Ford Mid-Size Cars 1971-1985 Repair Guide



On models equipped with an electric cooling fan, disconnect the negative battery cable, or fan motor wiring harness connector before replacing any radiator/heater hose. The fan may come on, under certain circumstances, even though the ignition is OFF.


Inspect the condition of the radiator and heater hoses periodically. Early spring and at the beginning of the fall or winter, when you are performing other maintenance, are good times. Make sure the engine and cooling system are cold. Visually inspect for cracking, rotting or collapsed hoses, and replace as necessary. Run your hand along the length of the hose. If a weak or swollen spot is noted when squeezing the hose wall, replace the hose.


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

  1. Remove the radiator cap and/or the cap from the overflow tank.

Never remove the radiator cap while the engine is running or personal injury from scalding hot coolant or steam may result. If possible, wait until the engine has cooled to remove the radiator cap. If this is not possible, wrap a thick cloth around the radiator cap and turn it slowly to the first stop. Step back while the pressure is released from the cooling system. When you are sure all the pressure has been released, press down on the cap, with the cloth, and turn remove it.

  1. Position a suitable container under the radiator and open the draincock to drain the radiator.

When draining coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted to ethylene glycol antifreeze, and could drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain the coolant into a sealable container. Coolant should be reused unless it is contaminated or several years old.

  1. Loosen the hose clamps at each end of the hose requiring replacement. Pull the clamps back on the hose away from the connection.
  3. Twist, pull and slide the hose off the radiator connection.

If the hose is stuck at the connection, do not try to insert a prytool or other sharp tool under the hose end in an effort to free it. Hose connections are easily damaged. If the hose is not to be reused, slice the end of the hose with a single edge razor blade, perpendicular to the end of the hose. The hose can then be peeled from the connection.

  1. Clean both hose mounting connections. Inspect the condition of the hose clamps and replace them, if necessary.

To install:
  1. Coat the connection surfaces with a water resistant sealer.
  3. Slide the hose clamps over the replacement hose and slide the hose ends over the connections into position.
  5. Position the hose clamps at least 1 / 8 in. (3mm) from each end of the hose. Make sure they are located beyond the raised bead of the connector, and centered in the clamping area of the connection.
  7. If the clamps are the screw type, tighten them to 22-31 inch lbs. (2-3 Nm). Do not overtighten.
  9. Close the radiator draincock and fill the cooling system.
  11. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature. Check for leaks.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Common cooling system hose routing

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Fig. Fig. 2: Loosen the clamp around the hose

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Fig. Fig. 3: Squeeze the hose and twist back and forth to remove it. Some are easier than others