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VW / Audi Radiator and Hose Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

VW / Audi Radiator and Hose Replacement

Peter Bodensteiner

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Hose clamp pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches

Applicable Models:

 
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi A4 Quattro (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
Audi TT Quattro (2000-04)
VW Beetle (1999-02)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Passat (1996-00)

Parts Required:

Hoses and clamps

Hot Tip:

Use a razor blade to cut old hoses off.

Performance Gain:

Better engine cooling

Complementary Modification:

Replace thermostat

The radiator is one of the basic components of any water-cooled car. It is basic in another sense in that it is quite simple--it's a metal rectangle full of tubes and fins through which engine coolant flows.

A radiator, or its hoses, sometimes needs to be replaced. In the Audi A4 this is a relatively simple job, with only a few tricks to it. In the photos below, the radiator support is in the service position. Note, however, that this does not need to be the case in order to do this project. It will make access to some components a bit more difficult, but certainly not impossible.

If you're replacing the radiator hoses, all you need to do first is drain the coolant. If you are replacing the radiator, drain the coolant and then remove the bumper. Refer to the service position project for instructions on this, as well as on moving the power steering cooler loop out of the way. Removing the radiator has other benefits. If you need to access the front of the engine, having the radiator out of the way is a big help.

Let's start with the upper radiator hose.
Figure 1

Let's start with the upper radiator hose. Just in front of the engine's intake manifold, this hose connects to a black pipe. Note the corresponding marks on the hose and the pipe to indicate the proper orientation.

Use locking pliers to grasp the hose clamp and move it toward the middle of the hose.
Figure 2

Use locking pliers to grasp the hose clamp and move it toward the middle of the hose.

Pull the hose away from the pipe, twisting and pulling as necessary.
Figure 3

Pull the hose away from the pipe, twisting and pulling as necessary. You can insert a small screwdriver between the hose and pipe to help break any seal that might be holding the two together.

On the radiator side, the upper radiator hose connection is a bit different.
Figure 4

On the radiator side, the upper radiator hose connection is a bit different. Lift this metal clip up using a screwdriver and then pull the hose straight off of the radiator. Don't twist the hose to remove it; notches inside the hose interlock with the radiator's pipe

Here's a closer look at the radiator side of the upper hose and the indentations that hold it in position on the radiator pipe.
Figure 5

Here's a closer look at the radiator side of the upper hose and the indentations that hold it in position on the radiator pipe.

Moving to the bottom of the radiator, you need to remove this electrical connection.
Figure 6

Moving to the bottom of the radiator, you need to remove this electrical connection. It's a bit hard to reach it, but once you can get your hand on it, squeeze the ribbed top and bottom to release the connector and then pull it straight away from the radiator.

Now you can remove the lower radiator hose.
Figure 7

Now you can remove the lower radiator hose. Like the radiator side of the upper hose, this has a similar metal clip holding it on, except this one comes in from the side instead of from the top. Again, you can release the clip using a screwdriver. The other end of this hose attaches at the thermostat housing; see the water pump and thermostat replacement project for more detail.

It can be hard to find enough leverage to pull the lower hose off, but it can be done; it may be more difficult with the radiator support panel in the standard position.
Figure 8

It can be hard to find enough leverage to pull the lower hose off, but it can be done; it may be more difficult with the radiator support panel in the standard position. Like the upper hose, this connection has notches that will prevent it from turning, so don't try to twist the hose in order to loosen it. You can wiggle it, but mostly just pull it straight away from the radiator. Despite the fact that you have probably already drained the coolant from every possible outlet, there will still be coolant in the system, and it will come out when you remove the lower hose. If you've moved underneath the car to remove this hose, remember that you have been warned!

OK, if you are truly removing the radiator, and not just moving it out of the way, and your car is equipped with air conditioning, you'll need to remove the A/C condensor from the front of the radiator.
Figure 9

OK, if you are truly removing the radiator, and not just moving it out of the way, and your car is equipped with air conditioning, you'll need to remove the A/C condenser from the front of the radiator. It is attached by four bolts, two on the passenger side ...

.
Figure 10

...and two more of the same on the driver's side. You can now swing the condenser out of the way toward the passenger side - it will still be attached to the car via its refrigerant lines.

The radiator is held in place at the top with two removable plastic plugs.
Figure 11

The radiator is held in place at the top with two removable plastic plugs. Insert a narrow screwdriver into the center and move this flexible tab toward the middle.

Moving the tab releases the plug.
Figure 12

Moving the tab releases the plug. If you have trouble pulling it out, you can insert a second screwdriver underneath the edge of the plug to lift it away from the radiator.

The top of the radiator should now tip out away from the front of the car.
Figure 13

The top of the radiator should now tip out away from the front of the car. It is still held in place at the bottom by two prongs that are inserted into two round holes in the radiator support panel.

Lift the radiator up and out of the holes in the support panel and you can either remove it entirely, or swing it out of the way if the condensor is still attached to the front.
Figure 14

Lift the radiator up and out of the holes in the support panel and you can either remove it entirely, or swing it out of the way if the condenser is still attached to the front. As you can see here, many of the accessory belts are now with easy reach. You can also get a sense of how much coolant remained in the radiator when I removed it! Reverse the steps to put this all back together, or to install your new parts. Refer to the coolant change project for more on flushing and refilling the cooling system.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ted Comments: OK. I did all this. Put it all back together and now the lower rad hose has a wiggle to it and leaks where it attaches to the radiator. Any thoughts?
April 7, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Either the hose or the radiator neck is faulty. Remove the hose and inspect the radiator neck. If in good shape, replace the hose. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
m r Comments: Excellent source of information and details. Thank you for the awesome presentation
February 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JA Comments: Thanks for the tips it helped
July 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
echofreez Comments: wow !need to go back to the beginning on that one! changing all of the hoses .....didn't show any of them ! come on , you guys need help writing this stuff ? people go to this site for information, and your site provides very little of that. so on to search someplace else.
January 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. If we get the chance to create an article for all of the rubber hoses we will. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: Your instructions are terrific but incomplete. The radiator also has two ATF transmission lines connections on the radiator side. They were nearly impossible to remove. If they aren't removed, the radiator will not come out.
October 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Thu 6/22/2017 02:02:16 AM