How to Change a Radiator in Nissan Cars

by Contributing Writer

The radiator in your Nissan car removes heat from the engine block to keep it at a predetermined temperature. A leaking or broken radiator needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid permanent engine damage. Following these simple steps, you will be able to change the radiator in your Nissan car model in a matter of minutes.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change a Radiator in a Nissan Frontier

Park your vehicle in a safe and level place with enough room for you to work around the front of the car and open the hood.

Place a catch pan under the radiator; open the drain plug located at the bottom, left hand side--driver side--of the radiator and drain the coolant. Loosen the radiator cap to speed coolant draining.

Remove the engine undercover so you can have access to the radiator from the bottom. Use a ratchet and socket or Phillips screwdriver.

Disconnect the upper and lower hoses connected to the radiator by loosening the hose clamps with pliers, screwdriver or ratchet and socket, depending on the type of clamps used on your Frontier model.

Remove the air cleaner and air duct assembly to give yourself enough room for radiator removal; then remove the lower radiator shroud. On most Frontier models, the shroud may be removed by hand; on other models, you may need a Phillips screwdriver or ratchet and socket.

Take off the upper radiator shroud by removing the two upper mounting screws using a Phillips screwdriver or ratchet and socket. Lift the unit off the engine compartment; then disconnect the small hose from the reservoir connected to the radiator.

Remove the two upper brackets off the radiator using a wrench or ratchet and socket and the two mounting rubber fasteners from the bottom of the radiator using a pair of pliers. Lift the radiator off the engine compartment.

Install the new or rebuilt radiator in place and install the two mounting rubber fasteners at the bottom and the two upper brackets. Set the radiator upper shroud in place and install the two upper mounting screws and connect the reservoir hose to the radiator.

Install the lower radiator shroud and the air cleaner and duct assembly. Connect the upper and lower hoses and install the engine undercover. Make sure the radiator drain plug is closed and fill the radiator with equal parts of new antifreeze and water. Start the engine and let it reach operating temperature. As the coolant begins to circulate throughout the engine, add coolant to the reservoir tank up to the "Full Hot" mark on the tank.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan Phillips screwdriver Ratchet and socket set Pliers Coolant

 How to Replace a Radiator in a Nissan Pathfinder

Raise the front of the Pathfinder with a jack and place it securely on a jack stand. Block the rear wheels to keep them from rolling. Remove the undercover and the suspension member stay so you have access to the bottom of the radiator.

Locate the plug on the bottom of the radiator. Loosen the plug and let the engine coolant drain into a resealable container.

Disconnect the lower radiator hose and upper radiator hose. Take a few minutes to check the hoses. If you notice wear, cracking or bulging, it's a great time to change the hoses.

Remove the radiator shrouds, both upper and lower. If your Pathfinder has an automatic transmission, remove the oil cooler hoses. Disconnect the reservoir tank hose and take off the radiator mounting bracket.

Lift the radiator carefully out of the vehicle.

Install the new radiator and reinstall all engine components in the reverse order that they were removed, being sure to tighten all bolts and clips securely.

Fill the engine with a mix of half antifreeze and half distilled water. Leave the radiator cap off, start the engine, and let it warm up for several minutes. Check the fluid levels and top off, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Jack and jack stand

  • Wheel blocks

  • Resealable container

  • Replacement hoses, if necessary

  • Replacement radiator

  • Antifreeze

  • Distilled water

 How to Replace a Radiator in a Nissan Maxima

Drain the cooling system into a resealable container.

Disconnect the negative battery cable and remove the coolant tank and bracket. Unscrew the bolts holding the upper mountain bracket, and remove the bracket.

Remove the upper and lower radiator hoses, and inspect them carefully. If they are cracked or worn, it's a perfect time to replace them. If your Maxima has oil cooler lines, remove them now. Remove both the cooling and condenser fans, along with the fan motors.

Lift the radiator carefully out of the engine.

Reinstall the new radiator. Reattach the fan motors and shields and the cooling and condensing fans, tightening the bolts according to specifications. Install the radiator hoses and the oil cooler lines, if applicable.

Reattach the radiator mounting brackets and the coolant tank, and torque the bolts according to specifications. Reattach the negative battery cable.

Fill the radiator with a mixture of half distilled water and half engine coolant, making sure it's filled to the proper level. Start the engine and let it run a couple of minutes, check the level again, and add more liquid, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Resealable container

  • Replacement radiator hoses, if needed

  • Replacement radiator

  • Torque wrench

  • Distilled water

  • Engine coolant

 How to Replace a Radiator in a Nissan Altima

Loosen the plug on the bottom of the radiator and drain the engine coolant into a resealable container.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Unhook the fresh air duct. Take off the upper radiator hose and lower radiator hose. If your Nissan Altima is equipped with an automatic transmission, disconnect the cooler hoses and plug them to prevent leaks.

Inspect the radiator hoses for signs of wear. If you see bulging or cracks, replace the hoses.

Remove the air conditioner condenser and radiator core, being very careful not to scratch them. Pull the radiator, along with the fan assembly, out of the vehicle. Unhook the fan assembly and attach it to the new radiator.

Install the new radiator, with fan assembly, into the vehicle. Reinstall the air conditioner condenser and radiator core and automatic transmission cooler hose, if applicable.

Replace the upper and lower radiator hoses, and reconnect the negative battery cable.

Fill the radiator with a mixture of antifreeze and distilled water. Attach the radiator cap very loosely and start the engine. Let it run for a few minutes, then check the fluid levels and add more, if necessary. Put the radiator cap on securely.

Items you will need

  • Resealable container

  • Replacement radiator hoses, if necessary

  • Replacement radiator

  • Antifreeze

  • Distilled water