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How to Replace the Radiator on a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

by Russell Wood

The radiator on a Jeep Grand Cherokee can take a lot of abuse, between driving off road and just cruising through the neighborhood. If the radiator gets a hole in it, then your engine won't cool efficiently, which could potentially damage it. The fix is to replace the radiator. In this case, the project vehicle is a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 5.2l V8 engine, but the process is similar for other Jeep models.

Allow the engine to cool for three to five hours prior to working on the cooling system. Open the drain cap on the top of the radiator with your hand. Set a drain pan underneath the radiator, then open the petcock on the bottom to allow the coolant to drain.

Unbolt the grille reinforcement panel at the top of the radiator using the ratchet and set the panel to the side. Unscrew the hose clamps on the upper and lower radiator hoses at the radiator and pull the lines off of the radiator. Unscrew the transmission cooler lines on the radiator using the line wrench set.

Unplug the electrical connections to the fan using your hands. Unbolt the radiator support bolts using the ratchet, then pull the support away from the engine. Remove the radiator attaching bolts as well, then lift the radiator up and away from the vehicle.

Install the replacement radiator into the core support using your hands. Then reinstall the radiator attaching bolts, radiator support bolts and grille reinforcement panel using the ratchet.

Reinstall the upper and lower radiator hoses using the flathead screwdriver. Plug in any electrical connections using your hands. Then open the cap on the radiator and fill it with the prediluted coolant. Turn on the engine and let it run for 10 minutes with the heater set on the high position. After 10 minutes, turn off the car and allow it to cool down for an hour. Open the radiator cap when it's cool to the touch and add coolant as necessary.

Warning

  • Never work on the cooling system of a vehicle with a hot engine because you risk burning yourself.

Items you will need

About the Author

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.

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Photo Credits

  • radiator humor image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com