How to Change the Radiator in a Ford F150

by Chris MooreUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Small length of hose

  • Wrench

  • Fan wrench set

  • Antifreeze

The radiator is the main component of the Ford F150's cooling system. If the radiator is not working, the truck will overheat in a hurry, leading to engine breakdown, which can prove to be a very costly proposition. The exact process of removing and installing the radiator can vary, depending on the year of the truck and the engine type.

Radiator Removal

Disconnect the truck’s negative battery cable.

Drain the engine coolant by placing a large container under the radiator drain, connecting a hose to the drain fitting and then opening it.

Disconnect and remove the air inlet duct to the air cleaner housing and the housing bracket if the truck has a 5.4 liter engine. For a 4.6 liter engine, also remove the air cleaner housing.

Detach the radiator cover by releasing its seven locking pins.

Remove all hoses from the radiator by loosening their clamps. This includes the upper and lower radiator hoses and the expansion tank hose; pliers will help loosen the clamps.

Remove the cooling fan and the fan shroud--disconnect the fan and clutch assembly with a fan wrench set, letting the assembly rest within the shroud, then remove the shroud’s mounting bolts and the shroud itself.

Disconnect the oil cooler lines if the truck has an automatic transmission--remove and move back the secondary plastic clip on the line, attach the tool onto the line, push it into its fitting and then pull it straight out.

Unbolt and remove the two brackets that secure the top part of the radiator, using a wrench, then lift the radiator out.

Radiator Installation

Inspect the condition of the rubber insulators in the mounting brackets and on the radiator’s bottom mount to the truck frame. Replace them, if needed.

Insert the replacement radiator in place and bolt in the top brackets.

Connect the disconnected oil cooler lines (for an automatic transmission truck only) by using the quick-connect fittings.

Install the cooling fan and fan shroud--bolt it in place and connect it to the radiator using the fan wrench set.

Re-connect all other parts, which can include the radiator hoses, the radiator cover, the air cleaner housing/inlet duct and the battery cable.

Refill the radiator with the engine coolant; if the old coolant is dirty, use a fresh half-and-half mixture of antifreeze and water.


To remove the air intake duct, remove its retaining bolt, pull the fresh air inlet out of the fender and the outlet out of the air cleaner housing. To remove the air cleaner housing, disconnect the MAF sensor’s electrical connector and the PVC inlet tube, then remove the hosing mounting bolts and the housing-to-throttle body seal.

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