Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Snake Oil

The Oldsmobile has sprung a leak in its radiator. Now the Burgundy-Bomb is starting to look like a money pit. I have staved off a new exhaust system for four years but struts, brakes, power steering hoses, and heater hoses have set me back about a grand this year. When I saw that little puddle of green I freaked out. A new radiator is about $300. I planned on selling the car in May before its next inspection. I don't think I can schmooze that original muffler past the mechanic one more year. Last time I said it was my son's car who was in Saudi Arabia serving his country and explained how I promised to keep it on the road till he came home.

Then I remembered "Bars-Leak". I used it once before. CP had this 74 Duster when we met. Before we went on our honeymoon I decided to look under her hood. Well, her radiator hoses had all these stalactites hanging from them and they were as squishy as dog pooh. I changed her hoses and then noticed a tiny little leak in the radiator. I put in can of Stop-Leak and sent her on her way. CP was about 20 minutes into her 50 mile drive home to Long Beach when she overheated. The Stop-Leak turned her radiator into a cinder block. I poured water in the top and a half hour later not a drop came out the bottom. To this day she gets agita when I work on her car. Usually she say things like "did you remember the brake shoes this time" or "did you put the radiator cap back on?"

So, I opt for the cheap fix and put some Bars-Leak" in the Olds. I'm thinking, "So what if it clogs the radiator? It's shot anyway." But, I'm concerned about my heater core. It has about as much flow as the coronary arteries of a 40 pack-year smoker. I'm concerned about it clogging. My answer is to use a vise-grip as an aortic-cross-clamp and keep the goo out of the core until I drive awhile. Sort of like keeping the contrast-dye out of the kidney. So far the leak has stopped. I'll just have to wait until fall to see how much of the heater core I had to sacrifice. Hopefully this will buy me six months to a year. I only drive the car about 4,000 miles a year.


M- said...

"Before we went on our honeymoon I decided to look under her hood."

It took me a second, but I got that you were talking about the Duster.

D- said...

Not far from your house is an Auto Zone. $190 buys you a brand new radiator. That "Junk in a bottle" plugs more than the radiator and heater core. It plugs up internal portions of your engine as well. IE: water pump, engine heat sensors, valves if equipped, as well as cooling holes in the head gasket. Unless you're going to peddle that GM antique, my opinion would be to fully flush the junk out and fix it correctly.

.....But then again, it may be getting close to "head gasket time" therefore the "Junk in a bottle" would buy you a little more time prior to you peddling it to someone else or dealer on a trade. "To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Now may be the time to trade up and look for a newer model.

Babba-Gi said...

I didn't look under CP's hood until we were married.

The Old's is in hospice. With this decision I know I have crossed over into palliative care. I hate to see it go the junkyard with a lot of new parts. After all it's a beater.

I was going to ask the Kahuna's advice, but I knew his answer would be based in reality. I refuse to buy anything until that evil man is no longer president.

D- of course said...

...Now here's nice honey.. all chromed up and in the PINK:

Now water to worry about... just oil.