How to Replace a Radiator in a Saturn Ion

by Contributor

It's important to keep the radiator in your Saturn Ion in good shape, as a damaged radiator can cause overheating and destroy the engine. If you've got some mechanical skills, you can save some money by replacing the radiator yourself. Although the process is basically the same for all model years, here's how to replace the radiator in the popular 2003 Saturn Ion.

Remove the battery from the Saturn Ion. Locate the plug on the underside of the radiator and drain the engine coolant into a resealable container. Loosen the bolts that hold the power steering reservoir to the fan shroud and tilt the reservoir towards the rear of the vehicle.

Disconnect the electrical connectors on the cooling fan and slide the connectors from the retainer. Remove the fan electrical harness from the fan shroud's tabs.

Take off the cooler line on the upper transaxle on the radiator end tank and unsnap the tank retainer on the front end. Cap the cooler line securely to prevent contamination or loss of fluid.

Remove the clamps securing the upper radiator hose, and detach the hose. Unfasten the bolts holding the fan shroud, and take off the fan shroud.

Detach the wiring harness and remove the hose clamp on the lower radiator. unhook the hose and the lower transaxle cooler line from the radiator and cap the end of the line to prevent contamination.

Unhook the wiring harness clips on the radiator upper mounting bracket, remove the bracket, rubber mounts, and the radiator coolant air hose clamp. Disconnect the hose and the bolts that hold the condenser block to the radiator tank. Remove the condenser assembly from the radiator and lift the radiator from the vehicle.

Install the new radiator, and reinstall and reconnect all engine components in the reverse order they were removed, securing all nuts, bolts and clips securely. Fill the radiator with a mixture of half engine coolant and half distilled water. Start the motor and let it run until it's warmed up, check the fluid lines and add more, if needed.

Tip

  • check You can reuse antifreeze if it isn't old or contaminated. However, if you choose not to reuse it, take it to a garage or a hazardous waste facility for proper disposal.

Warnings

  • close Be sure to keep antifreeze in a sealed container out of the reach of children and pets, and if any is spilled, clean it up immediately. Cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze, which can be fatal if ingested.
  • close Be sure the engine in your Saturn Ion is completely cool before replacing the radiator because the hot liquid and steam can cause serious burns. It's also a good idea to wear gloves and protective clothing.

Items you will need

About the Author

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