Community Member Credit: C-Young
Before I start… I understand that this procedure is not a tough one and is pretty straightforward to most. But for others like me who have never even thought about changing out a radiator, this may come in handy. Plus… pics are always a good thing. Also, I am no mech guru of any sort so all comments and tips that may help this thread are very welcome.
I was quoted by Nissan $792 for radiator replacement. Trust me… spend $140 on the radiator and install it yourself!!!
- Drip pan
- Pliers (or whatever you’d like to grab those hose clamps)
- Socket Wrench
- 10mm Socket
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Floor Jack (not necessary but makes it much easier)
- Radiator Hoses (good to change out after 50-60k)
- Radiator Hose Clips (the kind that screw tight, not clamps)
1. Remove splash shields (right and left) from underneath the front of the car.
(four 10mm bolts each)
2. With the splash shields removed the lower radiator will be visible.
3. With your drip pan below the radiator, unscrew the drain found here using a flat head screwdriver:
It may take a while for the radiator to completely drain. In fact, mine never stopped dripping completely.
4. After the radiator is drained you can begin to undo hoses.
AT Lines: (2 if you drive an AT)
Also, don’t forget to undo the line from the Reservoir Tank.
I used a pair of rubber bands to keep the AT lines folded closed. Otherwise, you’ll lose AT fluid.
5. Also at this time, unplug the radiator fans from their power source:
6. Unbolt the two radiator holding brackets:
7. With everything unhooked, etc. you can now slide the entire radiator assembly (fan shroud included) up and out of the engine compartment.
8. Unbolt the fan shroud from the old radiator here:
9. Remove fan shroud and place it on your new radiator:
10. Bolt on fan shroud to your new radiator:
11. With the new radiator assembly complete, you can now slide it into its slot in the engine compartment. There are 2 brackets that the bottom of the radiator will fit into. There will be some wiggle.
12. Connect all of your hoses back to the radiator.
13. Connect your fan power lines to their connectors.
14. Bolt your radiator brackets back on so that the radiator prongs go through the bracket holes.
15. Using a funnel and coolant of your choice (I used Prestone 50/50) and begin filling your radiator.
16. Fill until you see the fluid come up to the top.
17. With the radiator cap off, start your car and leave it running for 10-15 minutes all the while checking the fluid level, your temp gauge, and leaks.
18. Let your fans come on to make sure they are working properly.
19. Also check your top radiator hose to make sure it is very warm to the touch so you know your thermostat is not stuck.
20. Once you are satisfied that everything is in order, turn your car off and let it cool down.
21. Pour more coolant in as needed. The level should drop a decent ways after cooling off.
22. Drive your car around and make sure your temp gauge is reading right below half.
23. Also check under your car for any resemblance of leaks.
That’s it! You should be good to go now. Overall it’s a breeze. Just be ready for some mess and trouble getting those damn plastic clips on and off your splash shields.