Hey Guys, I'm in the process of building my first rig and I think I just screwed up (no pun intended) rather stupidly, a noob move. I accidentally used the wrong size screw to attach the rad to the roof of the case (a long one) and have now screwed into the radiator fins, creating a nice small circle shaped hole trough the radiator at one of the screw locations. I am told that the water is transported through the bars that run horizontally across the radiator and if those are not damaged I might be okay. I already have my credit card out to suck it up as a noob mistake and get a replacement but I just wanted to check on this theory first. Is there any legitimacy to this? The hole is definitely not making contact with any of those bars, just the fins are damaged.
That's better news than I thought. But does screwing through the fin completely count as small damage? I screwed all the way through and there is a screw sized hole that I can look through. But no, the pipes are not touched. Just the radiator thin fin material.
A radiator has core tubes that the hot liquid runs through, and fins to transport and dissipate the heat from those tubes. The fins are just thin metal designed to maximize surface area. You can bend or damage the fins and it will be fine. What you did will cause an insignificant effect on airflow and surface area. If you messed up a TON of them it would affect performance. But one small area is irrelevant. As long as its not leaking you're good to go
As long as you did not puncture the radiator tubs you should be fine. Is any water coming out of the rad? You would know if you punctured the tubs as you would have a leak. Best bet is to look at it with good light and make sure there is no damage at all to the tubs. The last thing you want to do is install it and there be a small leak that would damage your whole rig.
It sounds like your fine, the fins don't matter much, just the journals. If you want just remove it, fill it with water and blow in one of the holes plugging the other and check for leaks. But as you describe you should be fine.