How to Change the Radiator for an Acura

by Eli Laurens

Acura vehicles are manufactured with a pressurized coolant system that stabilizes the operating engine temperature with a finned condensing radiator. This radiator can corrode and require replacement, which should take the average backyard mechanic about two hours to complete.

Drain the coolant from the system by turning the radiator petcock counterclockwise with the drain pan directly underneath it. The petcock is usually located on the lower, inside corner of the radiator and resembles a large plastic screw. Relieve the pressure on the radiator by turning the top fill cap counterclockwise.

Remove the upper and lower radiator hoses by pinching the hose clamps with pliers, or turning their screws counterclockwise, then pulling the hoses free of the radiator nipples. Older hoses may be stuck in place, so some torquing force is required.

Remove the fan and fan shroud by turning the screws on each corner of the shroud in a counterclockwise direction. The electric fan will disconnect at the adapter plug, which will pull free once its clip is depressed. Pull the fan and shroud out of the vehicle toward the top of the engine bay in one piece.

Remove the top mount bolts by turning them counterclockwise, then pull the radiator straight up and out of the frame mount.

Replace the radiator with a new core, then slide it into position using the guide channels on either side of the frame mount.

Replace the top mount screws by turning them clockwise.

Replace the fan and fan shroud by securing the bolts at all four corners in a clockwise manner. The electric fan's wiring plug will attach to the Acura's wiring harness by pressing the adapter plug ends together until a click is heard.

Reattach the coolant hoses by working them onto the radiator nipples, then securing the hose clamps by pinching them and maneuvering them over the nipples, or screwing them in a clockwise direction once they are in place.

Secure the petcock, if necessary, by turning it in a clockwise direction.

Refill the coolant system with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent coolant through the top fill cap opening. Crank the Acura and continue to pour in the mixture until it will not take any more. Check the reservoir tank often and refill as necessary.

Tip

  • check Collect all coolant and recycle it at a local parts store.

Warning

  • close Do not allow children or animals to come into contact with coolant as it could be dangerous.

Items you will need

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.