How to Change the Radiator in a Dodge Caravanby Chris Moore
The radiator in your Dodge Caravan transfers the heat from the engine out of the van. If the radiator is not working properly (for example, if it is excessively clogged), the entire cooling system will not work, and the van will overheat. While it is possible to remove the radiator and then flush it out to unclog it, sometimes you may be better off replacing the radiator altogether.
Make sure the parking brake is set. Disconnect the van's negative battery cable then raise the front end with a jack and support it on jack stands.
Drain the [engine coolant](https://itstillruns.com/what-is-engine-coolant-13579658.html) by removing the radiator cap then set the heater's control to the maximum heat. Place a 12-quart container under the radiator drain fitting and remove the fitting. Drain the remaining coolant from the engine block by removing its plugs once you've drained all the coolant from the radiator.
Remove the engine cooling fans by disconnecting the electrical connectors. Remove the radiator support by removing the top fasteners connecting it to the grille with a wrench then pull the fans straight up and out of the engine. Detach the coolant reservoir hose from the radiator filler neck and retainer and set this hose aside.
Disconnect the vapor purge solenoid, located to the right of the radiator. Disconnect the EVAP hoses, making sure you label them for reconnection later, then disconnect the electrical connector. Detach the solenoid from its mounting bracket by depressing the release tab and sliding it off the bracket.
Remove the lower engine splash shield by removing its retainers with a screwdriver or Torx wrench.
Disconnect the upper and lower radiator hoses by removing their clamps.
Separate the air conditioning condenser from the radiator by removing the fasteners and pulling up the condenser to release it from the lower clips. Take note of the position of the flexible air seals that are on each side of the radiator then lift the radiator out of the engine.
Inspect the condition of the rubber radiator mounts that the radiator sits on in the engine compartment. Replace them if they are deteriorated.
Install the replacement radiator in the engine compartment. Attach the radiator to the air conditioner condenser using the fasteners before seating the radiator in the lower rubber mounts.
Reconnect all parts in reverse order of removal, including the radiator hoses, engine splash shield, vapor purge solenoid and cooling fans. Lower the van and reconnect the battery.
Refill the engine coolant. Use the old coolant only if it is clean with no contaminants inside. If not, use fresh anti-freeze with the proper 50/50 mixture of water.
Start the Caravan's engine and check the cooling system for any leaks. Let the engine reach its normal operating temperature; the upper radiator hose will get hot. Check the coolant level and add more if needed.
- "Chilton Chrysler Caravan/Voyager/Town and Country Repair Manual;" John Wegmann; 2006
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- Torx wrench
Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.