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How to: Remove and Replace your 2nd gen 1996 - 2001 Explorer V8 Radiator (with pics)


Joe Dirt

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After doing a few of these now, I figured I'd snap some pics and do a writeup for the masses.

Here is our patient, 2000 XLT V8 AWD:

IMG_0121.jpg



First step- get your stuff. I ordered the Spectra-Premium radiator from Rock Auto, some Gates upper and lower radiator hoses and a new Motorcraft Rad cap.

SPECTRA PREMIUM RAD CU2308
GATES UPPER HOSE 22310
GATES LOWER HOSE 22452
MOTORCRAFT CAP RS76


On to the fun:

Remove the radiator belly guard. 10mm Bolts

P1000594.jpg



This is where mine was leaking, common- the seam between the aluminum radiator and the plastic tanks. It starts as a faint coolant smell once in a while, with no coolant showing up on the floor.

P1000596.jpg



This is where it goes, and why it doesn't show up on the ground...

P1000597.jpg



Loosen the petcock valve

P1000599.jpg



Drain the radiator

P1000601.jpg



While it's draining, let's go up top and pull some hoses.
Start with removing your airbox cover and stash it up top out of the way. No need to remove it from the throttle body.

P1000602.jpg



Grab some pliers and squeeze and remove the hose clamp on the upper hose.

P1000603.jpg



Do the same on the thermostat housing end. Twist the hose and remove from the vehicle.

P1000604.jpg



Remove the fan shroud. 10mm bolts also.

P1000606.jpg



Set it back on the fan blade, and for convenience, zip tie it back to something to keep it out of your work area. You do NOT need to remove your fan to change the radiator. So, unless you enjoy chasing around the right fan clutch removal tool, don't even mess with it.

P1000607.jpg



Remove the transmission cooler lines. 5/8" on the smaller one, I just used a crescent on the larger for stability.

P1000608.jpg



Removed.

P1000609.jpg



Slowing down, but still draining.

P1000610.jpg



Remove the clamp on the lower rad hose. Leave the other end attached to the engine.

P1000611.jpg



Loosen the radiator retaining bolts. Again, 10mm.

P1000612.jpg



Pop open the clips holding the overflow tank's hose.

P1000613.jpg



Now... The fun part- the infamous clips.

In all honesty, they're not bad- they really aren't. I think the job is way over-hyped. Anyhow, here is how you get the rad out.

Here is the fanny-pack clip. :)

P1000614.jpg



Process- squeeze the clip together, and use a screwdriver to pry it out while holding the clip. Pry until it comes loose.

P1000615.jpg



Remove the bolt holding the transmission cooler lines and actually their bracket to the radiator. 10mm.

P1000616.jpg



You'll then have this.

P1000617.jpg



Now, let's go back up top to the slide locks.

If you look at this pic, you can see them.

Clips.jpg



If you look down, you can now see the clips. The radiator has the female portion of the slide lock, the condenser has the male portion.

P1000618.jpg



Since the A/C condenser is loose as well as the radiator, you can now pull, push, and generally have fun getting the slide locks out. The condenser can be pulled as far to the passenger side as possible, and the rad slides to the Driver's side to remove. :)

P1000619.jpg



Success!

P1000621.jpg



Here are some more pics of the condenser slide locks.

P1000622.jpg



P1000623.jpg



And the fanny pack clip.

P1000626.jpg



That's all there is to removing your radiator.

Now, since you've just done all of this work, you might as well do some more PM while you're in there, so here are the parts you need to replace your tensioner, upper and lower pullies, and the drive belt.

P1000638.jpg





Reinstallation!


I started by putting the protective webbing on the new radiator hoses.

P1000775.jpg



Since I grabbed the new (to me) metal fan from the ('96-'98) V8 Explorer at the yard, I had to get the old junktastic plastic fan out of there.

Grab your Performance Tool wrench. I got mine at O'Reilly's.

P1000777.jpg



I wedged a small crowbar between 2 of the water pump pulley bolts, and cranked the wrench left. Popped loose easily.

P1000776.jpg



Screw that crap fan.

P1000778.jpg



If you only grab the blade, that's fine. You can swap the fanblade unit from one clutch to the other, they are interchangeable.

I was going to replace the water pump, but decided not to. It's doing fine, and I wasn't going to chance breaking a bolt as I'm going to be moving to a new house in the next week... Will need the truck and wouldn't have time to fix it.

Anyway, if you're going to, and need to get the water pump pulley off, remember that you can make a strap wrench from the old drive belt and some vice grips...

P1000779.jpg



I did replace the thermostat, and some heater hoses.

I used:

MOTORCRAFT THERMOSTAT RT1139 (195*F) same as stock
MOTORCRAFT THERMOSTAT GASKET RG605
MOTORCRAFT BYPASS HOSE KM1935


Out with the old thermostat

P1000781.jpg


P1000783.jpg



Off with the hoses

P1000784.jpg



The old thermostat

P1000788.jpg



Why the poopy plastic fan is going away...

P1000790.jpg


P1000791.jpg



Prepping the gasket, thermostat, and neck. I know it's a topic of discussion, but the factory service manual calls for RTV on the gasket. So, I did. Then reinstall, leave hoses off for now.

P1000793.jpg



Radiator set in place.

P1000794.jpg



Slide locks in.

P1000796.jpg



Line up your fanny pack clip.

P1000797.jpg



Slide in the fanny pack clip, and reattach your A/C condenser lines mounting bracket to the radiator.

P1000799.jpg



Lower hose on, reattach to the engine as well.

P1000800.jpg


P1000805.jpg



Reattach transmission cooler lines. USE TEFLON TAPE! Tighten them using a support wrench.

P1000801.jpg


P1000802.jpg



Something I decided to do after reading a warning sticker on the bottom of the rad- I flushed it before finishing.

P1000806.jpg


P1000807.jpg



While that drains, reattach the radiator to the header panel.

P1000804.jpg



Reattach the bypass and inlet coolant hoses to the water pump.


Place your fan shroud in the bay, then the fan blade/clutch. You will notice that at ~11:00pm last night I forgot the damn shroud. More later on that... :rolleyes:

Mount your fan if you removed it. Again- you do NOT have to remove the fan to change the radiator...

P1000808.jpg



Holding the fan clutch bolt with the PT wrench, push down on the left most bolt and you can spin the thing on, rather than cranking 30* with each wrench turn. Once snug, tighten the bolt best you can.

P1000809.jpg



Belt on? PITA with the fan on. I figured what the heck- I'll just remove it to put the belt on. No, still didn't notice the shroud yet.

P1000810.jpg



Tip for belt fitting- since it's impossible to get the damn thing to stay in place on the crank pulley and idler down there, grab a bungee, and hook the top of the belt to the hood. It will create some tension, and you can put the lower portion on without it falling off as soon as you climb out from underneath.

P1000812.jpg



Like this:

P1000813.jpg



Belt on.

P1000817.jpg



This is where it went south. I put the stupid fan in again, without the fan shroud. WTF Joe?

So I removed it again. Or tried. I had to have tweaked it so tight the last time I installed it, I could NOT get the damn thing back off. Finally, 2 HOURS LATER, the fan came off, I put in the shroud, put the fan back on, and reinstalled the shroud.

Reinstall the upper rad hose.

P1000604.jpg


P1000603.jpg



Snap your airbox cover back on, and you're done reinstalling.

P1000826.jpg



I dumped in a radiatorful of 50/50 Prestone, started, let warm up, turn off, let cool. Open cap, refill, started, let warm up, turn off, let cool, check level again... Did that 5 times before it stabilized.

Added some ATF to replace what was in the cooler, and checked for leaks. All good, no issues. G-Uniiit!

P1000823.jpg



After checking for leaks one more time, you can reinstall the bottom cover and you're good to go.

P1000594.jpg



Now. That f-ing fan. F that thing. 3 hours later, I looked like this:

P1000824.jpg


P1000825.jpg


That last MF'er is deep! That thing hurt every time I set it up on my desk at work today. Hey- at least I didn't cut myself open, right?

Screw that fan clutch!
 
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Joe Dirt

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Joe Dirt

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Reinstall info added... :thumbsup:
 




427bye

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Joe,

Dude, totally awesome pictures and discription. I started the project at 9:00am today and finished it up at 2:00pm (98 explorer 5.0). Could not have done it without your expert instruction. I included a new alternator and serpentine belt for good measure. I was about to spend $800 for the radiator alone at a service center, but found your write-up and pressed on with the project. Spent $306 for all the parts. If you get to K.C., I'll buy you a beer!

p.s. had to use my wife for the rad install, you know the stupid clips, took about 25 minutes -she got dirty, a real bonding moment.

Thanks again!
 




Joe Dirt

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No prob! :thumbsup:

Glad they helped- I know the first time I did a Rad on a V8, i was sort of in the dark about it, since the text-only write-ups made it seem like it would be slightly more difficult than building a house. Figured pics would help, and it's really not that bad. Well, aside from the deep tissue bruising. :D
 




drdoom

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Joe, you may have forgot the shroud, but you write a fine article. Nice work.
 




vroomzoomboom

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gold star for you joe! great write up. smart move on the water pump thing. i take it you saw what happened to me then. next year I WILL buy you a beer and steak!
 




97expV8

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Joe,

Dude, totally awesome pictures and discription. I started the project at 9:00am today and finished it up at 2:00pm (98 explorer 5.0). Could not have done it without your expert instruction. I included a new alternator and serpentine belt for good measure. I was about to spend $800 for the radiator alone at a service center, but found your write-up and pressed on with the project. Spent $306 for all the parts. If you get to K.C., I'll buy you a beer!

p.s. had to use my wife for the rad install, you know the stupid clips, took about 25 minutes -she got dirty, a real bonding moment.

Thanks again!
u should take him to Bryant's for some good KC BBQ with all that savings!....lol
 




BrianDye

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Great writeup Joe!
 




gavin

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so to go along these lines, since I'm replacing my radiator this weekend

since my truck never had a coolant flush the ~110k miles I've owned it, I put in some Prestone Super Radiator Cleaner.
The 5.0 holds 13.5 quarts of coolant, which is ~3.375 gallons. The radiator holds less than 2 gallons. How would I get the rest of the coolant out?
I know about the Prestone Flush-n-Fill kit, but it would leave tap water in the engine block also.
Any way to fully drain? Or is that not a good idea?
 




PieceKeeper

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Great post Joe! Wanted to let U know of another guy that you helped out.
 




Joe Dirt

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Right on...

Thanks! :thumbsup:
 




smoon63

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A real life saver!

Joe,
Thank you for the great post! I just changed the rad in my 2000 XLT 5.0 AWD this weekend. It took me a while - about 8 hours in all, but I got it done and everything seems to be working perfectly, with the exception of my Cam Position Sensor/Synchro - just ordered a new Cardon re-man and tool tonight - should be here just in time for another cuss-fest next Saturday! Between that and a new hood latch cable, Saturday should be loads of fun.

One thing you left out - if you were like me, most of the forearm damage came while trying to undo the lower transmission cooling line. That thing is a bear to get to unless you have spaghetti arms! Also, I needed a couple of extra hands to get the slide locks to join up on the reinstall. Be careful taking the rad out if you plan to put the same one back in - I ripped the lower slide lock right off of the old rad on the way out!

Thanks again - especially for the tips and tricks along the way. In addition to using the bungee to hold the belt up, I also used them to hold the shroud up out of the way in a couple of spots - great tip!! :chug:

Scott
 
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Joe Dirt

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:thumbsup:

Life is easier with pictures... :)
 




crunchie_frog

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Just started this job and got to the part where you wrestle the clips between the condenser and radiator and decided to check this forum for pointers. Thanks for the great write up Mr. Dirt.
 




Joe Dirt

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You're welcome... :)
 




trentor

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How different are these steps with a '98 4.0 SOHC?

Edit: it seems to be pretty much the same. I went ahead and started to tackle it but the stupid top transmission line connection won't budge. I've almost stripped it with the 5/8 inch wrench. The wrench fit tightly too with little to no play, and I had sprayed liquid wrench on the connection about 12hrs prior.
 
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radman

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Do Not Replace That Radiator So Fast

Joe your write-up is great and the pictures are very helpful. After being in the radiator repair and service business for many years I need to give you some knowlege about plasitic tank Ford radiators.

The number one issue with them is small drips from the gasket between the aluminum header and the plastic tank usually during times of fluctuating ambiant temperatures This is not a valid reason to replace a radiator. The header has tabs that are bent over the lip on the tanks clamping down on the gasket. Fords radiator supplier (Valeo) does not crimp these tight enough to prevent this type of leak.

You will need to remove the radiator from the truck to do a repair. Using a pair of Vise Gripe pliers set the jaw opening to about 3/8" to 1/4" and go over each tab all the way around the tank and apply slightly more crimp. Causation do not over clamp on the header as it can be bent or the lip on the tank can be cracked. This repair can add tousands of miles to the life of a radiator. While you are at it you should go around the header on the other end also.

When these vehicles were new I was doing warranty repairs for Ford dealers every day, they even had new cars and trucks setting on their lots that dripped.
 
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