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Discussion Starter #1
It's time, and I'm seeking guidance, please, as I have zero radiator knowledge. I'm thinking Mopar, but not sure who to acquire it through. Is there more than one Mopar radiator model? This was model year 2003, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and it's automatic.

I've never had to have a radiator replaced before (well, no radiator ever, but I've also never owned the same vehicle for this long), so are there other parts associated with a radiator replacement that I need to order for the mechanic?

Rather than going to the dealer for this, I plan to use YourMechanic.com, where they come to you. Thoughts/experiences on that would be appreciated, as well. Thanks :)
 

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Welcome to the Forum, from Cave Creek AZ.
 
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Definitely use a mopar radiator. Not sure which part number specific to your year and transmission. It is an easy swap and shouldn't take even a novice more than an hour and a half to get done.
Start with a cold engine. Set a huge wide catch pan under it and remove the lower radiator hose. Stock TJ hose clamps can be loosed by squeezing the tabs with a needle nose plier.. Coolant will pour out..fast! It may get a but messy.. Drive on
Next remove the cap and the top radiator hose.
Save and reuse the factory mopar hose clamps.
Time to remove the old radiator.
There are 6 or 8 bolts on either side of the rad.
Remove them. Having some smaller quarter inch drive ratchet and sockets as well as boxed end wrenches of the same size helps.. the bolts aren't tight but the bottom ones can be tricky to get to if you have enormous man hands.The radiator can now come out.
Install new rad and tighten bolts up. Reinstall hoses with clamps. Fill with proper coolant.
Start jeep, open a beer and let the engine get to warm operating temperature (190 degrees). When it gets warm is when you will know if you have any leaks. If it isn't leaking, celebrate.
But you ain't done.
Next once its cool enough to do so. Remove the cap and top off with more coolant.
Warm it up again. Once warm, and this is a great jeep or 4x4 trick, slowly roll your jeep down into and across a shallow easily cross able ditch. Yes drive it down a steep grade (ditch), pause (let the bubbles move along with gravity), and then up the other side.
This is an old-school way of "burping" the system. By burping I mean getting any air out of the engine and heater core lines. You'd be surprised how much more coolant some vehicles take after doing this. I do this with every radiator change I do on any jeep or pickup or suv. With a passenger car you can use a floor jack but its not as fun or quick.
Once done freaking your neighbors out.
Re-check again for leaks, let it cool down and check one last time that it is topped off.
Carry the used coolant to your local recycling center and dump it and the old radiator (one shot deal no garage clutter)

Hope that helps

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

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Go to an auto parts store and have them order a radiator for you. Also get two gallons of antifreeze/coolant and new upper and lower radiator hoses. Now would be a good time to get and replace the original heater hoses also.
 

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That is what I got this year. Perfect fit and very happy.
You can certainly go cheap with one for $100 (or less), but I figured the original MOPAR lasted over 180k miles.
It really isn't much more than the mid-grade radiators.
Probably the last radiator my TJ will ever need.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Appreciate all the responses :).

At Mopar.com, they have an illustration of all the radiator components, but my laptop doesn't allow me to 'hover' over the areas to identify them.


If anyone sees this, I'd appreciate a list of all the recommended pieces to replace at this time, apart from the radiator itself. Hoses, caps, thermostat, whatever, would be helpful. Thank you!
 

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Radiator cap, Upper and lower radiator hoses for sure.

Thermostat will be easy to access with radiator out.

Check the fan clutch for proper operation since the radiator will be out.

Download the FSM at jeepslimited.com

TJ Radiator Replacement - 1
 

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Rockauto was not a bad price to begin with, but you can get a discount code online and save some more cash off the order.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I learned today that the only YourMechanic.com provider in my area is on leave of absence, no eta on a comeback. Since I'm unable to do the replacement myself, that leaves the Jeep dealership, or....?

Re: Rockauto... good prices, but there are some rough reviews out there. I know negative reviews don't tell us how many perfectly happy customers are out there, but not gonna lie, it's unnerving.
 

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I've never had a problem with them, including returning parts that failed under warranty. However, nobody's perfect.

There are online MOPAR parts dealers as well, probably won't beat RockAuto's price though.

Post you location and maybe somebody can point you to a good mechanic. Jeep dealer labor rates will be outrageous for this simple job and you will pay full retail for the radiator, hoses, etc. But it won't hurt to call and get a quote.

Know of a Jeep club in your area? You might find someone willing to do it for pizza and beer. It's that easy.
 

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Re: Rockauto... good prices, but there are some rough reviews out there. I know negative reviews don't tell us how many perfectly happy customers are out there, but not gonna lie, it's unnerving.
I have had hundreds of very satisfactory transactions with Rockauto. When there was a problem, they responded immediately with a prepaid return shipping label and took the part back. They have also been great with manufacturer warranty replacements where parts failed well after the original sale.
 

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I've never had a problem with them, including returning parts that failed under warranty. However, nobody's perfect.

There are online MOPAR parts dealers as well, probably won't beat RockAuto's price though.

Post you location and maybe somebody can point you to a good mechanic. Jeep dealer labor rates will be outrageous for this simple job and you will pay full retail for the radiator, hoses, etc. But it won't hurt to call and get a quote.

Know of a Jeep club in your area? You might find someone willing to do it for pizza and beer. It's that easy.
I'm in Olympia, WA if anyone can recommend a mechanic here.
 

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Are you unable to physically tackle this or just intimidated?

If intimidated, watch some of the YouTube how-to videos.
Even if you have zero mechanical experience, you can do this with a pair of pliers for hose clamps (or screwdriver) and a very basic socket set.

If physically unable to DIY, then do what ya gotta do.
Maybe somebody on the forum is in your area and would be able to do the pizza/beer payment plan, as suggested.

It hurts to see someone pay for a super-easy job like this, if it can be avoided.

Good luck!
 
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