2001-'05 4.0L Cooling system "upgrayedd" | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2001-'05 4.0L Cooling system "upgrayedd"


Elite Explorer
June 2, 2000
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Sport Trac Adrenalin
("…that's 2 "D's", for a double-dose of his pimping...") :D

OK, the ST had electrolysis, and now winter hits with a radiator in mid-flush. Radiator flush and distilled water offer zero cooling system protection from freezing - actually worse than tap water. Even though the temps weren’t supposed to drop below freezing, the bottom two tubes of the radiator ballooned, and the truck overheated while the spouse was going up a hill. Once she crested the hill, the temp dropped and there were no other issues, so she thought everything was fine.
I get home last night (4 hours and 15 minutes for <30 miles in near white out conditions) and check her radiator - last two rows are round vs. oval and the cooling fins are sticking out in different directions (porcupine-like) - awesome.
Drained the water and put anti-freeze in (even though it still isn’t clean) because I would rather throw away $20 in coolant than replace a freeze plug or crack the block.

So, what to do…
Since we upgrade anything that breaks, I did some research on the Internet. The companies that had radiators with live support stated there were no two row radiators for the ST, or only listed a single row as a replacement. Rock Auto shows the single row replacement, as well as “HD Cooling” and “MAX Cooling” options that were available, but 3-5 days shipping. Locally we have a Performance Radiator Warehouse and after crossing the numbers, they have a “RADIATOR => HEAVY DUTY COOLING” and the “RADIATOR => STANDARD COOLING” - HD it is.

The specs look good, so at lunch I’ll know if this is the right one, and how it is configured (a single 1-7/8” core or a 2 row radiator).

(Click to open both links and you can toggle between them to compare)

Looking up the 2001 shows the HD as "RADIATOR => REPLACES 2 ROW ONLY", but not for the 2005.
The 2001 shows the identical single row radiator, so my guess is there are some slight differences.

I know that the original single row cooling shroud will not work, so it will have to be upgraded, modified or deleted. Deletion is only an option if you are changing to an electric fan with a shroud.

Pix to follow…

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Very interesting!
It is NOT a 2 row, it is a 1 row radiator that is 1-7/8" wide (vs. 1" wide stock).
Looks identical, but we'll know more when I install it this weekend.
Happy Turkey Day...

I enjoy the the reference to idiocracy. Next time put Brawndo in your radiator to make everything cooler! Good luck with the upgrade!

Brawndo: 'cuz it's got what radiators crave!
Love that movie - it explains everything.

Looking forward to running a data log on my test run, and compare the trans/cooling temps to the previous runs.
So now the "RADIATOR => REPLACES 2 ROW ONLY" makes even less sense, since it is only a 1 row to begin with. Hmmm...

If you are looking at this as a quick afternoon upgrade, guess again. The AC Condenser is attached to 3 or 4 plastic clips at the front of the radiator on SOME models (not the '05 Sport Trac) and they are a PITA to remove in vehicle. Lucky for me, the Condenser is toast and I have the replacement in hand. The Condenser was damaged in a wreck from the previous owner (lots of flattened fins) and it is leaking at the bottom corner - spotted the UV die when I was installing the transmission cooler and T-Stat. Since I don't need to bleed/recover the refrigerant, this job has become 50% easier.

Remove the Radiator, Hoses and Condenser as a single unit, replace with all new as a unit. Joy.

If you are looking at this, be sure and add $50 for upper/lower hoses and clamps.
…another $20 for fresh coolant.
…$8 for Anti-Freeze conditioner and WP lubricant (your choice, W/ or W/O water wetting additives).
…$12 for a new T-Stat and O-ring.
…$49 for the Receiver/Drier (replace ANY TIME you crack the system).
…$10 for an AC orifice tube filter (replace ANY TIME you crack the system).
…$150 for the AC vacuum pull-down and refrigerant recharge
…and, well, that’s about it.

If you are swapping the radiator alone, plan on a LOT of time to get the Condenser towards the driver’s side while wrestling the bolt out of the passenger side and pulling the radiator out of the same side (pass).




Oooooo... That's not good!


How about a 100% drop-in fit?


...another angle.


Now to trim the factory shroud...



Just have to split some 1/4" hose lengthwise to use as a trim piece/seal and it's good to go. Datalogs and graphs to follow.

Fan removal: This is a RIGHT HAND THREAD (i.e.: Normal), and may or may not require special tools to remove. I used a 10mm box wrench to hold one of the water pump pulley bolts and then used a large pair of, appropriately enough, water pump pliers to loosen the fan/clutch by turning it counter-clockwise.

OK, plastic thermo fan is next.
I need improved low speed/no speed cooling and it must be bulletproof.
There are plenty of folks running efans and I have run them on everything. Don't get me wrong, they are ideal for almost every other situation, but this is our "Git-out-o'-Dodge" vehicle. I want a good old fashioned fan, engaged 100% of the time. At the same time I want reduced drag at RPMs. I know, hear comes the groaning: "Flex fans explode and eat radiators!" :rant:
I've read most of those threads, and they have a few things in common, cheap fans, broke motor mounts, wrong clearances and deep water fjording.
I'm after a high quality, 8,000RPM+ fan, with proper clearances and I don't do fjording (nothing over the body lines!).
So, here's the want list:

Derale Cooling Products 17619 - 19" Heavy Duty, Counterclockwise, Stainless Steel Blades/Steel Hub flex fan.
Flex-a-lite 851 - Mechanical Clutch Fan Adapter
March Performance 352 - Billet Aluminum Mechanical Fan Spacer
AFCO Racing 80192 - Billet Aluminum Fan Spacer

Of course everything will be torqued, with Loctite, using the factory cooling shroud. This puts the face of the fan just forward of the opening for the fan, and keeps ~1/2 the fan outside the shroud.

So, let the beatings begin - tell me what you think...

Nice radiator. I did that "bigger-is-better" upgrade on my '88 Ranger 4x4. Never even thought about overheating after that!

The early models all have the thick radiators. My V6 99 has it with the bolt on condenser, a slick mounting system compared to the other PITA.

Good work, add Water Weter and go.

My '98 SOHC Sport had a 2 row, some size and all, I was going to swap it out at the time but didn't see the benefit of a '99 radiator in an '05 - Knowing about the Electolysis, it would have been a + for sure.

The water temps were rock solid at 184*F yesterday until we hit "the big hill" and it slowly climbed to 188*F. The second we crested the hill it dropped back to 184*F. I'll get a datalog this week on the test route to compare apples to apples.

My biggest concern is too much cooling, killing my MPG. We'll see how the temps work with the new T-Stat.

I don't know what temps are best for fuel economy, that is a viable question. But for power and reliability and parts lifespan, lower temps are best, as low as you can get them. I'm going to start with a 160 T-stat and an electric fan set to about 160-165. We'll see how fuel economy goes with that. Regards,

"Not-So-Reader's-Digest-Version" - avoid links from that page, they are all BS ads.
Cooler ECT means more fuel added = lower MPG

I'm running a 192*F T-Stat, but it tested higher, more like 195*F. I'd LOVE a 198 or a 205*F, the Motorcraft is listed as 198*F, so I may swap later if my datalogging suggests I'm running too much cooler than before.

Cooler ECT means more fuel added = lower MPG...

That means that the given air needs more fuel for the A/F ratio being sought. It does not necessarily mean that you will use more fuel. If the throttle setting remained the same yes, but since the driver alters throttle setting based on power available, there may be no measurable difference.

My point is that the fuel may change as being injected for the same air ingested, the extra power will likely cause less throttle to be used. That very well may end up using the same amount of gas. That is the same reason that new PCM programming to increase power usually improves gas mileage. More power made causes less throttle to be used under normal conditions.

It needs to be tested, not judged based on theory. I'd like to find a way to alter my coolant temps for cold weather, without changing the 160 T-stat. But that's not going to be possible as far as I can figure. Regards,

I'll be doing datalogs and looking for that ECT "Sweet Spot" for economy - just like getting the trans temps up and stable, I'm following the same strategy with the coolant. The added cooling capacity should allow me to run higher extended ECTs without issue.
We'll see...

Anytime I see people discussing temperatures I think back to when i realized my old 2.3 ranger had run at temps in the ballpark of 260 degrees for eight months. Lol

Hi Guys,

I came across this tread in a search and figured it was a good time to add some information to this thread (via a request) I am looking at replacing my radiator due to a leak and I was trying to figure out what would fit my 2001 Sport Trac (SOHC 4.0) Currently my radiator measures just over an inch at the top, with the end tanks being much thicker.

I think I am a candidate for this cooling system upgrade but I wanted to be sure. When on rock auto it asks for MAX cooling and HD cooling in the part discription, but i am unsure as to if I can use that part on my truck.

Any guidance? I just want to make sure I order the right part before I go pulling my truck apart.