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2002 Camry LE, 4 Cylinder. My radiator leaks 1-2 drops per second. I’m not exactly sure about the leak position, but it seems to be somewhere between the plastic tank and the metal radiator core, and it’s not likely the pipe, cap, or pipe connections. Please refer to the photos. I’m trying to find a fix which can last at least 3-5 years.

Questions:

  1. Is it helpful to remove the metal cover above the radiator and check for the exact leak point before moving forward? It’s like the leak is somewhere underneath.
  2. Will radiator sealant work in my case, e.g. (https://www.amazon.com/Bars-Leaks-1194-Grey-Radiator/dp/B006GUMITE/ref=asc_df_B006GUMITE/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=241975700326&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=212615481032980707&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9004323&hvtargid=pla-583831908858&psc=1)?
  3. If not, shall I replace the whole radiator or just the plastic tank and gasket?

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  • Only long term fix I know for radiator ,is replacement. Feb 24, 2023 at 19:12
  • That's a typical modern radiator. Plastic top and bottom "reservoir" with metal tubes and fins in between. The plastic fails after so many heat cycles and cracks. No easy or good way to fix. A new radiator is under a hundred bucks. Replace and be on your way.
    – Huesmann
    Feb 26, 2023 at 19:01

1 Answer 1

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It does look like the leak is coming either from the header tank or the joint to the radiator core.

I would want to check that the plastic header is not cracked by getting it out from underneath the painted metal panel above it. This would also make it clear that the water isn’t just running from another location.

There are businesses that can refurbish radiators, so you could get a quote from one of them, otherwise you could fit a new radiator, or possibly one from a breaker.

I have never tried to re-seal a plastic header tank, I find it unlikely to be successful re-bending all of those metal tabs without special equipment.

You could try the sealant additive, but then you could regret not getting it fixed correctly when it lets go on a busy highway.

See what other people suggest, there may be other options.

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