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2000, 430CLK Cabriolet
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What, where, how do I tighten, seal, etc. to stop this leak? A little history...

Hit a deer a while back. I replaced hood; hood insulator; both fenders; one auxiliary fan w/ Alum. housing and shroud; main fan shroud; inner grill; outer grill; both head lamps; front bumper cover; fog lamp; and other stuff from parts.com, $1,909. Bought OEM sheet metal, had it painted with proper water base black at Carstar, $1,380, and hung the parts myself.

Radiator seemed OK, was not leaking anything, so I used a plastic welder to weld and fabricate new upper plastic tabs that secure the radiator to the cross member and the main fan shroud. Everything was OK for about 2 weeks, then noticed transmission fluid on garage floor. I had made a road trip of about 1,200 for Thanksgiving, and figured that vehicle must have been leaking all along. Was in a hurry to get to work, so I put in half a quart and drove it that day. When I got home, I used the dipstick, and it showed overfull, so I drew out a little less than half a quart and got the level to normal. Apparently, transmission must not have been leaking for two weeks, and leak must be only a few days old.

Can't see exactly where leak is coming from, but, removed undercarriage shrouds and fluid pools on garage floor under the passenger side of the radiator. I doused everything with brake cleaner and wiped it down. I will try to pinpoint the leak.

Is this something I can put a wrench on and tighten, or are these some sort of exotic fittings. ?

Thanks.
 

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I know on some cars (Automatics) They have a hose running frmo the radiator to the transmission. so many your hose is leaking?
 

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Hey, Pancho. Sorry to hear you banged her up, but glad it wasn't too serious and you weren't hurt.

It all depends on where it's leaking. As you note it's a plastic shell, so it may have cracked right at the fitting and it's running/dripping to where you see it (there is a metal tank inside the shell that carries the ATF). The only way to know whether you can fix it is to first locate the source. If it's at the radiator, it's probably not possible. (It might also be the cooler line itself, if it were bent and weakened from the accident, it may have cracked and be seeping.)

The OE radiators for your generation were also in a series of suspect ones. I believe Valeo supplied the bad ones, and they would leak internally, causing a sharing of coolant and ATF (not good for the cooling system, much worse for the transmission).

Personally I wouldn't take another chance with the radiator. They're not that expensive anyway. Again, however, you really need to locate the source in order to figure out what you need to do to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey, Pancho. Sorry to hear you banged her up, but glad it wasn't too serious and you weren't hurt.

It all depends on where it's leaking. As you note it's a plastic shell, so it may have cracked right at the fitting and it's running/dripping to where you see it (there is a metal tank inside the shell that carries the ATF). The only way to know whether you can fix it is to first locate the source. If it's at the radiator, it's probably not possible. (It might also be the cooler line itself, if it were bent and weakened from the accident, it may have cracked and be seeping.)

The OE radiators for your generation were also in a series of suspect ones. I believe Valeo supplied the bad ones, and they would leak internally, causing a sharing of coolant and ATF (not good for the cooling system, much worse for the transmission).

Personally I wouldn't take another chance with the radiator. They're not that expensive anyway. Again, however, you really need to locate the source in order to figure out what you need to do to fix it.
That's good advice on replacing the radiator. As long as I'm pulling things apart again, I'll just replace it. Yep, have read about some defective radiators leading to contamination of the transmission fluid. Don't want to put another Valeo in it. Called supplier for parts.com, and since part was not in stock he was not able to check on manufacturer, so unable to confirm that part would not be a Valeo.

Who else makes radiators for us, Berh ? Do you think that maybe any new Valeo radiator might be an improved version from the OEM one in my year 2000 CLK ?
 

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That's good advice on replacing the radiator. As long as I'm pulling things apart again, I'll just replace it. Yep, have read about some defective radiators leading to contamination of the transmission fluid. Don't want to put another Valeo in it. Called supplier for parts.com, and since part was not in stock he was not able to check on manufacturer, so unable to confirm that part would not be a Valeo.

Who else makes radiators for us, Berh ? Do you think that maybe any new Valeo radiator might be an improved version from the OEM one in my year 2000 CLK ?
Well, it wasn't even *all* Valeo radiators, just a few bad lots of them. (To clarify, all of the bad radiators were made by Valeo, but not all of the radiators Valeo supplied were defective.)

Autohausaz.com, rmeuropean.com and importec.com are all good places to work with; they're listed in order of my preference. I order probably 95% of OEM stuff from Autohaus with the remainder split between the other two.

Autohausaz has the behr for $212 with free shipping if that works for you.


Also, FWIW, I'd personally first confirm the source of the leak. It seems likely that it's at the radiator fitting, but it would suck to go to the work of changing it all out only to find that the line itself is cracked.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, some good news. It's a Behr. No Veleo here.

The leak is at the lower banjo bolt on the front of the radiator, on the passenger side. The Upper one was easy to get to--removed the inner grill and the upper radiator support--not a prob. The lower bolt seemed impossible without pulling the bumper cover and/or the auxiliary fans, but, though convoluted, I figured out a way to do it without removing the cover or fans. Need two wrenches, one on the base nut, and another on the flange nut, turning against each other. Anyway, both bolts have been tightened. The vehicle is on stands, and will let it idle for 30 minutes, then see if anything leaks.

20 minutes idling, and then a test drive. So far no leaks, and I didn't have to buy a radiator. If it starts leaking again, then I will follow up, otherwise, appears that the problem is solved.

Thanks Greg. You've been a big help, again.
 

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Two good bits of news it sounds like. Fingers crossed that's all it was, if so that's not a bad Christmas present. :D
 
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