In need of a new radiator - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-14-2019, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
domolivia
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In need of a new radiator

Hello!

My Jeep Wrangler is a 2003 TJ 4.0L Rubicon.

I am currently wanting to replace my radiator since I believe that the factory radiator is still the one in my vehicle and I live in Arizona where the heat just ruins everything a little faster. And my Jeep has been running a little hot lately

I was looking at Rock Auto for a new radiator but they have like 20 different options to choose from and I have no idea which one would be best. I'm not wanting to break the bank but willing to spend the money if it's a quality item that will last.

Do y'all have any suggestions for me?

Thank you!
Dominique

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-14-2019, 11:09 AM
BM3
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Another stock mopar one is what I'd recommend, your old OEM lasted 16 years.....
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-14-2019, 11:17 AM
Jerry Bransford
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X2, stay with the OE Mopar which has an all aluminum core and cools better than the vast majority of aftermarket radiators. Not to mention most aftermarket radiators are cheaply made and rarely cool even nearly as well.
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When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-14-2019, 06:05 PM
rcroane
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While you're at it, consider replacing water pump, thermostat/housing, hoses and serpentine belt. Especially if you think any of these are original to your Jeep.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-15-2019, 01:27 AM
TheBoogieman
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Nothing last longer than Mopar. I still have the original in my 99'.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-15-2019, 02:43 AM
AjRagno
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If I had to do it again, I would absolutely go with a Mopar radiator.

My original radiator failed a couple of years ago at around 175,000 miles. Without any previous issues, one day I came out to find it had completely drained onto my garage floor. I replaced it with a Spectra radiator from NAPA. About 18 months later, the Spectra radiator started leaking severely at the top seam; the sort of leak that would have required a tow if I were far from home. NAPA replaced it under warranty without issue but I fully expect this radiator to fail similarly at some point so I now keep the receipt in my glove box.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-15-2019, 09:59 AM
Jerry Bransford
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Yep Spectre is not a good brand. A Spectre fuel pump I installed failed at 13 months, 1 month out of warranty.
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When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-15-2019, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
Yep Spectre is not a good brand. A Spectre fuel pump I installed failed at 13 months, 1 month out of warranty.
Shame on you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/BM brakes
99' XJ / 5.5" lift / Rancho shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-15-2019, 05:21 PM
SkylinesSuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domolivia View Post
I am currently wanting to replace my radiator since I believe that the factory radiator is still the one in my vehicle and I live in Arizona where the heat just ruins everything a little faster. And my Jeep has been running a little hot lately
I just want to be clear; there is no leak and you want to replace your factory radiator because you think it might still be the factory piece, and you have been running a little hot lately, right? If so, I suggest figure out why it's running hot. I'd start with a coolant flush/change, and take a look what the inside of the core looks like while it's empty.

No need to replace it if it's not leaking and/or plugged up/corroded on the inside. Many of the experienced guys on here swear by the factory stuff.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-16-2019, 11:30 AM
mukluk
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Unless you're seeing degradation and cracking of the plastic tanks or other evidence of impending failure, I'd leave the current radiator in place and search as to what is causing your Jeep to run slightly hot. Very rarely do you hear of the stock radiators suddenly experiencing a catastrophic failure without warning signs beforehand, problems are normally indicated by seepage or leaking coolant long before things come apart sufficient to leave one stranded. I'd echo the advice to start with a good coolant flush and fill, making certain to get as much air out of the system before putting the radiator cap back on and adding fluid to the overflow tank.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-17-2019, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
domolivia
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Valid point, thank you!
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-17-2019, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
domolivia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkylinesSuck View Post
I just want to be clear; there is no leak and you want to replace your factory radiator because you think it might still be the factory piece, and you have been running a little hot lately, right? If so, I suggest figure out why it's running hot. I'd start with a coolant flush/change, and take a look what the inside of the core looks like while it's empty.

No need to replace it if it's not leaking and/or plugged up/corroded on the inside. Many of the experienced guys on here swear by the factory stuff.
I don't want to replace it simply because the piece is old and is from the factory. I want to replace it because it's been giving me trouble. I've replaced the thermostat, the water pump, all the hoses and I have replaced the coolant multiple times and it still runs hot. I had a mechanic look at the whole cooling system including the electrical part of it and he found nothing wrong with the system but yet it still runs hot. My next logical step that I can think of would be to replace the radiator. This Jeep has lived in Arizona its whole life, and I know that radiator has taken a beating from the heat. Unless you have another suggestion because I have done just about everything to try and find the problem.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-17-2019, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
domolivia
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Originally Posted by rcroane View Post
While you're at it, consider replacing water pump, thermostat/housing, hoses and serpentine belt. Especially if you think any of these are original to your Jeep.
Already got all of those done! Thank you for the advice though, it's much appreciated!
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-17-2019, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
domolivia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM3 View Post
Another stock mopar one is what I'd recommend, your old OEM lasted 16 years.....
Very valid point! Thank you!
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-17-2019, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
domolivia
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
X2, stay with the OE Mopar which has an all aluminum core and cools better than the vast majority of aftermarket radiators. Not to mention most aftermarket radiators are cheaply made and rarely cool even nearly as well.
Thank you, I did not know that about aftermarket radiators. It's such hit or miss with aftermarket parts!
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