The Volvo 850 is often praised as the vehicle that gave Volvo its reputation in the United States as a top-notch maker of quality luxury cars. First introduced in the U.S. in 1993, the 850 quickly became Volvo's top-selling model. Because the last 850 rolled off the assembly line in 1997, it may be time for the heart of the cooling system--the radiator--to be replaced. Although removal of a worn-out radiator and installation of a new assembly may be a job best left to professional, a do-it-yourselfer can replace the radiator, saving expensive labour costs.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Socket wrenches
- Retaining ring pliers
- Wheel blocks
- Large and small drain pans
- Clean rags
- Transmission fluid
Raise the front end of your 850 with a jack and secure it on jack stands. Set the parking brake and block the rear wheels. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench.
Set the heater control knob on your dashboard to the "Max" position.
Remove the filler cap on the expansion tank reservoir that holds the coolant. The white plastic expansion tank is on the passenger's side of the engine compartment and has a grey or bright green cap. Place a large drain pan under the radiator. Open the drain cock on the bottom left-hand corner of the radiator and drain the coolant into the tray. Close the drain cock.
Detach the cooling fan and shroud. Use a socket wrench to release the upper mounting bolts on each side of the radiator. Remove the radiator clips and take off the radiator splash guard under the radiator. Loosen the hose clamps and remove the radiator and expansion tank hoses.
Disconnect the transmission oil cooler lines with a pair of retaining ring pliers. Catch any spillage in a small drain pan. Immediately plug the lines with shop rags to keep out any dirt.
Detach the engine oil cooler pipe fittings, if so equipped. Plug up the lines with shop rags to keep them clean. On turbo 850 models, disconnect the intercooler air ducts.
Remove the lower radiator retaining bolts. Remove the radiator from your Volvo from the bottom of the 850.
Mount the replacement radiator into position and install the new clips and retaining bolts.
Reattach the splash guard under the radiator. On turbo models, reinstall the intercooler air ducts. Reconnect the engine oil cooler pipe fittings if those were removed. For Volvos equipped with an automatic transmission, unplug and reconnect the transmission oil cooler lines.
Reinstall the cooling fan and shroud. Unplug and reconnect the radiator and expansion tank hoses.
Refill the cooling system through the expansion tank with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water.
Bleed the cooling system by running the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature. When the engine cools, top off the cooling system with coolant as needed. Replace the expansion tank cap.
Check the automatic transmission fluid level and top it off if necessary.
Tips and warnings
- After disconnecting the battery, you will need to reprogram the Volvo 850 stereo system with the activation code that came with the vehicle's original paperwork
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