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Old 07-09-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
LaphLaw
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Default Replacing the radiator -- how?

So I discovered several weeks back that I was leaking coolant. I traced the leak to the radiator (there's a crack in it), and now I need to replace it. Calling a few distributors, the price for a new radiator runs about $100-150. Labor is about another $50-100. So I'm thinking about doing it myself. That said...

1) What tools do I need to get the job done?
2) Are there any "gotchas" (i.e. it takes forever to get x part off, and isn't worth the time)
3) Anything I should know up front before doing the job myself?

My car:
'99 Saturn SL1

Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:57 PM   #2
David Grigor
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1995 SW2
Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Plenty of info on how to replace in the DIY section. Just search.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Replacing is not too difficult. I've done it a few times in my Saturns. The main issue is a crack on the Driver's Side top of the radiator.

A quick question to you is: Is your car auto or manual?

If auto; it would be good to get the replacement trans cooler lines. These are a dealer only part and will run you about $15-$20/piece. You will need to replace these at the upper and lower points on the new radiator. If you have a manual...DO NOT remove the tabs that are located where these hose connections are, otherwise you will have leaks.

To replace the radiator you will need to do the following:

*Lift car up via jackstands (ramps preferred)

*Remove the Coolant Tank Reservoir Cap, and Drain Coolant via drainstop on bottom of radiator.

*You will need:
A Large Pair of Vice Grips, 10MM Socket wrench. 13MM Socket Wrench, Phillps Head Screwdriver, Flat Head Screwdriver

*After draining the coolant, remove the air filter tubing and housing in front of the battery (13MM Bolts)

*Now that the coolant is drained, you will need to remove the Upper Radiator Hose with the Vice Grips

*Remove the Coolant Fan and the O2 Sensor.

*Remove the 10MM Bolts that hold the Radiator to the Condensor. Be aware that the Condensor needs to be secured so that it doesn't fall out of the bottom of the car. On the Passenger side of the Radiator, there is a little "Lip" on the radiator that the Coolant Fan sits in that you will need to angle to get the Coolant Fan out.

*There are 3 (10MM) bolts that you need to remove to get the radiator out and another 2 (10 MM) that are at the top inside that you need to remove.

*Once you have these out, install the new radiator and reinstall everything. Run Distilled water through the system and refill with Universal Yellow Coolant. Check for leaks. Refill through the coolant tank until the level is topped off and the coolant tank doesn't flash anymore.
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
GQROD
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

If you order one online, make sure you open the box in front of the delivery person ( fed ex, ups ) and check to make sure it is not warped.

Very important to do this since the box will look new but you have to take the radiator out of the box and check it. If it's warped do not accept it send it back and get another one.

Definetly order the trans oil cooler lines and be careful not to break the plastic clips that hold the lines to the tranny otherwise you have to buy the new plastic clips and metal hex connectors.

Watch richpins video it's great for the first timer to get a sense of what is involved.

Make sure you cover the 02 sensor connector with a plastic baggy to make sure you don't get coolant or tranny oil on it and ruin the 02 sensor.

Follow the advice given by oldnuc in your search and you will be fine he helped me a lot !!!

I just replaced mine http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=140551 , this is the thread done just over a week ago.
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Radiators aren't a precision item. A little bowing won't hurt anything. I get cheapies from rockauto for around $80. They're mostly straight but, not perfect. I've yet to replace a transmission line. Take the quick disconnects loose at the transmission and pull the lines with the radiator. You'll be able to get the lines loose without boogering them up. If you have to, use a pair of vice grips to reinforce your flare wrench to get them off.
...
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:31 PM   #6
sr20fd3st
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

I remember it being straight forward. hoses off, mounts off, radiator out. Install in reverse.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

10mm socket on ratchet, vice grips or pliers for the hose clamps, something to drain antifreze into and ~30 minutes.
I'll probably end up doing it again on mine as I used a radiator I pulled from a parts car but hey, it's cheaper and faster then buying one online, then waiting for it to come in.
...
The proper way to fix a S-Series automatic is to replace it with a 5spd O:)
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

When my rad finally blew. I went to the local Upullit. Searched and found a 'new' one. I figured it would last longer since it was relatively new. It last about 2 weeks. I went back and got another 'new' one . It lasted about a month. It turns out these newer rads I got from the JY were the 'made in China' junk. When I went back the third time, I pick out a factory rad that was 10 yrs old. And it is still leak free. I can change that rad in my sleep now. ;-)
...
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Pretty straightforward.
I think I took out the headlight(s) to reach bolts easier.
Air conditioning condenser is sorta klutzy though but it's not a hard job.
...
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Oh yeah, in my photos, I cut out the access hole (in the air dam) so it's easier to turn the radiator stopcock.
...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:26 PM   #11
GQROD
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Oh yeah, in my photos, I cut out the access hole (in the air dam) so it's easier to turn the radiator stopcock.
So that's why mine is missing!!!!! i couldn't figure out who would pull this off when i bought the car, now that makes sense.lol
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Pretty straightforward.
I think I took out the headlight(s) to reach bolts easier.
Air conditioning condenser is sorta klutzy though but it's not a hard job.
Not knocking you...but you created more work for yourself. The headlights don't even need to be touched.
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:45 AM   #13
Carlr33
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaphLaw View Post
So I discovered several weeks back that I was leaking coolant. I traced the leak to the radiator (there's a crack in it), and now I need to replace it. Calling a few distributors, the price for a new radiator runs about $100-150. Labor is about another $50-100. So I'm thinking about doing it myself. That said...

1) What tools do I need to get the job done?
2) Are there any "gotchas" (i.e. it takes forever to get x part off, and isn't worth the time)
3) Anything I should know up front before doing the job myself?

My car:
'99 Saturn SL1

Thanks!
Largest gotcha is getting a new radiator that works, see link:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...t=2nd+radiator
...
2000 SL1
206,000 MILES
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: Replacing the radiator -- how?

"The headlights don't even need to be touched"

There are two 10mm bolts (socket size) that connect the A/C condenser to the radiator, lower front of radiator. It just seemed easier to remove the headlights to get at them.
Removing headlights is a 5 minute job. Only 2 bolts each. Plus I am in no particular hurry.
...
97 SL. Born 6/5/97, bought 7/7/97
08 Burgman 400
02 Haro MTB- can't kill it, still trying though

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