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Cooling Issues - Can't get below 201F

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My 97 850 GLT with 200,000 miles doesn't seem to be able to run under 201F.  It consistently creeps up to about 219F, then the fan turns on (I assume low speed...i checked relay and both high and low speed work), The fan quickly brings it down to about 204F and then turns off.

At 204F, I then tried cruising downhill with only air flow, and the radiator could only get the temp down to 201F. (ambient temp was 65F)   I would think cruising with no load on the engine, the car would come down to 180-185F  (My thermostat is 180F, and I put in a new one just to be sure. )

I'm thinking either my radiator is clogged, the front fins are clogged with debris, or with an intercooler and A/C condenser in front of radiator natural air flow just doesn't do much on our cars?  I installed a Nissens radiator about 8 years ago, and within a few years it started leaking at the seams.  I stupidly put in a bottle of Bars Leaks to fix it.

I'm thinking of biting the bullet and install a do88 aluminum radiator, but if the radiator isn't the problem, and my Nissen's isn't leaking right now, then is it a waste of $450?

Could the intercooler be clogged, which is not allowing outside air to cool the radiator?

i DO need to do a timing belt service soon, and am still running the original 1997 water pump.  But I thought water pumps on these cars went out in the bearings and started leaking, not losing their ability to move water?

Thanks for any advice,


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On 9/15/2019 at 9:33 AM, BlackBrick said:

I stupidly put in a bottle of Bars Leaks to fix it.

Yes, there's your problem.  Not only is your rad clogged, but also your heater core.  Now you need to remove the rad and do an aggressive flush on the whole system to try and get that crap out there.  Just replace the heater core while at it if it has over 100K miles on it, since it is due.

Why go for do88 rad?  The OEM behr is fine and almost half the price.  These cars have plenty of radiator capacity stock.  Unless you're pumping up the pwr and going racing, I don't see the need.

Ck the water pump by taking off the tank cap and watching for water circulation in the tank as you rev the engine.  Don't see any?  Then I'd suspect your pump has lost its impeller.


If you want some do88 stuff, get their intercooler instead.

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Thanks, I guess that makes sense.  

The original OEM Radiator (1997) started leaking in 2011.  The Do88 should never leak.  But I guess 14 years is pretty good, i may not even have the car by then.  No racing.

I replaced heater core a few years ago, several years AFTER I had added bar's leaks.  So the newish heater core should be good.

Thanks for the feedback.


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15 hours ago, BlackBrick said:

"The Do88 should never leak."

Don´t say that, luckily mine is still intact, but after I bought and installed (which has been really a PITA) I have read 2-3 topics where leaking has been an issue. Time will tell on mine.

Here the topic in German, maybe google will translate it efficiently to understand what is happening:

In summary, the welding points might suffer, the build quality might not be as needed/expected, as aluminium radiators are much heavier and therefore without additional bracing can put lot of stress onto each other or other parts and something might brake over time.

Is only logical, but not what someone would expect if not thinking thoroughly about it. if vehicle is just a daily driver, sticking to OEM parts might be best solution with easy install.

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