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Radiator crapped out

985 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ShrinerMonkey
So, my coolant level dropped to the point that the dashboard light flashed and beeped. I figured a hose burst, but the dealer tells me I have to replace the radiator. The car is a 1999 but has only 42K on the odo. Are radiator failures common, or am I just unlucky? (Replacement, by the way, was quoted at $550 from dealer and $690 from local radiator shop. The bumper has to come off, etc.)

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Does your radiator have a hole in it or is it blocked up somewhere? Is it possible the coolant went someplace else, is there any water in your oil or has it been blowing white smoke (blown head gasket)?
Can the radiator shop repair it?
Radiator failures happen. I had one go on a 2 yr. old Toyota Corolla w/ 40k. In my case, the seam between the core and lower tank split open. No, it isn't common, especially if you take care of your coolant. (i.e. no green stuff in your B5)

The price from your dealer seems fairly reasonable to me.

Every change your coolant, or did VW sucker you into their "lifetime" claim?
You can get a new one from ECS for less than $200. It is not that hard to change out. Get a Haynes manual or read the Timing belt writeup in the Info Forum.
Well, I got the ride back today. They say salt/sand collected one of the bottom corners. That's the corner where the leak began.

And yes, my pink coolant was OEM, never changed since October 1998! I've always had the car serviced at the dealer, so it was never changed. Well, they gave it the flush today, so my new radiator starts out with new coolant.

I still like my old 99 with orange side markers, but it's depressing when every service call is $500 or more. (Control arms, etc.) :(
Perhaps a coolant flush would have prevented the issue???

Let this be a lesson to all you nay-sayers.

Sounds like it corroded from the outside in, so a flush wouldn't have helped.
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