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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$175

Talent:

***

Tools:

25mm, 19mm, 10mm wrench, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

300E (1985-92)
260E (1987-90)
300CE (1988-89)
300TE (1988-91)
300E2.6 (1990-92)
300TE 24 (1989-92)
300CE 24 (1990-93)
300E 24 (1990-93)
300CE (1993-94)
280E (1993-94)
300E2.8 (1993-94)
E280 (1994-96)
320TE (1993-94)
E320 (1994-96)

Parts Required:

New radiator

Hot Tip:

Save and reuse your coolant if it's new

Performance Gain:

Proper engine temperature

Complementary Modification:

New hoses

The radiators on the W124, 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.

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

Allow the cooling system to cool down to a coolant temperature of less than 90°C. Open the cap of the 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. Coolant is hazardous and must be collected and disposed of according to your local regulations. NEVER pour coolant down a sewer.

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 too great for the environment, so if the coolant in your car is good, try and save it to reuse.

While you may be able to crawl under the car to complete this job I recommend that you safely jack up and support the vehicle. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your car.

You will need to drain the coolant and remove the radiator shroud. Note: You do not need to remove the fan to remove the radiator. Please see our articles on coolant drain and flush, and radiator shroud removal for further assistance.

With the coolant drained and the shroud removed you will begin working on the front left side of the car.
Figure 1

With the coolant drained and the shroud removed you will begin working on the front left side of the car. At the front left section of the radiator are the coolant reservoir overflow tube (red arrow), the radiator hose to thermostat (yellow arrows) and the radiator to water pump hose (green arrows).

Use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and then hose for the coolant overflow line (red arrow).
Figure 2

Use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and then hose for the coolant overflow line (red arrow). Use care when removing it as the plastic elbow fitting it attaches to (yellow arrow) can be very fragile. Your new radiator may or may not have the elbow fitting. If your does not have one, simply gently pry back the two clips on the top and pull the elbow out of the radiator.

Use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose from the radiator (red arrow) to the thermostat (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose from the radiator (red arrow) to the thermostat (yellow arrow). You do not need to disconnect the hose from the thermostat to change the radiator but I did because I was replacing all the hoses.

With the upper hose removed use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose from the middle left side of the radiator (red arrow) to the coolant pump (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

With the upper hose removed use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose from the middle left side of the radiator (red arrow) to the coolant pump (yellow arrow). You do not need to remove the hose from the coolant pump to remove the radiator.

Working on the right side of the radiator you are going to remove the two lines for the transmission cooler (red arrows).
Figure 5

Working on the right side of the radiator you are going to remove the two lines for the transmission cooler (red arrows). Transmission oil will escape when you remove these lines so be sure to measure the amount and replace it with the same amount when finishing.

You can use a 19mm wrench and remove the fitting for the lines (red arrow).
Figure 6

You can use a 19mm wrench and remove the fitting for the lines (red arrow). The male fitting attached to the radiator can get corroded and weaken (yellow arrow).

It is a good idea to support the fitting attached to the radiator with a 25mm wrench while loosening or tightening the line fitting with a 19mm wrench.
Figure 7

It is a good idea to support the fitting attached to the radiator with a 25mm wrench while loosening or tightening the line fitting with a 19mm wrench. Better safe than sorry, especially if you break the fitting on your new radiator.

Working under the right side of the car use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose (red arrow) on the lower right side of the radiator.
Figure 8

Working under the right side of the car use a flathead screwdriver and remove the clamp and hose (red arrow) on the lower right side of the radiator.

Next remove the 10mm bolt holding the transmission line to the radiator bracket (red arrow).
Figure 9

Next remove the 10mm bolt holding the transmission line to the radiator bracket (red arrow). The radiator sits in two rubber grommets on the lower frame (yellow arrow, one shown). When you are installing the radiator you need to make sure both sides are in the grommets.

Use a flathead screwdriver and pry the two clips up and off the front cross member (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 10

Use a flathead screwdriver and pry the two clips up and off the front cross member (red arrow, one shown).

With both clips gone slightly tilt the radiator back towards the engine (red arrows, watch for the fan) and then pull straight up.
Figure 11

With both clips gone slightly tilt the radiator back towards the engine (red arrows, watch for the fan) and then pull straight up.

You can now pull the radiator out from the engine compartment.
Figure 12

You can now pull the radiator out from the engine compartment. Use caution because even though you have drained the radiator it will still have coolant in it. Installation is the reverse of removal.


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