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Old 12-17-2006, 05:11 PM   #1
RangerRover
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1994 SL2
Default S-Series Radiator Replacement

1994 Saturn SLx Radiator replacement

Tools Needed:
3/8” ratchet
10mm socket
10mm deep well socket
6” extension


1. Jack up car and support using jack stands.

2. Start by removing the air tube over radiator by pulling off the 2 small plastic clips attached over the radiator. There is also a sensor connected on the bottom right side near the airbox, so don’t just yank it off.

3. Remove the airbox using the 10mm socket with 6” extension – there are three 10mm bolts holding it down – two behind the airbox and one in front.

4. Undo the clips holding the wires for the fan and o2 sensor, then disconnect the connector for the fan.

5. Undo the single 10mm bolt holding the fan to the radiator on the drivers side. Lift up on the left hand side and work the fan housing out at an angle. Careful of the A/C lines – don’t force it. The wire clips may bind on the A/C lines, I removed the top wire clip and it made it easier to get out.

6. Remove radiator cap and drain radiator. Simply turn the drain plug on the passenger side and let it drain – it took about 10 minutes to fully drain for me.

7. Undo the two 10mm bolts holding the radiator brackets using the deep well socket.

8. Drain block – single 10mm bolt under the lower radiator hose / thermostat housing.

9. Remove upper radiator hose.
10. Remove Lower radiator hose.
10a. If you have an automatic transmission disconnect the cooler lines at this point, using a flare nut wrench. If you cannot get them off, you can remove them at the transmission side, and purchase new ones from the dealer. Plan on these not coming off, if the car is more than 6 or 7 years old.
11. Remove the two 10mm bolts (one on driver side and one on passenger side) holding the AC condenser to the front of the radiator. These can be a pain to get off – lift the radiator and condenser as a unit out of the rubber mounts to give you enough room to get a ratchet in there from the front, under the bumper.

12. Lift up on the right side of the radiator to let it drain the rest of the way (there will still be a little coolant left after you drained it.)

13. Install new radiator. You may need to remove the metal clips for the bolts off the old radiator and install them on the new one. Reconnect the two 10mm bolts holding the condenser to the radiator on the same way you took them off – this is a real pain. Reconnect the two 10mm bolts for the upper brackets of the radiator using the 10mm deep well socket.

14. Re-install the upper radiator mounts.

15. Install lower radiator hose. Now is a good time to replace the hoses. Use hose grease to make it much easier to get them on. It is also a good time to replace the clamps.

16. Install fan – be sure to re-clip the o2 sensor wire and fan wires, otherwise they may get caught in the fan. Re-connect the fan connector.

17. Install new upper radiator hose. Before you install this it is a good time to replace the ECTS if you still have the original plastic tipped one, it’s easier to get to.

17a. Auto Transmission – reconnect the cooler lines.

18. Reinstall airbox, air ducts, re-connect the air temperature sensor.

19. Refill radiator. You will need to check the level periodically over the next few days and add as necessary.

Misc notes:

This whole install from beginning to end, including taking pictures and taking notes, took about 2.5 hours. I took my time. If you are mechanically inclined it should take much less. The hardest part is getting those 10mm bolts from the AC condenser off and back on. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being an oil change and 10 pulling the engine I would rate this job a 2. Just be patient – this is one of the easier things to do.

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Old 12-17-2006, 07:39 PM   #2
94sc2boy
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

this is excellent, but I do believe it should be in the HOW To section. I don't know who can actually move it though.

Good job.

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Old 12-17-2006, 09:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Thanks for the work on this, including the pix. By either posting this again or having it moved to the How-To, it should be a good complement for this post and give searchers plenty of helpful options.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42028


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Old 12-17-2006, 11:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

It's not that hard to change and is basically the same on all S-series....I replaced mine on my 1996 SL2. And you don't have to use jackstands....we used ramps.

...
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:51 AM   #5
nad
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

I never lifted my car. I just laid in the driveway.


Don't forget that you can't interchange the SLx radiators with the SCx readiators.


:edit: Also putting a radiator from an auto into an manual can be done, but not reccommended.

Last edited by nad; 12-18-2006 at 10:57 AM..

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Old 12-18-2006, 11:09 AM   #6
94SW2
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

please explain, with regards to auto radiator into manual car...what issues are presented?
Just trying to gain knowledge...

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Old 12-18-2006, 11:35 AM   #7
DonP
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Most after market radiators will have the auto tranny cooling capability (means one less part to stock). With a manual you just ignore the connection points for the audo transmission fluid lines.

Be aware that coolent is bad for pets who might drink a spill, so clean it up.

I'd rate its difficulty on a par with a water pump replacement.

Last edited by DonP; 12-18-2006 at 11:44 AM..

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Old 12-18-2006, 11:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by nad View Post
Don't forget that you can't interchange the SLx radiators with the SCx readiators.
We've put a 1995 SL2 radiator into a 1996 SC2 with not problems,


Quote:
Originally Posted by nad
:edit: Also putting a radiator from an auto into an manual can be done, but not reccommended.
Why would you say this? They're almost identical except for the trans cooler. You just dont connect it in a manual. There is no negative effects to putting a radiator from a auto into a manual transmission car. In fact if you were to get a replacement, it would be universal and have the provisions for the auto cooling lines.

...
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:07 AM   #9
nad
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Saturn View Post
We've put a 1995 SL2 radiator into a 1996 SC2 with not problems,
I had to bend mine to get it into place. 96 sl1 auto into a 95 sc2 manual.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Saturn View Post
Why would you say this? They're almost identical except for the trans cooler. You just dont connect it in a manual. There is no negative effects to putting a radiator from a auto into a manual transmission car. In fact if you were to get a replacement, it would be universal and have the provisions for the auto cooling lines.
My car used to stay cool on the 1/4 mark on the temp gauge. But after I put the auto SLx rad into my manual SC2. My temp stays at 1/2.



That's why I say those things.

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Old 12-19-2006, 08:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerRover View Post
Tools Needed:
3/8” ratchet
10mm socket
10mm deep well socket
6” extension
Don't forget
10. If you have an automatic transmission...a flare nut wrench.

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Old 12-19-2006, 09:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobc455 View Post
Don't forget
10. If you have an automatic transmission...a flare nut wrench.
Yup, forgot to list that one - since I don't have an automatic I didn't have to deal with those lines, thank God.

All aftermarket radiators for these cars are universal - they have the transmission ports, but they have plugs in them. If you don't have an auto, you don't use them. Nad, I don't know why your car would be running hotter unless you replaced the thermostat at the same time, or removed the rubber air dam underneath. I did the reservoir cap, thermostat, radiator hoses, and radiator all at the same time. I had a bad thermostat, and the temperature went from 1/4 to 1/2 (where it is supposed to be on first gen cars).

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Old 12-19-2006, 12:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

I just changed my radiator on a 1996 SL2 Auto.. There's no way possible that I saw to remove the trans cooler lines from the radiator, even w/ a flare nut wrench. Luckily there are quick disconnects on the trans itself (I even replaced the fittings on the trans) and the cooler lines are hella cheap. So my advice is, if you plan on replacing your radiator just go ahead and buy the trans cooler lines as well.

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Old 12-19-2006, 12:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Fm Dil Dog
So my advice is, if you plan on replacing your radiator, just go ahead and buy the trans cooler lines as well.
Good suggestion.....

...
> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 12-19-2006, 01:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke View Post
Good suggestion.....

We put aftermarket external transmission coolers on all our Saturn automatics. A cooler transmission is a happy transmission.

...
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke View Post
Good suggestion.....

Thx.. and just an FYI.. The new oil cooler lines do NOT come with the plastic fittings that go inside the quick connects, so either order those too or plan on re-using the old ones.

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Old 12-19-2006, 01:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement Howto

Quote:
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Thx.. and just an FYI.. The new oil cooler lines do NOT come with the plastic fittings that go inside the quick connects, so either order those too or plan on re-using the old ones.
You can also cut the line at the radiator and attach it to a line going to an external cooler. You can leave an external cooler in place when doing a radiator replacement. So no matter how many times the radiator goes bad, you never have to disconnect any tranny lines. Plus you get better cooling and the tranny lasts longer.

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Old 12-21-2006, 09:38 AM   #17
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement

Sorry....please ignore / test

Please delete

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> 95 SL 2 = 653,369 Miles 40.4 MPG, as of 5/20/11. My manual Radiator Fan Switch, courtesy of Wolfman's patient installation guidance, continues to be.......invaluable < The car was retired

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Old 03-13-2007, 09:38 PM   #18
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Happy Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement

I replaced the radiator on my 1993 SC2 5-speed and found a few differences. Perhaps Saturn changed these in the later model years?
  1. The fan had two bolts holding it to the radiator, one on each side.
  2. The AC condenser had four bolts holding it to the other side of the radiator, two on each side.
I also want to point out the bolts or nuts holding the radiator, fan, and the AC condenser in place were all tightened with little force. This is because these things screw onto the side tanks of the radiator which are plastic and we don't need to apply much force. When re-tightening these things I simply held the 10mm deep socket with my fingers and made them snug without using the socket wrench.

Overall this job was much easier than I had imagined. The only thing that gave me a bit of trouble was the bolts for the AC condenser since there isn't much room there for our hands. At least on my 1993 SC2 there wasn't much room.

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∙ 1996 SC2 126K
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement

This single post enabled me to save a bunch of money by doing this myself. Thank you!

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Old 12-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #20
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Default Re: S-Series Radiator Replacement

Just finished this job on my '93 SL1 and I found that it is MUCH easier to get the 4 bolts on the AC condenser if you remove the headlights and go in from the top. It only takes a couple of seconds to pull the light mounts (3 10MM bolts each), and you don't have to jack up the car or crawl around on the floor at all. The whole job can be done from the top this way.

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