Here's the skinny... I overheated the other day and realized that my radiator was empty. I don't know how long I have been leaking, but I assume its been awhile as the spot I normally park in is all spotted up (Yes, I only realized that there a spots all over the road where I park AFTER letting the radiator deplete.
I filled the radiator and reservoir up and crossed my fingers... and of course it leaked. So, I took the heep to the exxon down the street and to replace the radiator and all the hoses it was going to cost me 706.14. Of course I said HELL NO and went to some little shop in an industrial area. He quoted me 462 to replace the radiator and thermostat. Here is where my question really comes in. I realize I am going to have to spend some money here now. My jeep is a 2002 TJ with almost 100 K on it. I don't know much about cars (typical college student) so I called my uncle and asked what to do. He thought if I was going to get the radiator and thermostat replaced it would be wise in for the long run to get them to put in a new water pump.
This sounded reasonable to me, so I call back the little shop and to get the water pump in addition to the radiator and thermostat he was going to charge me an extra 350 dollars!! Now, I am no mechanic, but really what should I expect to pay to have the radiator, thermostat, and hoses replaced? And do you guys think its wise to get the water pump replaced too? What would you expect to pay for all of that? I know I am going to have to pay someone to do it, I just hate to feel like someone is trying to take advantage of a young person who might not know better. I am more than willing to pay someone who's making an honest profit, it just sucks to feel like people are gouging you when it isn't necessary. Maybe I am wrong and these prices are reasonable. And if thats the case is replacing the radiator a difficult task for someone who doesn't have much experience with wrenching on cars?
I put some "Bars Stop Leak" in the radiator and it has slowed down the leak considerably, but I hate driving around knowing that I have not fixed the real problem.
Thanks for any opinions or advice. I really appreciate what you guys think and have to say.
Just fix the problem. If the water pump isn't leaking, then it isn't a problem. I've shot myself in the foot more times than not by replacing components that haven't yet failed. Usually something stupid like rounding out a torx bolt, breaking a rusty bolt, etc that causes twice the number of hours of labor than the original, more simple, problem.
I believe someone was selling their champion all aluminum radiator in the champion thread here. That's a dang good radiator based on all that I've read about it with fewer issues than the other aftermarket radiators out there.