W126 radiator removal

As part of the work I have been doing to the 560SEC, I have removed the radiator.   The radiator was leaking from the top tank and appeared to be original.   It was an IMI unit which was one of the OE suppliers and had a 1987 date code on it.    W126 radiator removal is fairly straightforward.

Fist step is obviously draining the coolant, and there is a drain valve at the bottom of the radiator.     The coolant will drain must faster if the radiator cap is off.    I am really happy with how clean the coolant is, and how little residue there is in the cooling system.    A big contrast to my Citroen DS and the years it spent in South Australia.

At the top there are a couple of metal clips that are easily prized off.   Mine had gotten a bit rusty, so I will be replacing them.    There are clips that hold the radiator on, and that hold the fan shroud to the radiator.    The W126 radiator and fan shroud cannot be removed as a single unit.   The shroud must be pushed back a little so the radiator can be withdrawn and then the shroud removed separately.

There are six hoses that must be removed.   At the top there is the main hose to the motor and the small overflow hose.   They are removed in a matter of minutes with hose clamps.    As they are at the top and do not get moisture flicked up from the road they are generally in good condition.

The bottom is a different story.   There are two coolant hoses – the main hose to the engine and the smaller hose to the remote tank.   I found that my clamps had rusted in place.   For the main hose, I eventually got it free with some penetrating oil and using a socket on the hose clamp instead of a screwdriver.    In the end I had to cut the smaller hose.   I will be replacing the hoses, but was hoping to keep the current ones as spares.

The other two hoses are for the transmission oil cooler.   The end of my hoses looked really rusty and they were not wanting to move.   Given their age, I ordered some new ones and removed them at the other end which, thanks to oil leaks around the engine, were rust free.     As I was not going to keep the hoses, eventually I got the other end off after more persuasion.   Of course, removing the hoses at both ends means a big mess under the car as it is hard to catch all the oil drippage.   Cleaning up oil spills is a good use for Murdoch newspapers.

From there it was a simple matter of sliding the radiator out past the shroud.   The A/C condenser remains in place, so the freon does not need to be evacuated.      There is nothing obviously wrong with the old radiator, but the new one certainly looks much cleaner.

W126 radiatorThe radiator and shroud out of the way gives a little bit more room to replace the low pressure hydraulic hoses for the power steering and self leveling suspension.   They are both leaking and will be the subject of the next part in the series.

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