I replaced my radiator yesterday and even though I know this is one of the easiest things you can replace I figured I'd go ahead and make a step-by-step guide for anyone who needs one.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained or licensed mechanic. In no way am I responsible for any damages, injuries, or costs incurred by following this guide. You should always consult with a trained and licensed auto mechanic prior to performing any work on your vehicle. This guide is intended for reference only and in referencing this guide you are assuming all risk and liability associated with doing so.
(1) Ensure that the vehicle as completely cooled prior to beginning work. The cooling system is a pressurized system. Opening the radiator cap, or the cooling system at any other point will cause the coolant to rapidly expand and "explode." This will result in serious burns. I cannot stress the importance of this step enough.
(2) Drain the radiator. After the vehicle has cooled, remove the radiator cap.
Last edited by Tiger_184; 07-17-2011 at 12:58 PM..
(2 cont') After removing the radiator cap, open the stopcock located at the bottom driver's side of the radiator. When opening the stopcock it is a good idea to have a bucket ready to catch the old coolant.
(3) After draining the coolant from the radiator, disconnect all hoses and cooling lines from the radiator. There are hoses located on the top driver's side and the bottom passengers side. Also, there is a small rubber line which connects to the filler neck on the radiator. Additionally, on the passengers side there are two steel lines that connect in the middle. These are for the oil cooler and transmission cooler. These also need to be disconnected. They may drip a little and should be plugged to prevent any contamination. When disconnecting the coolant hoses, be ready to catch the old coolant with a bucket. Although the radiator has already been drained there will be some residual coolant in the lines.
(4) Remove the plastic grill. After disconnecting the radiator lines you need to remove the plastic grill from the front of the Jeep. This can be done by removing four screws; two on top and two on the front.
(5) Remove the rubber stripping. After removing the plastic grill, remove the rubber stripping. This is held down by plastic push-pins. Typically these are once use and must be replaces but if they are carefully removed they can sometimes be reused. Additionally, the rubber can be stretched to be removed without removing the pins.
(6) Remove mounting bracket. After removing the rubber strip the mounting bracket needs to be removed.
Prior to removing this mounting bracket, you will need to remove the hood latch. This can be done by removing the two bolts which hold it to the mounting bracket.
Removing the mounting bracket is done by removing the series of bolts along the top of the bracket. There should be two bolts on either side, one is visible in my photo, the other is under the rubber stripping. There are an additional two nuts which are located more centrally. There are also two bolts which hold the air conditioner condenser to the mounting bracket. When looking at the front of the vehicle there are two upside down U-shaped tube frame brackets with a single bolt at the top of the bracket. These bolts also need to be removed. Finally, there are two bolts which hold the plastic mounting bracket for the plastic grill to the metal mounting bracket for the radiator. This makes a total of eight bolts and two nuts.
(8) Now you are ready to remove the radiator from the vehicle. There is a rubber stripping which separates the radiator from the air conditioner condenser. This may be stuck to the radiator. It just needs to peeled away and the radiator will lift straight out. After removing the radiator there should be two rubber grommets which bolt to the top of the radiator. At the top of the rubber should be the two bolts which the nuts from the mounting bracket attach. These rubber grommets will need to be removed and bolted to the new radiator.
(9) Now you can begin putting everything back together. Just go in reverse. After you finish installing everything you will want to drain the remaining coolant from the block. There are two bolts, one on either side, of the block which should be removed. This will release the remaining coolant from the block. After this is drained replace the bolts and fill the radiator with new coolant. After the radiator is full, fill the coolant reservoir, with new coolant, to the "full" line. Start the vehicle and allow the engine to warm to it's normal operating temperature. Now turn off the engine and allow it to fully cool. Doing this will purge the cooling system of air. As the coolant cools it will draw coolant from the reservoir. You will need to repeat these steps until the coolant level in the reservoir remains at the "full" line. It typically takes about three cycles for the system to be completely purged of all air.