Recently I got a crack in my radiator and found out its going to be $300 just to buy a new one, and thats If I installed it myself, it was going to be around $500-$600 to have someone do it for me, I looked into other ways and here's what I came up with. Total cost $16, time 15min. lasts forever.
Step 1: Materials
I went to a local napa automotive store, and found a kit that is designed to fix cracks and holes in plastic parts on cars and containers. It's a fiberglass repair kit and only cost about $16.
Step 2: Directions
I followed the directions that came with the kit but there were a few things the directions said to do that didn't work as well as they claimed, I'll talk about what I found that happened or worked better in other parts as they come up.
The kit came with a strip of fiberglass cloth,. sand paper, a metal tube 1 time use brush, and a 2 part epoxy.
Step 3: Other Tools
Some other tools you'll need is a few simple things.
1.Scissors for cutting the fiberglass cloth to correct shape.
2.some sort of tool to scrape off excess material during the cleaning process, I used a small pick, a screw driver would work just as well.
3.A drill and a drill bit, the drill and bit are used to ensure the crack doesn't spread, Ill explain all that in detail
4. air filter mask, I used a simple painting mask, but any filter mask would be fine.
Step 4: Cut the Fiberglass
Cutting the fiberglass is really easy. it is just like cutting normal fabric so normal scissors work fine.
Step 5: Preping the Area
Make sure you scrape all excess dirt, grease, or any other dirt off, and wipe clean with a cloth or a rag, don't use paper towels because the may leave traces of fibers behind. Then use the sand paper to sand anything off that is left behind, and in order to give the fiberglass a surface to stick to.
Step 6: Drilling the Holes
Drill small holes at the end of each crack to ensure the crack doesn't spread any further, I followed the direction that came with the kit for these steps. It was fairly simple, I used a 1/8th in drill bit but depending on the size of the crack you can use whatever size you need, don't go too big, the hole just needs to stop the crack.
After the holes are drilled make sure you sand the area around the holes again so the fiberglass sticks to the surface.
Step 7: Mixing the Epoxy
The bag of the epoxy tells you to squeeze the black section at the bottom and break the center seal. I found that once the center seal is broken squeeze both ends and it opens the entire seal. Once the seal is broken the directions say to mix for 30 seconds then once you cut the corner you have 5 min to apply. The directions are wrong, once the 2 mixtures interact you have less than 5 min before it starts to harden.
once you cut the corner of the packet open, apply some using the supplied brush to the surface of the area on and around the crack. Then spread the fiberglass cloth over the cracked area and cover the cloth with the rest of the epoxy.
After about a min the epoxy starts to heat up, it got to the point where I could barley hold it, it started feeling like it was going to burn my fingers.. Once it gets hot it started coming out of the packet even faster more like a liquid and then within 30 seconds started to harden coming out of the pack. so move quick.
I'm sorry I don'y have pictures of me applying the epoxy, once it was mixed I have about 3 min to do it before it hardened.
Step 8: Done
once its done it said it hardens within about 20 min, I left it over night in case it wasn't ready. If you use it too soon and it leaks, it will be almost impossible to scrape off the previous fiberglass and do it over. you can lightly sand the surface if your worried about the looks. mine is on my radiator under the hood so I wasn't really worried about making it look good.