Any Better-Than-OEM Radiators Made For Sport Trac ? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Any Better-Than-OEM Radiators Made For Sport Trac ?


Well-Known Member
February 27, 2015
Reaction score
City, State
Tampa, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer Sport Trac
Less than 2wks before this post I had a Ford dealership do a cooling system flush on my 2002. Less than a week later I'm loosing coolant around the thermostat housing. I replaced the housing only to find the culprit was a pinhole leak in the bypass hose. New housing replaced along with new hose and 92 degree thermostat that was already in the new housing. That was 2 days prior to this post. Still smelling sweet, new coolant. No, it's not the heater core. Smell comes from outside. Just discovered a new, tiny, slow leak at the upper radiator hose port on the plastic tank of the radiator. Before splurging for a replacement piece of OEM junk are there any aftermarket radiators for these trucks that DON'T have plastic tanks and a thicker core?

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Did some more searching (hate doing this on my phone). Found one full aluminum radiator on ebay. It has only a 1 inch core and costs $140, free shipping from New Jersey. Made specifically for 2001 thru 2005 Sport Trac .

I had ordered this radiator off eBay. Just installed it a couple of days ago. So far, so good. I don't like the fact that on the box the label says made in China. It looks well made. I had a problem with the top driver side bracket being bent to hell before shipping (there was no corresponding damage to the box and there was a lot of excess tape on the box which tells me it was repacked). I would advise that if anyone buys this radiator inspect it as soon as you get your hands on it. Was ablr to straighten the bracket out without cracking it. It ended up looking all galled up afterwards, but works. Fixed before I took the pictures.

Getting those transmission lines started was a pain in the ass.
The hose from the coolant reservoir had to be ziptied across the top edge because the inlet on the radiator filler neck is welded on facing straight towards the passenger side. All that aside it fits well and I've got almost 100 miles on it as of this post.






Here the reservoir hose would have pinched if I had routed through the top of the radiator.

Changed all the hoses at the same time along with the water pump that same day. No leaks and noise from the engine is not as apparent as it was before. Did the fan blade and fan clutch a couple of months earlier and the cooling system flush at the Ford dealership roughly a month ago. After the system flush the old parts started to show their ***** and the problems began. My 2002 has 171K on it at this point.

Do you have a/c? I don't see a way to attach the condenser to the radiator.

I have A/C. The condenser stayed in place when I removed the old radiator. They were not attached to each other. New radiator dropped right in.

I have A/C. The condenser stayed in place when I removed the old radiator. They were not attached to each other. New radiator dropped right in.

In 2000 and 2001 Explorers/Mountaineers they were attached to each other (specifically the condenser was hung on the radiator), perhaps Ford changed this annoying setup for 2002?

I don't have the answer to that, but I wouldn't put it past those designers to keep making design changes during production rather than doing things right the first time in design phase.

Buy At Your Own Risk

Glad to say so far so good on this radiator, but I have to be the scape goat and hope nobody else has to deal with this issue from the seller yourradiator on eBay. When this radiator arrived the box was in great shape. No damage, although, I noticed the excess tape on the corners right away which told me the radiator had to have been repacked. I received the box October 23rd, 2015. I kept it in my room until Veteran's Day, which was the only day I had off from work that I could work on my Trac's cooling system. Right out of the box the top driver's side bracket was bent to hell. I sent a message with pictures via eBay through the seller's auction letting them know the issue and asked for a partial refund/discount. All I got back from them was "I'll check with our vendor." 10 days went by w/o a peep I sent a reply on 20 November to that reply and have not heard back since.

I was not in a position to wait on a replacement or to send this unit back for a refund. I had to get this installed. I did not want to risk the tiny leak on the old radiator plastic tank getting worse or flat out rupturing during a commute. On install day I took a pair of needle nose pliers and was able to straighten out the bent bracket. Had to do some light tapping with a hammer on the level surface of the work bench, too. It's not horrible-looking, but it doesn't look great and I paid good money for what is supposed to be a nice, "upgraded," replacement part. It's all about principle. I can admit it is my own fault for not checking the radiator's condition right away, but at least I hope this serves others on this forum who might get this radiator from the same seller to please check yours as soon as you receive it.

So the first few pics are of the box the day it arrived. I almost always take pics of stuff I order online when they arrive.




Chinese $h!t.

Now, the day I opened the box I find the top left bracket like this even thought there's no damage to the box itself.




After straightening it out myself.


In the end I won't buy from that seller anymore even though at the time of this post they have 99% good feedback with over 5100 customer comments. When it comes to issues like mine they leave you hanging in the wind. Buy at your own risk!

Update: Agreed to a $30 refund November 30 and got the refund December 2, 2015.