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New Member: Need Radiator Advice!

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by sgm42c, August 2, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    City, State:
    St Louis
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '00 Sport 4.0L OHV 4WD
    Hello all,

    First of all, glad I found this place. I've been looking for a reliable source of info regarding my Explorer for a while now. I received my '00 Ford Explorer Sport 4.0L OHV 4WD from my cousin as a sympathy gift last year. It has 157k miles on it but it still runs strong with cold A/C, etc. and, at that time, I had no means of transportation (I'm back in college full time). After adjusting to the, let's just call them 'distinctive features' of the vehicle (no driver door handle, power locks busted on driver side, engine leaks and burns off oil at a slow rate, etc), I was actually very happy with the performance and reliability of my 'new' vehicle and looked forward to nursing as many additional miles out of it as I could... and I still do!

    Now the current problem: Of course, this central US heat wave hasn't been kind to any automobiles, let alone those with a bit of age on them, like mine. Yesterday, I was driving home on the highway (105 degrees outside) and noticed the A/C temp begin to rise. Of course, I turned it off and checked the gauges and, lo' and behold, the engine temp gauge was pegged into the red. So, after pulling over, cooling it off and limping to a shaded parking lot, I proceeded to replace the thermostat as my cousin informed me that he's had it happen to him on 3 separate occasions. The thermostat change went fine, especially after he showed up and began to guide me through the process he was already familiar with, however, we noticed the radiator was very dry and the reservoir, too, was completely empty. After putting a gallon of anti-freeze/coolant in it, it was still less than full. So, we stole, sorry, 'borrowed' some water from the hose of the business that it was parked in front of and realized that no matter how much we put in the radiator, it was leaking out. Fast forward to this morning, and, after dropping my car off, my mechanic informs me that the radiator is indeed cracked and must be replaced ($575 is what he quoted me, and, I trust him because he's worked on many of my families vehicles before for pretty reasonable rates).

    Now, I am not a big mech-head but I do know a little bit about engines and have the requisite tools. Also, after researching the parts online, I realized that I could save myself about $300 if I do this myself. My question is, do you think that it's worth it for me to order the parts off the internet/acquire them from autozone and attempt to tackle this repair myself rather than pay my mechanic? I have viewed a couple videos on YouTube regarding this model and radiator swaps, but I wanted to hear from the people who own and love these things. Maybe some of you have already completed the same repair and have some advice, maybe some have tried but become frustrated and wished they just let the mechanic shop tackle it. I don't know how easy/hard this kind of thing is in this truck, as I've never tampered with the engine compartment before. I believe that it's possible, but is it something you'd recommend to do yourself in an effort to save money?

    Any advice or info you could provide regarding this repair would be GREATLY appreciated! I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time! I really want to get this truck back up and running and I think this could be the beginning of really learning how to repair and work on this vehicle, but I don't know if this is where to start. ;)
     
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  3. YoungMounty

    YoungMounty Active Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '97 Mounty 5.0 V8 AWD
    Same thing happened to mine last Saturday. Pulled over and filled it with water which leaked out. Went across the street to a Jet-Pep, bought some stop leak and filled it up for the remaining trip. As soon as I got home we took it to our mechanic friend and he put a new radiator in for $325 and also flushed any possible stop leak out (I've heard it's bad for your radiator). I didn't do the work myself, but it was relatively cheap and only took him a couple hours.
     
  4. Lube

    Lube Active Member

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    95 XLT
    A brand new radiator is $200 at O'Reilly. Getting the radiator out and back in on my 95 Ex is a 30 - 45 minute evolution.
     
  5. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    '00 Sport 4.0L OHV 4WD
    Thanks for the info guys. I found a radiator for $117 on amazon.com (and $123 for a Ready-Rad there, too). Autozone wants $188 for a new radiator.

    Lube, was your engine the 4.0L OHV or the SOHC? Manual or Auto? Also, did you take the fan assembly out when you did it? I'm reading online that it isn't necessary even though the one video I watched said it was. In any case, I'd rather not have to rent those fan clutch tools from autozone if possible.
     
  6. Lube

    Lube Active Member

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    Mine is a 4.0 OHV auto. No, the fan did not come off. No reason to take it out, it's not in the way of anything. I did this in conjunction with a belt replacement, if you're not doing that you might want to take the belt off. This allows you to move the fan shroud a bit farther away from the radiator, making a bit easier to slide out. The hardest part of the whole evolution was finding a short enough wrench to get to the tranny cooler lines.
     
  7. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    Thanks Lube. This makes me feel better about attempting this myself.

    I believe I will change the serpentine belt while I'm at it. You're not the first one to recommend it. From what I've read, it's just so convenient to do at the same time that, if there's doubt in the lifespan of the belt on there now, just go ahead and do it.

    Something else I read elsewhere: there are plastic clips that are tough to manipulate? something about a condensor attached? Does this sound like anything you experienced, Lube? Otherwise, I'm fairly certain that it should go smoothly once I get the parts together.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  8. Lube

    Lube Active Member

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    My condenser sits in front of the radiator, but isn't attached to it. The only "clips" to deal with were the factory speed nuts that attach to the body sheet metal that hold the fan shroud on, and hold the radiator in. 2 for the shroud and 2 for the radiator.

    It's also helpful to have something pointy. I've got a Snap-On tool, picture an ice pick, with a 90 degree bend about 2" from the tip. Just the ticket to slip in between the radiator hoses and the necks that the hose fits over. Run it around the neck (it won't go all 360 degrees) to break the seal the hose gets from being there for years. Once you've done that, give the hose a twist and it'll pop right off.

    This is really good time to replace those hoses, too.
    Incidentally, that belt is about $35.
     
  9. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    '00 Sport 4.0L OHV 4WD
    Just looked at your truck, YoungMounty, via your sig.

    Nice set up! Maybe I'll play with mine a little bit one day (once I get a REAL job). :D
     
  10. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    Fantastic! Thanks, Lube! You're my hero!

    I will take the opportunity to replace the hoses, as well. A little internet research tells me they're only about $35 for both. Since everything will be unbuttoned, it makes sense to do a more complete overhaul of the cooling system. Just out of curiosity, what oil do you run in your engine, Lube? I'm thinking fully synthetic high-mileage, like a Mobil 1. Thoughts?

    Wow, I'm getting excited about all this wrench work! All that's left is to order the parts! :D
     
  11. sgm42c

    sgm42c New Member

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    I successfully performed the radiator swap today, gentlemen! Thank you very much for you help. I also replaced both hoses and the serpentine belt. It all seems to have worked like a charm. I took a few pics along the way. I plan on posting them later to be a help to others. =)
     






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