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Old 07-06-2010, 10:59 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Mountain View CA.
Posts: 74
W126 Radiator Should I Replace It Myself

Well, the radiator neck on my 1991 420 SEL with 560 motor just snapped over the 4th of July weekend. I am considering replacing the radiator myself. Is there anything crazy about the job I should know about or is it pretty straightforward? Are there any special tools needed? I can get a Nissens radiator for $200 delivered and a Behr for $300 delivered. Does anyone have a recommendation? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
1988 420 SEL
1991 420 SEL with 560 motor
1993 Miata
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:18 AM
Rahulio1989300E's Avatar
V10s & V8s FTW!
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,141
This is a fairly easy job, done with basic tools.

Please put in Zerex G-05 coolant in, mix 50-50 with distilled water.
Zerex is typically found at NAPA, distilled water is from you local grocery store.
The capacity is in your owner's manual.

If your upper and lower radiator hoses are original, why not replace them while you have easy access.

When filling the system, be sure that there is no air in the system.
Run the engine without the cap on the coolant tank when you are restarting the engine for the first time. Grab and squeeze the top radiator hose to 'burp' the system of air. Do not let your car reach operating temperature without the cap on the coolant tank. Be sure to run the heater at full blast to circulate the system and ensure the new coolant flows through everything. If you are willing to take your time on this, you may want to flush with 100% water first, drain, then refill with the Zerex, distilled 50/50 mix.

I am sure someone else will chime in, but it is straight forward, be sure to label or make a diagram on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with the locations of the screws and whatnot you remove to ensure everything gets back to where it needs to be.

I don't know about Behr vs Nissens.
2006 BMW M5 "Heidi" @ 96,000 miles
2005 MBZ C55 AMG "Lorelai" @ 120,000 miles
1990 MBZ 500SL "Shoshanna" @ 118,000 miles
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:34 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Mountain View CA.
Posts: 74
thanks for your reply

Thanks for your reply. I think I am going to order a radiator tomorrow!
1988 420 SEL
1991 420 SEL with 560 motor
1993 Miata
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