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Monday, October 27, 2008


A Civic update

The Civic is back on the road. It turned out the stock radiator tanks had started leaking. I am not 100% sure if I had misdiagnosed the head gasket or if the head gasket blew and caused a marginal radiator to start leaking. The stock radiator in a Honda Civic is an aluminum center section bonded to plastic end tanks. I hate this design. There's no way to repair one of these when it leaks, and it's way too easy for them to spring a leak. Now I don't like spending excessive amounts of money, but I also don't like replacing a part with a design defect with one that has the same flaw. I understand there is one fairly inexpensive parts store radiator that is all aluminum, but I decided to go all out, drive down to Summit Racing, and pick up a new Fluidyne aluminum radiator for the Civic.

You may be wondering how it fits. The answer is, "Pretty well." All the mounting tabs line up and it does drop in. There are a couple of slightly weird "gotchas" that can make for extra trips to the parts store, though. For one thing, the hose barbs are a slightly larger outer diameter. If you try to put old hoses over them, they won't fit. New hoses are a stretch but you can put them in. And don't reuse the stock corbin clamps - you'll need to get a set of conventional hose clamps to clear the barbs on the hoses. You also won't be able to reuse the stock radiator cap - not really a gotcha as Fluidyne includes one, but if you even need to buy a new cap, you can't go to the parts store and ask for a stock replacement. All in all it's a pretty good fit.

This radiator wasn't cheap, and it's definitely overdoing things for a stock Civic. If I ever decide to throw a supercharger or turbo kit on it, though, at least I'll have enough cooling power to handle it. I don't really know if I ever will do such a thing, but it's nice to be prepared.


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