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View Full Version : Is coolant stop leak (Bar's) bad?


Mastiff
09-29-2010, 03:46 PM
Just wanted some opinions. My newly rebuilt 152 has a seep of coolant somewhere. It's not from any obvious place that I can see. So, I'm tempted by the stop leak after reading that a large fraction of new vehicles are (were?) "treated" with it from the factory. Let's hear some opinions. I'm pretty sure I know how it's going to go. :no:

heff
09-29-2010, 03:50 PM
if it's not a serious leak, just dump some coarse ground black pepper in the radiator. not a lot, maybe a teaspoon to start. it actually works.
the bars works, but it's also good for clogging things up.
try the pepper.

drinkin_buddy
09-29-2010, 03:54 PM
stop leak is not bad, matter of fact, the OEM's use it to seal the freeze plugs.

Then again, it is just like anything else, as long as you use it in moderation it should be O.K

Scott H
09-29-2010, 06:24 PM
stop leak is not bad, matter of fact, the OEM's use it to seal the freeze plugs.

Then again, it is just like anything else, as long as you use it in moderation it should be O.K
Do what heff said or just fix it right. I've never ever seen oem's use any type of stop leak.
That stuff will eat head gaskets and plug heater cores. Fixed many heater cores/head gaskets that some thought stop leak was ok.
Scott

Rodman
09-29-2010, 06:58 PM
Let your budget be your guide. I have used pepper, barsleak and aluminium powder to stop a leak all work and if it is small go for it. The truck isn't a Ferrari.

Mastiff
09-29-2010, 09:03 PM
Do what heff said or just fix it right. I've never ever seen oem's use any type of stop leak.
That stuff will eat head gaskets and plug heater cores. Fixed many heater cores/head gaskets that some thought stop leak was ok.
Scott

I surfed around on it and I'm pretty sure OEMs do use it, or at least did. I found an extensive thread on a Prowler forum about it. I found it convincing. In theory the stuff is supposed to have beneficial properties for water pumps, lubrication or something.

Obviously I'm not totally convinced though, or I wouldn't have started this thread.

Do these plugged heater cores come from people using like 10x the recommended amount or something?

Why would pepper be better than Bar's? Does it do something different than hardening up when it contacts the air?

Eric VanBuren
09-29-2010, 09:10 PM
Bar's leak at least the old jar-o-brown-goo is very bad, do not put it in your fresh rebuild, it will plug stuff up. Their new jar of silver product is not as likely to block passages.

It is true that GM did factory install stop leak, and your supposed to add more when you change the coolant. Most notably the Cadillac aluminum V8s including the NorthStar. It is the same stuff Bar's Leak sells that in little brown Tablets or as a tube of brown powder.

However since this is a fresh rebuild I wouldn't put any stop leak in it, I'd find the leak.

Mastiff
09-29-2010, 09:17 PM
I'm going to take another shot at finding it tonight. Maybe it's something like the underside of the intake manifold or something... Whatever it is is just a tiny thing given the small amount of seepage. I can't see myself installing a new head gasket to fix it though, which is why I started contemplating stop leak.

cornfed
09-29-2010, 09:47 PM
Some Subaru Outbacks (like my wifes '00) are notorious for a leaking headgasket once they hit 100k. Subaru recommends their OEM coolant conditioning suppliment which happens to be exactly like stop leak. Wierd. They even recommend using like two bottles per year or something crazy like that. One bottle seemed to fix the external head gasket leak for us so far.

My 1210 was leaking/seeping out of the soldered joint on the radiator so I used some Bars' and it worked like a charm. No leaks and it's been a couple years. I'd say if it's a small one go ahead and use it but don't try to plug up a gash or major leak with it.

Broncowilly
09-29-2010, 09:56 PM
I didn't use coarse ground pepper but I did put a table spoon of regular pepper right off the table shaker in a 2003 Dodge 2500 and it sealed it quick and is still holding well after a year. The oil supply line fitting for the fan clutch wore a pin hole in the radiator. It was better than shucking out $700.00 for a radiator!

Mastiff
09-29-2010, 10:34 PM
Well, I spotted two potential sources. My radiator appears to be seeping from the very bottom beneath where I can see due to the body crosspiece. Also, a coolant drain plug on the passenger side appears to be seeping.

Should I tighten up that drain plug or what? I can't remember if I installed it or if they did it at the machine shop when they prepped the block and installed the freeze plugs.

Suggestions on the radiator? Repair or replace?

pweeks3
09-29-2010, 10:43 PM
Bar's leak plugged up my return hose. Overheated. Was not happy as I was on my way back from Nationals. Bad stuff...

Eric VanBuren
09-29-2010, 11:24 PM
Yes try to tighten the plug in the block. You should also recheck the radiator hose clamps. After a new hose has been through a few heat cycles it compresses.

drinkin_buddy
09-30-2010, 12:37 AM
As for hose clamps and coolant leaks, this is what i've found effective.

I always seemed to have a problem with coolant leaking from my hoses. The clamps were tight, but i would still notice coolant on the ground after i parked my scout.

What i found out was that as my engine warmed up, the clamp would get warm and expand. This would release enough tension to allow coolant to leak past the clamp in position on the hose.

What i found to fix this was constant torque clamps. They are used on big rigs and on turbo installations. The look like solid band clamps with several concave washers behing the worm screw. These metal washers will expand when they get hot thusly applying more clamping force to negate the the reduction in force when the metal clamp gets hot.

I found these clamps at my local hydraulic store "Parker Hydraulics" for all you west coast guys.

TCRIMSONK
09-30-2010, 09:36 AM
Ford and Subaru both use some kind of stop leak from the factory. I've had a leak after replacing a head gasket on an old Volvo. My friend from the Ford/Subaru dealership gave me some Subaru tablets to drop in the radiator. It solved the problem very quickly. I wouldn't go with the after-market stuff, I'd go to a dealership and get the OEM stuff instead. They might have to order it though.

Doc Stewart
09-30-2010, 10:53 AM
Several kinds of stop leak:
A. Powdered aluminum treated with something exotic: "AlumaSeal" Works but only use one dose as it can accumulate in recesses.
B. Glass jar with black pellets in a liquid. "Bars Leaks" the old formula. Can gum up anything.
C. Bar's Leaks new aluminum powder formula - Their effort towards trying to catch up with AlumaSeal.
D. One inch round plugs that just fit through the radiator filler and look like horse pellets. Another Bar's Leaks product - comes in six pellets in plastic package. Great stuff IMHO. My mechanic mentors don't send any truck out of the shop without several pellets in the coolant system [if they have opened the system for any reason]. My favorite solution.
E. Black pepper: Really old school. I suppose on a trail ride two days from nowhere and I had used my Bar's Leaks pellets on everybody else's rig, I'd try it to get home....

Eric VanBuren
09-30-2010, 11:01 AM
Ford and Subaru both use some kind of stop leak from the factory. I've had a leak after replacing a head gasket on an old Volvo. My friend from the Ford/Subaru dealership gave me some Subaru tablets to drop in the radiator. It solved the problem very quickly. I wouldn't go with the after-market stuff, I'd go to a dealership and get the OEM stuff instead. They might have to order it though.

I've never hear of nor seen a Ford that had factory installed stop leak. The Bar's leak powder is the same as the GM stuff as far I can tell, I've been using it in Cadillacs for over a decade w/o issue.

No OEM dealer who's vehicles have it factory installed is going to have to order it, Caddy dealers buy it by the truckload.

Dan Timberlake
10-02-2010, 08:40 AM
I'd expect a heater core that plugged after 1 dose of stop leak probably was already pretty restricted by deposits from years of neglect (no coolant changes or flushes).
Volvos from the green coolant era called for a coolant change every 2 years or so. The late, great Smokey Yunick suggested something similar in one of his Popular science columns. I believe that was to replenish the sacrificial anti-corrossooin additives. But a few months ago I changed the water pump on one of that era with real old coolant. Still green, but all the aluminum components that got hit by air during the pump change grew thick white crust over nite. More recently Got a 1995 Volvo 940 with funny colored antifreeze whose manual has a maintenance schedule that states" Normally, the coolant does not need to be changed." I'm not sure I'll count on that on our trip from the 130,000 to 300,000 miles

jonesd055
10-02-2010, 10:04 AM
Well, I spotted two potential sources. My radiator appears to be seeping from the very bottom beneath where I can see due to the body crosspiece. Also, a coolant drain plug on the passenger side appears to be seeping.

Should I tighten up that drain plug or what? I can't remember if I installed it or if they did it at the machine shop when they prepped the block and installed the freeze plugs.

Suggestions on the radiator? Repair or replace?

I've used JB weld (not internally!) to fix some seeping from a pinhole leak in my radiator. I did the repair about one year ago and haven't had any leaking from the hole since then.

Aloha,
Jonesy

IHWILD
10-02-2010, 10:53 PM
I've used JB weld (not internally!) to fix some seeping from a pinhole leak in my radiator. I did the repair about one year ago and haven't had any leaking from the hole since then.

Aloha,
Jonesy

That is good to know. I just JB weld some cracks in the tank to bracket mounts that were seeping coolant. I've used Bar Leak before and never clogged up or overheated. Though I did have it start leaking again down the road too.

Rich

Sammy
10-03-2010, 04:22 AM
On the radiator use some gas tank repair putty. Comes in a stick, break a piece off and mash it together. I've used in on gas tanks and other stuff and never had it fail me yet. Let it set for about a day and it gets harder than old folks toenails. Get it at autozoo or any chain parts store.