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Radiator Removal/Installation Manuals

SyberTiger

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Limited 4x4 4.6L
2002 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Factory Instructions
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton

I thought I'd post the removal/installation manuals for 2002 and 2003 Explorers. I'm getting ready to tackle this job on my 2002 4.6L Explorer and thought I'd check in with you all to find out what the secret is to making this PITA job easier. I'd rather not have to screw around with removing components of the A/C system to get to the radiator. Did you follow the removal instructions shown above and if so how'd it go? How long did it take you to remove then install a radiator. I'll be changing out the water pump and the fan clutch for the hell of it while I'm in there.
 
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imp

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2002 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Factory Instructions
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton

I thought I'd post the removal/installation manuals for 2002 and 2003 Explorers. I'm getting ready to tackle this job on my 2002 4.6L Explorer and thought I'd check in with you all to find out what the secret is to making this PITA job easier. I'd rather not have to screw around with removing components of the A/C system to get to the radiator. Did you follow the removal instructions shown above and if so how'd it go? How long did it take you to remove then install a radiator. I'll be changing out the water pump and the fan clutch for the hell of it while I'm in there.

The Factory Instructions, 2nd. one shown, is identical to my Ford Shop Manual. I haven't done this job yet, and others here have downplayed the difficulty of the job, stating some steps may be skipped. In my past, you slipped off the hoses, took off two clamps on top, and slid the radiator up and out. Often, you could leave the fan alone. This radiator installation is a nightmare. imp
 
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plasticseng

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City, State
Central NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 XLS
2002 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Factory Instructions
2003 Ford Explorer - Radiator Removal/Installation Manual - Chilton

I thought I'd post the removal/installation manuals for 2002 and 2003 Explorers. I'm getting ready to tackle this job on my 2002 4.6L Explorer and thought I'd check in with you all to find out what the secret is to making this PITA job easier. I'd rather not have to screw around with removing components of the A/C system to get to the radiator. Did you follow the removal instructions shown above and if so how'd it go? How long did it take you to remove then install a radiator. I'll be changing out the water pump and the fan clutch for the hell of it while I'm in there.

I've done it with and without breaking into the AC system and transmission cooler lines. From now on, I will pull the condenser and trans cooler out with the radiator as an assembly. It is too much of a pain in the butt to do the other way.
 
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Hugh Janus

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2002 XLT Explorer
Is it really necessary to pull the trans cooler with the radiator?
 
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plasticseng

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It makes it much easier. Once you disconnect the trans cooler lines, condenser lines, and radiator hoses, you can unbolt the top brackets and lift all three out as a complete assembly.
 
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dla

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There must be a big difference between the various years of 4.6 Explorers. The 2002 doesn't require the transcooler to be removed - suspended yes, removed no. And the condenser and radiator connect via sliding clips - slide the condenser to vehicle left and the radiator and condenser separate.
 
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plasticseng

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Sorry, I was working on a 4.0.

I have done it on the 4.0 without removing either the trans cooler or condenser, but it is much easier the other way. The lower radiator bolts are a real pain with everything in the car.
 
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Number4

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From another post of mine:

To remove the radiator, you remove the chrome grill and plastic shroud behind it.

There are three round holes on the radiator support (flat meta piece which headlight panel mounts to) you can gain access to all bolts via them. Need to pull back parts of plastic air dam on bottom two holes.

The condenser stays in and connected, the trans cooler stays in and connected. You will have to move the condenser to the side (drivers side) in order to get to the lower left bolts. The bottom of which is accessible by lifting up on the coolers right side (drivers side). Extra set of hands helps.

Remove top brackets first, then the screws joining cond to radiator from top to bottom. Install is reverse. Don't install with top first.

To take the radiator out, drop it down then pull the bottom out first toward the front of the car.
When installing, I supported the new radiator on a tub.

What to watch for, the condenser and trans cooler sit in rubber grommets on each side, make sure they are seated before fastening to radiator. Make sure cooler is on the right side of the radiator support side bracket (on the drivers side.)

I did this in 2-3 hours on gravel.

I used my 1/4" ratchet with varying extensions a wobble and an LED flash light to help see the bolts going back in.

You may have to pinch the clips to get the bolts to bite.

I did not take pictures because this is kind of a tricky project. If a person isn't intuitive, they shouldn't tackle it.

Edit: this was on my '04. My '03 looks the same.
 
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SyberTiger

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Edit: this was on my '04. My '03 looks the same.

I wonder if my 2002 is the same as your '03 and '04? I was looking for your thread on the writeup you did but haven't found it yet. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!
 
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Hugh Janus

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2002 XLT Explorer
I wonder if my 2002 is the same as your '03 and '04? I was looking for your thread on the writeup you did but haven't found it yet. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks!
The main thing to add is: remove fan, remove shroud, remove radiator hoses, remove radiator top mounts. Lift radiator-cooler-condenser out of mounts and cock sideways to vehicle left. Unbolt transcooler and slide to drivers side (left). This will give you enough room to access bottom right bolt that hides behind trans cooler line.Yes, the Ford designer who did this should be eviscerated and body cavity filled with dog shlt - in the nicest possible way.
 
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