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6G Celicas Forums > 6th Generation Celica > Engine/Transmission/Maintenance
Bit the bullet and decided to try to resurrect my Base Level 94 Celica ST 1.8L with manual transmission. It has been unable to start for over a year and a car buff friend stopped by and assured me he would help me pull the engine and get me through the problems of rebuilding it's 7AFE.

So, the engine bay is empty, the garage is full of mostly washed parts, the engine block in on an engine stand, I have a rebuilt head, and I am faced with the following problem about the radiator:

What caused her to shut down was an overheating event which messed the head gasket, warped the head so it could not be repaired, and blew a hole in the RADIATOR.

It just so happens that a couple of years ago when I was redoing her suspension, brakes and wheel bearings all round, I needed a front steering knuckle and found one on a Celica at a local junk yard. At that time I also ripped off that Celica's decent looking radiator and brought it home where it has been stored ever since.

My Celica's transmission is manual. Its radiator is different than the one I got at the junk yard, which is for an automatic transmission. There is no identifying information on the junkyard radiator, and I do not recall what Celica it came from, but maybe 1995, just guessing. I moved the two fans from my old radiator and was easily able to mount them on the junkyard radiator. The only way I know the two radiators are different is that 1) my radiator core is about 5/8" deep, while the junkyard radiator core is 1" deep, and there are two teats on the bottom of the junkyard radiator (for automatic transmission fluid) that are not on my radiator.

All that said, the QUESTION:

Would it be ok to use the junkyard automatic transmission made for radiator in my Celica that used a radiator made for only for a manual transmission? Would it cool my engine properly? Are their any snakes laying in the direction of my thinking?
Just have to cap off the transmission cooling ports. Any of the aftermarket replacement radiators make just one radiator and have the cooling ports capped off and then those with an automatic remove them and connect their lines. So long as it was out of another ST, so your hose locations are the same, then you'll be fine if the radiator is in good shape.

Well I guess technically you wouldn't have to cap them off, but if there's old fluid in it still don't want that getting out and making a mess.
Usually the automatic trans radiator has a little more cooling capacity, a common upgrade for some cars actually!
Sorry, I have forgotten how to post this JPG photo.

This is the junkyard radiator populated with the fans stripped from my busted radiator.

Sorry, I have forgotten how to post this JPG photo.

This picture has the busted radiator placed in front of the junkyard radiator. Notice that the water hose connections are in the same places on both radiators. I do not know for certain that I stripped it off an ST model Celica, but the steering knuckle from the same car fit mine perfectly. It was a case of the steering knuckle getting slightly bent and new brake rotors would not work without scraping very badly.

Sorry, I have forgotten how to post this JPG photo.

Last photo shows the damage resulting from the overheat event, or possibly caused the overheat event. Don't know which, but minor damage there was evident several years prior to the overheating event.

Thank both of you for so rapidly responding to my question. The suggestion that putting this radiator in place of the busted one might be a slight upgrade of the cooling capacity is what my intuition was telling me, but I needed to hear it from someone who knows better than I.
If the hose locations are the same it was out of a ST, so good to go then.
Should be ok. I just put a new Denso in my ST, and it had the AT coolant lines capped off. Its a bit thicker than the old radiator that was in it, so it might be a little better than what originally was in it. All that said, unless you're getting an awesome deal on that salvage part, I'd say just get a new Denso rad. A little over a bill on Rock Auto, and you know it doesn't have a bunch of junk in it.
Appreciate your comment, root. I bought this junkyard radiator a couple of years ago, as a 'hey that radiator doesn't look so bad!', when I was putting in new, or rebuilt, suspension parts, brakes and wheel bearings all around, and found I had a bent steering knuckle at the right front, and went to the local junkyard to find one. So, I got the radiator cheap, along with the steering knuckle. Further, this radiator looks to be in much better condition than the one it is to replace.

Completely tearing down the 7AFE engine is already a costly proposition, at least for me, a person of limited means: $250 for a rebuilt cylinder head, $40 to resurface the flywheel, $170 to test the head, hone the cylinders, and clean up the mating surface of the block, $260 for the engine rebuild kit, $? for the clutch kit, $300 for the hoist, $140 for the cleaning tub, only god knows how many rolls of blue towels, gallons of de-greaser, etc. I have had to buy, and on and on it goes. Still haven't decided what is left to do regarding the block, so that's an open cost figure. And, even when I am finished with the mechanical stuff under the hood, the interior will still look the same, so I will not have increased the value of the vehicle to anyone but myself, and it isn't worth $2K! (And, worse, it cannot be insured for what it is worth as parts, screw the labor!)

So, I justify my decision to proceed on the fact that it will, and is, teaching me a whole lot about how a car works, mechanically. It is fascinating!! Where else can I pay so little to learn so much?

Like every single part I am cleaning while doing this tedious job, it does bother me that there is old 'stuff' in that radiator, so I am planning on going to shop radiator shops to see if I can find someone who will pressure test it for me, and perhaps flush it out, for reasonable money. Depending on the cost, I might end up taking your advice about buying new, or be forced to, but am hoping to cut whatever corners I can.

I do appreciate your taking the time to comment, and thanks for reinforcing the fact that the aftermarket forces you to buy the Automatic Transmission cooler inside version of the radiator. I had looked at Rock Auto and wondered why all of the replacements they listed were only for the AT version.
I definitely know where you're coming from! smile.gif I've been there with a MR2t a few years back. Some parts, you can get away with salvage, and some not. I'm definitely not an expert by any means, so maybe that radiator you have there will work just fine with a little prep. Was the radiator pulled from a Celica? Around my neck of the woods, I almost never see a 6gc in a salvage yard. Just a bunch of domestics and Hondas, haha! If its in working shape, that's a good find!

As for cleaning and testing it, you may be able to test it with a air compressor or shop vac if you have that available. Cap one end airtight somehow, and fill with water on the other. On the open end, clamp a hose on. On that hose, clamp the shop vac hose on, and turn the vac on using the blower side. It will push a a lot of volume but not too high of a pressure to see if there's any leaks. It doesn't need to withstand a real high pressure anyways, as your normal rad cap is usually 13 psi / .9 bar. This came to me the other day as I used a similar method to do a coolant flush on my ST. I did a few flushes, then I blew out the rest of the old coolant with the vac before filling it up with the pink stuff.

I hope the rest of your project goes well!
Yes, it was pulled from a Celica, but about two years ago. It has a few 'dings' in the aluminum 'fins', but other than that minor damage, it looks to be in very good condition.

I like your idea about 'pressure testing' it using a shop vac. Using my air compressor might be problematic. I normally have it set to 90 psi, and the cap is set to relieve pressure at about 13 psi, as you stated. I might find it hard to regulate the air compressor down to exactly 13 psi. The shop vac probably outputs slightly more than 13 psi, which would give it a decent pressure test, IMHO.

Given it passes the pressure test, what kind of chemical can I use to safely 'clean' the interior? And, I was not sure what you meant about the 'pink' stuff. What is that?

Yesterday I put it in place at front of the engine bay and determined that there is no problem with clearance, and the hose attachments are in exactly the same positions as the old radiator. So, I think it will work, if there is no leak.

Thanks for the advice, root.
Haha, I should have been a little more specific than the "pink stuff". biggrin.gif Its the Toyota/Aisin Super Long Life Coolant. I probably spent too much on it when I could have used Zerex Asian, but I have a good relationship with my local dealership and like to support them.
Shop vac might push 1/2 to 1 psi. Use bicycle pump and rubber pipe caps?
Didn't think of that. Sounds like a easy and cheap way to do it.
They make radiator/cooling system flushes, cap the hose inlet and outlet and fill from the radiator cap then leave enough airspace for when you put the cap back on you can shake the radiator to agitate the cleaner inside. I would use distilled water as well and boil it to get it hot before putting into the radiator along with the flush, probably let it sit for a few hours shaking periodically until it's cooled off and then would empty it out and then repeat but with just distilled water to get the remaining flush out.
Thanks, Box. Great suggestion! Makes so much sense to me.

Question: 'boiling' first. . . boil the mixture of flush and distilled water before filling, or just boil the distilled water before pouring it in with the flush? I think you meant the latter, but want to make sure I understand what you meant.

Question: could I use the same technique to clean out the water jacket of the block? I bought brass expansion plugs (engine over 300,000 miles), but before installing them thought it would be nice to be able to clean out the water channels inside the block. I have yet to locate a good machine shop in my neighborhood that does block cleaning (are auto machine shops getting to be a 'thing of the past'?).
I would boil just the water, then pour the flush and water in behind it into the radiator since that'll get it mixed well enough and then shaking the radiator will get it the rest of the way.

If you're wanting to clean the block the only thing I'd know to do is use pipe cleaners, outside of having it dipped anyway. Another option would be to wait until everything is in the car and running then do a flush that way to get the whole system. I think machine shops are becoming a thing of the past outside of specialty shops, these days they don't rebuild engines when a car blows one under warranty they just replace the whole thing.
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