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Bad Radiator Neck/Mouth - Need replacement suggestions

02-01-2011, 04:08 PM
I have a Proliance or a Ready Rad (same?) radiator in my 95 GL 3.8L Windstar. It was put in when my engine went out in 2007. Apparently I should've went with a Ford replacement because the mouth to cap clamp down and "seal" has never worked properly and now the fluid is leaking directly out of the radiator cap instead of going into the coolant overflow tank. I am sure the cap is fine as this is like the 4th cap and I can PUSH DOWN on the CAP and there is "play" in its fitment. I tried, a long time ago, to slightly bend one of the rad cap's metal teeth so it would clamp down harder, but by doing this I'm sure I have "imbalanced" the cap. Regardless if I use an old one or a new one (or a OEM Ford cap) the problem still exists. The plastic at the top of the neck of the 3rd party radiator is basically crap. It started being chewed off the first few times it was removed and put back on.

So currently I keep refilling the radiator and there is fluid spewing everywhere, which i'm managing with a nice installation of blue shop towels so it doesn't spray the belt when in use.

Obviously I do not want to replace the entire radiator, as this means to dismount the engine and way too much overkill work for the problem, but what do ya'll suggest I do to replace the neck? I want to replace it with a FORD one, but are they available or do I need to go junk yard searchin?

If I find one, what is the best way to make sure I reattach it so that its reliable and "permanent" or "semi-permanent"? IE: I don't want to create another leak, by severing the head of the radiator.

Always something. The journey to getting this van back to near normal running status still goes on.

Suggestions welcome.

02-01-2011, 04:25 PM
What is this and how could I use it?

02-02-2011, 07:49 PM
Call the manufacturer and explain your problem. I suspect you may have to use a different sized radiator cap. However, stay with the same spec regarding the pressure setting.

02-03-2011, 04:18 AM
I doubt if the engine has to be disturbed to replace the radiator. Where did you get this information?

I replaced my 99's radiator when I replaced the tranny and rebuilt the radiator ... I used a Ford radiator just because it was convenient to do so and the price was good (less than $150, IIRC) ... however, I would not hesitate to use a replacement from AutoZone or AdvanceAuto, and have done so many times before on other vehicles. These plastic (mostly) radiators give limited service I have found.

02-10-2011, 12:28 PM
Looks like I was lied to again as usual. The dealer in mississippi, all the way back to end of 2007 when my original engine burned up, was who told me that they had to dismount the engine a lil bit to get the radiator out. Looking in my Ford CD-ROM (which decides when it wants to work also) there is no mention of dismounting the enigne and also shows how easily the fans come out too, but I know I tried to remove the fans before and I couldn't figure out how to slide them out once I had the assembly unscrewed. Didn't look like it could be done without taking off the upper radiator hose, and again the directions don't state needing to do that.

Why couldn't i use something like this to replace the neck of my radiator?

Think that would work for a permanent solution?

12Ounce - How long did it take you to remove and install the radiator?

Lbert - Just so happens, my luck, that the company that made the radiator is now bankrupt. So I don't know what that means for customer support. Probably nothing?

02-10-2011, 01:25 PM
......12Ounce - How long did it take you to remove and install the radiator?....

If I remember correctly ... and that is a very big IF... the radiator on the '99 is supported below with removable support brackets. The front plastic bumper cover I removed for better access. I would guess a half-day for an old geezer like me.

02-10-2011, 09:15 PM
The Radiator in question is for sure a Proliance. They build junk. I worked for Modine Mfg. Co. for 25 years in Emporia, Ks good old USA. We built the best Automobile radiator you could by. In 2005 Modine sold out the aftermarket Radiator division to Proliance. They shut down our Plant, let go 130 damn good workers and shipped everything to Mexico. Last I've heard, yes they did go Tits Up! I can't help but laugh. Good luck with your warranty!!

02-10-2011, 09:38 PM
I have used several Modine radiators .... sorry to read that story. When is the USA gonna get some smarts about trade? Wonder if those Modine folks ever bought a Japanese camera or TV? Or some clothes from Tiawan or China?

It all began long ago ... and we were all saving money ... and losing our futures.

02-11-2011, 11:42 AM
Well at least now I have the name of a good radiator manufacturer, if I don't just go with OEM Ford stuff. AFAIC the Ford radiator and neck was just fine.

What would ya'll do? Try to JB Water Weld a new "lip" on the neck for the cap to clamp down onto?
Cut off the Neck and JB Water Weld a new or old OEM neck on there?
Replace the whole radiator with OEM Ford or Modine or something as good?

02-11-2011, 05:23 PM
I had a problem on my 98 Windstar 3.8l with the surface chipped.
What I did was epoxy the cap on and then bought the flush rad kit to mount a hose fitting into the top small rad hose. This way I could check the level and add directly to the system but the epoxy held for another 50k until the van finally died with 329k

02-11-2011, 09:39 PM
A good Radiator Shop may be able to get a replacement tank for that side only. You won't find a aftermarket Modine Rad, They are probably all gone. The OEM Ford would be your best bet. Won't be cheap. If you were to find one at the junk yard, do you have a local shop which could possibly change the tanks? May not be worth the cost.

02-12-2011, 12:42 AM
"Tanks".....better to change the whole radiator by the time you pay the labor on a tank replacment.....
At least that is what FORD has listed as the solution for when the tank to coil leaks develop.

02-12-2011, 02:45 AM
Hey Wiswind.

Well, i don't know what all this "tanks" stuff is about, but the only problem with my radiator is the filler neck outer lip where the radiator cap spins/grips onto. If I am correct, the radiator cap should sit firmly flush with the top of the radiator filler neck/orifice and have no downward play in it at all.

Interesting idea about the epoxy and making a new filler entrance. Hmm.. scratching chin.

Still entertaining full radiator replacement, especially since someone here said "Proliance made crap". Wonderful. lol

02-13-2011, 02:37 PM
Is the 95 3.8L and 99 3.8L radiator the same part number?

02-17-2011, 10:40 AM
Well last night I used some JB water weld to form 2 new thicker lips on the radiator neck/mouth edge so the cap would have more to grip onto. I have also purchased a new, but aftermarket (Murray brand? never heard of them? claims its pressure tested on the box.) radiator cap.

I measured the length of the gripping teeth on my old "Stant cap" vs the new "Murray Cap" and the Murray cap's teeth gripping distance is shorter, which means it would grap harder and fit more flush you would think.... The Murray cap does sit a lil bit lower than the Stant cap does, but the Stant cap fits tighter (this is all before the JB water weld) although i know I have messed up the Stant cap in the past when I first started troublshooting this problem.... one of its gripping teeth is a couple hundredths of an inch off from the other side. In any case it does seem the Murray people measured better. I used a micrometer to measure this stuff.

Also, I have 2 new Motorcraft Ford brand caps on the way. One reason is, everything I try 3rd party usually seems to give me some type of problem later on, on this van. Another reason is the Ford caps have a completely flat top (if my memory is serving me correctly) whereas the 3rd party caps have a little round metal joint or rivoted "something" at the top middle of the caps and there is the possibility of air/liquid coming through this top seal the way these 3rd party caps are made.

In a lil while I'm gonna go refill the van with coolant and let it run and then let it cool off and see if we get leaks.

If this doesn't work, I'll entertain the radiator replacement, although replacing the neck with this JB Water Weld stuff does seem feasible because I kept a lil piece in the house to dry overnight and it is as hard as STEEL and stuck pretty firmly to the smooth flush counter-top in our kitchen.

07-15-2012, 10:57 PM
Well, about a year and a half later.... lol

I shoulda coulda woulda... This problem never got taken care of and finally reared its ugly head on a 400 mile roundtrip. Basically, instead of the cap flowing coolant to the overflow reservoir it was shooting out of the service spout aside the radiator cap. I have replaced these service spout caps (just below the rad cap) several times because they always crack and make leaks.

We had to stop because the van was overheating ON THE INTERSTATE at 70mph with just 4 people and very light luggage inside. I guess the fluid was low, despite how often I check it, I kept it off the RED mark on the temp gauge most of the time. We let it cool, filled it up again, let it run and it seemed to be running correctly, so we decided to drive it the rest of the way.

Come to find out on the way back, the 1st time we stopped (as soon as we went off the interstate) the temp gauge jumped up again to H (red) and popping the hood revealed fluid everywhere spewing from the RAD cap. I had finally (on this trip) jb welded shut the service spout on the radiator fill neck, so now the only place the fluid had to go was out from underneath the rad cap..... I HAD no earthly idea why the fluid would not move to the overflow container (as it did on the 1st break down on the 1st part of the trip).

On the first break overheat, upon removing the radiator cap I knew I'd risk the cap removing the jb welded "extra lip" i'd created for the rad cap to dig down for a harder seal and those lips did come off. On the way home the radiator shot fluid out of the cap instead of to the overflow container.

Finally with no options and 60 miles left to drive, I filled the radiator up again with water and this time I took a section of the bottom sealing gasket "OUT" of the rad cap so that it would hopefully let fluid pass to and from the overflow container. This seemed to work "somewhat", but it was still trying to overheat (but not as bad) and fluid still shot out from the rad cap again.

If I can't get the cap as flush as possible on this damn 3rd party radiator neck, it seems it will not pass the fluid to the overflow jug no matter what rad cap I use.

I guess I will have to find some sort of work around mentioned herein. I just don't know if I can make it happen and really just want the damn shop to fix it. I just put all new suspension on and this was the only negative part of our whole trip.

07-15-2012, 11:00 PM
Anyone know where I can get an OEM Ford Radiator for a 95 3.8L Windstar?

07-16-2012, 08:08 AM
Have you tried RockAuto?

07-18-2012, 12:41 AM
Have you tried RockAuto?

Yeah, tried them. NO go. Now looking at ebay for a used one. I hate going that route, but the OEM is nearly $500, if there are even any left.

07-18-2012, 01:14 AM
How do I know if I have rear-heating in my Windstar? -... if I was to just go look, not use it, what switches/panel info would tell me I have a rear heater? I've always been under the impression I had just a/c in the back because I've never known the heat to work in the rear, but maybe a long time ago it did.

07-18-2012, 08:45 AM
I see 5 radiators at Rockauto. $105-$121

07-18-2012, 11:06 AM
Yeah, I see the same. In fact, if you are willing to accept a one-month warrenty....they have a close-out for $65.

What "Rockauto" are you looking at??

07-21-2012, 10:33 AM
You most likely already checked it......but make sure that the hole in the neck for the overflow is open....and also that the hose from the radiator neck to the overflow tank is not blocked either.

It sounds like you got a bum radiator from the start.
That does not mean that the next unit you get will be as bad.
I would try a complete unit replacement....try to use the best quality unit that you can.

The problem with messing with these radiators is that they use plastic side tanks mounted on metal fins......and it does not take much abuse to start them leaking.

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