The radiator in your 2000 Ford Focus is a vital part of the engine's cooling system. The radiator manages the engine temperature and prevents it from overheating. Damage often occurs as a result of objects hitting the front side of the radiator. A damaged radiator will leak, causing the engine to overheat. Replacing the radiator in your Focus can be a challenging job. The radiator must be removed from below the engine, so sufficient clearance is necessary.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Safety glasses
- Socket wrench set
- Anti-freeze recycling container
- Floor jack
- Jack stands (2)
- Large bucket
Park the car on a level surface and set the parking brake. Raise the front end of the car using a floor jack. Position two jack stands underneath the frame. Lower the car down onto the jack stands.
Confirm that you have enough clearance to remove the radiator from below the car. You'll need about 24 inches of clearance, measuring from the bottom of the radiator to the ground.
Put on your safety glasses Raise the hood and disconnect the negative battery cables using a socket wrench. Remove the radiator fill cap by hand to relieve the pressure from the cooling system.
Lie on your back and reach underneath the front end of the car. Locate the drain plug on the bottom-left of the radiator, when facing the engine. Place a bucket directly under the drain plug to catch the released engine coolant (antifreeze).
Open the drain plug to release the antifreeze by turning it counter-clockwise using a socket wrench. Let it drain into the bucket. When the bucket is full, tighten the plug and transfer the drained antifreeze to the recycling drain pan. Repeat these steps until the radiator is completely emptied.
Detach the upper and lower radiator hoses where they attach to the radiator by unscrewing the screw-type hose clamps. Pull off the hoses by hand, twisting as you pull. Disconnect the hose leading to the coolant reservoir tank.
Remove the pin-type connectors holding the shroud (splash guard) in place. Take off the shroud, then disconnect the cooling fan connections by hand. The cooling fan can and should remain attached to the radiator during the removal.
Take out the radiator mounting bolts located on the sides using the socket wrench. Remove the radiator support tie bar located on top of the radiator. Lower the radiator and cooling fan unit out from below the engine.
Detach the cooling fan unit from the radiator by removing its mounting bolts. Compare the new and old radiators to be sure you have the correct replacement. Attach the cooling fan unit to the new radiator using its mounting bolts.
Install the replaced radiator and attached cooling fan unit into the engine compartment from below the engine. Secure the radiator in place using its mounting bolts. Reinstall the radiator support tie bar to the top of the radiator and reconnect the cooling fan connections.
Attach the upper and lower radiator hoses by hand, then secure them in place with the screw-type hose clamps. Reinstall the shroud (splash guard) and secure it in place. Connect the battery.
Re-raise the front end of the vehicle using the floor jack. Safely remove both jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground.
Start the engine and fill the radiator with a 55/45 mixture of antifreeze and water. Let it idle for several minutes with the radiator cap off to bleed out the trapped air in the cooling system. Replace the radiator cap by hand. Check for leaks at the hose connections.
Return the used radiator to the store where you purchased the replacement unit. Most auto part stores will give you a refund (core) in exchange for the used radiator.
Tips and warnings
- Many automotive stores will accept and dispose the used antifreeze, if properly delivered in an environmentally safe container.
- Do not perform this repair until the radiator has completely cooled.
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