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2006 Ram 1500 - Can I replace the radiator myself

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Old 01-12-2012, 05:58 PM
Biggoomba Biggoomba is offline
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Default 2006 Ram 1500 - Can I replace the radiator myself

I have a leaking radiator and have been told by a mechanic that it needs to be replaced. When I asked about what the total cost would be, it came to almost $600. That seemed a little high to me so I started looking around. Went to rockauto.com and the arey selling radiators for less than $150. That means I would be paying $450 to have it installed.

Just read a post here about a guy who did it himself in 2 hours. Thats about $225 an hour for labor. Not to mention that this will be my second time having it replaced. The first time was supposed to be a lifetime warrenty but they company that did it went out of business. I seriously doubt I will be able to figure out a way to get a replacement radiator. Only label I can find on the radiator says it was made in Canada.

So, I need to replace the radiator, I have almost no way to come up with $600 to have it done and really dont want to.

This makes me wonder if this is something I can do myself. I am fairly brain dead when it comes to 'common sense' with respect auto repair but I am fairly handy. I restore antique hit miss engines for a hobby so I have a good variety of tools.

Is it possible for someone like me to replace a radiator in a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500. It has the 5.7l engine and is a quad cab. Seems like I should be able to do it for less than $200.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:55 PM
Caseys-dodge Caseys-dodge is offline
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I did a thread when I replaced my radiator for my 5.9 engine. Not sure of the differences, just minor, maybe the exact placement of the hoses and the mounts for the power steering and tranny cooler. I posted a few pics and it was my first time doing it and it was fairly easy. You can also check on 1aauto for any related videos they have.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:11 PM
Biggoomba Biggoomba is offline
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Default Going to try it

I think I am going to try it. It really doesnt look overly difficult. When you initially look at it you see all the crap hanging off it but after looking at your thread and a video of a radiator of a 2003 Ram on youtube, it doesnt appear to be much in the way of difficulty.

Seems like people are pretty happy with rockauto.com so thats where I plan to order a radiator from. I dont think I want to go with the Spectra radiator. I think thats what is in there now.

The first time I had the radiator replaced, it started leaking within a day. It was replaced again with the same radiator and it lasted a couple of years and another failure. I fairly sure that its a spectra because of the video. It has the same Canada label and part number that mine does and the guy claimed it came from Autozone and it seems like they sell the Spectra radiator.

Of the radiators listed for my truck (which is a 2003 not a 2006, major brain fart. My camper is a 2006), the 2 that I am considering are the TYC # 2813 and the Vista-Pro.

Would there be a preference between the TYC vs Vista-Pro? On RockAuto, there are 2 Vista-pro radiators listed. A 432512 and a 432514? I cant see a difference between the 2.

Is the Vista-Pro worth paying an extra $26? Would there be a benefit of chosing the Vista-Pro over the TYC?

Finally, my truck has a towing package. Do I need to take that into consideration when choosing a radiator?

Sorry bout all the questions. This is all fairly interesting to me and I am looking forward to doing the work.

-Steve
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:25 PM
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TYC makes radiators for several different companies. I think it's a foreign company, though, if you happen to have any preferences or feelings regarding that. The radiators themselves are pretty decent, though. I have an 11 year old 4runner and the radiator has a tranny cooler in it. They are known for breaking down over time and mixing coolant into the tranny fluid and trashing the transmission. So, I just ordered a TYC (Koyorad) replacement for it and will be installing it when it gets here. I have never replaced the one on my truck but the process for doing it on the 4runner is very straightforward and I'll be comfortable doing it myself. Based on what I've seen under the hood of my Ram, I don't think I'd have any discomfort changing out the radiator in it either. I think if you can remove the fan shroud and move it out of the way, the radiator can then just be unbolted from the supports and lift right out of there. Just be careful dropping a new one in to not let the fins get snagged on anything.

If you haven't already, go download a service manual for your truck. It will be helpful to you.
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:48 PM
freestyledude freestyledude is offline
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^ X2

With a service manual anyone could do it.
I usually use tongue-groove pliers to take the hose clamps off. If you need to take the fan off, you'll need a big open end wrench. Put it on the fan nut vertically and give it two whacks straight down (towards the nut) with a hammer, the nut should break loose. Otherwise you'll have to make a tool to bolt into the holes of the water pump pulley.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:38 AM
Caseys-dodge Caseys-dodge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggoomba View Post

Would there be a preference between the TYC vs Vista-Pro? On RockAuto, there are 2 Vista-pro radiators listed. A 432512 and a 432514? I cant see a difference between the 2.
...

Finally, my truck has a towing package. Do I need to take that into consideration when choosing a radiator?

-Steve
That's my one beef with rockauto, they are not very descriptive on the parts. So I normally look at what they have and then google the actual part to find out more details about the different model numbers.
I'm not sure if the towing package would matter or not - I always thought all of our trucks have the PS cooler and a tranny cooler that mount up front.
As far as Spectra, that's what I put in, it was pretty cheap... but the other day I noticed some 'calcification' on the fins on one side, not sure if I spilled some when I topped it off or if the radiator started leaking after a few months. I'll have to try and hose it off and check for leaks next time it warms up and I have a day off.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:05 PM
nzornes44 nzornes44 is offline
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You can definitley do it yourself, I have the same truck same engine, mount bolts two hoses boom reverse order. Te shroud and overflow and washer reservoir all come off really easy. Little messy to drain the fluid but that's about it. Oh and use coolant not water to refill. Water especially tap builds up and rusts internals.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:32 PM
Biggoomba Biggoomba is offline
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Default Went ahead and tried it

Decided to go ahead and try it last night after work. I was rather surprised at how easy it was. I went slow and took my time. Only had 2 problems. One was with the transmission lines to the cooler that hangs off the front of the radiator. (I think they are transmission lines anyhow) On the lower left hand side are 2 clips that are cast into the plastic of the radiator. The 2 lines need to be popped into these 2 retaining clips. They popped off without much trouble. Once the new radiator was in place, there was no amount of pushing or shoving I could to to get them to snap into place. I took the radiator back out and compared the 2 with a caliper. The inner diameter of the new radiator clips were considerably smaller. I ended up using a micro die grinder to make a little more room and I was able to get the lines to snap firmly in place.

The other problem I had was when I removing the threaded clips from the old radiator. They are the clips that the bolts screw into. One was a little subborn and when the darn thing popped off, it flew out into the drive way. Spent the next 20 minutes trying to find the fricken thing so I could attach the transmission cooler back to the new radiator.

Overall, it was a fairly straight forward and took me less than 2 hours, including the time I spent looking for the clip.

-Steve
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:53 PM
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Yeh, seems something so big and important should be more difficult. Truth is, the spark plugs are harder to replace than the radiator. I changed the Rad in my 4runner Saturday and it was very straightforward. In the 4runner, the tranny cooler is integrated into the radiator (which is why I put a new one in), so have to disconnect the tranny lines and lost a couple cups of fluid that I had to replace. These things are notorious for getting old and leaking coolant into the tranny fluid and ruining a perfectly good transmission. So replacing the 11 year old one with a new one was cheap peace of mind.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:39 PM
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So, how much did you spend on the radiator and the coolant to replenish/flush the system? I'd imagine more than the $150 you initially thought after shipping and odss/ends etc..
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:39 PM
 
 
 
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