cap aswell.

Are these Aluminium radiators or OEM style copper radiators?
ransoman is offline  
Status: more house renovations!
AO Silver Member
alfapash's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
County: Hertfordshire
Posts: 2,205
I bought a new one for mine about £11.
alfapash is offline  
(Post Link) post #8 of 9 Old 19-03-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 16

Member car:


Thanks for replies so far. To answer some of the questions you've asked:

They've been OEC radiators, not aluminium after-market.

They tend to fail in the same sort of area- so I'll see of there's something that is snagging.

The garage I'm using does have a
pressure test kit- I know they checked last time and said it was not overpressured. But let's say it's high on my list of questions this time!

I'll get them to check the rad cap and also any blockages or collapses in the rad pipes.

Thanks for the help- please feel free to add more.
ga99js is offline  
Status: Alfa nut
AO Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: East Sussex
Posts: 1,271
Start buying your rads from eurocarparts they unconditionally guarantee them for a year.In the years ive been "tinkering" with the 916 ive never come across a thread about rads like this the top hose usually splits first.
jim hazell is offline  

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Supported Alfa Romeo Models > Technical & Vehicle Assistance > Alfa GTV & 916 Spider

burst , ideas , radiators , year

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome