200q20v Radiator Replacement (LONG)

Peter Schulz peschulz at cisco.com
Tue Mar 11 11:22:44 EST 2003

Spent the usual "too much time" replacing the 12 year old leaking radiator in the Indgo Mica Wagon this weekend with a new all metal Nissens from Rod at TPC.

"too much time" (6 hrs) is what happens when you work on a 170kmile car that spent its life on salted New England Roads, on a cold 30 degree F day, and under drop lights,,,and then finding out that the radiator fan is not running afterwards. Now that I have done it, I could probably cut the time down to 4  hours or less.

Caveats - best to have a bunch of extra 10 mm nuts, bolts and washers on hand, replacement two rubber isolators for the top (small 10mm) and two bottom (large 13mm) ones, replacement radiator temp sender and also after run coolant pump (if you want to replace it)

Removal went as follows -

disconnect battery for safety
Removed Bumper for access - pulled the two allen bolts and removed the bumper.
remove UFO brake duct from driver's side (four phillips screws)
Remove lower hose from secondary radiator to help drain radiators.
remove cap from expansion tank and drain antifreeze
remove plastic cover over the A/C condenser/radiator
remove 10 mm bolts/nuts holding condenser to the radiator.
remove the rubber isolator mounting the radiator to the fender (10mm nuts)
remove the support bar from the condenser to the front body (10 mm nuts/bolts)
remove phillips screw holding shroud in front of Hyd pump pulley ( to make it easier to move hoses)
loosen remove all hose clamps from radiator ( two on the front left near the engine, two on the rear left) move hoses below radiator inlet outlets to ease radiator/radiator fan assembly removal. - careful the large upper hose (just below small expansion tank nipple) contains antifreeze from the head - let it drain
remove expansion tank (three phillips screws)
remove overflow hose and spring hose clamp (use an end nipper plier or cv joint clamp plier)
remove hose clamp holding hose from expansion tank to radiator nipple in driver side fender.
remove the positive and ground leads to the radiator fan.
disconnect clip holding ABS harness to the support on the radiator fan

from underneath:
remove two 10mm bolts holding the plastic shielding
remove two 13mm nuts holding the lower radiator rubber isolation mounts.
(Optional? - jack up car, use jack stand, remove driver's front wheel, and eight phillips screws holding fender liner - I did this to see what was going on inside the fender - may not have been necessary
remove the Radiator temp sensor lead.

helps to have helper for next step step - gently move the radiator/radiator fan assembly upward, then back into the fender, while pulling the side near the engine up (watch for the ABS harness getting caught on the radiator fan mount.  There will be barely enough room to clear the lines from the hydraulic pump, but you should be able to remove it - take your time)

pull out the assembly and drain the rest of the antifreeze mixture.
remove the five 10mm bolts holding the fan housing to the radiator
carefully pry the threaded clip/nut assemblies from the old radiator and move them to the new radiator
 ( you can replace them with 10mm nuts if necessary.)
remove and (replace if necessary) the two large rubber isolators located on the bottom of the radiator.
reinstall the fan shroud/radiator fan.
remove and install rubber clip/fender seal  from the fender side of old radiator onto the new one.
install new radiator temp sensor ( reuse old one if you feel lucky - it's a pain to get at from above or underneath and would not want to do this in the car - your call)

This is a good time to replace the after-run pump...(If yours is weeping, showing signs of failing. or your car has high mileage, its rather accessible at this time - this car's history was not well documented and is used by my wife our two boys - so I replaced it.)

Reverse is opposite of removal...I removed one of the hydraulic pump lines (19mm bolt) to make it easier to install the radiator/fan assembly with the radiator temp sensor installed.
I refilled the engine radiator in two steps - filled the large hose that goes into the head, reconnected it to the radiator.
-filled expansion tank - Bentley said approximately 3.3 qts antifreeze (phosphate free) and 5 qts water
reconnect battery
start car, set heater to "HI" and let the car idle while checking fluid level in the expansion tank....

I ran into an issue where the radiator fan would not come on with the Climate Control (CC) set to HI or LO...I retraced all the leads, made a quick call to Chris Miller for some advice, and eventually found that the ground lead off the fuse link had corroded and needed replacement (showed definite signs of heat stress (browning) and the shrink sleeving broke right off)


Peter Schulz
1990 CQ
1991 200 20v TQW indigo mica
1991 200 20v TQW titanium grey
Chelmsford, MA USA
peschulz at cisco.com

More information about the 200q20v mailing list