I have about 20 radiators with freeze damage. They're fairly ornate, from an 1886 Victorian.
I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time. I would like to remove the bad fins and put them back together. I laid one that has 20 fins on it's side. Its about 38 inches tall. I removed the 3 bad fins. It came apart fairly easily. They all have the original metallic paint on them, so they're not heavily coated with paint.
I'm ready to put it back together.
Do people have much success removing fins and reassembling cast iron radiators. I had someone tell me he's never seen anyone successfully do it.
1) A good flat, smooth and strong assembly surface.
2) Correctly sized push nipples (or nipples with both left and right thread for the really old ones)
3) graphite lubricant for the push nipples
4) draw bolts
Alignment is the key.
A Heating supplier that still deals in cast iron radiators, and has an old timer on staff will probably have all of the above and be able to assist in the project.
It can be done. The question: is it worth it?
I have done it but its a time killer. Are you looking to get paid for the labor? Are you going to warranty your work?
If you do it clean up the push nipples and mateing surfaces as best you can. Air test each radiator as you go, odds are you will find more bad sections.
JB weld worked for me on the nipples.