- How to Install New Radiator
- How to Remove Radiator
- How to Install Electric Radiator Fan
- How to Replace an Auto A/C Condenser
How to Install New Radiators
The radiator is a very important component on any vehicle. The purpose of the radiator is to reduce the temperature of the coolant enough to send it back through the engine. A faulty radiator will not be able to hold coolant, and it will leak through the fins or the storage bins on top or bottom of the radiator. When installing a new radiator, it is essential that you also add fresh coolant and replace the thermostat, the hoses and the clamps. This will ensure that the coolant system is brand new and able to keep the vehicle cooled down even during harsh driving conditions.
- Difficulty: Moderate
Things You'll Need
- Socket wrench
- Socket set
- Flat-tip screwdriver
- 2 gals. pre-mixed coolant
Lift the hood and prop it open. Position the radiator in the engine compartment. Make sure that the hose inlet and the outlet pipes face toward the engine.
Bolt the radiator to the frame. The supports are located on the top of the radiator. There may be two on the bottom, depending on the make of vehicle. Use a socket wrench to tighten the suppport bolts.
Bolt the fan shroud to the radiator. The shroud connects between the radiator and the coolant fan.
Tighten the transmission cooler lines to the bottom of the radiator. This only applies to vehicles with an automatic transmission. Use a line wrench to tighten the cooler lines.
Tighten any reservoir tanks to the radiator with a socket wrench. The radiator overflow tank is attached to the radiator on some models. Push the line onto the outlet pipe on the radiator neck.
Slide the hose clamps onto the hoses. Push the top and bottom hoses onto the radiator. There are two pipes on the radiator made specifically for the hoses, one on the top and one on the bottom. Slide the first hose on the top of the radiator and tighten the hose clamp with a flat-tip screwdriver to secure the hose. Attach it to the thermostat housing on the engine and tighten the hose clamp to secure it. Run the second hose from the radiator to the water pump. Secure the hose by tightening the hose clamp with a flat-tip screwdriver.
Twist the pressure cap counterclockwise to remove it. Pour in pre-mixed coolant until the radiator can't hold any more.
Start the engine and allow it to warm up. Once the vehicle has warmed up, the level will drop. Pour in additional coolant until the radiator can't hold any more. Tighten the cap on the radiator.
Turn the engine off. Close the hood.
Tips & Warnings
If pre-mixed coolant is not available, use half straight antifreeze and half water. Pour in half a gallon of antifreeze and then half a gallon of water. Keep this ratio until the radiator is full.
Change the thermostat to give the coolant system a complete tune-up.
Do not allow coolant to spill on the ground, as it is toxic for small animals. Place a drain pan under the radiator to catch any coolant
How to Remove Radiator
Removing and replacing a new radiator in a vehicle is not the easiest job in the world, but it's not the hardest, either. With some technical savvy and those tools collecting dust in your garage, consider tackling the project yourself and saving a heap of labor charges from your local service station. Think of is as simple plumbing and the radiator is simply a small storage tank for the fluid. The key to being a mechanic is the ability to take things apart, keep track of everything you remove, and replace it all without having any left over parts.
- Difficulty: Challenging
Things You'll Need
- Drain bucket
- Channel locks and or long handled needle nosed pliers
- Ratchet and socket set or hand wrench set
- Shop rags
- Quick release tool (for automatic transmissions only that apply to your vehicle)
- Screwdriver set
- 2 car ramps (if needed)
- Wheel chock (if car ramps are needed)
Make sure the vehicle is parked on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Make sure the engine and coolant are cold. Do not run the vehicle, unless you have to move it and then shut it off right away. If you've been driving it around getting tools and parts, go have lunch or take a break and come back in a few hours. You do not want to perform this task on a hot or warm engine. Most radiators can build up to 15 pounds per square inch of pressure and removing a radiator cap when the engine and coolant are piping hot is nunsafe.
Determine whether you can place the drain bucket under the vehicle without raising it on car ramps. It will be easier to remove the radiator with the vehicle at ground level, but if you have a low profile vehicle, it may not be an option. There are some things to remove underneath that elevating the front might make easier. A floor jack and jack stands (2) could be substituted for car ramps, but if you have to elevate the car, place a wheel chock behind one of the rear tires for safety.
Remove the radiator cap, again making sure the engine is cool. Radiators can build up 15 pounds per square inch of pressure and you do not want hot antifreeze spaying into your face and eyes. Even of the engine is cold, remove it slowly and allow any pressure to purge out as you are removing it
Locate the radiator drain plug located on the bottom rail of the radiator and place the drain bucket strategically below it. If you cannot find a drain plug then you will need to remove the lower radiator hose to drain the radiator. If you have a plug, simply turn it to the left. It will be a fixed plug meaning it will not remove from the radiator, but will simply turn and allow the fluid to drain. If you have to remove the lower hose, remove the hose clamp on the radiator size of the hose. A screwdriver or channel locks will do this depending on the type of clamp it is. Slide the clamp up the hose and move away from the radiator, then pry the hose off the radiator outlet. Be careful because when it comes off, antifreeze is most likely going to gush everywhere.
Place the bucket strategically and be ready to move it if you have to. Wipe any spillage up with shop rags as antifreeze attracts pets and animals because of its sweet smell and taste, but is extremely poisonous. Whether the radiator drained from the plug or the hose, it's a good idea while you're under the vehicle to remove any other attachments below. If the vehicle has lower radiator mounts or cooling fan mounts, remove those bolts. Also, if you have an automatic transmission vehicle, than transmission cooler lines my connect to the radiator. If there is one or more located near the bottom, you'll have to remove them. There may be another one located near the top, but you can get to that easier from up above. Some of the transmission lines take a special removal plug or quick connect insert to remove. Others may simply unscrew with a hand wrench. Transmission lines will leak a little bit of fluid from them so consider that with the drain bucket or shop rags.
Move to the top of the vehicle and remove the fan shroud or anything else in your way.
Remove the upper radiator hose and make sure the drain bucket is placed beneath it because more fluid will purge out, but not too much. Also, remove the surge/overflow reservoir hose located near the radiator cap.
Locate and remove the upper cooling fan mounting bolts.
Locate the upper radiator mounting brackets and remove the mounting bolts. Remove the upper cooling fan mounting bolts.
Remove any upper transmission cooler lines if present and remember they're going to leak a little bit of transmission fluid.
Make sure there is nothing else attached to the radiator. Lift it straight up and out of the engine compartment. If you're replacing a new radiator then be sure to take off the rubber bushing mounts on the bottom of the radiator as most new radiators do not come with them. If you are replacing and putting in a new radiator, reverse the procedures.
How to Install an Electric Radiator Fan
Things you'll need:
- Ratchet and Socket
Raise the hood on the car and let the engine cool to prevent getting burned on the hot materials around the motor while replacing the electric radiator fan. Examine the fan or fans that cool the radiator to locate the wiring harness. Unplug the wiring harness that furnishes power to the fans. Move it out of the way.
Use a ratchet and socket or a wrench to remove the guard around the radiator fan. On some cars, the fan mountings are a part of this guard, but this is not always the case. The guard will be held in place by four to six hex screws located around the edge.
Pull the guard straight up and out of the car. If the fan is not a part of this unit, you may have to move it slightly toward the engine to clear the fans as you extract it. If the fan is still attached to the radiator mountings, use the ratchet and socket or wrench to remove the screws that will be around its perimeter. Lift this assembly out of the vehicle.
Slide the new electric radiator cooling fan assembly down into position behind the radiator. Use the ratchet and socket or wrench to install the screws that hold it in place. If the guard is a separate piece, lower it into place around the fan until you can tighten the screws to secure it against the radiator mountings. Plug in the wiring harness to the fan to complete the job.
How to Replace an Auto A/C Condenser
Things you'll need:
- Large draining container
- 3/8-inch drive socket set
- 1/4-inch drive socket set
- Wrench set
- New condenser
Remove any refrigerant remaining in the system. Releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere damages the ozone layer, so proper recovery is required. Your local auto repair shop will do this for you, and it does not cost very much.
Draining the coolant from the radiator. Remove the radiator cap by pushing down and twisting it off by hand. Open the drain at the bottom of one of the tanks, and allow the coolant to drain into a container for disposal.
Disconnect the radiator hoses, transmission lines, radiator hold-downs and cooling fan assembly, using the socket sets and wrenches as needed. When the radiator is clear of obstructions, remove it from the engine compartment.
Remove the condenser by disconnecting the refrigerant lines and unbolting the condenser from the radiator core support (the front frame of the vehicle), using the socket sets and wrenches as needed. Lift the condenser out of the engine compartment.
Transfer any retaining clips and rubber vibration dampeners from the old condenser to the new one, and place the new condenser into place in the engine compartment. Bolt the condenser into place on the core support, and restore the refrigerant line connections after replacing the O-ring seals on the lines. Tighten with a wrench.
Reinstall the radiator into position in the engine compartment, and reattach the radiator hoses and transmission lines. Reinstall the cooling fan assembly, and close the drain on the radiator. Fill the cooling system with a mixture of antifreeze and water.