Electrochemical degradation (ECD) sounds pretty daunting, and it could happen to you, or at least to your car. The truth is, while it is something that could happen to your radiator hoses, it is also something you can fix. The way ECD works is that the radiator hose, the engine coolant, and the radiator fittings create a sort of battery, which can cause microscopic cracks in the inner tube of the radiator hose. This makes it possible for the engine coolant to weaken the radiator hose’s chemical and physical structure, weakening it. This is clearly a bad thing but, with this DIY guide helping you out, you can fix it like a pro and have your engine coolant flowing the way it should be, once again.
- As with all DIY auto repair projects, you will want to gather the necessary tools, and have them ready for the upcoming work. In this particular project, you will need a screwdriver, a sharp knife, tin snips, a wire brush, and perhaps a heat gun, depending on the clamp used.
- Once you have all your tools ready to go, it’s time to begin the replacement process. You can do this by confirming that ECD has affected your radiator hose. You can do this by first allowing or ensuring your engine is cool. Then, use your fingers and thumb to check the hose for any weak spots in it. If you squeeze near the hose clamps, you should be able to see if ECD is affecting it or not by checking for any minor gaps from it being weakened. The feeling towards the middle of the hose will be different than near the clamps if ECD has occurred. They will feel soft and weak and then you will be absolutely sure that ECD has affected your radiator hose. Swollen parts of the hose, when the engine is at operating temperature, are another good indicator.
- To start, you are going to remove the radiator hose. To do this, make sure you have drained the engine coolant to below wherever you are working at. Removing the hose should be relatively easy, once you have removed the clamps. Understandably, some hoses can stick to the fitting and/or the hose clamp can become rusted. In this case you will need to use the tin snips to cut the clamp off and use the knife to cut the hose. Do not try to force the hose off as this could damage the fitting, especially plastic fittings found on many new engines. Once the radiator hose is out of the way, check the fittings. Ensure there are no bursts or sharp edges that could damage the new radiator hose’s inner tube. You can even clean the fitting off with a wire brush.
- You should add the new clamp, or the old one if it’s still in good condition, to the hose end, then slide the hose onto the fitting. We always recommend using new clamps to avoid future issues. There’s no reason to cheap out on such an inexpensive part of the job.
- Be sure to push the hose far past the fitting edge, and then slide the clamp between the edge of the fitting and the end of the radiator hose. Check to see that the tightening part of the clamp is easy to reach.
- If the hose is not an exact OEM fit, then a little bending may occur. This is alright, but only if it does not pinch or kink the hose.
- Once you are all set, go ahead and tighten the radiator hose clamp.
- Now that the hose is attached, you may refill with engine coolant, either using your previous product or adding new, and then start your engine. Once it is heated up, you may need to add more.
- Now check there are no leaks and you are good to go!
ECD may sound like a scary thing, but with this guide, and your DIY prowess, you will be well on your way to changing your radiator hose like a true pro!