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Old 04-06-2018, 05:49 PM
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My turn to change a leaking radiator. Got Questions.

I've got the same leak everyone else has, took me ages to find. But my radiator is leaking engine side, top, driver right on the edge, right behind the overflow bottle. So starting to work towards replacement.

1) Is general consensus just get OEM still? That's what I keep reading. But this one didn't make it 60k, makes me think I should get an aftermarket solution of some type.

2) Any tips on install? Looks like there are no videos on the radiator replacement on the 3.6 litre. Looks tight, and looks like there are about 20 Christmas tree plugs holding various different baffles and wires to the radiator.

3) Anything else I should do while I have it apart? Radiator Flush? Thermostat Replacement? etc..

Side note, any chance the "Certified Pre-Owned" warranty would cover this at 57k miles? Assuming this won't be considered power train.

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Old 04-06-2018, 10:07 PM   #2
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I went with a NAPA replacement plastic radiator. The price was right and they had one in stock. Ask 10 people, you'll get equal amounts of opinions for either type of radiator. The aluminum ones sounded good, but some reviews said they needed to fiddle with this or that, tapping threads, height problems, etc. etc. I didn't want to mess with it.
As for the R&R, it is pretty straight forward. Take your time and be gentle with the condenser and the fan assembly. Take your time to line everything up, especially the condenser. Mine didn't want to line up easily and had to fiddle with it some before it dropped into place correctly.
With the radiator, I changed the thermostat, radiator cap and did a full flush. I removed the overflow bottle and cleaned it out.
I inspected the water pump for any signs of leakage but, didn't see any, so I opted not to mess with it. Some people have replaced the factory hose claps with SS worm gear type clamps, but again, I didn't see a need on my Jeep to replace them.
Again, take your time and you shouldn't have a problem.
Good luck and keep us posted on your results.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:32 AM   #3
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I went with the Spectra Radiator from Rock Auto. It took me about 6hrs to do this but I was being careful and I also installed a new thermostat while I was in there. Be careful with the housing if you install a new thermostat it's plastic and make sure you Tq. the bolts to no more than 100 inch lbs. or so.
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:38 PM   #4
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Granted, a new water pump is not inexpensive (about $200 at NAPA, $127 Mopar on line), I would have thought since you had everything out and it was so very accessible, you would have changed it out as well.
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:01 PM   #5
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Did mine 2 weeks ago, got my radiator from ebay, 65.00 delivered with lifetime warranty. bought new lower radiator hose , thermostat and new antifreeze all for a total of $110.00. Took me 4 hours to do. You will need the tool to un clip the plastic "christmas tree" clips from everywhere, that was 10.00 from Autozone.
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Old 04-08-2018, 01:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Beachrider View Post
Did mine 2 weeks ago, got my radiator from ebay, 65.00 delivered with lifetime warranty. bought new lower radiator hose , thermostat and new antifreeze all for a total of $110.00. Took me 4 hours to do. You will need the tool to un clip the plastic "christmas tree" clips from everywhere, that was 10.00 from Autozone.

I did the exact same thing a couple months ago. works just fine
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:11 AM   #7
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Mishimoto had an aluminum radiator that had some mixed reviews. I understand now they have a new design out, but I have yet to see more info. My OEM radiator leaks, you can smell it after driving... the dealer ignored me when I said I thought it was leaking - all they did was top it off. Now I've just hit 34000 miles on mine. I'm looking for a good aluminum option.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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Working on mine right now. There is a good three part video on YouTube from motor city mechanic that I watched before starting which is super informative. As advised above, go get a Christmas tree/door panel clip remover, as it helps a ton. A quarter inch 8mm socket drive also helps.
Time to finish my beer and put the new spectra radiator, gates hoses etc. in the Jeep.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:49 PM   #9
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Question??? If you don't have to add antifreeze (ever) and can not find a leak anywhere, but you smell antifreeze after your engine warms up, is your radiator leaking or is it a mind thing. I watch my digital temp gauge and when it climbs above 210, it smell antifreeze in the drivers seat when I am wheeling below 10 mph. I know it's leaking, but if I NEVER have to add antifreeze, would ANYBODY worry about it. I have extended warranty and if I can find the leak, I will make them change the radiator, but I can't find it. Where is the most likely place it is leaking.
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 87_WhyJay View Post
Question??? If you don't have to add antifreeze (ever) and can not find a leak anywhere, but you smell antifreeze after your engine warms up, is your radiator leaking or is it a mind thing. I watch my digital temp gauge and when it climbs above 210, it smell antifreeze in the drivers seat when I am wheeling below 10 mph. I know it's leaking, but if I NEVER have to add antifreeze, would ANYBODY worry about it. I have extended warranty and if I can find the leak, I will make them change the radiator, but I can't find it. Where is the most likely place it is leaking.
Im in the same boat you are. I have the smell but no coolant loss.
Some people say that the smell is common because JKs have a vented system, while others say it is not common. Most of these radiators leak at the upper- driver side. You have to take the plastic shroud off to see it though.
From what I read on the forums, the leak is very small and the heat evaporates it before it can drip to the ground.
I bought my 2016 new in November 2015 and have 43xxx miles on it. I have noticed the smell since day 1 and even had it pressure tested at a reputable dealer and all checked out fine. I still crawl under it two or theee times a week to check it out. So far, so good.
After 50,000 miles, Im considering a complete system flush and switching from the purple coolant to the common green coolant. A local radiator shop told me that the dexcool is very corrosive and does more harm than good.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RHRyan View Post
Im in the same boat you are. I have the smell but no coolant loss.
Some people say that the smell is common because JKs have a vented system, while others say it is not common. Most of these radiators leak at the upper- driver side. You have to take the plastic shroud off to see it though.
From what I read on the forums, the leak is very small and the heat evaporates it before it can drip to the ground.
I bought my 2016 new in November 2015 and have 43xxx miles on it. I have noticed the smell since day 1 and even had it pressure tested at a reputable dealer and all checked out fine. I still crawl under it two or theee times a week to check it out. So far, so good.
After 50,000 miles, Im considering a complete system flush and switching from the purple coolant to the common green coolant. A local radiator shop told me that the dexcool is very corrosive and does more harm than good.
Thanks for the heads up on the possible location of the leak. I did have a leak that was fixed on the plastic housing for the thermostat. That one I should have found but didn't. It was obvious and right out where I should have noticed it. I will take the shroud off and look REAL good. Thanks again.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for the heads up on the possible location of the leak. I did have a leak that was fixed on the plastic housing for the thermostat. That one I should have found but didn't. It was obvious and right out where I should have noticed it. I will take the shroud off and look REAL good. Thanks again.
Youre welcome. Let us know what you find out.
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Old 04-13-2018, 09:16 AM   #13
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Not terrible to do. The worst part, as has been mentioned, was the "Christmas Tree" plugs. I highly suggest a heater core/engine flush while you are at it. With the old radiator in, i drained it and filled it with distilled water and radiator cleaner/flush. I ran the engine at operating temp as to get it all through the system. Drained engine and radiator, disconnected both heater hoses and removed the water pump and radiator. I let the flush continue to sit in heater core. Once radiator and water pump were replaced I flushed my heater core. I would lengthen one side by using a male-to-male (5/8" i think) brass coupeler and a spare piece of hose. On the other heater hose, i connected my garden hose using a brass male/garden hose adapter. This allowed me to flush the cleaner straight into a bucket. I back flushed first and then once the water was clear (about 5 seconds), i reversed the connections and flushed again. Once complete, i used a funnel to completely fill my heater core with my 50/50 mix. This way i avoided having any air or a need to "burp" the heater core later on. Once the water pump and radiator were replaced, i reconnected everything and ran the engine to operating temp just as before. My trusty meat thermometer gave a reading of 124 in the middle vent with heat on high prior, and a reading of 168 after.

As far as parts go, i just used what my local radiator shop had on hand. I did use this video as my guide. It definitely helped with the location of all the plugs, nuts, and bolts.

https://youtu.be/TNHugT2DtGU
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Old 04-19-2018, 07:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RHRyan View Post
Im in the same boat you are. I have the smell but no coolant loss.
Some people say that the smell is common because JKs have a vented system, while others say it is not common. Most of these radiators leak at the upper- driver side. You have to take the plastic shroud off to see it though.
From what I read on the forums, the leak is very small and the heat evaporates it before it can drip to the ground.
I bought my 2016 new in November 2015 and have 43xxx miles on it. I have noticed the smell since day 1 and even had it pressure tested at a reputable dealer and all checked out fine. I still crawl under it two or theee times a week to check it out. So far, so good.
After 50,000 miles, Im considering a complete system flush and switching from the purple coolant to the common green coolant. A local radiator shop told me that the dexcool is very corrosive and does more harm than good.

So you can change to the Green Antifreeze if you completey flush the system???
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Old 04-20-2018, 04:55 AM   #15
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So you can change to the Green Antifreeze if you completey flush the system???
According to the owner of the local radiator shop, yes you can.
My concern was if the green coolant would do as good of a job as the purple or orange, but according to the shop owner, the green coolant will do better and will not be corrosive.

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