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Radiator Replacement Guide


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#1 SteveA

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:47 PM

This guide will be posted in several chunks so please don't post till im done, cheers.

Disclaimer - This guide is aimed at those with some mechanical experience but is easy enough to be followed by all. If you mess it up tho, don't shout at me.

After having a problem with loosing quite a bit of coolant and changing my expansion tank (to no avail) I realised that there was a problem with my radiator. Looking through the front grill I could see coolant had spilt into the crash limiter and there was a dark patch in one of the corners. Checking out the prices of new VXL radiators and the fact they have plastic ends, I decided to go for the eliseparts high pressure aluminium one.

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You will need the following tools

8mm Socket
10mm Socket
Phillips no#2 screw driver
Flat head screw driver
2 Axel stands
Trolley Jack
Drill
Rivet Gun
8 x 4mm rivets
Angle grinder (if like mine your bolts are rusted to hell)


While I had the front clam off I decided to change the rusted steel c clips and bolts for stainless ones. This is a list of what I bought.

M6 x 25 mm Stainless washers x 50
M6 x 16 mm Stainless Hex Bolts x 10
M5 x 16 mm Stainless Hex Bolts x 20
M5 x 25 mm Stainless Hex Bolts x 10
Hi pressure Elise Radiator
Stainless 5 mm C-Clips x 10
Stainless 6 mm C-Clips x 10

After removing the front clam using the excellent Clam removal guide by Steve Crisp (Cheers) my car looked a bit like this

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Step 1.

To make radiator removal a bit easier I decided to remove the bonnet and part of the under tray. To remove the bonnet leave it closed (but not locked) and undo the six front bolts, four on the inside and two on the outside with the 10mm socket.

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Once all six screws have been removed, take the weight of the bonnet and open it up. once open slide the bonnet towards the windscreen and put it somewhere safe.

To remove the front part of the undertray it is easier to access jacked up. I jacked up either side of the car and placed an axel stand with a piece of wood under the jacking points.

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The under tray is clipped into part of the chassis and is removed by undoing 5 retaining bolts with an 8mm socket (3 in the centre and one either side)

Step 2.

The next thing was to remove the radiator housing. There are four main bolts that secure the radiator to the housing (red circled in the photo), remove these with 10mm socket.

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10 screws hold the radiator housing to the car body. Three at the front, three at the rear and two on either side. This picture shows the front three. Remove them with the Phillips Screw driver (or if they are rusted like mine drill off the heads)

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This next picture shows the three rear screws. Note the right hand screw is obstructed by the abs unit and I couldn’t get it out from the rear. While unscrewing the radiator it is best to unplug the cooling fan which is the blue plug near the left hand screw, simply press and pull apart.

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Circled in the next photo is one of the screws on the drivers’ side. To remove It, the head is on the underside of the car. With the under tray off it makes it much easier to access. Remove this one and the other on the passenger side.

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A little further forward is the last screw to remove. It is circled in the following picture. Once again the screw must be removed from the underside of the car (one on each side).

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The screws and clips that VXL use on the car are made of very weak steel which rusts and would not come out. To get them out I drilled out the heads and prised out the rusted C-clips.

Step 3.

Once all ten screws have been removed the radiator is ready to be drained. I had new coolant to replace what was in the system so I drained it into a plastic bowl by taking off the passenger side end radiator hose (the one with the bleed valve). There is a jubliee clip inside the housing that secures the hose, this is removed using a flat head screw driver.

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The flow of coolant ran down the radiator housing and into the bowl. Remember to unscrew the expansion tank cap to release all the fluid (you may want to do it in stages because when the cap is open the coolant will flow very quickly).

The thread on the three rear screws on the housing shredded when I was trying to remove them. Because of the limited access space I could not get a drill in to remove the heads. The radiator can still be removed without removing the rear screws.

Step 4.

To remove the unit I disconnected the other side of the radiator (loosen jubilee clip and pull off feed hose), lifted the front of the radiator housing up and slid out the old radiator, feeding the electrical plug from the fan through the housing to remove it completely. I then drained out any remaining coolant.
When the radiator was out I took an angle grinder to the inside of the 3 rear screws and C-clips to remove them. I then replaced all 10 C-clips with the 5mm stainless ones I bought.

Edited by SteveA, 10 January 2007 - 12:35 AM.


#2 jules_s

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:54 PM

Great review so far Keep it up, it will no doubt be an great addition to the 'useful' threads sticky. thumbsup

#3 SteveA

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 12:15 AM

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As you can see by the picture the bottom left hand corner of the rad and in the middle, the radiator was leaking quite a bit and the previous owner had obviously plugged a leak with a blue plug (WTF!)

Step 5.

The next stage was to remove the fan from the old radiator and fit it to the new one. The fan is riveted onto the rad and needed drilling out. I also removed the foam cushions from either side.

Once out I riveted the fan onto the new radiator. I did think about replacing the brackets but apart from the surface rust they seemed fine. I used the new stainless 6mm C-clips to replace the four rusted ones on the top of the rad.

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Step 6.

Putting it all back in. With the fan attached I stuck on the foam cushions and lifted the housing up again to insert the new radiator, feeding the fan cable back through the rear of the housing. Once in place I re-attached the two hoses and tightened up the jubilee clips. Using four of the new stainless M6 x 16 mm bolts I bolted the housing onto the radiator. Note; because this is a radiator for the Elise, the mounting holes are aligned slightly differently to the VX one. The radiator housing however has both sets of holes drilled into it, so the bolts just have to be put into the second set of holes.

I then plugged the radiator fan back in and re-fitted the grommet.

Step 7.

Filling and bleeding the system.

To fill up the water system I closed the bleed valve and took the cap off the header tank then filled it up to the max line. I then replaced the cap and tightened it up. Moving back to the front of the car I opened the bleed valve allowing any air in the system to escape. Once the coolant reached the valve I closed it off. I returned to the rear of the car and topped up the coolant level to the max level again. Leaving the cap open I waited an hour to let any air to settle in the system then bled off the air using the valve. I repeated this procedure (about another 3 times) until only fluid came out of the valve. Once the air was out of the system I tightened up the header cap and bleed valve and started the engine to allow the water pump to re-circulate the water.

Step 8.

Securing the housing. After this the only thing left to do was replace the 10 housing screws and washers with the stainless ones I bought. Then re-fit the clam, job done.

Cheers

Steve

Edited by SteveA, 10 January 2007 - 12:22 AM.


#4 luna_s

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 06:57 AM

nice job steve, I had similar issues, only thing i can comment on is the rad fan, i cleaned painted the brackets and used bolts/nylocs instead of pop rivets, just so it was more secure. But your're right about those screws, i had to grind every single one.... thumbsup

#5 mandarinvx

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 04:13 PM

Great guide, cheers chinky chinky One thing to add - I didn't remove the front undertray, and it didn't get in the way at any point :) I also covered the heater box air intakes in aluminium bodywork mesh, stuck down with Tigerseal and sprayed black thumbsup

#6 Guy182

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 04:19 PM

oh and that blue ''plug''... 2 of my standard radiators from brand new have had them in.. with no leaks.

#7 markiii

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:23 AM

any probems with air in the heater matrix only? my old MR2 was an arse in that respect?

#8 SteveA

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:52 AM

The heater matrix inlet and outlet are on the top of the matrix so the air rises out of it. I haven't experienced any issues.

#9 Richy

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:09 PM

Do these three rear screws have to come out? - as pictured here..

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I've had a total nightmare with every nut and screw on the car [and its been garage nursed from new] the dremel has had a hammering - will i have to cut those three bad boys out because theres no way a screw head will turn them.

Edited by Richy, 22 August 2008 - 05:09 PM.


#10 Richy

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:28 PM

Found out just after posting that they don't need to be removed chinky chinky

#11 P11 COV

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:14 PM

Great review so far

Keep it up, it will no doubt be an great addition to the 'useful' threads sticky.

thumbsup



This guide will be posted in several chunks so please don't post till im done, cheers.


:rolleyes:

#12 james141

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:27 PM

Is it 100% necessary to jack the car up?

#13 SWISH

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:33 PM

No, not unless you struggle to undo the inner arch screws, then it's a case of jacking up to remove wheels chinky chinky

#14 james141

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:34 PM

Ok thanks chinky chinky

#15 james141

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:41 AM

Does anyone know how much coolant is required to refill?

#16 rsg

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:52 AM

Does anyone know how much coolant is required to refill?


Link

12 litres

#17 james141

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 02:04 PM

nice one thanks, so approx 6l of coolant.

#18 rsg

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 04:27 PM

yep and distilled water thumbsup

#19 vx220soon

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 04:10 PM

All the pictures have gone on this thread. Has anybody got a PDF version of this guide?

#20 Sticky

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 06:55 PM

All the pictures have gone on this thread. Has anybody got a PDF version of this guide?


I have

Edited by Sticky, 11 February 2010 - 06:56 PM.





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