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Old 09-30-2000, 05:02 PM   #1
downfall21
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Default Dying Radiator

Ok, Here I go again. I bought my 93 SL1 4 months ago and I have replaced the engine and the transmission already. Now the radiator is dying. And I am not willing to pay saturn to replace it also. They want $360 to do it. I can get a radiator with lifetime warranty for $139. My question is..Has anyone ever replaced their radiator themselves? Or is it not possible. I don't think it looks like that bad of a job. Please can someone give me some input of where to start if you have done this. I want to get this project started so I don't miss work. Thanks in advance

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Old 09-30-2000, 06:02 PM   #2
Diggs
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Strange you should ask this just now.

I just came in from changing the radiator on my sister-in-law's 97SL2. It was about an hour of work.

You only need a couple of tools. A 10mm socket to remove the air filter box, the radiator supports and to remove the a/c radiator from the main radiator. Then you need a 7mm socket to loosen the radiator hose clamps and a 13mm wrench to remove the transmission cooler lines if it is an automatic.

I highly recommend taking the lower black plastic piece off (the piece that has the little air dam attached to it) because then you get full access to the bottom and can work without having to squeeze your hands up thru those small holes. On the 97 it is held on by 4 of those two piece fasteners.

When you take the a/c radiator loose from the main radiator, you will need something to support it (and preferrably someone up top to lift the main one out - four hands are better than two) because it will only be held up by the a/c hoses at that point. I just grabbed a piece of wire I had laying around and hooked it from a couple of holes under there and let the a/c radiator rest on it.

One other "watch-out-for" - This would be a good time to replace the radiator hoses if they are the originals. If they show any weathering, they may be due.

If you haven't spent the $11.99 for a Haynes manual yet, pick one up when you go out for the radiator and anti-freeze. It has some pictures and tells you how to take the stuff off.

I'd like to know where you found a replacement radiator for $139. On the 97, no one, and I called LOTS of places, had an aftermarket radiator. I had to get one from the dealer at $275. One place initially said he had one for $150, but when I called him back, he said it "might" fit. That wasn't good enough for me, so off to line the dealer's pockets we went.

Good Luck if you decide to do this yourself. Remember to have lots of patience when you are putting the new one in. You definitely DO NOT want to hit any of the fins.

Diggs

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Old 09-30-2000, 06:19 PM   #3
downfall21
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Diggs.....It's a little late now but I found that radiator.
http://www.radiator.com
Brand new Radiator for: 97 SATURN SATURN SL 1.9, -, L-4 AUTOMATIC

Radiator list price:
$287
Online discount:
$-98
Your price is just:
$189

FREE Next Day Delivery!
Lifetime Warranty

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Old 09-30-2000, 06:24 PM   #4
Dr. Bob
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It does not look to be terribly difficult - most cars are fairly simple. I recommend you get a manual, study the procedure well, get the parts/tools beforehand and walk-through doing it. Be careful with the transmission oil cooler lines (if equipped) - you don't want to twist/bend the lines.

It sounds like you managed to buy a used machine that was very seriously neglected - everything you've had problems with (engine, transmission, radiator) may have been avoided with proper maintenance. The good news is that the big stuff has been fixed, so if you take care of it from here, you should get many miles out of it.

Saturns can be very deceptive - the body may look beautiful even though it has been seriously neglected.

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Old 10-23-2000, 11:22 PM   #5
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Well I finally went ahead witht the replacement. It was almost ready to be replaced and then the last connection wouldn't come loose. The bottom tranny cooler line is frozen. I tried all that break free stuff and the vise grips, no luck there. So I ended up having to put the car back together with the faulty Radiator. Anyone have any ideas on how to get the line out? If not i'll just go buy another line at saturn (sigh). At least i'll be a pro at disassembling my front end now.

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Old 10-24-2000, 08:40 AM   #6
white_base_LS
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The transmission cooler lines to the radiator should mount to a nipple that has a hex head. IOW, you should be able to hold the nipple piece that screws into the radiator with a larger metric open end wrench, then use a smaller wrench to turn the coupling that is on the end of the metal line.

My advice would be to spray the whole assembly with WD40, wrap it in plastic (so the WD40 stays on), and let it soak in overnight. Then try it again. If that does not work, try heating the coupling with a heat gun. Usually heat with make everything expand and break any rusty seal that is keeping things from turning.

Just make sure you don't bend the transmission fluid lines. You might get into an expensive repair if you do.

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