Well, the small radiator leak, which required us to add a couple of quarts of water every morning before we pulled out decided to raise its ugly head on the way from Branson, MO to Tulsa, OK. The four hour trip took about nine hours, as we kept having to stop and cool down, add more water and stop leak and head off again. The first time the stop leak was good enough to get us from Springfield, MO to thirty miles outside of Tulsa, but it went down hill from there, having to stop three more times, and add more stop leak. We also patched the radiator leak with some two part epoxy.
But with the radiator having already been repaired two times in our 12 years of ownership we decided to try and find a radiator shop in Tusla before heading down south through Texas, and Mexico. Almost 700 miles from Tulsa to Laredo, and another 700 miles from Laredo to home. (Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico)
John, at Mid West Radiator was an old pro on radiators. He told us that the previous repairs were really not done correctly, as one was braised which almost ruined the radiator, (back in 2008). He ordered a new core, custom built to our size, and removed the tanks, straightened the damage from previous repairs, and silver-soldered the whole thing back together, including re-soldering the drain valve, and the hose connections pieces, and the radiator cap pieces, so all connections are new.
John kindly lectured me on how bad the stop leak products were for radiators, and should only be used in an emergency and only for long enough to get to a repair shop. Judging from the looks of our radiator core, that is certainly good advice. We noticed that the temperature kept getting slightly higher after adding so much stop leak. I bet we added six containers over the course of the trip, starting in Louisiana. Each time we thought the problem was fixed, and it did last for a couple of weeks until the Missouri to Oklahoma leg of the trip.
The only problem was that the custom made core took three days to get there, as it was the week after Memorial Day holiday. We camped out at the repair shop, an old service station, and were locked behind the fence every night. He arranged it so we could come and go, so we joined my brother and sister-in-law for dinners every night. Of course they picked us up and brought us back.
So, hopefully that problem is taken care of for another 41 years or so. We have not had to add a drop of water since then.
Another in-route problem that cropped up, was a small leak in our three year old water heater. Very small leak, but enough not to ignore. We just only turned on the water when we needed it. While we were waiting for the radiator core to come in, and after seeing the quality of their work, I mentioned, why not get the water heater fixed while we are sitting here waiting for the new radiator core. It was a hairline crack in the weld. On a almost brand new water heater. Of course it goes without saying, no more leak there either. Just a little extra fix along the way. This thing is going to be brand new before we know it!
The work was excellent, and the price seemed very reasonable to me.