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We all know that radiators keep engines cool by allowing ambient air to flow through and dissipate heat from the coolant traveling through the core. For this heat exchange to work, the radiator condenser must be free from debris which impedes airflow. With that in mind, a good diagnostician- when dealing with a vehicle running warm-should first give the radiator a quick cleaning before delving into thermostats and coolant temperature sensors. If the radiator is plugged up, compressed air will certainly give you a visual indicator of the problem. If you’ve worked on enough vehicles, chances are you have quite a few tales of various foreign objects obstructing radiators
Up until now, blowing out a radiator was a bit of a chore using traditional long-reach air guns. However, an innovative redesign offered by IPA called the Air Comb is purpose-built for this task.
The Air Comb is the first flush 90° blow gun. This design element is the key to its effectiveness. Traditional air guns utilize 90° bent tips, which when used to clean areas perpendicular to the tool often results in clearance issues, particularly in close quarters. This is especially true when trying to remove debris from radiators, oil coolers and condensers, which modern engineers seem to love stacking closer and closer together. In these situations, even the smallest 90 degree bent air gun won’t fit.
Utilizing IPA’s Air Comb (available in 12”, 24”, 36”, and 48” lengths), a mechanic can easily insert the tool behind the radiator utilizing the unidirectional flush air output to blow debris toward the grill. Another great feature of the Air Comb is the tool’s 5-port tip. This provides greater air volume and covers a wider surface area than traditional single port air guns while making the job much quicker. If the vehicle being serviced has recently been off-road or used in a severe environment, a quick cleaning with the Air Comb should flush out a good deal of debris from the radiator unit which may eliminate problems related to overheating. If problems persist, you can continue down your diagnostic checklist and look into the coolant health, thermostat and coolant temperature sensor as needed. The Air Comb is also very useful in cleaning other critical heat exchanging components which may be clogged as well.
This tool is also excellent for blowing out air filters. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite what you may have heard, it is perfectly fine to blow out debris from air filters in order to prolong their service life- provided you have the correct tools. Because the output volume is focused across the Air Comb’s five ports, the tool will not poke a hole in the filter medium like standard single-port airguns often do. It works great with both panel and cone style filters.
The Air Comb is a very handy tool and showcases the innovation happening here at IPA. Keeping one in the shop will certainly come in handy in the above scenario, and trust me, you will find a list of other uses for the tool that your old blowgun just couldn’t handle.