ZJ Radiator and Hidden Winch - WJ Facelift - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-07-2020, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
4WDlifeform
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ZJ Radiator and Hidden Winch - WJ Facelift

What started as replacing some leaky cooling system components turned into a full front end rebuild! I have been wanting to do the ZJ radiator for a long time. And, the HK Offroad hidden winch. So, I decided to tackle them both, along with a few other things along the way "while I am in there"..

I wanted to post this as a build thread for myself, but also for anyone who may find some things helpful. This was no easy project. The HK Offroad winch plate so far has been the easiest part of this build. It fits so well, and it is very easy to figure out where to cut the cross member and get it in there. So, I'll be focusing more on the ZJ Radiator.

First off, some background. My WJ is 4.0 and has the towing package, which the transmission cooler is integrated into the air conditioning condenser and I have the electric and mechanical fans. I have researched the ZJ radiator thoroughly, and it seems that everyone tackles this a little different. And, I haven't see anyone do it quite like I have been so far either. Doing the HK hidden winch mount at the same time made the front much more accessible. A good "pair" of mods to do together.

Some of my challenges so far:
- Removing the AC condenser. I eventually figured it was worth doing so. My AC system probably could have used a charge anyway, and, having that completely out of the way for welding in the new radiator brackets made it worth it. Because of this, I decided to cut the transmission cooler hard lines short. Why Jeep made these CRAZY bends around the steering box, radiator, and frame, then to just use hose anyway!?? So, I'll re-route some new longer trans cooler lines.
- Designing the Radiator Mounts. I just took my time with this. Mocked up a few ideas with cardboard and kinda just let it evolve. The brackets also support the condenser. Everyone seems to do something different here. I also wanted to re-use the lower radiator support, more on that below.
- The shroud. I have yet to modify it, but I think I can get it to work and keep my OEM electric fan. Most others ditch the e-fan, and go after market. Probably the easy way out, but I left my lower radiator support in (but shortened it) so I think that will allow me to keep the e-fan. More on that to come.

Here is the radiator and condenser fit in. The ZJ radiator has two mounting ears toward the top, and the bottom has two "pegs" that protrude out the bottom. Similar to the WJ radiator, but in completely different space. I fabbed up some brackets to attach the two ears and also added to these brackets to support the condenser top two mounting tabs. The lower two condenser tabs I welded on some flat with drilled holes. All the steel I used was 12ga (1/8" thick) angle and flat plate. Didn't need that much.





Then test fit the HK winch mount to check clearance, all good:



I wanted to keep the lower cross member for the radiator support. Even though the ZJ radiator is about 4" shorter, I only cut 2" from the lower cross member. I used some scrap wood to template the location of the original radiator, and placed the ZJ radiator according to the wood template. That then told me how much the lower cross member needed to move up. I used the WJ isolator blocks. Also to note, The ZJ radiator pegs were about 3/4" closer together than the WJ, so I had to slot out the holes.





I am measuring about a 43 degree approach angle. You can see in the picture below that the lower cross member is well above this plane, only sticks down from the sway bar maybe 2 inches. So, as others have either eliminated the lower cross bar, or moved theirs up further, I am pretty happy with this result.



Painted all the new steel with POR-15:



That is about all I have for now. I will post some updates as the project comes to an end this week. Much appreciate any thoughts/questions/comments.


'04 WJ 4.0, 335k miles, 2" Coils, 255/70 KO2s, Aussie rear, hydra front, 4.10s, 2x6 tube sliders
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-08-2020, 07:26 AM
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Awesome! Why use a ZJ radiator? Because it is shorter so you can move the cross member up and improve your approach angle?
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-08-2020, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
4WDlifeform
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Originally Posted by GmanWJ View Post
Awesome! Why use a ZJ radiator? Because it is shorter so you can move the cross member up and improve your approach angle?
Yep, that is basically it. Any obstacles and obstructions on approach can get to the WJ radiator too easily. It is an easy selection as it is already sized for the 4.0 engine.

'04 WJ 4.0, 335k miles, 2" Coils, 255/70 KO2s, Aussie rear, hydra front, 4.10s, 2x6 tube sliders
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-08-2020, 07:51 AM
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Yes, I have the same question....Thats alot of work. But that winch mount is sweet as always.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,4" short arm lift,JK'sW/32's
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-08-2020, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Fit up the stock WJ shroud to the ZJ radiator today. Cut the bottom, and moved it up. Re-attached with pop rivets. The ZJ radiator had tabs at the bottom and was able to use nutserts to attach the shroud. Also, conveniently there were 4 studs at the top, simply drilled holes and put nuts on the studs. Shroud seems solid, hope it doesn't rattle!!







I wanted to keep the OEM electric fan, and luckily it worked out with where I located the bottom cross member. It sticks down a bit, but fits fine. Taking the time to locate the radiator paid off, the shroud fit over the mechanical fan very well.


'04 WJ 4.0, 335k miles, 2" Coils, 255/70 KO2s, Aussie rear, hydra front, 4.10s, 2x6 tube sliders
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-09-2020, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4WDlifeform View Post

I wanted to keep the OEM electric fan, and luckily it worked out with where I located the bottom cross member. It sticks down a bit, but fits fine. Taking the time to locate the radiator paid off, the shroud fit over the mechanical fan very well.

I'll suggest that you cover that space at the bottom of the radiator. The fan will pull air via the path of least resistance, so some of it will not be going through the radiator. Every little bit helps on a hot summer trail.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-09-2020, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Not too much for an update today. Deciding not to re-install the bumper cover. After trimming what I needed to fit around the winch, bumper, and offroad lights, there wasn't much left anyway. Welded tabs to the hidden winch mount to house the off road lights. Re-using a small stinger that I had from before. Got the cooling system fully assembled. Jeep ready to run, need to pick up coolant! Shake it down tomorrow! Lots of wiring to get the winch hooked up and clean up the headlight wiring.



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'04 WJ 4.0, 335k miles, 2" Coils, 255/70 KO2s, Aussie rear, hydra front, 4.10s, 2x6 tube sliders
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-19-2021, 01:07 AM
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Nice job, saving this for later.

What did you use for radiator hoses? ZJ? WJ?

I'm thinking of DIYing a hidden winch mount, integrating a core support, chopping a couple of shrouds to make one that takes a Volvo 2 speed electric fan and figuring out a set of Silicone hoses, a 3-4 core all aluminum radiator and maybe improve the AC condenser/transmission cooler.
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