1998 Generation III Chrysler Town and Country Mini-Van Radiator Swap

This procedure should apply to all Generation Three Chrysler Mini-vans

Radiator Replacement

WARNING: Most repairs start with disconnecting the battery ground cable. If you don't do that, be very carefully not to place the cross-member where it will hit the positive terminal of the battery. You won't have to worry about that if you disconnect the ground cable before you start the job.

This is a difficult job. Several things have to be removed before the radiator will come out. Some of the bolts are difficult to reach. In the video I refer to Torx-head bolts holding the A/C condensor coils to the radiator. After removing them I saw that they are also hex-head; 10 mm like the ones holding the fan assembly to the radiator.

It seems that two radiator types were used for the Generation III minivans. A simple radiator that has the inlet at the top of the tank on the passenger side and the return at the bottom on the driver's side of the radiator. This radiator requires a long bottom radiator hose to reach from the driver's side of the radiator to the water pump inlet on the passenger side of the engine.

The other type uses the same inlet hose and location on the passenger side, but the radiator tank is divided so that water flows through the top half of the core to the driver's side and then back through the bottom half of the core to the tank on the passenger side. So from the bottom fitting of the passenger side of the radiator a short hose goes almost directly to the water pump inlet.

The lower bolts fastening the A/C condensor coil to the radiator are hard to reach because of the grill. If you remove the radiator hoses, the radiator can be lifted a little and moved toward the engine a little and that improves access to those bolts. I still had to remove the passenger side bolt with an end wrench. Since I couldn't see the bolt head, I used my left hand to guide the wrench onto the bolt and my right hand to turn it.

Save the old threaded clips just in case the new radiator doesn't include them or comes with the wrong size.

NOTE: Now is a good time to replace the "bypass" hose. The configuration seems to be different for different years or engine/radiator combinations, but they all seem to connect to a nipple on the back of the water pump housing. From there it might run to a cooler at the base of the oil filter or to a metal tube that runs below the exhast manifold to the transmission side of the engine or maybe the hose runs all the way to the transmission side. Anyway, it's hard to get to from below because the oil filter is in the way. The hose in this vehicle burst about six months after I replaced this radiator.


Skipper Family Magazine

E-mail me: jamesmskipper1141@att.net

Posted: 5/1/2012