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Jeep Wrangler YJ Radiator

Maintenance Tips to Follow for Jeep Wrangler (YJ) Radiators

Getting stuck on the side of the road because of an overheated engine in your Jeep Wrangler (YJ) is never a pleasant scene, but this can mostly be prevented by taking good care of your radiator. The Jeep Wrangler (YJ) radiator is the first line of defense against overheating in your truck's engine, but without regular maintenance it will fail eventually.

In this guide, we'll share some basic yet highly effective tips on how to maintain your Jeep Wrangler (YJ) radiator:

  • Keep the radiator topped up.

Keeping the radiator filled with coolant at all times arguably remains the best way to keep the radiator running smoothly. While Jeep Wrangler radiators are designed to be self-contained, coolant will still gradually leak out of the engine. This slow drainage will eventually decrease the radiator's ability to cool the engine, so make sure to keep an eye out for the radiator's coolant level and replenish it when necessary.

  • Check for leaks and other signs of damage.

If you notice your truck's radiator loses more coolant than normal, it may indicate leaks on the system. Leaks are a common cause of radiator failure, and may require immediate repair or replacement of the unit depending on the severity of the damage.

Aside from visible signs of cracks, holes, and other types of damage, other indicators of a leak in your radiator also include a noticeable smell of antifreeze in the hood and the sharp rise in the engine thermostat despite running under normal operating conditions. If any of these symptoms appear in your Jeep, have it inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible.

  • Avoid using water from the tap.

Filling the radiator with water straight from the nearest faucet will save you money right now, but it comes at a steep cost in the long run. Aside from being ineffective in drawing heat away from the engine compared to engine coolant, tap water also contains calcium impurities which can build up and clog the insides of the radiator.

  • Flush the radiator regular.

Flushing the radiator should be a standard practice in your radiator maintenance checklist. Most auto repair shops offer flushing services, although you can also drive up to your local dealership and ask whether they can also flush your Jeep's radiator. Normally, radiators should be flushed at least once every two years or 40,000-50,000 miles.

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  • Tips on Installing a New Jeep Wrangler (YJ) Radiator

    So the worst has happened and you need to replace the radiator in your Jeep Wrangler (YJ). And while most auto repair shops are capable of installing Jeep Wrangler (YJ) radiators, you can save time and money by installing the radiator yourself. This is, of course, provided that you have the skills and equipment needed to fit in that new radiator properly in your Jeep. If not installed correctly, the radiator might leak, not function properly, and cause costly damage to the engine and other parts inside the hood.

    Installing a new Jeep Wrangler (YJ) radiator can be challenging but very rewarding if done right. And if you are planning on installing one yourself, here are some important things to keep in mind:

    Tip #1: Drain the coolant.

    The first step in the installation process is flushing the coolant out of your truck’s cooling system. The coolant may contain rust and particles from the old radiator which may contaminate the new one, so getting it out of the system is a must. Make sure the engine has significantly cooled down first to prevent burns, and use a clean drain pan that’s free of oil, fuel, and transmission fluid to catch the coolant.

    Tip #2: Take extra care in getting things out.

    The radiator is linked to your Jeep in more ways than one, so you need to be very careful in detaching the unit to prevent damaging other parts in your car. First, make sure that you have removed all of the necessary fasteners, hoses, hose clamps, and fittings and set them aside in a safe place. We also recommend taking out the fan shroud beforehand to make the removal of the radiator an easier task.

    Tip #3: If the hoses don’t slip over the spigot, lubricate them with a bit of coolant.

    Radiator hoses tend to become dry and brittle over time, but soaking them with a small amount of coolant should restore their flexibility. But if the hoses still won’t budge, it may be best to have them replaced as well.

    Tip #4: Once the new radiator is installed, start up the engine and check for leaks.

    Pay close attention to the radiator hoses, as leaks in this area may indicate that the hoses are not connected properly. Also, check the thermostat; a rapidly rising temperature may indicate the new radiator is not functioning properly.