How to Change the Radiator on a 1999 Dodge Truckby Allen Moore
Changing out a radiator in a 1999 Dodge truck isn't a necessarily difficult task, but it can be messy and requires some strength and mechanical aptitude. Depending on which model truck you have, the radiator will vary in size and weight. One commonality they all share is plastic tanks and an aluminum core, which cuts down on weight, but also reduces the durability of the radiator; with that in mind, use care when installing the new radiator.
Place the catch pan under the radiator. Disconnect the lower radiator hose from the radiator by loosening the hose clamp using the socket set, then pulling the hose free by hand. Let the coolant drain into the catch pan.
Use the socket set to remove the radiator shroud. Set the shroud and fasteners aside.
Loosen the upper radiator hose clamp at the radiator, using the socket set, then aim the free end of the hose down toward the catch pan so that any remaining coolant can drain out.
Reach down and push the transmission cooler line toward the radiator by the bell on the end of the line, then pull it backward and off the radiator. Do this for both lines.
Remove the radiator overflow tank hose by loosening the hose clamp in the same manner you used to remove the radiator hoses, and pull the hose off the radiator.
Unbolt the fan shroud with the socket set and pull it up and out of the way.
Lift the radiator straight up and out of the engine well. Once it has cleared the top of the fenders, move it off to the side. Move the replacement radiator into position in reverse. Make sure the radiator bushings are in place at the bottom of the tank, just as they were when the old radiator was still in the truck.
Reinstall the cooler lines by pushing them onto the cooler inlet and outlet. Reattach the overflow hose. Reinstall the fan shroud and radiator shroud. Reattach the radiator hoses and fill the radiator with an equal mixture of coolant and distilled water.
Start the engine and allow it to run until the coolant level drops in the radiator. Shut the engine off and top off the coolant level with a 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water. Run the heater inside the truck while doing this to remove any trapped air from the system, if necessary.
- The transmission cooler inlet and outlet may not come on your new radiator and may need to be swapped from the old one. Take note of these before attempting to install the new radiator--it is much easier to swap these parts when both radiators are out of the truck.
Things You'll Need
- Four-gallon catch pan
- Socket set
- Replacement radiator
- 2 gallons coolant
- 2 gallons distilled water
- Never work on a hot cooling system. Serious injury or death can occur.
- Never mix coolant types. If your truck is equipped with green coolant, use only green coolant. Consult your truck's owner's manual for coolant type and capacity information.
Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for RF365.com and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.