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1997 Tahoe radiator leak

09-21-2004, 12:28 PM
This is a report on radiator leak on 1997 Tahoe 5.7l with 110K miles.

It appeared to be leaking out of the upper oil cooler connection on right side facing vehicle.

Pulled it out & took to radiator shop.

Instantly the shop owner pointed to hairline crack near inlet located just above upper oil cooler connection. The inlet is the hottest spot on the radiator and common point of failure.

I asked about replacing end cap as suggested in this forum. His experience was this fails within a year. The aluminum core has flanges that curle around plastic end caps. The flanges are also aluminum which is not the most malleable metal.

A new radiator was $300 +tax here in northern California. I read in this forum replacing end cap was $100.

Modine is the manufacture. Apparently they have been selected for new BMW series 1.

12K mi./1 year warranty seems wimpy.

I also saw Kragen's (via, $349) had all metal brass/copper radiators and asked about those. The guy said generally they were Chinese and poor quality. I have had early failure (30K miles vs. OEM 76K) with GMB Chinese water pump from same source

I also asked about DEX-COOL antifreeze. He said it was good for his business. Keep your overflow tank filled to prevent air from being sucked into radiator. DEX-COOL has not caused problems for me.

If you flush the system very well, he said you can replace it with the old style, green antifreeze.

Only installation issue was the oil and trany cooling lines needed to be tightened more than I expected to prevent drips.

Otherwise, a quick but somewhat messy repair in my garage.

01-10-2005, 01:38 PM
I had the same problem in my 97' Tahoe. I took it to a shop and had them replace the end cap. Has been working fine for 2 years now.

01-11-2005, 03:56 PM
New radiator cost me for my truck (1996 Z71 Ext Cab 5.7L) about $200 plus a few bucks for overnight shipping for a ACDelco Radiator from 1-800-Radiator, hell they even send a little bag of candy with your order!

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