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Powder coating radiator, take out old spud?

khkiley Member Posts: 16
I’ve pulled out five radiators and will have them powder coated.

I will be changing out the valves in the process.

Should I leave in the old spuds to ensure the threads in the radiator stay clear of paint?

Or it doesn’t matter?

In that vein, should I put a plug in the vent holes?




  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,190
    Not a bad idea to leave the old spud in, but I assume since you are changing valves (why?) you will be using new spuds, and therefore I assume you will be chasing the threads to clean them anyway. Ditto for the vent. Sort of six of one, half a dozen of the other...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • khkiley
    khkiley Member Posts: 16
    The valves look original and are frozen. Just had one fail and before I noticed the damage it had leaked all over floor and onto my workbench below. So it’s really preventative maintenance.

    I would kick myself to put it all back together and have one leak. And we are pulling them because we are having the hardwood floors refinished, so it would doubley stink if the new floors were flooded.

    When I was a kid I rebuilt a Buick v6 and installed it in my Vega (anyone remember those?) to save a few bucks I reused the water pump because it was fine. Well within three months it gave up the ghost while I was 30 miles from home, at night, during a major thunderstorm. I had to drive it from gas station to gas station and refill the radiator at each stop.

    I’m lucky like that. 😆
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,338
    I’d take them out now, plug the hole. One slip with a wrench and you could damage the coating.
    And if by unfortunate accident you damage the radiator, at least you didn’t pay to get it painted first.
    But check out some YouTube videos on how to gently cut and coax out stubborn ones.
  • khkiley
    khkiley Member Posts: 16
    @STEVEusaPA that is a really good point. Don’t want to mess up the new paint job.

    I will do some YouTube research.

    Is there a standard pipe plug that will fit once the old one is out?

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,190
    My family actually owned three Vegas at one time or another. Two of them were from the first few thousand; the third was a couple of years later and was a Cosworth V8. They were great little cars; excellent handling (not as good as late model Corvairs, but very good)and very good (or for the Cosworth, excellent) performance. After the press got through with them, they were, like Corvairs, cheap. They were also very reliable -- if you took care of them. But they did not take kindly to being overheated, even slightly (neither did the Buick/Rover aluminium V8s, and for exactly the same reason), and the first few months of production had ignition problems, which were easily cured. The average consumer -- and the average mechanic -- had no clue as to how to maintain or work on them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • khkiley
    khkiley Member Posts: 16
    @Jamie Hall the Vega shared the “H” body platform with the Pontiac Astre (grandfather had one of those), Pontiac sunbird, Chevy Monza (I had one of each), Oldsmobile starfire (father, brother) and Buick skyhawk (used for my V6 conversion). Great little cars and very easy to work on. My brother and i could change out the clutch like a nascar pit crew.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 510
    edited July 2020
    I’ve had all of our rads powder coated and agree with @STEVEusaPA, remove the spuds. If you try to remove the spuds later it will definitely crack to coating leading to much operator sadness!

    As a FYI, my rad coating went pretty smooth with the exception of two very large units (66” and 72” long) that developed minor section leaks presumably due to the expansion and contraction during baking process.

    The leaks were remedied using a dremel to clean the area and applying a high quality marine grade epoxy.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,017
    Why not just repack the valves if you're worried about them leaking?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,517
    Good advice Matt-the new valves will be of less good quality than the old ones, and maybe more prone to leak.
    When a valve seizes solid, loosen the packing nut, and work the valve back ad forth a bit to free it up.—NBC
  • khkiley
    khkiley Member Posts: 16
    @mattmia2 I considered that, but then I would still have a hundred year old valve just with new packing material. If I could find a rebuild kit including stem and rubber I would be all over it. But I don’t expect much luck there. I’ve tried finding parts to maintain our original crane plumbing, but that’s a fools errand.

    I like very much to restore/reuse original parts to our home. But sometimes it’s difficult/impossible as I don’t have a stash of parts for repair.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,017
    How did the other valve fail? Did the actual metal crack or was it just unmaintained packing or frozen from lack of use?

    Others can comment on if some sort of failure is likely in a rebuilt old valve, but you should be able to clean the stem up with some combination of a wire wheel, scothcbrite, and mild acid like vinegar or citric acid. You should be able to find bib washers and stainless steel screws from someone like mcmaster-carr, probably even can find teflon washers that will hold up to the heat far better than the original leather or rubber washers.

    You might be able to put a little silicone grease on the threads but I'll defer if there is a lubricant that won't interfere with steaming to others. It will be a little bit of work to rebuild the valve, but less work than trying to get the spuds free.

    Since it is mostly closed system the metal doesn't corrode and erode to the extent it might in something like a potable water system.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 314
    The first car I remember my family having was a green Vega kammback ('72 I think). It was a major rust nightmare (rust was so quick acting that first clue was my finger going through a fender which was only paint left and the add-on radiator overflow reservoir falling off the firewall or wherever it was mounted while driving [I gather it was standard the next year])- , but a great looking, fun to drive car (according to my father). My uncle out west bought one and their engine melted down....

    After a Microbus nightmare (never buy a used car from a Jamaican named Leroy) my parents shifted to Honda and never looked back.
  • khkiley
    khkiley Member Posts: 16
    @ChicagoCooperator - Great Story! We were a GM household when I was growing up, so when I bought my first (used) honda I felt like I was betraying someone. But I loved that car and it owed me nothing and I drove the wheels off of it. Same with my second, then we bought a house and an accord wasn't made for hauling. Now I drive a Grand Cherokee, love it.

    So just for grins, I tried disassembling one of the existing valves. The packing nut came off without a problem and promptly dumped a bucket of rust on the floor. The bonnet is not cooperating. I started with a square-jawed pipe wrench, maybe 12", as I wouldn't want to mar the valves if I reused them. Not budging.

    I had a feeling this was going to be a challenge, I tried rebuilding some original Crane Gate valves that felt like they were welded together.

    So I applied liberal amounts of a BFW to the bonnet and still it's not budging (valve is not budging off the pipe either).

    Next, I will apply a pipe extension to the BFW to see if that improves the situation, but at this point, I think restoring the existing valves is going to be an exercise in diminishing returns.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,017
    Try heating it with a torch.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,007
    I have found valve washers, discs and broken screws in a mud leg 3 stories down into the basement.
    If the washer screw is such that it is broken or will not unscrew then, IMO, I would go for new valve.

    If you condemn the valve as finished, you can grind or saw the lower female thread portion to release it from the iron pipe.
    Take caution to not cut the male iron threads.
    They seem to get "steam" welded to iron after years.

    The spud into the radiator is a standard pipe thread.
    IIWM, I would remove the spuds before painting if replacing the valves.