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Radiator Hose Replacement
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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Hose Replacement


1-8 hours


$20 to $400




Knife, handheld hex tool set

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman (2007-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman S (2006-12)

Parts Required:

Water hoses, coolant

Hot Tip:

Use the better quality German squeeze clamps

Performance Gain:

Prevent catastrophic hose breakdown

Complementary Modification:

Replace radiator, Bleed coolant system
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I've owned a lot of cars over the past several years, and the Boxster by far has the most radiator hoses of all of them. When Porsche designed this car, they really didn't try to reduce the amount of rubber used in the assembly. As a result, the task of replacing all of the radiator hoses on the car is a really big chore. One of the more difficult parts is actually figuring out where they are all located! For that purpose, I've created a table of hoses and general locations to help you check your hoses and replace them if necessary. Please keep in mind that slight variations in hoses and locations have occurred over the length of production of the Boxster.

I recommend inspecting your rubber hoses every two years or so. As they age, they have a tendency to get hard and brittle. When you gently squeeze a hose, it should be relatively soft and easy to indent with your hand. It shouldn't feel like it's brittle or crunching when you squeeze it. It should spring back to its original shape pretty quickly after being compressed. If it feels very hard, then it might be time to replace it. If there is a bulge in the hose, or any type of crack in the surface of the hose, then you should replace it as well. Also check for wetness or leaks around where the hoses create their connections: that is a sign that the hose should be replaced. Some hoses may be coated with some left-over cosmoline from the factory: don't' mistake these for bad radiator hoses.

Unfortunately, there's no exact limit on when to replace your radiator hoses. The recommended automotive industry standard is about 4 years or 60-80K miles. On some cars, they may last 10 years or longer depending upon how the car is driven, or how it's stored during winter or summer months. Since there are so many hoses on the Boxster, I suspect that many of these cars will have many of their original hoses still installed many years down the line.

Front Hoses: (connect to radiators)

Intermediate Hoses: (connect to metal pipes in front wheel wells - see Photo 7 of Pelican Technical Article: Center Radiator Installation

  • Upper 'S' Hoses (left and right, orange arrow)
  • Lower 'S' Hoses (left and right, blue arrow)
  • Vent Hoses (left and right, purple arrow)

Rear Hoses (see Photo 2 of Pelican Technical Article: Coolant Replacement / Coolant Flush)

  • Thermostat housing to pipe that connects to front radiators (red arrow)
  • Return hose that connects to pipe that feeds front radiators (green arrow)
  • Hose that connects to pipe that runs down the center of the car and is the radiator vent hose/pipe (white arrow)
  • 3-way coolant hose near thermostat (purple arrow)
  • Heater core hoses (red arrow)

Radiator Tank Hoses (see Photo2 of Pelican Technical Article: Coolant Tank Replacement)

  • Oil cooler to coolant tank (green arrow)
  • Radiator vent hose (blue arrow)
  • Coolant filler hose (yellow arrow)
  • Coolant overflow hose (shown removed, mates to the nipple shown by the red arrow).

Three right-angle hoses located internal to the radiator tank, visible from the trunk (see Photo 4 of Pelican Technical Article: Coolant Tank Replacement)

Use some pliers or channel locks to release the clamp and slide it down the hose (orange arrow).
Figure 1

Use some pliers or channel locks to release the clamp and slide it down the hose (orange arrow). Then, use a razor knife to cut a slit in the hose along the length of the hose (green arrow). This will allow you to peel back the hose and easily remove it from the metal pipe.

The standard hose clamps used on the car when new are difficult to attach properly (orange arrow).
Figure 2

The standard hose clamps used on the car when new are difficult to attach properly (orange arrow). The nice advantage to these clamps is that they supply constant pressure around the hose even when it expands or contracts. For ease of installation, I often use German OEM screw-type hose clamps that will not loosen up or fail over time (green arrow).

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