Last night I did a good! As my helper was AWOL, I figured I’d tackle the radiator replacement (after I broke the inlet doing a pressure test) and might even be able to get it done in one go.
How hard could it be?
Our Lord and Savior Amazon ended up delivering the radiator a day early and while the package itself looked like hammered dog shit, I’ll hand it to Nissens, the packaging protected the radiator well and it only suffered a single bent fin.
I had previously been led to believe radiator replacement on this vehicle was a breeze, especially with how disassembled the car is already. “Basically just two bolts!” someone said.
That was (mostly) a lie.
To do the radiator on this car you have to remove the side lights, headlight finishers, grille, horns, transmission cooler, oil cooler, and a host of brackets and mounts.
There is at least one YouTube video of a shop doing the replacement without doing all that, but I’ve cut corners enough to know that you almost never save time by not going by the book. “All you have to do is...” pry this, jiggle that, use a stubby right angle here, be careful not to break that. Nah man... by the book.
With the exception of getting the horns out, which was a pain because the manual denies the existence of the foam they were embedded in, the job wasn’t that bad. The “quick disconnect” fittings on the coolers were stiff and dirty, but a shot of brake cleaner and PB Blaster had them off.
The fitting change over was messy and fraught, but didn’t really take that long.
The only real hickup I had was after removing the grill, the area around the top mounting screw, which had been cracked for a while, finally gave up and broke. Super glue gel and Shoe Goo got this back to being surprisingly strong.
Around 11PM the radiator was in, the grill was back on, and the Disco was shockingly buttoned up.
I won’t lie, I was impressed with myself.
The downside is, although I completed a task, the task wasn’t exactly part of the plan and didn’t make any progress on the main task of getting the head gaskets back in.
Ahh well. I now have a 100% new cooling system, which seems like a good call on a vehicle known for having cooling issues.