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Radiator replacement & Flexalite fan

Last update; 23 May 2008 08:52:14


    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.