Things to Consider When Buying a Radiator Support Crossmember
When your car's engine overheats, the first thing that comes to mind is that your radiator might be leaking. This can be traced back to the radiator's cooling process, where a stabilized system is necessary. Maintaining a balanced radiator is the radiator crossmember's job. When the crossmember breaks, it is advisable to replace it immediately to prevent further engine damage.
Materials that matter
Knowing which material suits your vehicle's radiator is essential in choosing a new radiator support crossmember. Identify your car's make, model, and year, and refer to your car's manual to see the list of materials that fit your vehicle.
Replacement radiator support crossmembers are made of either steel or aluminum. With a primered finish, both materials almost offer the same benefits. Their price gap remains close. Crossmembers made of aluminum cost around $180 while those made of steel cost around $200.
However, if you don't want to bother checking if the materials would fit your vehicle or not, you can always get a crossmember replacement from your manufacturer. With a few bucks more, you're sure to get a crossmember that fits your car and is covered with your car brand's warranty.
If you're a budget-conscious DIYer, then price is a major factor in choosing a radiator support crossmember. Different brands offer different prices, and different prices are matched with varying levels of quality. The usual price for aftermarket crossmembers ranges from $49.59 to $205.48. Be suspicious if you are offered a price lower than $40, since it may be a low-quality product.
Buying during a clearance sale is another way of getting crossmembers at a relatively low price. An original price of $50.64 can drop down to $22.88 only. Though these clearance products tend to be old stocks, they're still as good as new in terms of quality-performance.
How to Install a Radiator Support Crossmember
Cooling your Chevy Master's engine is as important as sweating in humans. To prevent the engine from overheating, your Chevy Master has what you call a radiator. It cools down the engine by passing a coolant which dissipates the heat. This process requires resistance to the car's vibrations. The radiator support crossmember is the one responsible for stabilizing the radiator in place, preventing leaks while your vehicle is in motion.
Set up your Chevy Master's radiator support crossmember with these steps:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Jack and jack stands
- Chevy Master's repair manual, if available
- Screwdriver set
- Pair of small boxing plates
- Chevy Master radiator support crossmember kit
Step 1: Secure your car with a jack and jack stands. Your car should be parallel to the ground. Refer to your car's manual to find the front axle centerline on top of the frame rail. Mark it as it will serve as the new crossmember's centerline.
Step 2: Disconnect the parts of the steering system. Take out the components of the suspension system as well. Then, detach the rear shackle mounts riveted to the frame's bottom.
Step 3: You can temporarily tack weld a brace across the frame rails to keep the rails in place. After the rails are fixed in place, detach the stock radiator support crossmember.
Step 4: Get a pair of small boxing plates and place it in the front side of the frame. Align the boxing plates from 6" in front of the axle centerline to at least 18" behind the axle centerline. Then, mark the centerline.
Step 5: Drill out the lower pivot holes to 5/8". Place the spacers, the short one inside the cross member and the long one to the crossmember's rear. Use the 5/8" mounting hole as a guide.
Step 6: Place the gusset horizontally toward the engine, between the rear spacer and the crossmember. Position the crossmember rack mounts toward the front. Ask a technician to weld the rear spacers and gussets all around.
Step 7: Put the crossmember in between the frame rails, aligning its center on the axle centerline. Ensure that it fits firmly against the bottom of the frame. Tack weld the crossmember in.
Step 8: Determine the spring tower's width and mark its center. Place the spring tower on top of the frame rail. Align the centerlines of both the spring tower and the crossmember. Then, tack weld in place. Center the radiator support on the front of the crossmember with a clamp or tack weld.
Step 9: Measure the distance from the top of the radiator support to the top of the frame. A straight edge should be used across the top of the frame rails, about 4 1/4 inches. You can cut the bracket unit to fit 4 1/4 inches if your radiator support is too high, or shim it if it's too low. Attach the rack and pinion. Complete the installation by finishing the weld all around.