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Radiator recomendations

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by ptf18, March 15, 2018.

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    1. ptf18

      ptf18 Elite Explorer

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      Fellows: I'm in need of a replacement radiator for my '02 V6 4.0l Sport Trac. I'm looking for recommendations for QUALITY brand units. I'm more concerned about long term, problem free usage than how much it costs.....within reason.

      Rock Auto had a Motor Craft unit....but its near $500......

      I've read on the 'net that SPECTRA PREMIUM manufactures quality units. If so are they made in Canada?

      Thoughts?
       
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    3. Tech By Trade

      Tech By Trade Well-Known Member

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      Lol, Its hard to get quality when buying a rad with plastic tanks. My truck is on its fourth. The first 2 replacements were ford OEM replaced by the previous owner. He left the receipts in the glove box, at around 800 each. I bought the truck at 160k kms. I put a Spectra premium in myself for 120 right after I bought the truck, and its still going at 260k kms. You be the judge. I'm pretty sure they are made in china, much like everything else. My only complaint was the quick connects on the transmission cooler were garbage. I ended up salvaging the clips and o-rings out of the ones off the rad I removed and swapping them into the spectra fittings. They worked fine after that.
       
    4. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I've bought 3 or 4 CSF brand radiators in the past 4-5 years. I had one spring a leak at the tank a few months ago and was having a tough time getting a warranty replacement. I don't know if it was the people I bought it from or the manufacturer who was holding things up, but after 2 months I gave up and bought a brand new radiator, still in the box, I found on CL for $50. Then after a nasty email to both companies I was sent a check for my full original purchase price. So in the end I came out $75 ahead. Fortunately I was able to let my truck sit for 2 months before getting it back on the road.

      Other than the above experience, I'd had no problems whatsoever with any of the other CSF radiators I've purchased. They look, fit and work identical to OE for a bargain price.
       
    5. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    6. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      That's a really good price for an all aluminum, 3-row with the electric fan kit, but in my experience those electric fans don't last very long if they're always running and the thermostats to control them are very very unreliable. Radiator quality at that price... ?
       
    7. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I know what you're saying. But the radiator I got from Ebay was all aluminum, inexpensive, and has served very well. We shall have the ultimate test this summer in AZ. I did have one issue. The factory transmission lines did not fit the bungs on the radiator. I tried a few tricks but finally just decided to run the big transmission cooler I've got without the radiator. The transmission is running cooler as well now.

      I've never had a lot of faith in electric fans either. I've considered getting one to simplify the body lift I have in the works, but I spent several hours at an off road park not offroading because a person in our group had a fan give out and we spend a couple hours fixing it. Also had a factory electric fan give out on a Fox body Mustang I owned years ago. I replaced it with an aftermarket fan with no thermostat (just a switch, and my eyes on the temp gauge) Been leery of electric fans ever since.
       
    8. ptf18

      ptf18 Elite Explorer

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      Fellows: Thanks..... I bit the bullet and order the MotorCraft unit from Rock Auto. I figured (hoped) that being that the original one last 16 yrs and near 220k I'ld stick with Ford parts. Everything should bolt right in. My transmission lines are the flare end type and were tighter that dick's hat band to break loose.

      Not suppose to get it till next week though.

      I'm working on my oil adapter leak in the mean time.... ran into a "issue" and will post a new entry.
       
    9. ptf18

      ptf18 Elite Explorer

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      Motorcraft radiator installed and all working OK
       
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    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Very good, glad you fixed it and now can work on the filter adapter.

      FYI, Visteon is a manufacturer for the Ford radiators from the 90's. I don't know the current quality or relationship, they have always been a high quality part. I have a new Visteon double row radiator to put into my 98 Explorer soon. I got it over a year ago for my slight leak at the plastic tanks. The radiator wasn't too expensive, about $150, but I thought it was a bargain, versus from Ford.
       
    11. Flash Gordan

      Flash Gordan New Member

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      I installed this very same radiator last September. I also had the same problem connecting to the transmission cooler bungs. I solved the problem by buying a short hard brake line, cut it in half and then cut it shorter to fit, then double flared the end. I then clamped a piece of transmission cooler hose between the old hard line and the new stub piece. Haven't had a leak yet. One thing I did have to do after the radiator replacement was replace the plastic thermostat housing with a Simmons Auto Sportz aluminum housing. Absolutely zero coolant leaks after that.
       
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    12. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I like those AL choices, I'll have to get one at least, I'll see if they have the common 3/8" flared connection like trans and fuel lines use. I know the OEM Ford at radiator connections are weird, Ford used to like them as quick connects(and those developed leaks). Now they look like common fittings, but they aren't, the threads or nipples are uncommon.
       
    13. sr139fox

      sr139fox Active Member

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      Where did you get the aluminum thermostat housing? Advance only gave me a 1 year warranty instead of lifetime.
       
    14. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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    15. sr139fox

      sr139fox Active Member

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      Thanks. Just changed mine last week. I'm done with the plastic ones.
      Dave P.
       
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    16. Martin Pickens

      Martin Pickens New Member

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      Replacing the radiator in my '06 Explorer 4 liter is way too difficult and I cannot afford the high labor costs. So, I am forced to get rid of it. Any idea what I could get? 133k miles. Good shape. Other than needing a new radiator, it is in excellent shape.
       
    17. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      It should sell for about $200 less than the price with a new radiator. That's an easy radiator to replace compared to the 302 Explorers. I'd guess it should take about two hours to R&R the radiator, and put in new hoses.
       
    18. 1998Exploder

      1998Exploder Elite Explorer

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      Ford Parts Giant has a crash part (CP) listed for the radiator and it's a lot less (apparently fits 2003-2005 but should fit others):

      XL2Z-8005-LA - Ford Parts Giant

      Price is $229 + shipping.

      Sounds like a good deal for a Motorcraft item. Not sure of fitment.
       
    19. arseatea

      arseatea New Member

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      I went to Advance and bought a new radiator simply because of the lifetime warranty. Cost about $150 and has been in about 2 months. No issues yet, but if it ever cracks, back to Advance it goes.. I kinda like the lifetime warranty on parts. It cost a bit more, but it helps me sleep at night.
       

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