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How to Replace a Radiator in a Ford Mustang

by ContributorUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • New radiator

  • Container for old coolant

  • 2 crescent wrenches

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • 10 mm socket wrench

  • Vise grips or channel locks

  • Flush treatment

  • Coolant

How to Replace a Radiator in a Ford Mustang. The Ford Mustang is one of the more enduring vehicles when it comes to American automotive transmission. Whether you own a classic 1960s model or its contemporary counterpart, you can easily learn to maintain and repair your Mustang yourself. This includes replacing a cracked radiator, which can be done in just a few hours.

Begin by draining your radiator into an empty milk jug or other suitable container. Twist the plastic spigot on the bottom of your radiator counter clockwise by hand and remove the radiator cap. This process is universal for every make of car, Ford or Chevy, domestic or foreign. Newer Mustangs have a plastic piece of radiator trim on top that you need to remove first.

Remove the transmission coolant lines for automatic transmissions. Use one crescent wrench to hold the line still, and another to loosen the nut. There will be a nut for each line left attached to the radiator. This step applies to every model of the Ford Mustang with an automatic transmission.

Disconnect the fan shroud. Depending on the year of your Mustang, you will either have to use a Phillips head screwdriver or a 10 mm socket wrench. For a Mustang made after 1994, you first need to unbolt the overflow tank bracket with your 10 mm socket. Take the cap off the overflow tank, and remove the tank from the car.

Pull the cooling fan out. The fan on the 1964 through 1979 models will come out in one piece after you've removed the shroud. For later models, unplug the wiring and pull loose the tabs holding the wires to the fan and fan shroud, then remove the fan.

Use a pair of vise grips or channel locks to detach the hose clamps from the radiator. Squeeze both ends of the clamp together, and twist the hoses free. Drain the coolant from the lower radiator hose.

Unbolt the two radiator brackets with your 10 mm socket wrench. With a 1979 or older model, you can proceed to pull the radiator up and out of the engine compartment. For anything newer, there are several wires running across the radiator on the passenger side. Disconnect these, then remove the radiator.

Place the new radiator in its seat. Replace the support brackets, then replace everything you've removed in reverse order. Use a bottle of flush treatment on the new radiator, following the maker's instructions. Drain the flush treatment, and replace the coolant. Let the car idle for 5 to 10 minutes with the radiator cap removed and the heater on. As air bubbles out, top off the coolant.

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