How to Install a Radiator in Vehiclesby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
Installing a radiator in your Vehicles is an involved process and you might find the prospect of doing the job yourself intimidating. The truth is, this is a repair job you can do in your garage. You will need to get fully prepared Vehicles the job though. Make sure you gather all the necessary tools and, above all, work in an organized fashion. This will not only help stretch your maintenance budget but also increase your Vehicles maintenance know-how.
Under The Hood:
- How to Install a Radiator in a Lexus SC 400
- How to Install a Radiator on a 2001 Aztek
- How to Install a Radiator on a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta
Disconnect the battery by turning the positive terminal bolt in a counterclockwise direction, then setting it aside. Do not let it touch metal.
Drain the radiator by turning the radiator petcock counterclockwise and allowing the coolant to fall into the drain pan. The petcock is on the lower corner of the radiator; it's a white or black plastic bolt. Uncap the radiator to relieve the negative pressure.
Remove the upper and lower coolant hoses by pinching the hose clamps and working them off the radiator nipples; in some cases the clamps are screw-type and must have their clamp screws turned counterclockwise to come off. The hoses can be worked off the nipples, but leave them connected to the engine.
Remove the fan and fan shroud by turning the corner bolts in a counterclockwise direction, then unplugging the wiring harness adapter by pulling it apart. The fan and fan shroud will pull straight up and out of the engine compartment.
Remove the top radiator mount plate by turning the mount bolts in a counterclockwise direction, then pulling the mount plate free.
Remove the radiator by pulling it toward the top of the engine compartment and working it out of the mount rails. Set the radiator aside.
Replace the radiator with a new unit by sliding it into the mount rails and into position, then reattaching the mount plate and securing it with the bolts by turning them clockwise.
Reconnect the fan and fan shroud by turning the corner bolts clockwise, then reattaching the wiring harness connector by pressing the ends together until you hear a click.
Reconnect the coolant hoses by working them onto the radiator nipples, then securing their hose clamps by pinching them together or turning their screws clockwise until snug.
Tighten the radiator petcock, if applicable, and refill the system with coolant.
Reconnect the battery by turning the positive terminal bolt clockwise until snug.
Crank the motor and continue to pour coolant into the radiator until it can take in no more. Cap the radiator, and check the level of coolant in the reservoir tank often.
Items you will need
Take your Aztek to an automotive service station and have them discharge the air conditioning (A/C) system.
Go back to your garage and drain the coolant from the radiator into a large drain pan, disconnect the negative (black) battery cable with a wrench and remove the air cleaner assembly with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
Outline the hood latch on the top radiator mounting brace with a white marker for reference during the reassembling process and then remove the hood latch with a ratchet and socket.
Remove any necessary components from the top of the radiator for better access to the radiator.
Begining of Removal of the Radiator
Unplug the cooling fan electrical connector.
Slide the clamp away securing the upper radiator hose to the radiator fitting with a pair of slip joint pliers. Twist and remove the upper radiator hose from the radiator fitting.
Unfasten the remove the upper radiator mounts on each side with a ratchet and socket.
Detach the overflow hose from the radiator neck with the slip joint pliers.
Unfasten the upper cooler line from the radiator with a flare wrench and cover the line opening with a clean plastic sheet and a rubber band.
See that nothing else is attached to the cooling fan shroud and unfasten the shroud mounting bolts with the ratchet and socket and remove the cooling fan and shroud assembly from the vehicle.
Detach the lower radiator hose with the rib joint pliers.
Disconnect the two hoses and inlet tube from the condenser block located on the driver's side of the radiator with a flare wrench. Cover the hose openings with clean plastic sheets and rubber bands to keep dirt and grease off the system.
Verify that no other mounting bolts hold the radiator and condenser in place and remove both units as a single assembly from the vehicle. Place the assembly on a workbench and unfasten the radiator from the condenser with a ratchet and socket and separate the units.
Installing the New Radiator
Fasten the new radiator to the condenser with the ratchet and socket and install the assembly in the engine compartment.
Connect the two hoses and inlet tube to the condenser block using the flare wrench.
Attach the lower radiator hose with the rib joint pliers.
Replace the cooling fan and shroud assembly and fasten the bolts with the ratchet and socket.
Connect the upper cooler line to the radiator with the flare wrench.
Reattach the overflow hose to the radiator neck with the slip joint pliers.
Replace the upper radiator mounts on each side and fasten the bolts with the ratchet and socket.
Reattach the upper radiator hose to the radiator with the slip joint pliers.
Plug in the radiator fan electrical connector.
Replace any accessories and parts you had to remove to replace the radiator. Refill the radiator with coolant and take your Aztek to an automotive service station and have them recharge the A/C system.
Items you will need
Large drain pan
Slip joint pliers
Flare wrench set
4 Clean plastic sheets
4 Rubber bands
Park the Jetta on a flat, level surface and set the parking brake. Open the hood and secure it in place with the hood prop. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Allow the vehicle's engine to cool completely.
Place a bucket or deep drip pan under the radiator and open the lower radiator drain plug with a socket wrench. Allow the radiator to drain completely. Dispose of the coolant at a recycling center or auto garage that accepts recycled petroleum products.
Unplug the wiring harnesses connected to the headlights. Remove the screws holding the headlight assemblies in place with a Phillips screwdriver, then pull the headlights forward and remove them from the vehicle.
Remove the bolts securing the front bumper with a socket wrench. Remove the front bumper assembly from the Jetta.
Loosen the hose clamps on the upper and lower radiator hoses with a flat head screwdriver. Grip the hoses securely and disconnect them from the radiator. Unplug the thermal fan and cooling fan electrical connectors.
Remove the two bolts holding the upper part of the radiator in place. Lift the radiator and fan assembly out of the vehicle until the lower hoses and lines are accessible.
Disconnect the power-steering cooling lines. Remove the air guides with a socket wrench. Unplug the fan assembly and pull it free of the radiator. Finish removing the radiator from the vehicle.
Connect the fan assembly to the new radiator and reassemble the Jetta in the exact reverse order it was taken apart.
Place the bucket under the radiator and pour a few gallons of water through it to clean out any dirt and dust. Install the radiator's lower drain plug. Fill the radiator with a mixture of half water and half coolant.
Turn on the Jetta and let it run for a couple of minutes. Add water and coolant to the radiator until it is full. Put the radiator cap back on the radiator.
Items you will need
Bucket or drain pan
Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver