Tech Tip #8- Reconditioning Radiator Overflow Bottles|
This really isnít a Jaguar-specific Tech Tip, but instead one that can be used on nearly any custom engine installation. In most conversions, the radiator, and likely the entire cooling system are replaced with a system more suited for the new engine. To go with that new system, usually a different coolant recovery bottle is required. While there are several generic bottles available new from auto parts outlets, I always instead liked to use a factory bottle, sourced from a car usually at a wrecking yard. The only downside of this practice is that these bottles are usually used (very used) and typically have a good coating of rust/coolant film on the inside. Nothing looks worse than a scummy bottle in a clean engine conversion. However, these used bottles can be easily reconditioned to look nearly new. Hereís how.
Our objective is to clean the inside and outside of our translucent coolant bottle so it will, 1) look new, and, 2) be translucent again so the coolant level can be easily checked by just looking at the outside. On the outside, a good rubbing with brake cleaner and a clean rag will usually remove all stains. On the inside however, the rust stains are tough, and rinsing with water or even brake cleaner does little. However, a half cup of sand from your kidís sand box, and a cup or three of water will do the trick. Pour the water and sand into the bottle and shut the lid. Now shake the bottle like youíre making a martini for James Bond, and 5 short minutes later, the inside of the bottle will be scrupulously clean. The water/sand combo acts like a mild slurry/abrasive and removes all of the stains/rust deposits. It even gets into hard to reach areas. Drain out the water be sure to rinse out the sand (several times to get it all) and your now spotless bottle is ready to make your car proud. Simple, and it works.