Honda Accord / Acura CL Radiator Replacement / F23
The Honda Accord Radiator is composed of Aluminum and Plastic. Its design and form is very close to Toyota's - probably since their main supplier is Koyo RAD. When a leak is detected, the radiator should be replaced in lieu of repair or adding a stop-leak fluid to the cooling system. Most non OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) aftermarket radiators can be purchased anywhere from $100. If the absolute best radiator is desired for your Honda, get a Koyo. The removal of the old radiator and installation of a new replacement can be performed in approximately 1.5 hours with no special tools. In addition, the removal/installation process outlined within these instructions can be performed above the car; that is lifting up and getting under the car to remove the splash pan and lower radiator hose is unnecessary in most instances. If the radiator failure was due to contaminated, worn-out coolant, drain any residual coolant from the engine block and consider replacing the thermostat. The upper and lower radiator hoses, in most cases, do not need replacement on the Accord.
Using Non Honda Coolant
Of the Honda radiators that have failed and been subsequently replaced, all the failed radiators had their coolant replaced from the Honda Blue Coolant to some other non-OEM green coolant. Some had their coolant reservoir containing the blue coolant (never changed) while the cooling system was green with signs of residual blue. If you have switched from the factory blue to green, ensure the system is thoroughly flushed with water before introducing a different colored coolant. Better yet, stick with the Honda blue coolant. I believe mixing different colored coolants will cause a reaction that will reduce the anti-corrosion and water pump lubrication properties of the factory coolant. Many aftermarket coolants contain inexpensive anti-corrosion additives consisting of borates and silicates that is absent in Honda coolant. Also diluting an aftermarket coolant with tap water containing minerals to obtain a 50/50 mix will aide in the destruction of aluminum components and rubber seals within the cooling system. Use only distilled de-ionized or de-mineralized water. Most Asian coolants use phosphates as an aluminum corrosion inhibitor.
When purchasing a radiator replacement, ensure the replacement has all ports that match the original radiator with new brass fittings for the transmission supply and return lines. The bracket mounts for the two fan shrouds should match as well. Some replacement radiators do not come with a drain port and plug but the better ones do.
Radiator Component Details
Removal the Radiator Filler Cap and Detach the Radiator Reservoir Hose.
Detach the electrical connectors to the two fan shrouds.
Remove the Driver's side fan shroud assembly by unbolting the two 10mm bolts to the upper left and right corner of the shroud. After the two bolts have been removed, the shroud can be can be pulled straight up and off the radiator. This will expose the lower radiator hose clamp and the radiator drain plug to ease access. After the shroud has been removed, reach down and twist the drain plug counter-clockwise until coolant begins to flow from the drain port. After the coolant has been drained, remove the lower radiator hose clamp and detach the hose from the radiator.
*Alternative Hose Detachment - If replacement of the lower hose with the radiator is desired, detach the lower hose from the thermostat housing. The radiator can be pull out with the lower hose attached. Access to the themostat housing, however, requires removal of the air intake hose.
Detach the Transmission Fluid Supply and Return lines.
Unbolt the two left and right radiator brackets.
Pull the radiator out with the driver's side fan shroud attached. Unbolt the shroud after removal.
Attach the new brass ATF fitting onto the new radiator and transfer the ATF lines from the old radiator to the new radiator.
Transfer the driver and passenger side fan shroud to the new radiator. If you do no feel comfortable fitting the lower radiator hose to the new radiator with the passenger side shroud attached, this can be attached after to lower hose has been secured with the hose clamp.
Fit the new radiator with the two bottom plastic prongs into the rubber radiator mounts. Sometimes these mounts come off in the process of removing the old radiator. Therefore ensure that these rubber mounts are in their radiator mounting holes before mounting the new radiator.
Connect the upper radiator hose, the two radiator brackets, the coolant overflow hose, the two fan shroud electrical fittings, the ATF supply and return lines and fill the radiator with coolant. Add a small amount of ATF fluid to offset the fluid loss from the radiator replacement.