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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie here. I'm just getting to know (the quirks of) my Intrepid. Especially the cooling system. I am no stranger to working on cars, just this one.

I am about to replace my radiator on my '04 with 2.7l engine. I have learned much about this cooling system from searching here and on youtube. Great "Info for 2.7 owners sticky". Very informative!
It looks like there is some stuff that must be accessed from underneath the car. I haven't had a good look around under there yet. Couple of dumb questions:

1. Should I put it up on ramps? (I'm doing this on a gravel driveway and my trolley jacks/jackstands don't work so good there) Not sure how much "underneath time" I am looking at.
2. I can't see the thermostat yet. Is it easier to get at from underneath? Or does the alternator have to come out? Or both? I know where it is located. Just haven't laid eyes on it.
3. Looks like the "conventional" way is to remove the fan(s) assembly first? One youtuber removed the radiator and fans together, but video did not show it.
4. Removing the driver's side headlight really helped to see in there and it was super easy (thanks Dodge). Any point in removing the other headlight?

I'll be doing a good flush then testing then replacing the t-stat along with lower hose (using cable tie to retain gasket). I already did upper hose and surge tank within the last year.

adTHANKSvance for any wisdom.
 

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Hello DIbox - welcome to the forums!

You've done some good reading already on the radiator/thermostat replacement.

Here are the thoughts that occurred to me while reading your post:
• You will definitely need to use ramps or jack stands. The problems I always had with ramps is that sometimes, they will be in the way of where you need to be - and you might want to have the wheel off to do the work anyway.

There are only a couple of convenient and safe points for jacking and jack stands. Careful on using the front cross piece of the engine cradle for jacking for jackstand placement. It angles upward a little away from the center so that if you place the jack or jack stand too far from center, the jack/jack stand can slip out to the side, and the car falls! But if you put the jack in the very center of the cross piece to raise the entire front end with one jacking, the weight is too much for the hollow construction, and the member will partially dent/deform (ask me how I know). 🤦‍♂️ You should be able to use the side members of the cradle near one of the cradle bolts to jack from. That leaves a place to also place the jack stand, but the jack and jack stand will be real close to each other and maybe hitting each other depending on how big they are. So take your time on jacking and setting your jack stands, and be sure everything is super stable with the jack stands before you crawl under there.
• One of the more difficult parts of R&R'ing the radiator is removing the screw and clamp that secure the power steering and auxiliary trans fluid cooler lines to the driver's side of the radiator. IIRC, the reason for removing the driver side headlight is to gain visibility and access for R&R'ing that clamp. No reason to remove the passenger side headlight.
• I highly recommend replacing the trans fluid cooler line hose clamps at the radiator barb fittings with fuel injection hose clamps:
Household hardware Tool Body jewelry Jewellery Metal


The regular clamps that come from the factory have a the problem that their ID is not smooth and round, and are a constant source of leaking because of that - and if you tighten them tighter to compensate for that, they tend to cut right thru the wall of the rubber hose. The hose is pretty tough, but over the years, tend to cut thru from repeated tightening to try to stop the leaking. By using the injector clamps, you get a nice even clamping around the hose OD without the cut-thru pressure of the traditional screw clamp, so you can tighten them pretty tight to compensate for compression set of the rubber hose without the cut-thru problem. The factory clamps also are hard to tighten due to the screw head design (1/4" wrench fits it BTW, but hard to get it to go on due to interference with the clamp design), but, again, I recommend throwing them away and using fuel injection hose clamps. You probably will find that the barb fittings on the transmission have started cutting into the trans fluid hoses, making them very hard to remove them without further hose damage. Like I said, the hose material is pretty tough, but if you end up with too much damage, you should have just enough extra length to cut the ends of the hose off to provide fresh clamping length. But if possible, if barb cut is minor, don't cut it shorter.
• The thermostsat R&R is difficult due to very cramped quarters. Yes - remove the alternator, which is also a little challenging on the 2.7. To get it out of its space you have to rotate it almost like a Rubik's cube. Just take it slow even if it takes an extra minute or five, and don't get frustrated to the point of breaking anything to force it out. Rotate it just right, and you will find the perfect window to slip it thru.
• Be sure to use the same screws that attach the cooling fan assembly to the radiator. You will notice that the tips of the screws are aimed at the wall of the plastic radiator end caps and stop just short if punching a hole in the end cap. If you happen to substitute a slightly longer screw, you will ruin your brand new radiator in seconds without realizing it until you fill it. 🙀
• Test your new thermostat in a pan of water on the stove before installing it. Not unheard of to get a bad one right out of the box, and you don't want to have to go thru the R&R again because of that. Recommend getting thermostat from Chrysler dealer.
• Recommend replacing the short piece of heater hose connecting the metal pipe to the thermostat housing while you're in there. Inspect the pipe for rusting. They're known for rusting thru and leaking. They're hard to find, expensive, and very difficult to replace. Mine never rusted thru, but I always thought that it was the lower few inches that rust thru, and you might be able to cut the bad end off and just use a longer piece of heater hose. 🤷‍♂️
 

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FYI, if you replaced the coolant reservoir with an aftermarket part, realize that they often don't last too long. If you replace it again, get the Chrysler part. They can be expensive - might find OEM part on ebay (or Amazon?) for less $$.
 

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FYI, if you replaced the coolant reservoir with an aftermarket part, reslize that they often don't last too long. If you replace it again, get the Chrysler part. They can be expensive - might find OEM part on ebay (or Amazon?) for less $$.
I would also like to point out that sometimes you can go find the maker of the OEM part somewhere else for less because it doesn't have "DODGE" or "MOPAR" written on it. If something like that exists for something like a coolant reservoir then that would be an avenue I would explore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thought I had posted this reply yesterday, but somehow did not.

Hi peva & JordanS, Thanks, good info. I considered saving the old tank but trashed it. It wasnt leaking but so dark i couldnt see through it. A friend who had an intrepid for many years said i should replace it. My coolant was bubbling in there. This stopped when i put a new cap on the tank.
The jacking/supporting tips are well taken. Will save some time and head scratching for sure. I never take chances on things you only get one chance at.

It seems i should take out the fan assembly first to gain clearance/visibility around the PITA screw/clamps that secure the fluid lines to the bottom of the rad.

I will get some fuel injection clamps. Good advice
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Finally got back to this car and ran into a few snags. When installing new rad, the bolt that secures the power steering lines/clamp to the side of the radiator, the bolt fell into a black hole. Can anyone tell what size it is? I spent a long time looking for it, gonna get spares.

I was going to replace the lower radiator hose and T-Stat but the clamp on the T-Stat housing has the tabs facing upward. No way for me to get near that without the special cable actuated clamp removal tool. I'll defer this job and the tool for later.
 
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