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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator and Hoses Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

****

Tools:

10mm with extension, flat head screwdriver, 17mm, 19mm line wrenches

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz 500SL (1990-93)
Mercedes-Benz SL500 (1994-02)

Parts Required:

Radiator hoses, hose clamps, crush washers,

Hot Tip:

Tape cardboard to the radiator element to protect it from damage while removing

Complementary Modification:

Replace cooling hoses and clamps at the same time.

The radiator is an essential part of your cooling system. As coolant pass through it, the coolant is cooled and returned to the water pump to cool the engine. Hot coolant is forced through thin passages in the radiator element. Fins disperse the heat across more surface area and air passing over the fins takes away the heat. As your car ages corrosion builds up in these small passages in the radiator element. This restricts or blocks coolant flow and causes the engine temperature to rise. If your engine is running hot, damage can occur and over time can result in lowering your engine life. This also overtaxes your oil causing thermal breakdown. In this tech article we will go over all the steps needed to replace your radiator.

We strongly recommend draining your cooling system before removing your radiator. Just pulling off the lower radiator hose will easily cause a mess in your garage or driveway. See our tech article on draining, refilling and bleeding. You should drain your cooling system prior to opening it up to prevent a mess. You can access the radiator drain plug while the car is on the ground but if you want more room to work you should jack up and support the front of your vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up and supporting your vehicle. Also you will need to remove the radiator shroud and cooling fan. See our tech article on removing the cooling fan and shroud.

You should start the job by draining the coolant.
Figure 1

You should start the job by draining the coolant. See our tech article on draining, refilling and bleeding the cooling system. This photo is from that tech article.

Remove the cooling fan and shroud.
Figure 2

Remove the cooling fan and shroud. See our tech article on removing the cooling fan and shroud.

Working at the top of the radiator on the left side remove the small air bleed hose by loosening the clamp.
Figure 3

Working at the top of the radiator on the left side remove the small air bleed hose by loosening the clamp.

Working at the upper part of the radiator on the left side loosen the clamp of the upper radiator hose.
Figure 4

Working at the upper part of the radiator on the left side loosen the clamp of the upper radiator hose.

Remove the hose from the radiator neck.
Figure 5

Remove the hose from the radiator neck.

This photo illustrates the other end of the upper radiator hose at the coolant pump housing.
Figure 6

This photo illustrates the other end of the upper radiator hose at the coolant pump housing. You do not need to remove this clamp and remove the hose you can just flex the hose and tuck it out of the way. We recommend you replace all cooling system hoses when you replace your radiator. If you choose to replace this upper hose loosen the clamp at the water pump housing.

Remove the upper radiator hose from the coolant pump housing.
Figure 7

Remove the upper radiator hose from the coolant pump housing.

This photo illustrates underneath the car on the right side looking at the lower radiator hose.
Figure 8

This photo illustrates underneath the car on the right side looking at the lower radiator hose. Some mechanics may have used a long screwdriver and tightened the clamp from the top. Someone has tightened the clamp while it was pointed down from the bottom. Loosen the clamp on the lower radiator hose however it is situated on your car.

This photo illustrates looking down at where the lower radiator hose is attached to the lower neck of the radiator.
Figure 9

This photo illustrates looking down at where the lower radiator hose is attached to the lower neck of the radiator. Remove the hose from the radiator.

This photo illustrates the other end of the lower radiator hose at the coolant pipe.
Figure 10

This photo illustrates the other end of the lower radiator hose at the coolant pipe. You do not have to remove this clamp and hose you can just flex the hose and tuck it out of the way. We recommend you replace all cooling system hoses when you replace your radiator. If you choose to replace this lower hose loosen the clamp at the cooling pipe. You do not need to remove the accessory drive belt and idler pulley but it does give you more room to work. We have done so for photographic purposes. See our tech article on removing accessory drive belt and coolant pump for further instructions.

If there is a lot of corrosion on the hose you can use a pick or a screwdriver to break the corrosion and lever the hose off.
Figure 11

If there is a lot of corrosion on the hose you can use a pick or a screwdriver to break the corrosion and lever the hose off. You may damage the hose doing this but if there is a lot of corrosion you should be replacing your hose anyway.

Looking down at the right side of the radiator loosen the small expansion tank hose clamp on the radiator side.
Figure 12

Looking down at the right side of the radiator loosen the small expansion tank hose clamp on the radiator side.

If the hose is held on with corrosion you can grab the hose with a pair of pliers and twist it first then try pulling off the hose.
Figure 13

If the hose is held on with corrosion you can grab the hose with a pair of pliers and twist it first then try pulling off the hose.

Working at the upper radiator on the left side lift up on the clip that holds the radiator to the radiator support.
Figure 14

Working at the upper radiator on the left side lift up on the clip that holds the radiator to the radiator support.

Working at the upper radiator on the right side lift up on the clip that holds the radiator to the radiator support.
Figure 15

Working at the upper radiator on the right side lift up on the clip that holds the radiator to the radiator support.

At the bottom of the radiator remove the 10mm fasteners that hold the line (what is this line for?) to the radiator.
Figure 16

At the bottom of the radiator remove the 10mm fasteners that hold the line (what is this line for?) to the radiator. Both the nut and the bolt are 10mm so you will need a socket and a wrench.

Working at the upper part of the radiator on the right side remove the 19mm banjo bolt that mounts the transmission cooler line to the radiator.
Figure 17

Working at the upper part of the radiator on the right side remove the 19mm banjo bolt that mounts the transmission cooler line to the radiator. Do not pull the banjo bolt out all the way yet.

Remove the two crush washers (green arrows) as you pull out the banjo bolt.
Figure 18

Remove the two crush washers (green arrows) as you pull out the banjo bolt. We strongly recommend you replace these with new crush washers to prevent transmission fluid leaks.

At the bottom of the radiator on the passenger side remove the 17mm line fitting for the other transmission cooler line.
Figure 19

At the bottom of the radiator on the passenger side remove the 17mm line fitting for the other transmission cooler line. Some transmission fluid may come out so be prepared to catch it.

Working at the right side of the radiator push it back slightly and remove the 10mm fastener that hold the radiator to the condenser.
Figure 20

Working at the right side of the radiator push it back slightly and remove the 10mm fastener that hold the radiator to the condenser.

Working at the left side of the radiator push it back slightly and remove the 10mm fastener that hold the radiator to the condenser.
Figure 21

Working at the left side of the radiator push it back slightly and remove the 10mm fastener that hold the radiator to the condenser.

This photo illustrates the right side of the radiator looking down between the radiator and the condenser.
Figure 22

This photo illustrates the right side of the radiator looking down between the radiator and the condenser. First let the radiator drop slightly to unhook the tab (green arrow) from tab on the condenser (yellow arrow). There are also interlocked tabs on the left side of the radiator that need to be unhooked also.

Lift up slightly on the radiator and then back towards the engine.
Figure 23

Lift up slightly on the radiator and then back towards the engine. Continue to pull up on the radiator to lift it out .Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Danny Comments: Everything works good until the last step. My radiator has 2 support pipes coming up from crossmember that prevents dropping radiator to unhook tab to condensor. Got any solutions?
June 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle are you working on? - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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