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Mercedes Radiator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Mercedes Radiator Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$175

Talent:

**

Tools:

10mm socket and wrench, pliers, diagonals

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz C320 (2001-04)
Mercedes-Benz CLK320 (1998-04)
Mercedes-Benz E320 (1998-04)
Mercedes-Benz ML320 (1998-03)
Mercedes-Benz S320 (1998-99)
Mercedes-Benz SLK320 (2001-03)

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 W203, 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 W203 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.

Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts as well as the front engine cover. Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine and slipping them off the air inlet.

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover. It pulls up and away from the engine. The cover is held on by five clips and will easily come off with hand pressure.

In front of the radiator, you will find the horns. Remove the four electrical contacts for the two horns and using a 10mm socket remove the horns from the center bracket.

Cut the zip tie that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.

Remove the 10mm bolt that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket. Use a small wrench and working from behind the bracket remove these two bolts.

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out. This will allow you to compress the plastic clip from the radiator shroud when removing the cross member.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables from the release mechanism.

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts on each side of the cross member.

Compress the two plastic clips holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.

Lift the cross member out and flip it over. Next you need to remove the hood release cable on the right side. It just slips out of its plastic retaining clip.

Remove the two air inlet ducts. They have a small clip on the top, push it down and slide the duct off.

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness to the fan assembly.

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car. Take care that you do not damage the four clips (two on each side) that help secure the assembly to the radiator.

Next safely jack up and support your car. With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are six 8mm bolts holding the tray on, the rear two also help hold the transmission tray. If you are going to leave the transmission tray on, remove the rear two bolts first, lower the engine tray, reattach the transmission tray bolts, then remove the remaining four bolts on the engine tray.

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 will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up. The fluid drains out a small spigot facing rearward and not through the red plug.

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose. Mercedes-Benz uses quick disconnect attaching point where the hose connects to the radiator, but sometimes the wire clip you need to pull out is facing something that does not allow it to be pulled straight out. If this is the case just unclip it from the radiator and then pull the hose out. You will need to reinstall it before reattaching the hose.

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line. Remove the bracket securing the line to the mount on the other line using your 10mm wrench. Slip the line out of the radiator, there will be some fluid that runs out so be prepared to catch it and dispose of it and the manner regulated by the area of the country you live in.

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose, again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid. Next disconnect the lower automatic transmission line.

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (one on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment. Take care of the four mounting points in the ends of the radiator when removing and reinstalling.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.
Figure 1

Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts (red arrows) as well as the front engine cover (yellow arrow) to get access to the air filter housing on top of the engine.
Figure 2

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts (red arrows) as well as the front engine cover (yellow arrow) to get access to the air filter housing on top of the engine.

Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine (red arrow) and slipping them off the air inlet.
Figure 3

Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine (red arrow) and slipping them off the air inlet.

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover.
Figure 4

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover. It pulls up and away from the engine (yellow arrow).

The cover is held on by five clips (red arrows) and will easily come off with hand pressure.
Figure 5

The cover is held on by five clips (red arrows) and will easily come off with hand pressure.

In front of the radiator you will find the horns.
Figure 6

In front of the radiator you will find the horns. Remove the four electrical contacts (yellow arrows) for the two horns and using a 10mm socket remove the horns from the center bracket (red arrow).

Cut the zip tie (red arrow) that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.
Figure 7

Cut the zip tie (red arrow) that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.

Remove the 10mm bolt (red arrow) that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.
Figure 8

Remove the 10mm bolt (red arrow) that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket (red arrows, not shown).
Figure 9

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket (red arrows, not shown). Use a small wrench and working from behind the bracket remove these two bolts.

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out (red arrow).
Figure 10

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out (red arrow). This will allow you to compress the plastic clips (yellow arrows) from the radiator shroud when removing the cross member.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts (red arrows) holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.
Figure 11

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts (red arrows) holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables (red arrow) from the release mechanism.
Figure 12

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables (red arrow) from the release mechanism.

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts (red arrows) on each side of the cross member.
Figure 13

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts (red arrows) on each side of the cross member.

Compress the two plastic clips (red arrows) holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.
Figure 14

Compress the two plastic clips (red arrows) holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.

Lift the cross member out and flip it over.
Figure 15

Lift the cross member out and flip it over. You need to remove the hood release cable on the right side. It just slips out of its plastic retaining clip (red arrow).

Remove the two air inlet ducts.
Figure 16

Remove the two air inlet ducts. They have a small clip on the top, push it down and slide the duct off (red arrow).

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness (red arrow) to the fan assembly.
Figure 17

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness (red arrow) to the fan assembly.

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car.
Figure 18

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car. Take care that you do not damage the four clips (red arrows, two on each side) that help secure the assembly to the radiator.

With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray.
Figure 19

With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are six 8mm bolts (red arrows) holding the tray on, the rear two also help hold the transmission tray. If you are going to leave the trans mission tray on, remove the rear two bolts first, lower the engine tray, reattach the transmission tray bolts, then remove the remaining four bolts on the engine tray.

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car.
Figure 20

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 (yellow arrow).

The fluid will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up.
Figure 21

The fluid will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up. The fluid drains out a small spigot (yellow arrow) facing rearward and not through the red plug.

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose.
Figure 22

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose. Mercedes-Benz use quick disconnect attaching points, but sometimes the wire clip (red arrow) you need to pull out is facing something that does not allow it to be pulled straight out. If this is the case just unclip it from the radiator and then pull the hose out. You will need to reinstall it before reattaching the hose.

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line (red arrow).
Figure 23

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line (red arrow). Remove the bracket securing the line to the mount on the other line using your 10mm wrench (yellow arrow). Slip the line out of the radiator, there will be some fluid that runs out so be prepared to catch it and dispose of it and the manner regulated by the area of the country you live in.

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose (red arrow), again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid.
Figure 24

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose (red arrow), again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid. Next disconnect the lower automatic transmission line (yellow arrow).

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (red arrows, one mount on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.
Figure 25

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (red arrows, one mount on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment.
Figure 26

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment. Take care of the four mounting points (red arrows) on the ends of the radiator when removing and reinstalling.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Gill Comments: What to after you have replace a new rediator of a merc 180 w203.
August 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: FIll and bleed the cooling system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Zayid Comments: Thank you for your instruction was easy and very helpful for C230 W203 engine. Only one additional note that the radiator mounting hold by the clip under the radiator need to separate it from the mounting. Thank again for your help.
March 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Geodid Comments: Due to a minor collision, the radiator was replaced on my grandson's 2002 MB C240. After driving for about a week the transmission cooling line on the bottom of the radiator separator at the quick connect fitting. He was driving home from college and a "local garage" reconnected the line and added transmission fluid. After driving around for about two weeks, there were no leaks so he took the car back to college where this fitting again has become disconnected. What is happening and what is required to repair?
February 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can assume the quick connector is worn out. You will have to replace either the radiator or the trans cooler line. Depends on which one is causing the separation. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jim Comments: Nice instructions but they don't apply to a '99 E300, which btw is a high priced piece of pop rivet/plastic engineered crap. Hard to believe how stupid I was to purchase another MB car.
December 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Donell Comments: Do these instructions apply for a '06 C230 sport?
December 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Applicable Models:



Mercedes-Benz C320 (2001-04)
Mercedes-Benz CLK320 (1998-04)
Mercedes-Benz E320 (1998-04)
Mercedes-Benz ML320 (1998-03)
Mercedes-Benz S320 (1998-99)
Mercedes-Benz SLK320 (2001-03) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
patrik2033 Comments: The lower transmission line is not coming out even though the clip is out. Could the inlet have melted to create a bond with the line?
October 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be dirt holding it in. Try cleaning it then lubricating the connection. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
patrik2033 Comments: I can't seem to free the fan.. trying to locate the clips. Any suggestions?
October 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fan should be released when the upper components are removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
patrik2033 Comments: Why do you have to remove the engine tray?
October 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To drain coolant. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeff Comments: Hi I have 2002 C230K and it has two lower plastic catches that are frustrating my radiator removal. With the top clips unfastened it still holds to the lower mounting and not separating from the condenser. Any help or experience to pass along ? Thanks, Jeff
June 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check for two small; fasteners at the bottom of the condenser that attach to the radiator. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chess Comments: How much trans fluid and where is it installed in a 2005
mercedes benz C230 kompressor?
June 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your vehicle hold 8 liters.

Fill at the transmission sump using a special pumping tool.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chris Comments: On my C320 my lower radiator hose became disconnected while idling. I see the quick connect fitting. Because it came off on its own, does that mean my radiator cracked?
March 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The radiator neck may have failed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tod Comments: Funny how you don't mention removing the grill, a next impossible task, but figure 6,7,8, and 9 all require the grill to be off.
December 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The grill is attached to the hood and is raised when the hood is opened. So it is not in the way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
frejo Comments: Will the instructions apply to a 2005 C55 as well?
November 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article applies to:
C320 (1998-2004)
E320 (1998-2004)
S320 (1998-2005)
ML320 (1998-2003)
CLK320 (1998-2004)
SLK320 (1998-2003) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Barnie Comments:

That is what I am looking for but can't find. Chilton's doesn't have any and i am not paying $325 for a Mercedes manual.
Any suggestions as to where I can find a repair manual or pages that answer the question?
July 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Other than from Mercedes, I don't know of any other sources. Did you check bentleypublishers.com? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Barnie Comments: Is there any place that I can get instructions for removing the radiator from a 1998 Mercedes-B E300dt?
July 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Barnie Comments: Do these directions apply to a 1998 Mercedes-B E300dt?
July 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article applies to:
C320 (1998-2004)
E320 (1998-2004)
S320 (1998-2005)
ML320 (1998-2003)
CLK320 (1998-2004)
SLK320 (1998-2003 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
gunruner Comments: These instructions do dot help when replacing the radiator on the 1998 ML320.
February 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. We will adjust the applicable model list. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Thu 9/21/2017 02:34:39 AM