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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

8mm, 10mm socket, 10mm, 19mm wrench, flathead screwdriver, pliers

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz SLK230 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

New radiator

Hot Tip:

Work on a cool car

Performance Gain:

Proper engine temperature

Complementary Modification:

New hoses

The radiators on the Mercedes-Benz SLK230, like any other car, can wear out with time and age. The unit itself is expensive to replace, so before you buy a new one, pressure test the cooling system first and verify the location of any leaks. It will be easier and cheaper to replace a radiator hose or clamp than replacing the whole radiator.

The radiator on the R170 is not that difficult to replace, and there is just a small amount of stuff that you need to move out of the way to do it. If you take your time and begin by working on a cool car you will be fine.

A couple of safety precautions/instructions you may want to observe before beginning:

Allow cooling system to cool down. Open the cap of cooling system slowly; turn a conventional coolant cap as far as the first detent and turn a screwed coolant cap approx. 1/2 turn and release the pressure. Wear protective gloves, protective clothing and eye protection. NEVER pour coolant into beverage bottles, cups, etc... Someone might accidentally pick that cup up and start to drink.

If the coolant in the car is new there is no reason to replace it as long as you drain it into a clean container. Coolant is expensive and not great for the environment so if the coolant in your car is good, try and save it to reuse.

Begin by safely jacking up and supporting your car. With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are four 8mm bolts holding the tray on.

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car. Place a catch bucket or tray under the plug and use a large flat head screw driver to open the drain plug. The fluid drains out a small spigot facing rearward and not through the red plug. If you attach a clean drain hose to the spigot it will make safely capturing the coolant easier. Once the coolant is flowing you can open the over flow tank cap. The system on the R170 in not under vacuum but it will help a little with the draining.

While still under the car remove the lower water hose on the right side along with the lower transmission line where it enters the radiator. You will need a 19mm wrench for the transmission line.

Move to the top of the vehicle and remove the coolant over flow tank. Please see our article on removing the over flow tank.

Use a 19mm wrench and remove the top transmission line on the top right of the radiator.

Move the line out of the way and remove the coolant hose from the right side of the transmission.

Move to the center of the radiator and remove the lower 10mm nut holding the transmission line to the bottom of the radiator.

On the left side of the radiator you will need to remove the upper hose.

There are four upper mounting points for the radiator. Two clips (one on each side) that attach the radiator to the cross member, and two 10mm bolts that attach the radiator to the A/C condenser.

Remove the clips by pressing in the tab and then pulling them straight up.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the condenser/radiator bolts.

There is an air inlet on the right side of the engine bay that draws cool air from in front of the radiator to the air box. Slip the plastic elbow off the air box. You will need to wiggle it around a bit but remove it from the engine bay.

Tilt the radiator back from the front top cross member. There is a rubber gasket along the top of the radiator so you may need to slip a trim removal tool between the radiator and the cross member.

You can now pull the radiator straight up and out.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Begin by safely jacking up and supporting your car.
Figure 1

Begin by safely jacking up and supporting your car. With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are four 8mm bolts holding the tray on (red arrows).

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car (yellow arrow). Place a catch bucket or tray under the plug and use a large flat head screw driver to open the drain plug. The fluid drains out a small spigot facing rearward (red arrow) and not through the red plug.

If you attach a clean drain hose to the spigot it will make safely capturing the coolant easier.
Figure 3

If you attach a clean drain hose to the spigot it will make safely capturing the coolant easier. Once the coolant is flowing you can open the over flow tank cap. The system on the R170 in not under vacuum but it will help a little with the draining.

While still under the car remove the lower water hose on the right side (red arrow) along with the lower transmission line where it enters the radiator (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

While still under the car remove the lower water hose on the right side (red arrow) along with the lower transmission line where it enters the radiator (yellow arrow). You will need a 19mm wrench for the transmission line.

Move to the top of the vehicle and remove the coolant over flow tank (red arrow).
Figure 5

Move to the top of the vehicle and remove the coolant over flow tank (red arrow). Please see our article on removing the over flow tank.

Use a 19mm wrench and remove the top transmission line (red arrow) on the top right of the radiator.
Figure 6

Use a 19mm wrench and remove the top transmission line (red arrow) on the top right of the radiator.

Move the line out of the way and remove the coolant hose from the right side of the transmission (red arrow).
Figure 7

Move the line out of the way and remove the coolant hose from the right side of the transmission (red arrow).

Move to the center of the radiator and remove the lower 10mm nut holding the transmission line to the bottom of the radiator (red arrow).
Figure 8

Move to the center of the radiator and remove the lower 10mm nut holding the transmission line to the bottom of the radiator (red arrow).

On the left side of the radiator you will need to remove the upper hose (red arrow).
Figure 9

On the left side of the radiator you will need to remove the upper hose (red arrow).

There are four upper mounting points for the radiator.
Figure 10

There are four upper mounting points for the radiator. Two clips (one on each side) that attach the radiator to the cross member (red arrows), and two 10mm bolts that attach the radiator to the A/C condenser (yellow arrows).

Remove the clips by pressing in the tab (red arrow) and then pulling them straight up.
Figure 11

Remove the clips by pressing in the tab (red arrow) and then pulling them straight up.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the condenser/radiator bolts (red arrow).
Figure 12

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the condenser/radiator bolts (red arrow).

There is an air inlet on the right side of the engine bay that draws cool air from in front of the radiator to the air box.
Figure 13

There is an air inlet on the right side of the engine bay that draws cool air from in front of the radiator to the air box. Slip the plastic elbow off the air box (red arrow).

You will need to wiggle it around a bit but remove the elbow (red arrow) from the engine bay.
Figure 14

You will need to wiggle it around a bit but remove the elbow (red arrow) from the engine bay.

Tilt the radiator back from the front top cross member (red arrows).
Figure 15

Tilt the radiator back from the front top cross member (red arrows). There is a rubber gasket along the top of the radiator so you may need to slip a trim removal tool between the radiator and the cross member.

You can now pull the radiator (red arrow) straight up and out.
Figure 16

You can now pull the radiator (red arrow) straight up and out.

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