What Does It Take to Upgrade a Radiator on a Jeep XJ

Unfortunately, the Jeep XJ has a reputation for overheating when under the pressure of long periods of rock climbing and driving up long steep inclines. 

To improve your ability to use your Jeep XJ the way you want to use it, you can upgrade the radiator by modifying the existing one or installing a different one.

How to Upgrade Radiator on Jeep XJ 

Upgrading an old radiator of a jeep xj

If you want to upgrade your Jeep XJ radiator, the only choices you have are to modify the existing one or install a different one.

Repair Damages or Replace The Entire Radiator?

If your radiator is damaged and you think it needs to be repaired, it is much better to go ahead and replace the part than to try and make a repair.

There are trained technicians who can repair a damaged radiator. With that said, I must add that repairs are not always permanent fixes, and it is better to spend a little more moolah and replace the radiator with a new one than to be on a long drive and have your car overheat and ruin an engine.

Keep The Radiator Fins Cleaned.

One of the things you can do if your Jeep XJ is overheating is to clean the radiator fins.

Dirt, bug matter, trash, and particulates fly through the air as you drive and get stuck n the radiator fins. When the radiator fins are full of debris, the radiator is smothering from a lack of air, and the fluid inside the radiator starts to heat right up.

How to Clean The Fins

Cleaning the fins will be the first step in keeping your engine cool.

Using a soft brush, you can remove foreign matter, bug bodies, and larger particulates. Be gentle, so you do not damage or distort the fins.

If you see fins bent over, you can take a flathead screwdriver and gently raise the fins back into position. 

You can buy a cleaning solution designed to clean the fins. You mix this solution up according to the package instructions, and then you place it in a spray bottle so it can be gently sprayed on the fins.

You will need to leave the cleaner on the fins for the specified amount of time so it can do its job.

When you rinse the cleaner off, you must use a low-pressure hose to apply clean water. It would help if you stood to look at the radiator from the engine side and not from the car’s grill.

Spray the clean water from the engine side, and take your time because you may have to repeat this process two or more times until the water dripping off of the radiator runs clear.

Do NOT take the vehicle to a high-pressure car wash and try to blast the dirt and particulates out of the fins. This high-pressure spray is enough to bend and damage the fins so they cannot let air flow through them.

Installing a New Radiator

Mechanic Installing New Car Radiator

If you decide to install a new radiator, consider the following advice.

Step 1

Raise your Jeep using your jack and then secure the Jeep using blocks or jack stands so you can safely get under it.

Set the parking brake, and put chock blocks under the back wheels.

The vehicle should be parked on a level surface before The car should be parked on a level surface before you begin to lift it with the jack.

Step 2

Loosen the hose clamps that attach to the radiator hose.

Pull the hose off of the radiator.

Be sure to keep the clamps. You may need them.

Step 3

Remove the cooling fan fasteners. You will probably need a ratchet with an extension to reach these bolts.

Put the bolts in a secure place. Put the bolts in a safe place ou need them when you put everything back together.

It would help to disconnect the electrical connector that powers the cooling fan.

Step 4

Disconnect the transmission cooling lines. 

It is straightforward to round the fittings when you remove these, so make sure that you have a flare nut wrench to get these loose with.

Step 5

It would help if you now loosened the bolts holding the condenser in place.

Step 6

You are ready to put the new radiator in position.

Step 7

Working backward, you now need to reattach everything you took loose.

This includes the transmission lines, the cooling fan, the electrical connection to the cooling fan, and all hoses and clamps.

Step 8

You are now ready to fill the new radiator with the proper coolant and water ratio.

Your owner’s manual will tell you the exact kind of coolant to use if you replace the same type of radiator you removed.

If you have chosen a different radiator, you want to speak to a professional about which coolant and water to coolant ratio are best for the vehicle.

Step 9

You need to bleed the air from the cooling system.

If you have a coolant system vacuum fill tool, you can use this to help bleed the air out of the lines.

Step 10

You are finished and ready to take the vehicle off the jack stands and let the wheels touch the ground.

Related Articles
1. How to Clean Jeep Wrangler Soft Top & Windows
2. Why Does My Jeep Smell Like Antifreeze?

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make My Jeep Cherokee XJ Run Cooler?

In the radiator, you can run a higher coolant to water ratio to help reduce temperatures.

How Do I Stop My Jeep XJ from Overheating?

Fix any leaks in hoses or connections. Make sure you have ample coolant in the radiator. Do not drive the vehicle too hard because the more complex you use, the more complicated you make the engine work, and the higher the temperature.

Will a Grand Cherokee Radiator Fit in a Cherokee?

The radiator off of a Jeep Grand Cherokee will fit a Jeep Cherokee.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace A Radiator in a Jeep Cherokee?

The cost could be between $1000 and 1300 dollars.

Final Thoughts

The desire to upgrade the radiator on your Jeep is understandable if you live in a hot climate or use your vehicle to pull some heavy loads. The radiator keeps the engine cool and running at its top abilities.

About Brendan Burnett

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