Replacing the Hyundai Elantra radiator looks like a daunting task at first glance. One of the reasons it appears this way is that there are two electric cooling fans that are mounted on the Elantra radiator and not just one. In addition, the upper radiator hose obscures access to the fans and connectors, and work space seems limited and tight. In reality, the job is not really that difficult, and you should be able to complete it in about an hour.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- 1/4-inch socket set
- Screwdriver set
- Drain pan
- Flare nut wrench
Jack up the Elantra and install jack stands under the lower control arms where they attach to the front frame. Lower the car onto the jack stands and make certain that it is stable. Place a pan below the radiator drain and use pliers to open the drain valve. Remove the radiator cap and allow the radiator to fully drain.
Remove the upper radiator hose by loosening the hose clamps with either a socket or a screwdriver. Once loose, pry under the hose with a screwdriver to break the seal. Twist and pull the hose off the fittings. Do the same with the lower radiator hose.
Locate the four bolts that hold the lower fan bracket to the radiator. Use a socket and remove them. From the top, remove either two or four upper mounting bolts (depending on the model year) that hold the fan bracket in place. Unplug the fan connectors from the wiring harness plug and remove the fans.
Remove the transmission fluid lines that are attached to the radiator if the car is equipped with an automatic transmission. Use a flare nut wrench to prevent rounding the flare nuts. Remove the two upper radiator attaching brackets that are bolted to the core support. Set them aside and lift the radiator out.
Install the new radiator into the lower radiator isolator brackets. The rubber fittings prevent the radiator from absorbing engine and road vibrations. Be certain it is properly seated into the isolators. Install the upper mounting brackets and reattach the transmission cooling lines.
Install the cooling fans and hand-tighten them to the upper mounting bolts. Align the bottom mounts and install and snug the lower bolts. Install the lower radiator hose and securely tighten the clamps. The drain on the new radiator should be closed, but be certain by checking that the valve is in the closed position.
Tighten the upper fan mounting bolts. Install the upper radiator hose and tighten the radiator hose clamps. Plug the radiator fans into the wiring harness connectors.
Fill the radiator with a 50-50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Squeeze the upper and lower radiator hoses to purge air and continue to fill the radiator. When full, install the radiator cap and crank the car. Allow it to run until the fans cycle on and off. Shut the car off and let it cool. Remove the radiator cap and add additional coolant. Start the car and let it run until the fans cycle once again. Shut the car off and let it cool. Fill the coolant. Repeat this process until no additional coolant is needed.
Tips & Warnings
- Early Elantra radiators had two thermal switches installed in the lower tank. Unscrew the switches and install them in the new radiator.
- It is critical that the heating and cooling cycle of filling the radiator be followed. Air pockets can form in the engine and cause the car to overheat. Severe engine damage will occur if this process is omitted.
- Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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