How to Remove the Radiator on Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The radiator in a Ford car is a single row radiator with an aluminum core and plastic side tanks. While the radiator sits behind the front grille, it can be easily damaged by road debris or plugged up by using tap water in the coolant mixture. Failure to flush the system regularly can also lead to a plugged radiator. If the radiator is damaged or plugged, it will need to be replaced. If you have a basic understanding of automotive repair, some mechanical inclination and tools, you can replace it yourself and save a few dollars.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove the Radiator on a 1997 Ford Taurus

Disconnect the negative and then the positive battery cables, using the battery wrench. Remove the battery and battery tray using the socket set to remove their retaining fasteners. Remove the constant control relay module by hand and place it out of the way.

Raise the front end of the Taurus with a jack and set it on jack stands. Open the hood, remove the radiator cap and place the catch pan under the front end. Remove the overflow hose from the radiator filler neck. Climb underneath the front end with a rag, pliers and socket set. Use the socket set to remove the splash guard.

Move the catch pan so that it is directly below the radiator petcock located on the bottom of the side tank. Place the rag around the petcock and open it with the pliers. The rag will prevent the pliers from damaging the petcock. Allow the coolant to drain then move the catch pan under the lower radiator hose.

Loosen the lower radiator hose clamp where the hose meets the radiator and pull the hose off the radiator inlet. Allow the coolant to drain from the hose into the catch pan while you climb out from under the Taurus. Loosen the upper radiator hose clamp where the upper hose meets the radiator. Pull the upper hose off the radiator. Unbolt and remove the radiator mounting bracket.

Unbolt the air conditioning condenser with the socket set. Unclip and remove the transaxle cooler lines with the fuel line disconnect tool, then unbolt and remove the condenser bracket. Unbolt the oil cooler retaining bracket and move the cooler out of the way along with the air conditioning condenser.

Use the socket set to unbolt the four fasteners that hold the radiator in place. Remove the radiator support bracket. Lift the radiator up and out of the Taurus.

Items you will need

  • Battery wrench

  • Socket set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands (2)

  • Catch pan

  • Shop rag

  • Pliers

  • Fuel line disconnect tool

 How to Remove the Radiator from a 6.0 Powerstroke

Let the truck to cool for at least four hours prior to working on the cooling system. Then pop the hood and use the flathead screwdriver to remove the front intake tubing from the engine and pull it off to the side. Unbolt the upper shroud from the engine at the same time with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Place the fan pulley holding wrench just behind the cooling fan, on two of the nuts that hold the pulley to the engine. Once it's on securely, you'll be able to turn the fan with the fan pulley holding wrench, indicating it's secure. Then use the fan clutch nut wrench to remove the fan from the front of the engine. Then lift it out of the engine bay.

Place the drain pan underneath the vehicle and open up the petcock on the base of the radiator using your hands. Allow the coolant to drain into the engine. Loosen the hose clamp on the lower radiator hose using the flathead screwdriver and then pull off the radiator hose from the radiator and pour its contents into the drain pan.

Loosen the upper radiator hose clamp with the flathead screwdriver and pull off the hose and pour its contents into the drain pan. Then remove the transmission cooler lines on the driver's side of the radiator using the line wrench.

Unbolt the radiator from the core support with a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Then lift the radiator out of the engine compartment and set it out of the way.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Fan pulley holding wrench

  • Fan clutch nut wrench

  • Line wrench set

 How to Remove the Radiator from a Ford Explorer

Lift the hood and detach the negative battery cable with a wrench.

Loosen the clamp holding the air-cleaner housing end to the throttle body with a flat-head screwdriver and release the spring clips holding the other end to the front of the engine compartment. Remove the air-cleaner housing. On some Explorer models, you will need to unplug the intake-air-temperature sensor attached to the housing as well.

Install an 18-inch piece of vinyl hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the radiator. Position a large drain pan under the radiator and point the vinyl hose to the pan. Open the drain valve, loosen the radiator cap and drain the coolant from the radiator. When finished, close the valve and cover the pan to keep the coolant clean for later reuse.

Loosen the clamps holding the upper and lower radiator hoses to the fittings with a flat-head screwdriver. Slide the clamps back a few inches and detach the hoses from the radiator fittings.

Pull the coolant reservoir hose off the radiator neck by hand.

Unfasten the cooling fan shroud from the radiator with a wrench and move the shroud toward the engine to gain clearance to remove the radiator. If you have a 2001 Explorer or later model, detach the cooling fan and clutch assembly from the water pump, using a fan-clutch-removal tool and take the fan-clutch assembly and shroud out of the engine compartment.

Position a small catch pan under the two cooler lines at the radiator if you have an Explorer with an automatic transmission. Hold the line fittings with a backup wrench and disconnect the line-retaining nuts with a line wrench. After disconnecting the lines, plug the line openings with clean, plastic sheets and rubber bands to prevent contamination of the system.

Unfasten the radiator mounting bolts with a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Look for any hidden fasteners at the bottom of the radiator and remove them. When ready, carefully lift the radiator up and out of the engine compartment.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • 18-inch piece of vinyl hose

  • Large drain pan

  • Fan clutch removal tool (optional)

  • Small catch pan

  • Line wrench (optional)

  • 2 clean plastic sheets

  • 2 rubber bands

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket

 How to Remove a Radiator From a 2001 Windstar

Park the Windstar and let it cool for a few hours so that the coolant can get to a safe temperature. Put a drain pan underneath the driver's side of the radiator. Open the petcock on the bottom of the radiator on the driver's side, using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Empty the coolant into the pan.

Pop the hood. Remove the pushpins around the grille opening using your hands. Unplug the cooling fan wiring harness with your hands. Unbolt the cooling fan from the radiator with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Lift the fan out of the engine bay.

Remove the hose clamps on the upper and lower radiator hoses with the flat-head screwdriver. Pull the hoses off of the radiator with your hands. Remove the clips holding the headlights in place using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Remove the turn signals from the core support with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then pull the turn signals and headlamps off to the side.

Unbolt the grille opening panel bracket bolts using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Detach the radiator grille opening panel brackets with the ratchet and pull it to the side. Unbolt the hood latch support with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and pull it to the side.

Unbolt the radiator from the core support using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Detach the retaining screws on the grille opening, using the Phillips screwdriver. Unbolt the air conditioner condenser from the core support with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Lift it up and out of the core support as you simultaneously push down on the radiator to release the clips holding the radiator to the base of the core support. Lift the radiator up and out of the core support and away from the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Drain pan

  • 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Phillips screwdriver