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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Hose Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$20 to $60

Talent:

***

Tools:

Hose clamp pliers, knife, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

Jetta MkIV 2.0L (1998-05)

Parts Required:

Radiator hoses

Hot Tip:

Cut lengthwise down the end of old hoses to remove them quicker

Performance Gain:

Better operating cooling system

Complementary Modification:

Replace engine coolant

Over time, radiator hoses can crack and develop weak spots due to both pressure and temperature. It is a good idea to periodically inspect both hoses for wear. A blown radiator hose can leave you stranded. Taking five minutes with a flashlight can save you hundreds in towing and repair costs.

I recommend inspecting your radiator hoses once a year. As they age, they have a tendency to get hard and brittle. When you gently squeeze a hose, it should be relatively soft and easy to indent with your hand. It shouldn't feel like its brittle or crunching when you squeeze it. It should spring back to its original shape pretty quickly after being compressed. If it feels very hard, it might be time to replace it. If there is a bulge in the hose, or any type of crack in the surface of the hose, you should replace it as well. Also check for wetness or leaks around where the hoses create their connections: that is a sign that the hose should be replaced. Some hoses may be coated with some leftover Cosmoline from the factory. This is a yellowish, semi-hard film that acts as a protectant. Don't mistake this for bad radiator hoses.

Replacing the radiator hoses requires draining the coolant from the engine. Additionally, you will need to bleed the cooling system of all air prior to adding new coolant. See our article on Coolant Flush and Replacement for more information. You'll also need to remove the secondary air pump serpentine belt and alternator for access. See our articles on Secondary Air Pump Removal, Alternator Replacement and Serpentine Belt Replacement for more information.

Loosen and remove the two Philips head screws (green arrows) holding the cover plate to the front of the engine compartment.
Figure 1

Loosen and remove the two Philips head screws (green arrows) holding the cover plate to the front of the engine compartment. Remove the cover to gain access to the upper radiator hose connections.

This picture shows the hose clamps (green arrows) for the upper radiator hoses.
Figure 2

This picture shows the hose clamps (green arrows) for the upper radiator hoses. Start at the radiator and use a pair of hose clamp pliers to open and slide back the hose clamps. Once the clamps are off, twist the hoses and pull on themh to free them up. If they are stuck, you can use a knife to carefully cut them lengthwise where they attach. You can then peel the hoses off. Take care not to damage the flange surfaces. When fitting the new hoses, transfer the hose clamps to the new hoses or use new ones.

The lower radiator hose attaches to the thermostat flange, located behind the alternator.
Figure 3

The lower radiator hose attaches to the thermostat flange, located behind the alternator. Use the hose clamp pliers to open and slide the hose clamp (green arrow) back. Now remove the hose.

The lower connection must be accessed from below the front of the car at the radiator.
Figure 4

The lower connection must be accessed from below the front of the car at the radiator. Use the hose clamp pliers to open and slide the hose clamp (green arrow) back. Now remove the hose. Installation of the new hoses is the reverse of removal.

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