How to Change the Radiator in Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer

The radiator in your Chevy Chevrolet car truck is important to keep the engine cool and running. If the coolant is not properly flowing and the radiator is the cause, you need to replace it. The exact process of replacing the radiator in your Chevrolet car can vary depending on the exact year of the truck. Other factors exist as well, including whether the truck has automatic transmission or not.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Radiator in a Chevy Cavalier

Disable the air bag system if your Cavalier model is equipped with one. This will prevent you from accidentally triggering an impact sensor. Consult your car owner's manual if necessary.

Place a drain pan underneath the radiator and open the radiator drain plug-located to the right or left of the unit, depending on engine model-to remove the cooling mixture from the system.

Remove the hood latch, latch bracket and headlamp assemblies if necessary to make room for radiator removal. Use a wrench, ratchet and socket and Phillips screwdriver.

Remove the cooling fan and mounting bolts from the top of the radiator using a wrench or ratchet.

Lift the front of the vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on jack stands. Remove the clamp securing the lower radiator hose to the radiator using rib joint pliers or screwdriver-depending on type of clamp. Using your hand, slightly twist the end of the hose from side to side and then pull the hose off the radiator. Remove the upper radiator hose using the same procedure.

Disconnect the lower and upper transmission oil cooler lines using a tube wrench to avoid damage to the lines and nuts.

Disconnect the hose clamp of the over flow tank at the radiator using pliers or Phillips screwdriver and pull the hose free. If your Cavalier model has a condenser attached to the radiator, remove the mounting screws with a Phillips screwdriver and lift the radiator assembly from the engine compartment by hand.

Set the new radiator in place. Install the condenser if removed, the over flow tank hose and the lower and upper transmission oil lines.

Connect the lower and upper radiator hoses and secure them with the clamps. Install the radiator upper mounting bolts, cooling fan, hood latch and bracket and head lamp assemblies if you had to remove them. Lower the vehicle.

Fill the cooling system with 50 percent of new antifreeze and 50 percent water. Reconnect the air bag system if equipped.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan Wrench set Ratchet and socket set Phillips screwdriver Jack and 2 jack stands Rib joint pliers Tube wrench Antifreeze

 How to Replace a Radiator in a Chevy Silverado

Drain your coolant from the engine block. One unique feature of the Chevy Silverado is that rather than opening the drain cock on the radiator, you can drain coolant more quickly by loosening two brass bolts on the bottom of the engine block with a 13mm socket. You'll find these just behind the exhaust manifold.

Remove the plastic radiator trim, and begin detaching hoses and wires. Use your pliers. A Chevy Silverado with an automatic transmission has two coolant lines from the radiator to the the transmission you need to detach, as well as the upper and lower radiator hoses. Also remove the coolant sensor wire, if you have one.

Unscrew the two bolts on top of the radiator holding it to the supports with a 10mm socket. Remove the four 10mm bolts holding the fan assembly to the radiator.

Lift the old radiator straight out, wiggling it slightly to make sure it clears other engine parts.

Install the new radiator, and reconnect every detached wire and hose.

Flush the new radiator with your heater on high. Make sure you follow the instructions on the flush treatment. Replace with a one to one mixture of coolant to water.

Items you will need

  • New radiator

  • 10mm socket

  • 13mm socket

  • Coolant

  • Pliers

  • Flush treatment

  • Water

 How to Replace a Radiator on a Chevy S10

Place the catch pan underneath the radiator. Since many S10s use the lower radiator hose to drain the radiator, you want to be sure that the catch pan is under the radiator in the front of the truck. Also, there is no need to jack up the truck, since it sits high enough off the ground that this is not necessary.

Loosen the hose clamp screw on the bottom-most hose on the radiator. This is the drain hose. While most S10s use a drain plug, you may want to skip using this because they tend to seize up. If you attempt to remove it, you're more likely to snap off the plastic insert, and then you'll have to replace it. If you go this route, the plug is on the bottom of the radiator. Use a screwdriver to loosen the plug.

Slide the hose clamp out of the way. This can be a little tricky if the hose is old, but if the clamp is loose enough, it should back off without too much trouble.

Pull the hose off the end of the radiator. Wiggle the hose back and forth a bit while pulling.

Drain the radiator fluid into the catch pan. Make sure that all of the fluid drains into the catch pan so that you do not leak coolant onto the S10's paint.

Remove the upper radiator hose. Loosen the hose clamp screw, and slide the hose off the upper radiator inlet.

Remove the radiator-to-frame bolts with a socket wrench. Depending on the year of your S10, there will be 4-6 bolts that need to be removed to pull the radiator out of the engine bay.

Pull the radiator straight up out of the vehicle.

Install the new radiator. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Push down on the radiator cap and turn it counterclockwise. Pull the cap off and fill the radiator with 50% coolant and 50% water. Replace the cap and run the engine until it comes to operating temperature. Check around the new radiator and the hose attachments for leaks.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Screwdriver

  • Catch pan

  • Radiator fluid

 How to Replace the Radiator in a Blazer

Disconnect the truck's negative battery cable and drain the engine coolant, loosening the drain fitting on the radiator--with pliers if needed--and pouring the coolant into a large container.

Remove the air intake duct from the air intake system, loosening the duct clamps with a screwdriver, then unscrew and remove the upper fan shroud using your screwdriver.

Disconnect the transmission cooler lines from the radiator using a wrench, and plug the lines with rubber--these lines are only on a truck with automatic transmission. Disconnect both radiator hoses, taking note of which is the upper and lower.

Press the three plastic tabs for the lower radiator shroud with a screwdriver and lift the radiator out of the engine.

Insert the new radiator in the engine compartment and see that the lower shroud tabs engage. Connect the upper and lower radiator hoses and the transmission cooler lines (if needed).

Reconnect the upper fan shroud with its screws and install the air intake duct with its clamps.

Refill the radiator at its filler neck. If the old coolant is dirty at all, use a fresh combination of half water and half antifreeze.

Reconnect the battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Pliers

  • Container

  • Screwdriver

  • Rubber plugs

  • Antifreeze/coolant

 How to Replace a Radiator in a Chevy Camaro

Drive your Chevy Camaro onto a pair of jack stands, giving you room to work underneath it.

Let the engine cool and drain the radiator by unscrewing the lower drain plug.

Remove the air duct assembly for older model Camaros, as well as the air filter. This is a large pipe attached to the top of the radiator.

Pop the radiator trim panel off the top of the radiator. There's also a cooling fan assembly you can remove in one piece, as well as the electrical connections.

Detach the upper radiator hose, as well as the lower. If you have a Chevy Camaro with an automatic transmission, there are two coolant lines running from the radiator to the transmission you need to disconnect.

Unscrew the two bolts holding the radiator to the radiator support. For older model Camaros, you'll have to work the radiator out from underneath, making sure the right corner clears your refrigerant hose. With a newer model, you'll likely have to try and pull the radiator straight up.

Install the new radiator, and reattach every hose and wire. Once you've replaced the coolant, run the engine for several minutes with the radiator cap cracked to bleed and residual air from the lines.

Items you will need

  • New radiator

  • Coolant

  • Jack stands