Leaky Radiator

On my way home today my car sprouted a coolant leak somewhere and promptly covered my screen with coolant. I have had a close look but can�t seem to find the source of the leak. The rad core seems fine, I have blown it through with an airline and no coolant is coming from there.

Does anyone know of any fittings that are prone to breakage? If not does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to remove the rad for closer inspection… it looks to me like the whole front of the car has to come off, I hope this is not the case as I�m booked in for Bruntingthorpe on Thursday evening.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.


Bottom hose is known to come loose - especially on Elises - so hopefully your problem is nothing serious.

If you can get your on a ramp, you should be able to check it out. I realise that is a “big if”, if the coolant is rapidly escaping & you don’t want to risk driving!

Fingers crossed

Ive had a look at the bottom hose and there doesnt appear to be a leak there. The top hose looks fine too but there is coolant sitting on the ledge of the radiator mount just below it but I cant see where it is running down from. Lots more tearing my hair out I think!! Thanks for the advice though.


Just one further thought - are you sure it’s coolant & not screenwash?

Reason for question is that there is a pipe between the screenwash filler & the bottle. If that pipe has come adrift, & you’ve added screen wash stuff to the water, then maybe…

Probably bollox, but it makes sense to eliminate the easily “cured” things!

Also, Randy,
did you just wash the car and then went for a spin?
Because as you’re stopped in traffic and the fan starts, you can get scared from all the vapour that comes off to yor screen.

The first time it happened to me I was a bit scared.
You sure it’s coolant?



Just one further thought - are you sure it’s coolant & not screenwash?

Reason for question is that there is a pipe between the screenwash filler & the bottle. If that pipe has come adrift, & you’ve added screen wash stuff to the water, then maybe…

Probably bollox, but it makes sense to eliminate the easily “cured” things!

This has briefly caught me out in the past… if you fill the washer bottle up to much is spills out when going round corners… not that the exige does that too well mind… … if enough of it gets spilled i guess it could get blown back thru’ the radiator.

Thanks for all your suggestions guys. The leak is the opposite side of the radiator to the water bottle and the coolant level has dropped so Im sure it is a radiator leak. One strange thing I did notice was that the off-side fan is not working, maybe the fan has hit the rad and this is the problem? I was out last night so couldnt spend much time on the car but will be able to take a closer look this evening.

Thanks again for all the advice.

only one fan work with water temperature, the second exists only on A/C cars and works only with A/C on. You can control it fitting a manual switch.

FYI The leak is coming from the join between the rad core and the plastic end tank. Looks like I need a new rad, think I will be going for an all aluminium one to stop this happening again.

I thought all Exiges had an all alminum one and the only on ethat had the half and half one was the Elise

The radiator core is aluminuim but it has plastic tanks crimped to the end and this is where it has failed. Ive had a look around the seloc forum and noticed that a few people have suffered the same problem so I guess it must be a design fault. I have just ordered one of the eliseparts uprated rads which have welded aluminium tanks to avoid the problem reccuring. The uprated rad is also more efficient which Im thinking will be helpful if Im ever feeling rich enough to have a honda engine conversion (still dreaming…) or anything else which may need more cooling.

But that’s what I mean, as far as I know, all Exiges have aluminum side tanks as well, precisely because of the prob;em you describe.
Must check mine…

Randy - how did you get on with fitting the all ali rad? I think I may have a similar problem to you, having tightened all the jubilee clips and still loosing enough coolant to make the front of the car wet underneath.

Uldis - did you check yours out for the ali ends?

Unfortunately my new rad hasnt arrived yet so my car is sitting in a state of undress. It’s a bit of a fiddly job to get the composite rad mount off but I’d rather do it myself than pay a dealer through the nose to. Will let you know how I get on once the rad has arrived - hopefully today.

thanks for the update
it would be good if you could take a few pics during the install, Im sure a few of us wil be down this route before too long

I finally received the new radiator (the first one got damaged in transit and another had to be ordered from the suppliers) and I fitted it last night.

No surprises that it wasn�t a straight forward job. The rad is obviously designed for race cars and has a thicker core. This means that if, like me, you have air con the fans won�t quite fit in between the composite mounts due to the extra depth. I ended up taking a file to the plastic fan casing and also rearranging the steel mounts for the air con rad. I will try and post some pics up when I have the chance

I eventually got everything fitting together OK and found that I needed to put a stronger jubilee clip on the nearside hose to stop it leaking. All was dry so I put it back together. No problems on the way to my girlfriends last night� but on the way back this morning after sitting in traffic for a while I noticed a small amount of steam coming from the nearside of the rad, it looks like that hose is still a little leaky. I put the jubilee clip on as tight as I could so it seems strange that it would still leak. I�m a bit concerned that the problem is more serious than first imagined and that maybe the head gasket is blowing and causing the water system to pressurise. I just can�t believe this hose would leak under normal levels of pressure, especially considering that I have fitted a stronger jubilee clip.

Is this a common telltale that the head gasket is on the way out, has anyone else had head gasket problems causing the water system to pressurise or am I just being paranoid?

Just went for a blast up and down the road at full chat. No water coming out. I�m sure I was wrong about the head gasket as if it was pressurising the water it would happen at full rpm, not when stuck in traffic. The trouble is that the new rad�s jubilee clip is not really accessible through the wheel arch as the rad is narrower. I will have to take the front off again. I think I might replace all those bloody screws in the splitter with quick release fasteners seeing as I�m taking the front off every five minutes�