Tools: 8mm, 10mm, 13mm or 1/2″, Philips and Straight screwdriver, Vice Grips or pliers for hose clamps.

I’d made it to Prince George with little incident. I’d been glancing at my temperature gauge frequently for most of the drive, and to be honest I’d kind of hoped that the car would run a little hot – that’d convince me that I needed to replace my rad… but when I’d arrived at Clive and Sue’s I’d become so bold that I’d even turned up the air-con!

I got talking and got the box of rope and webbing i’d be leaving in their care whilst I travelled up north. I was really on the fence about changing my rad; Sue gave me that little extra shove pushing me in the right direction. We rang some auto-parts stores to get some quotes. Chieftain Auto Parts was by far the best – about $60 cheaper than both NAPA and LORDCO. I headed of to make the purchase. On the way I grabbed refilled a water jug. Glancing under my car I saw coolant dripping out… I was happy I was finally going to fix the issue. It had first occurred near the Weeping Wall on a -30C day whilst on the way to Reve.

I realised that now would be the best time to replace my fan assembly as it hadn’t been working for quite some time. New it was looking like they’d be over $300! I tried a couple of wrecking yards, and was lucky on my second stop at Pinedale Auto Wreckers. They were a little busy, but made time for me to go pull the fan assembly out of a ’05 Caravan. The guy I went with to see if they had one (you can’t pick your own parts like in a lot of the wreckers I am used to) had family from Malta, so we talked a little about that before I headed off to make a start.

Clive grabbed me some spanners, and Sue lay down a blue tarp for me to drive over – both for something to lie on as well as to catch any stray coolant. After disconnecting the negative terminal, I started by removing the plastic shroud followed by the front cross-bar. And then removing the cross-bar placing it up on the engine, ensuring it wasn’t shorting the battery terminals.

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Then next step was to remove the fan assembly. There were two bolts holding it to the rad, and one of the fans to needed to be disconnected. The zip-tie holding the other cut. I tried removing it before disconnecting the rad hose. Do yourself a favour – drain rad and remove hoses!

Next I needed to separate the rad from the air-con rad. This proved a little awkward and I had a look at the new one to try and work out how it connected. Removing the rubber insulating piece, lookers left where all the metal hoses are, helped greatly.

In the end I removed the plastic bumper so I could access the rad better. This was mostly needed because I couldn’t access the bottom rad hose. I could disconnect it from the lower coolant pipe, but the rad wouldn’t fit out. To remove the plastic bumper, I needed to remove the headlights and the plastic inserts in the wheel arches to access some bolts. After that (took a while) with a lot of fiddling, the rad pulled free!

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(This is actually from when the new rad is already in – note the cross-bar is on)

Inspecting the rad I was very happy I was replacing it. There was obvious rusty discoloration coming from a long crack near one of the mounts.

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The new rad slid in quite easily, and the fan assembly after it. Dang it! I put the wrong fan assembly in. Back out it comes and the other in… that was a bit of a waste! Hoses back on and it was time to call it a day. I was pretty happy with the progress.

I woke fairly early the next morning and after some guitar and a bite to eat got back to work.

  • Cross-bar back in place.
  • Zip tie temp sensor in place – it had cracked and was dangling down when I took the bumper off.
  • Bumper back on.
  • Lights back in
  • Coolant back in.

I started the car. Everything seemed to be in order. The overflow was leaking near the rad cap. The new rad seemed to have a slightly smaller diameter fitting. This was fixed with a small hose clamp.

Plastic shroud back on.

I took it for a test drive – running over my water container 😦

Everything is looking good so far.

  • $200 for rad (+tax)
  • $100 fan assembly (+tax)
  • In Jasper they had quoted me around $550 for the job (without fan assembly). So I’ve saved myself around $300 + the work for the fan assembly. I also got some good experience!

Thanks to Clive and Sue for their hospitality and letting me use their tools!

 

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