The radiator is the core component of your car’s cooling system. If your Jeep JK has been overheating lately, replacing the stock radiator with a superior aftermarket one could solve the problem.
In this article, we will cover how to upgrade the radiator on Jeep JK. If you have been planning on upgrading the radiator on your Jeep Jk, this would be a worthwhile read.
How Much Do You Need To Spend For Upgrading The Radiator On Jeep JK?
Sometimes, only a part of the radiator might malfunction, like the fitting pins, hoses, etc. It would be cheaper if you could replace these parts, but finding them is not easy. You can forage through salvage yards, but there is no guarantee you will find an exact fit.
So, if a radiator malfunction, buying a new unit would be easier than looking for replacement parts. You can get a top-quality replacement for your stock Jeep JK radiator for around $300-$400. If you need help with installation, add another $100-$150 to the bill.
How To Upgrade The Radiator On Jeep JK?
Remove The Old Radiator
Before you get to the radiator, disconnect the battery cable for safety purposes. In doing so, you and the under-hood electrical parts of your JK Wrangler will be safe from short circuit risks. Remove the negative end of the cable with a 10mm socket wrench, and you are good to go.
To begin the removal process, you will have to drain out the stock radiator first. Put a pan under the vehicle so that it collects the coolant coming out of the radiator and keeps the garage floor from getting all messy.
Look for a knob underneath the radiator grill. Grab it with a pair of pliers, undo it, and take it out. The fluid will come right out. Wait till the radiator becomes completely empty.
Remove the air box afterward. See the clips that hold it in place? You can undo them by simply pulling them out. Gently pull out the PCV hose as well. Now you can take the air box out.
Take the upper part of the box by pulling it out. The bottom section is attached to the floorboard with grommets. Grab the bottom half of the box and pull it out.
Move to the radiator shroud next. Pry out the bolts with a trim removal tool and remove the shroud. Then disconnect the coolant overflow hose that you will see on top of the radiator. Since you have drained out the radiator, no coolant will leak when you detach the hose. You can simply pull it out.
The upper radiator hose is still attached to the radiator. You will have to remove that, but before you do, unplug the radiator fan, Grab the radiator plug, press on its back with your index finger, and it will pop out.
You will notice that the upper radiator hose is connected to the radiator with a clamp. Remove it with a set of pliers. You can take the coolant reservoir out after putting aside the upper radiator hose. Grab it and pull it out.
Now you are going to have to slide in underneath the vehicle. Locate the three push pins that secure the lower radiator shroud. Use the trim removal tool to get the pins out. Then, use an 8 mm socket to remove the bolts from the radiator fan shroud. Once the bolts are out of the way, pull out the fan shroud.
Then you will have to remove the grill of your Jeep JK. At the top of it, you will find six clips. Undo them with the trim tool.
No, you can’t pull the grill out just yet. You still have to disconnect the turn signals. No need to use any special tools. Turn them counterclockwise with your hand, and they will come off.
Once you remove the grill, you will see an AC condenser in the front. Take off the 8mm bolts with an 8mm socket wrench, and it will come off.
You will now see the lower radiator hose. You can remove it in the same you removed the upper radiator hose.
There’s another radiator shroud right behind the AC condenser. On the sides, it holds to the car frame with clips. You can remove them with the trim tool. The lower end of the shroud is secured with two pins. The trim removal tool will again come in handy to get them out of the way.
You will find a pair of 10mm bolts that attaches the upper shroud to the radiator. Remove them with a 10mm socket.
There’s a bracket on the radiator that contains the AC condenser lines. An 8mm bolt holds it in place. You will need to use an 8mm socket to remove it and take off the bracket. It’s the last thing you must remove before removing the old radiator.
Installing The New Radiator
Now, cautiously put the new radiator into the slot left vacant by the old radiator. Put on the pair of 10mm bolts that will hold it to the frame of the vehicle. You are not done yet! You are just getting started!
Reinstall the AC condenser. Put it back in place and lock it down with the 8mm bolts you had removed. Reconnect the AC lines to the condenser. Again, use the bolts you removed while taking out the old radiator.
Now put back the radiator hoses. Start with the lower hoses. Get underneath the car and put back the hose. Tighten the band clamps to stabilize the hose. Reinstall the fan shroud and the coolant reservoir before putting the upper radiator hose in. Don’t forget to plug the radiator fan back on. Reconnect the overflow line and then go for the upper radiator hose.
Reinstall the upper radiator shroud. Put back the lower section of the air box. Make sure it fits the grommets on the floor. Restore the upper section next. Connect all the hoses you disconnected.
Once you have done all that, reinstall the Jeep grill plate. Your radiator is now ready for action!
It’s crucial to know how to upgrade the radiator fan on Jeep JK before you attempt a radiator upgrade on your JK Wrangler. Without the know-how, you might end up damaging vital hardware and creating new problems for your vehicle. Follow our instructions for doing it the right way.
I am Rick Bofia, a Jeep mechanic with a wealth of experience in repairing and maintaining Jeeps of all models and ages. I take pride in my expertise in diagnosing and repairing complex Jeep problems, from engine and transmission issues to suspension and brake system repairs. My passion for Jeeps and my dedication to delivering top-quality services have earned me a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy mechanic in the Jeep community. Whether you need routine maintenance or major repairs, you can trust me to get your Jeep back on the road in optimal condition.