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Straightening Ac Radiator Fins



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tashirosgt

I don't have trouble poking a toothpick or paperclip into the fins of my '90 Prizm AC radiator to clean out the dirt. This pushes the fins from side to side but it doesn't straighten out the ones that are turning sideways to the airflow. Is there good tool to straighten them out.? Needle nose pliers are too big. I was thinking about forceps, like those that are used in electronics work to hold parts.

They make radiator "combs" that straighten and clean fins. Some autopart store may carry them - might have better luck at a hardware store or HVAC store (used all the time for home A/C systems).

RalphWiggum

A regular old black hair comb will work too...at least I've used them a few times while doing HVAC repairs. Same thing as an HVAC comb, just differnet sizes.

Bikeman982

Do you really take the time to clean out your radiator with a toothpick?

I think it is enough to wash the bugs off with a hose.

Why would the fins be bent?

Is it from rocks getting past the grille?

If there are too many fins bent, does it cause overheating?

tashirosgt

I took the time to clean out the radiator where it was clogged with dirt, but this was only on the lower row of fins near the passenger's side. There are only a few places here and there where the fins are bent. I don't know what caused these spots. With R134a, you need every little fix you can come up with.

Bikeman982

I took the time to clean out the radiator where it was clogged with dirt, but this was only on the lower row of fins near the passenger's side. There are only a few places here and there where the fins are bent. I don't know what caused these spots. With R134a, you need every little fix you can come up with.

The R134a is in your air conditioning - do you mean you unclogged your condenser (it is forward of the radiator)??

 

 

NILLINOIS

I thought I saw one website where a guy built a homemade shield from reinforced aluminum screen to protect the condenser/radiator from rocks. Sounds like a good idea. Anybody have the link? I should be standard equipment, if you ask me.

Bikeman982

I thought I saw one website where a guy built a homemade shield from reinforced aluminum screen to protect the condenser/radiator from rocks. Sounds like a good idea. Anybody have the link? I should be standard equipment, if you ask me.

Maybe someone can come up with the website or tell us about a home-made protector. It is actually the A/C condenser behind the grille that gets hit - not the radiator.

 

 

tashirosgt

Yes, I worked on the AC "condensor" forward of the radiator that holds coolant. (I think of it as an AC radiator.) My reference to R134a means that it works so poorly that you need all parts of the sytem to be in tip top shape.

By the way, in a car without AC, what does the factory install in the space where the AC condensor would go?

Bikeman982

Yes, I worked on the AC "condensor" forward of the radiator that holds coolant. (I think of it as an AC radiator.) My reference to R134a means that it works so poorly that you need all parts of the sytem to be in tip top shape.

By the way, in a car without AC, what does the factory install in the space where the AC condensor would go?

That's a good question - I think they just leave it as a space. My car has an inoperative A/C system. Boy is it hot!!