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Discussion Starter #1
I’m going to replace my radiator with a new one I stole for a song. Car is manual, replacement is the thicker automatic version. What’s the best way to go about it?
 

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Well if you're going for the cutout and weld method, I wouldn't use a router.


Go for bigger cutoff tool plus maybe a dremel for the delicate areas. I'm assuming you're really good at welding already.



Something like this will make the project quick work ;ol;
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Just do it?

I'm figuring there are some tips that will save me time (?)


Well if you're going for the cutout and weld method, I wouldn't use a router...

This is a stock replacement, just with the automatic vs. manual radiator (thicker, has tranny fittings I don't need). I'm not doing any cutting/welding - at least I hope not!
 

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I used the WIS method, which involves removing the bumper and the A/C condenser. Having to recharge the air conditioning adds a lot to the cost of the job, and it's a major inconvenience. I've heard that some people have been able to get the radiator out through the engine compartment, but it looked pretty tight to me.
 

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I used the WIS method, which involves removing the bumper and the A/C condenser. Having to recharge the air conditioning adds a lot to the cost of the job, and it's a major inconvenience. I've heard that some people have been able to get the radiator out through the engine compartment, but it looked pretty tight to me.


Well, now I know that I made the right choice of replacing mine while the engine is out...
 

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I used the WIS method, which involves removing the bumper and the A/C condenser. Having to recharge the air conditioning adds a lot to the cost of the job, and it's a major inconvenience. I've heard that some people have been able to get the radiator out through the engine compartment, but it looked pretty tight to me.
I've found if you are careful enough you can leave the condenser plumbed up and then just get the radiator out the front. I find that easier than pulling it out the engine bay.
 

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^^^^ like they said , pull the bumper and and all the associated bits and go through the front, takes a little time but all in all easier on the knuckles.
 

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9-3 02 190K 900SE 98 90K
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I used the WIS method, which involves removing the bumper and the A/C condenser. Having to recharge the air conditioning adds a lot to the cost of the job, and it's a major inconvenience. I've heard that some people have been able to get the radiator out through the engine compartment, but it looked pretty tight to me.
I did this two weeks ago, I had enough extra space by having the coolant pump out entirely and the power steering pump connected and ziptied as far to the left as possible.
As a result I would highly recommend replacing the coolant pump simultaneously.

Allow me to look at the WIS and see what I did differently.
 

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So here's a 2002 9-3 automatic, it's pretty crowded in here unless you remove a million things from the front.


https://imgur.com/a/6MjEDL5
WIS step #29 can be ignored, the condenser can be (carefully) disconnected from the housing without being unhooked from the two connecting pipes and tilted a little ways to the right.
-The airbox and air inlet pipe to the turbo have been removed.
-The serpentine belt has been removed and the power steering pump and fluid reservoir have been unscrewed from their respective housing.
-Both of the metal housings holding the air inlet pipe and power steering pump in place are removed.
-The coolant pump has been disconnected and removed. the power steering pump now partially occupies the space previously occupied by the airbox and coolant pump, serpentine belt.

When removing and installing the radiator, start a bit to the left to unhook the boot from the right-side condenser pipe. Remember, patience is a virtue :)

To reassemble follow WIS for both the coolant pump and radiator, starting with radiator steps 1-7, then pump, then the rest of the applicable radiator steps.

Take photos. bag, mark and label everything. I ended up not reinstalling most of the (7 total) air shields nor did I reinstall the headlight wipers and it will become one hell of a puzzle if you are not organized. Really none of those things rubber/plastic pieces matter except for impacting the resale value (dirt, slightly better than dirt) of the car.
 

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Don't you have to remove headlights and potentially unplug the fogs as well?
If that's part of the 'remove bumper' step my apologies.
 

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I've found if you are careful enough you can leave the condenser plumbed up and then just get the radiator out the front. I find that easier than pulling it out the engine bay.
That's what I did...removed the bumper, etc., but did not disconnect the fittings from the condenser. It's a tedious, but not difficult job.
 

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Don't you have to remove headlights and potentially unplug the fogs as well?
If that's part of the 'remove bumper' step my apologies.
Yes, removing the headlights, corner lights, grille, and unplugging the fog lights are all part of removing the bumper.
 

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If the engine is already out, why not take it through the engine bay? The clips are in the rear so the top slides out that way and you just pick it up. You still need access up front to detach the AC/aircooler/oil cooler or whatever is attached to the lower radiator frame.

I don't think there are any fit issues, adjustments or time saving ideas. I managed to replace one through the engine bay with the engine/turbo in place leaving the bumper on. Saved a lot of time until I realized it was nearly impossible to align the AC and oil cooler attached up front and install two of the attachment screws that were slightly up and behind the oil cooler.

I probably spent 45 minutes just about getting the screw in and catching a thread before I actually did get it to thread. Kinda comical because it was always just close enough where I would try again rather than pull the bumper.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks. FWIW, I may or may not have access to the car while the engine is out. I'm having a guy do the swap since I don't have the time or back strength to do the swap right now and it's time critical of a sort.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Followup thought... if the engine is out, is it a fast pull from the engine compartment? Is there anything left in the way? Do I still need to remove the bumper to get to the fasteners?
 

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Engine out makes it an easy pull and you can probably leave the fan attached.

It's probably worth the time to pull the bumper to get clean access to everything that mounts to the lower front. As noted, I did it once and spent a crapload of time on one or two very hard to reach mounting screws. I can't recall exactly what they held (lower a/c condensor mounting point maybe) - but they were 1-2" above the oil cooler mount screws between the cooler and the radiator.

When I did that I was working at my parent's house with minimal tools (I swear to god my parents driveway has a Saab curse - if anything on a Saab is close to failing it will fail in their driveway).

Thinking about it, long thin needle nose pliers might have helped insert and position those PIA screws. A ratchet head wrench helps drive them in the limited space.
 
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