Radiator.com Factory Upgrade Radiator Install
www.4x4wire.com/reviews/radiator02/ Short Cuts

By: Randy Wheeler - 12/2002
Edited by:Ron Hollatz

Cool Down with a Hot new Radiator!

Radiator.com is the largest radiator distributor in the country.

Most of us have been there before.  We're out on the trail and due to the hot weather, the pace of the trail, or some internal mechanism, we start to overheat.  For us mortal folk, that's generally not that big of a deal, we simply drink some cool liquids, sit in front of the air conditioner or sit in the shade and cool down.  But when that overheating is in your trail rig, cooling down isn't necessarily so easy to do. Typically, your vehicle is equipped with a cooling system to help protect against damage caused by overheating.  This cooling system incorporates many parts, such as the water pump, thermostat, and of course the radiator. The radiator, an integral part of the cooling system, is designed to protect an engine from the destructive forces of too much heat. The radiator's function is to lower the temperature of hot coolant coming from the engine by cooling air that passes through the radiator. 

On my 1991 Jeep Wrangler, the stock 2-row radiator over time had developed quite a case of plugged arteries, such that the cores were encrusted with a light brown colored scale. These deposits restricted the flow of water through the radiator, much like too much fat can do to your own arteries!  I'd flushed and cleaned the radiator several time, but nothing really cleaned the cores enough to improve the flow and reduce my overheating problems.  

DCP03878.JPG (247287 bytes)

The 3 row on the left compared to the OEM 2 row on the right.  Note the thickness is the same for both.

For the past couple of months I'd been looking at different radiators for my jeep.  I'd considered a factory OEM radiator as a replacement and even looked into the fancy aluminum radiators.  The OEM radiator was still only a 2 row set up and I couldn't justify spending $500 for one of those fancy aluminum radiators for my 2.5-liter power plant.  So I turned to the folks at Radiator.com for a new radiator.  This company offers a fully bolt on, all metal replacement radiator for my Jeep.  The replacement radiator is constructed of all metal, is heavy duty, and best of all, uses 3 rows in the core for superb heat exchange capacity.  The 3 row radiator is actually the same thickness as the OEM radiator and  measures in at 18 1/8" x 20" x 2".  

The first step to installing the new radiator was to remove the old one.  Start by draining the radiator. Before you start, be sure to have a large container available to catch the coolant as it drains. Drain the coolant from the radiator into a large container. When the coolant stops flowing from the radiator, move the container under the engine block drain plugs. There is a plug on each side of the block. Remove the plugs and drain the coolant from the block. As the coolant drains, check the condition of the radiator hoses, heater hoses, and clamps. Replace any damaged clamps or hoses. 

While the radiator is draining, remove the fan shroud from the engine compartment.  Once the radiator has drained and the fan shroud removed, remove the upper and lower radiator hoses, being careful catch any leaking fluid that may drain out of the hoses.  Once the hoses are removed, remove the bolts holding the radiator to the body and lift the radiator out of the engine compartment.

While the radiator is out, take the time to check the other components of the cooling system, such as the water pump, thermostat, radiator cap and the hoses.  Replace any components that show wear or signs of fatigue.  

Install the new radiator in the reverse order, being careful not to damage any of the core fins during installation. Once the radiator is in place, bolt it up and install the upper and lower radiator hoses. Reinstall the the fan shroud and make sure that all the bolts are tight.

Refill the radiator by slowly add new coolant (a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze) to the radiator until it is full. Keep in mind that the new radiator may take more coolant than your old one, so make sure you have enough on hand.  Add coolant to the reservoir up to the lower mark. Leave the radiator cap off and run the engine in a well-ventilated area until the thermostat opens. Coolant will begin to flow through the radiator and the upper radiator hose will get hot. Turn the engine off and allow it to cool. Add more coolant mixture until the level is back up to the lip on the radiator filler neck. Squeeze the upper radiator hose to expel air, then add more coolant mixture if needed. Replace the radiator cap. Start the engine, let it reach normal operating temperature, and check for leaks. 


The radiator was shipped to my office and arrived in a sturdy cardboard box.  Upon inspection of the radiator prior to installation, I noticed that there were two outlet tubes at the bottom of the radiator.  I contacted Radiator.com to ask what these were, as my original radiator didn't have these.  They told me that these were automatic transmission oil cooler lines and that I could leave them as they were (since my Jeep is a manual transmission).  The installation of this bolt on radiator was a piece of cake.  The holes all lined up as if it was made for my Jeep and the fit and trim were excellent.  I didn't need to do any trimming, drilling or other alterations to the radiator to make it fit my Jeep.  I especially like the 3 row design and the increase cooling capacity of the radiator over my stock 2 row radiator.

If you're in the market for a new radiator, give the folks at Radiator.com a call or look em up on the web.  Their professional staff will treat you right and get the right radiator to you.  Coupled with great customer service, all their radiators come with an Unlimited Lifetime Warranty.  

Contacts Related Links
  • Radiator.com
    Dept. 4x4Wire.com
    2990 Bay Vista Court
    Benicia, CA 94510 USA
    Phone 1-800-248-8720

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