If you're like most YJ & TJ Wrangler owners, and you haven't fixed it
already, chances are that you either your radiator needs replacing, or
it will soon. It seems that DCX's composite design rad for the previous
20 years was intended to only last approximately 30K miles, due to the
inevitable leak around the plastic tanks where they are crimped onto the
aluminum tube/fin assembly. The Monster waited a bit longer for this; I
noticed the distinctive smell of antifreeze at about 70K. Now, when
something needs replaced on the Monster I usually think immediately of
an upgrade, since I would prefer to spend my disposable income on more
fun stuff like lifts, wheels/tires, etc. I originally thought about
buying a Be Cool or Griffin aluminum replacement from Quadratec or 4WD
Hardware. But, they were around 400-500 bucks, and I wasn't prepared to
spend that sort of cash, and besides, are they really worth that kind of
moolah? Then while surfing ebay, I found Radiator Barn,
who had an old-school brass/copper rad for $149.00. Following my normal mode of
thinking, I figured this'd be a good opportunity to upgrade the
belt-driven fan for an electric. An article In JRations recommending
using a boneyard piece was good, but I couldn't see the point of putting
a used fan in the Monster. So I ordered up a Flexalite #475 fan from 4WD
Hardware, gathered up all the ancillary stuff I needed to get the job
done, and went to it.
Click on the photos to enlarge
Here's the engine compartment with
the old rad & fan in place. I had just got done flushing the coolant at
this point. Note the coolant overflow bottle on the left. This will
cause some consternation later.
Here's the "slightly" clogged rad. I,
unfortunately was the culprit here, since my initial fix of adding rad
leak sealer caused this damage. This was AFTER flushing.
Here is the old rad. Note the mass
quantity of dead leaves on the bottom edge. They were between the rad &
the A/C condenser. Note; the old fan was at this point resting
comfortably in the trash.
The old one is out,
waiting for the new Radiator Barn rad to go in place.
The new fan and rad in place and
working. Not too bad. Or at least I thought so.
Here's where my usual luck
comes in. When I first ordered the fan from 4WD Hardware, there was no
notation on the website that any additional parts might be needed. Well,
turns out that I needed a additional bracket for the coolant overflow
bottle. I originally called 4WDH and ordered one, at which time I was
told it would be at my home in 2 days, since I live; according to
MapQuest, less than 35 miles away. To make a long story short, that
didn't happen, and after having 3 customer service reps tell me on 3
consecutive days that it would "ship today", I cancelled the order and
had Quadratec send one to me. Then I needed to replace the trans cooler
lines, since they were pretty beat up. That taken care of, the Monster's
cooling system is working pretty much as I expected it would, the
Flexalite fan seems to be doing its job reasonably well. I have also
done as much as I can with the ancillary wiring. I was never able to
reach the wiring for the A/C clutch, so I am using the override function
anytime the A/C compressor is on.