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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

08 Dodge Grand Caravan Radiator Replacement

Well, I'm back to a faint smell of antifreeze in my garage and topping the recovery tank off regularly. A pressure check of the system clearly showed the radiator spewing under pressure. Amazingly, the book rate to remove and replace the radiator is close to 3 hours. Why? Well, depending on the manual you read, you may need to take the grill and bumper cover completely off to do the job. The Clymer manual doesn't say to do so, but the pictures in it show the grill and bumper cover off.

So, what is the truth?

Do this job with the engine cold. I only ran it long enough to get it up onto the ramps.


The little red bucket fits under the radiator drain.


The drain is directly above a frame member so I used a form-a-funnel to try and make as little mess as possible.


Up under there. Open the drain.


Now open the radiator cap so that it will really flow out


Pull the recovery tank. It just has tabs that fit into key holes.


Pull the hose for the recovery tank.


Pull the two electrical plug to the fans.


The red part slides back.


Then push in the tab in the middle in order to get these plugs off.


Here's the second plug.


Pull all the "christmas trees" that hold the wires in place.






Disconnect the upper radiator hose.


I'm going to replace the upper and lower radiator hoses, too. This is a good time to verify that the hose I have is correct and will fit okay.


Remove the upper hose at the engine.


There is just clips that hold the radiator fan assembly in place. Carefully pop those loose.


Pull the fan assembly straight out.


This one bolt on the right side of the radiator holds the radiator to some AC lines. Take it out.


Put a catch bucket under the lower radiator hose


Pull the lower radiator hose.


The other end of the lower hose is way under there.


I'll go ahead and connect the new lower hose to the engine side while I'm down here.


Back to the top side. Two little pop fasteners hold the top of the grill in place.


So here's where the "how deep do you have to go" comes into question. The top radiator support goes basically from headlight to headlight and had to come out the top to let the radiator out the top.

Let's find and count the bolts holding things together.

1 ... 2 ...


3 ... 4 ...


5 ... 6 ...


7 ... 8 ...


Removing this bolt lets you...


Get at this bolt.


Oh wow, there's a 9th and 10th bolt holding the upper radiator support in place, too.


Up and almost out. Leave the hood latch and cable attached and lay it to the side.




These little clips are what the bolts go into.


The AC condenser is attached to clips on the front of the radiator.


Carefully pull things apart.


We had to look at the new radiator to figure out where every clip was for sure.





Here's the last hold up. The condenser lines in front of the condenser right side need to be unclipped from the radiator before the right side of the condenser itself may be unclipped.


Finally the radiator is unclipped.


And comes straight out.


Put the side air dams on the new radiator.


Route the clips correctly.


Put the radiator in place and reclip the condenser and its lines back into place. This would be a good time to install the top air dam.(Instead of later like we did.)


Radiator top support goes on.


Bolts go in.




The odd ball bolt goes in.


Lower radiator hose goes on.


Fan assembly drops in and clips in.


Wires get plugged in and routed.


Wash the recovery tank out.


Install recover tank.




Connect recovery. (We have to put a hose clamp on this after we ran it.)


Then we realized that the top air dam wasn't in place.


Surely we can fish this in.


Why does that fit?


This notch...


should fit with this knotch, but it's off by about a quarter inch.


So we fixed it and it fit.


Connect upper radiator hose.


Fill the system and run it and make sure it's full.


The whole job took about 2 hours with the help of my friend Pat. It actually went a heck of a lot smoother than most of our projects.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the step by step instructions they saved me a lot of time. I was also glad to find somebody else who doesn't remove the front end of the minivan every time they decide to work on it.

    Nolan

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  2. Wow -- fantastic documentation.
    Seriously, thank you for all of this.

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  3. Wow -- fantastic documentation.
    Seriously, thank you for all of this.

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  4. Fantastic write up! I just found that my 08 caravan may need a new radiator. Strange, maybe there is a slight crack in the upper housing, but I too am noticing alot of missing antifreeze. And I can see a slight bit of antifreeze staining on the drivers side on the plastic.... yay!

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  5. Fantastic write up! I just found that my 08 caravan may need a new radiator. Strange, maybe there is a slight crack in the upper housing, but I too am noticing alot of missing antifreeze. And I can see a slight bit of antifreeze staining on the drivers side on the plastic.... yay!

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  6. Looks like my 09 is leaking from the drivers side air dam....

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  7. Any special thing to do to make sure it doesn't get air locked?

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  8. Any special thing to do to make sure it doesn't get air locked?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Excellent presentation using still pix! Great help.
    One problem we had was the lower left (facing the car) u-metal bracket on the oil cooler was very difficult to remove from the plastic radiator mount. It was impossible to put back in until I cut off about 1/2 the height of the plastic bracket on the radiator. It popped right in and the rest of the assembly was "duck soup".

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