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Old 07-25-2014, 01:36 PM   #1
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Good replacement radiator.

Hey all,

Today at work my wrangler's stock radiator decided to explode on me and now I'm stuck trying to figure out a way to nurse her back home where I can fix it.

I'm looking for suggestions on a good replacement, somewhere in the 500$ range.
(2002 Tj 5 SPD 4.0)
Also any advise on replacing the radiator would be nice. It looks pretty simple, I think I can do it without even taking the fan clutch off.

Thanks in advance

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Old 07-25-2014, 02:15 PM   #2
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In for this one also. This just happened to me 2 weeks ago. Same year and tranny as mine. Was it the top of the plastic tank that split?

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Old 07-25-2014, 03:45 PM   #3
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Yeah it was... Big crack right across the top. I've got a bit of coolant left and currently it's sealed with a rag and duct tape haha hopefully it will last till I get home.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:53 PM   #4
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I patched mine with some 2 part plastic putty junk. I'm pushing 1000 miles on that and haven't lost a drop. I'm still going to replace the radiator but was holding off to figure out what to get.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:24 PM   #5
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Stock radiator is the best replacement. Not sure of the cost.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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O'Reillys has one for about 140. I just went through this myself. Youll need to get nuts and bolts to replace the fan shroud screws though since the new rad is not threaded for screws. Piece of cake
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:14 PM   #7
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I tried parts store radiator. Orilies included for my TJ. Still ran hot. Replaced with OEM single core and running cool now. Got for $250 on line I believe from a dodge parts site.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:26 PM   #8
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I put a 3 row aluminum radiator in from radiatorexpress.com. It went right in. The shroud bolted right to it and I had plenty of clearance for the stock fan. I also upgraded to a silicone hose kit from HPS on ebay. It al cost around $450. I used to have overheating problems from mud in the radiator and now it stays around 200-210 with the radiator half covered.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:30 PM   #9
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OEM radiator is as good as you can get.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:36 PM   #10
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Another vote for sticking with the stock rad. More rows doesn't mean it's better. The single row of the jeep rad is perfect as is. Ive got close to 130k on my jeep...and im pretty sure it's still stock. Ive heard of guys going with fancy aluminum rads, that crap out on them after 2 years of being installed. Stick with stock unless you wanna pay big money for a GOOD aluminum rad.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:21 PM   #11
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I just got the new issue of JP magazine today and they do a radiator replacement. It was an aluminum one. I think it was around 300 dollars but the one they got also had an intercooler built into it. They said if you use an aluminum one you have to put in special coolant or an additive to protect the aluminum. That is probably why Cons_Table has see guys with them crapping out after only 2 years. It looked like a decent radiator but I didn't read the whole article. The issue just popped up on my kindle this afternoon.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #12
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I love my napa. Hasn't developed a slow leak at tank like stock. Although it was drive able along time and they make them different now. Mine was bronze. I had a griffen and a drake fail in a matter of months in Alaska. Both in un repairable buried weld areas. Ya it was a harsh climate but the napa cost half that and is still going strong. It's aluminum with clamped on plastic tanks. And auto or manual it will have trans cooler ports but nothing goes through there anyway with a stick. I bought brass plugs not knowing any better. Drove sticks all my life.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:51 PM   #13
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Update: for anyone following in the same problem

I ended up going with a griffin rad. It was a little pricy but it works and looks great. The install was super easy.They say its bolt on and go, but the stock fan shroud will rub against the fan if you just bolt it back on. So I just drilled a few new holes a bit lower than the existing ones on the shroud and now it works great. Thanks for all the advise everyone!
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:09 PM   #14
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I installed one from NAPA for just over a hundred bucks 5 years ago and is still working fine for my friend who bought that Jeep
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRubicon View Post
OEM radiator is as good as you can get.
If they are so good, why do their thin, unreinforced plastic tanks crack so often?
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
If they are so good, why do their thin, unreinforced plastic tanks crack so often?
...why do they last for 15-20 years with no issue?
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:58 PM   #17
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...why do they last for 15-20 years with no issue?
Show me one 20-year-old TJ radiator and you will have a point. Just one.

Citing evidence that cannot possibly exist doesn't do a lot for your credibility.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post

Show me one 20-year-old TJ radiator and you will have a point. Just one.

Citing evidence that cannot possibly exist doesn't do a lot for your credibility.
15 years on my stock radiator and no problems. Not quite 20 but close. Also, you know who you are talking to about credibility right...
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
Show me one 20-year-old TJ radiator and you will have a point. Just one.

Citing evidence that cannot possibly exist doesn't do a lot for your credibility.
Mine isn't 20 years...but I can show you my 15 year old one I guess saying 20 was an inaccurate statement since TJs werent made back in 1994...so my bad on that. It was more an estimate I suppose rather than saying 15-18 years...

Saying that they crack often doesn't seem like legitimate evidence in your case either. Showing me a vehicle on the road that is "18" years old that doesn't have a plastic part (radiator at that) fail on occasion...

What I am trying to say is that the factory radiators hold their own and aren't "junk" just because they have a plastic piece on them.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
Show me one 20-year-old TJ radiator and you will have a point. Just one. Citing evidence that cannot possibly exist doesn't do a lot for your credibility.
How long do you think they're suppose to last? Most people don't have vehicles 15-20 yrs old!
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:09 PM   #21
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14 years on my TJ bought new in 2000 and I'm on my third radiator, third water pump and third thermostat @ 150k miles.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cons_Table View Post

What I am trying to say is that the factory radiators hold their own and aren't "junk" just because they have a plastic piece on them.
It isn't the plastic that is the problem, per se. Lot's of high-quality vehicles have plastic radiator tanks, but they are thick and reinforced. Sometimes even glass-reinforced. The TJ tanks are clearly underengineered, unreinforced, comparatively thin and quite prone to cracking. I completely agree that the factory radiators do indeed hold their own. If only they would hold their coolant!

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Saying that they crack often doesn't seem like legitimate evidence in your case either.
There are plenty of reports of cracked TJ radiator tanks on this very forum. The originator of this thread is not looking for a new radiator because he didn't like the color of his original one.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:28 PM   #23
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My griffen ate crap after a month junk.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:30 PM   #24
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Thus far, as someone who knows no one involved in this discussion, what I am hearing is:
People are replacing stock radiators at more than 100k miles and something between 8 and 18 years old, with aftermarket radiators which sometimes only last 1,2, or 3 years in more than one case, and far fewer miles. While all anecdotal, these stories indicate that the original parts, if made today the same way as the true originals at the time, might just be a better bet.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:39 PM   #25
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I just replaced my radiator ...got it at auto zone..130.00 with a lifetime warranty...I have a 01 tj and it was the factory radiator..146 k...
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:04 AM   #26
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13 yrs on my 2000 Sport used a high heat plastic putty lasted another year... Only got rid of the Green Monster because the frame was completely rusted
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:10 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007 View Post
It isn't the plastic that is the problem, per se. Lot's of high-quality vehicles have plastic radiator tanks, but they are thick and reinforced. Sometimes even glass-reinforced. The TJ tanks are clearly underengineered, unreinforced, comparatively thin and quite prone to cracking. I completely agree that the factory radiators do indeed hold their own. If only they would hold their coolant!



There are plenty of reports of cracked TJ radiator tanks on this very forum. The originator of this thread is not looking for a new radiator because he didn't like the color of his original one.
What I am getting at is that these jeeps talking about cracked radiators arent a couple months/years old. These rads are 10, 12, 15 years old...I dont know how long you expect these things to last, but 15 years old on an "underengineered, unreinforced, and comparatively thin" design is a pretty good track record. I think you would be hard pressed to find much if any "evidence" of someone who's factory radiator crapped out on them a year or two after it was purchased new.

You guys can continue buying your $300 all aluminum radiators...whatever helps you sleep at night. When mine fails, I will have no hesitation to spend $100 on a factory replacement that will probably outlast a lot of those "fancy" radiators on the market.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:13 AM   #28
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The PO of my TJ replaced the radiator recently. Cant say when but, it still looks pretty new. It just started leaking from the lower tank (plastic) seam after a day of playing in the mud and rock crawling. I'm certain I didn't hit anything. Anyway, point is I'm going the NAPA route for price and the warranty is great.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:41 PM   #29
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When mine fails, I will have no hesitation to spend $100 on a factory replacement...
At that price, you are going to encounter plenty of hesitation on the seller's part. Show me a new Mopar radiator for $100 and I will eat my radiator cap. (Or maybe "factory replacement" means a replacement from a radiator factory.)


Quote:
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You guys can continue buying your $300 all aluminum radiators...whatever helps you sleep at night.
Fact is, I bought a Mishimoto with a lifetime warranty for less money than my local dealer wanted for a Mopar radiator with oil cooler.

Quote:
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What I am getting at is that these jeeps talking about cracked radiators arent a couple months/years old. These rads are 10, 12, 15 years old...I dont know how long you expect these things to last, but 15 years old on an "underengineered, unreinforced, and comparatively thin" design is a pretty good track record.
Would you make the same claim if your fuel tank cracked in the same time period? Or if your steering wheel broke in half?
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:06 PM   #30
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At that price, you are going to encounter plenty of hesitation on the seller's part. Show me a new Mopar radiator for $100 and I will eat my radiator cap. (Or maybe "factory replacement" means a replacement from a radiator factory.) Fact is, I bought a Mishimoto with a lifetime warranty for less money than my local dealer wanted for a Mopar radiator with oil cooler. Would you make the same claim if your fuel tank cracked in the same time period? Or if your steering wheel broke in half?
Dude give it a rest already! You're arguing just to argue...next you'll be quoting the FSM.
The same radiator will have a significantly higher cost at the dealership rather then at say at Napa...
And as already stated of course the Dealer is going to be more expensive than anywhere else... After all they don't call them stealerships for nothing!
The truth is any part can fail prematurely or last the lifetime of the vehicle... There's too many variables there to even try and figure that out!
The fact is the factory replacement radiator typically priced "around" $100 will last a LOOONG time if cared for properly!

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