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Installing a New Radiator on your Mercedes-Benz
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Installing a New Radiator on your Mercedes-Benz

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$265

Talent:

**

Tools:

19mm wrench, Phillips-head and flathead screwdrivers, large bucket

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)

Parts Required:

Radiator, hoses and clamps as needed, coolant

Hot Tip:

Have a friend help

Performance Gain:

Engine runs at the proper temperature

Complementary Modification:

New thermostat

Mercedes-Benz radiators can and do fail. Unfortunately they tend to fail around the plastic couplings that join to the water hoses. The failure of the plastic coupling means you have to replace the entire radiator. This article will show you how to remove and replace your radiator.

There are a few things that need to be loosened or removed from under the car, if you are comfortable and small enough to fit under the front of your car you do not need to lift it. If you like or need more room for you to work, safely lift and support the car.

Make sure the car is cool before you begin working on it. To drain the coolant, locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator. Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the plug with a large screwdriver. Coolant will begin to come out but will not drain rapidly because of the vacuum caused by the sealed system. To get all the fluid out, go up to the coolant reservoir and undo the cap, this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely.

If you want to completely drain the engine block prior to installing your new radiator there are two drain plugs, one on each side of the block close to the engine mounts.

Move to the radiator and undo and separate the overflow hose and upper hose from the radiator.

It can be a tight fit to remove the radiator and shroud so give yourself some more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way.

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator and radiator to the frame.

Move under the car and disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines from the lower part of the radiator. There will be some fluid that will spill so be prepared for it.

Lift the shroud from its locating taps on the bottom of the radiator and move the shroud back over the fan.

Undo and remove the two lower water hoses from the radiator. You will need to wiggle the shroud around so the outlet pipes clear the shroud when removing it.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car. The radiator has two rubber mounts that sit on grommets in the lower cross frame. Sometimes you need to wiggle the radiator around to free it from the lower mounts, just take care that you do not damage it against the fan or condenser.

Installation is the reverse of removal. Remember to refill your coolant and top up any lost transmission fluid.

Locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

Locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrow). Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the knob.

Remove the cap on the coolant reservoir (red arrow), this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely.
Figure 2

Remove the cap on the coolant reservoir (red arrow), this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely.

The coolant should now flow freely (red arrow).
Figure 3

The coolant should now flow freely (red arrow).

The red arrow shows the crankshaft bearing cap bolt on the right side of the engine.
Figure 4

The red arrow shows the crankshaft bearing cap bolt on the right side of the engine. Do NOT remove this! 

The red arrow shows the crankshaft bearing bolt on the left side of the engine.
Figure 5

The red arrow shows the crankshaft bearing cap bolt on the left side of the engine. Do NOT remove this bolt either!

Undo and separate the overflow hose (red arrow) and upper hose (green arrow) from the radiator.
Figure 6

Undo and separate the overflow hose (red arrow) and upper hose (green arrow) from the radiator.

Give yourself more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way (red arrow).
Figure 7

Give yourself more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way (red arrow).

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator (green arrows) and radiator to the frame (red arrows).
Figure 8

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator (green arrows) and radiator to the frame (red arrows).

Disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines (red arrows) from the lower part of the radiator.
Figure 9

Disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines (red arrows) from the lower part of the radiator. There will be some fluid that will spill so be prepared for it. Lift the shroud from its locating taps (green arrows) on the bottom of the radiator and move the shroud back over the fan.

Undo and remove the two lower hoses from the radiator (red arrows).
Figure 10

Undo and remove the two lower hoses from the radiator (red arrows). You will need to wiggle the shroud around so the outlet pipes clear the shroud when removing it.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car.
Figure 11

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car. The radiator has two rubber mounts that sit on grommets in the lower cross frame. Sometimes you need to wiggle the radiator around to free it from the lower mounts, just take care that you do not damage it against the fan or condenser.

With the radiator gone the shroud can easily be removed from the engine bay.
Figure 12

With the radiator gone the shroud can easily be removed from the engine bay.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jrod Comments: This is great, the pictures help tremendously, and for the know at all that added the pictures are not correct for removing the 560 SL last I checked this said sir W126 which is the SEC/SEL family not the SL. Nick great job keep it up
November 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chrisso Comments: I was wondering if this procedure is somewhat similar to the steps required with an 1985 280SE model?
February 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is different.
I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure.

Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799, - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
mike Comments: On the 560 sl there sre the two rubber pieces on both sides of the radiator. Act as support. What is the trick for freeing the radiator from them. ...mike
May 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share photos? If I recall, there are two flat springs you have to pull up to remove. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BJ Comments: The pictures you have posted are not correct for the removing the radiator on a MERCEDES 560 SL, although the concept is somewhat correct.
December 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the note. I will have some look into that and update the article as needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chris Comments: thanks for being so helpfil and freely giving out needed information. Look forward to doing business in the future.
January 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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