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By Dan Ferrell
The radiator helps the engine in your Saturn SW2 to work at operating temperature by removing heat from the coolant. But if your radiator has suffered internal damage, is badly clogged or beyond repair, you can replace it without the use of special tools. This is an excellent driveway weekend repair job for the average Saturn owner, if you want to keep your SW2 within your maintenance budget and help increase the life of your engine.
M/F Park your Saturn on level ground, open the hood and remove the ground (black) negative battery cable from the battery with a wrench.
M/F Place a large drain pan under the radiator, open the radiator drain valve and remove all the coolant from the radiator. Store the coolant in a sealed container to be recycled.
M/F Detach the air intake ducts and the cleaner assembly from the front of the vehicle with a standard screwdriver.
M/F Move the clamp from the upper radiator hose toward the engine with a pair of rib joint pliers and pull the upper hose off the radiator fitting. If your Saturn comes with an automatic transmission, disconnect the upper cooler line from the radiator right underneath the upper hose fitting. Use a line wrench. Cover the line opening with a clean plastic sheet and a rubber band.
M/F Unplug the electrical connector of the cooling fan, unfasten the mounting bolts with a ratchet and socket, and remove the cooling fan assembly from the engine compartment.
M/F Jack up the front of your Saturn with a floor jack and place a safety stand under the frame on each side for support.
M/F Move the clamp from the lower radiator hose toward the engine with the pair of rib joint pliers, located on the passenger side, and pull the lower hose off the radiator fitting. If your Saturn comes with an automatic transmission, disconnect the lower cooler line from the radiator connected to the bottom of the radiator tank on the driver side. Use a line wrench. Cover the line opening with a clean plastic sheet and a rubber band.
M/F Unfasten the bolts from the brackets on each side of the radiator with a ratchet and socket. Tie the condenser unit in front of the radiator to the vehicle with flexible wire to hold it in place and remove the radiator bottom supports with the ratchet and socket.
M/F Unfasten and remove the upper radiator mounting nuts and brackets with a ratchet and socket. If your Saturn is equipped with air conditioning, remove by hand the cushion seal along the top of the radiator. Remove the radiator from the engine compartment.
M/F Squeeze the tabs on each side of the drain valve housing with the rib joint pliers and remove the valve housing assembly and install it on the new radiator, if you have a 1991 to 1993 Saturn model. Also, transfer the lower radiator mounting grommets and the side rubber mounting brackets from the old radiator into the new unit.
M/F Install the radiator in place and tighten the upper mounting nuts and brackets with the ratchet and socket. If your Saturn is equipped with air conditioning, replace the cushion seal along the top of the radiator by hand.
M/F Replace the radiator bottom supports with the ratchet and socket, and remove the flexible wire from the condenser unit and fasten the upper radiator mounting nuts and brackets with the ratchet and socket.
M/F Attach the lower radiator hose, secure it with the clamp using the rib joint pliers and reconnect the lower cooler line to the radiator with the line wrench, if your Saturn comes equipped with an automatic transmission.
M/F Lower your Saturn and reinstall the fan assembly, tighten the mounting bolts with the ratchet and socket, and plug in the electrical connector.
M/F Attach the upper radiator hose, secure it with the clamp using the rib joint pliers and reconnect the upper cooler line to the radiator with the line wrench, if your Saturn comes equipped with an automatic transmission.
M/F Replace the air intake ducts and the cleaner assembly with the standard screwdriver and prepare a new mixture of 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent distilled water in a clean container to replace the same amount of coolant you removed from the old radiator.
M/F Reconnect the ground (black) negative battery cable to the battery with the wrench.
M/F Pour the new coolant in the coolant reservoir until the coolant level stays at the "Full Cold" mark on the reservoir. Start the engine and let it idle for 3 minutes. Check for coolant leaks and add more coolant to the reservoir to bring the level up to the "Full Cold" mark again, if necessary. Turn off the engine and close the hood.
M/F Whenever you need to work on the cooling system of your Saturn, make sure the engine and radiator are cool. Hot coolant under pressure may spray out and cause severe skin burns, if you remove the radiator and coolant reservoir caps.
M/F Always recycle used coolant from your Saturn at your local recycling center or auto parts store.