GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Radiator

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15



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Fig. Fig. 1: Drain the cooling system using the radiator drain cock-a tube on the outlet may prevent a mess



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Fig. Fig. 2: On some late-model vehicles you must remove the hood latch-start by matchmarking it ...



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Fig. Fig. 3: ... then loosen the retaining bolts ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... and remove the assembly from the radiator support



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Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen the upper fan shroud retainers ...



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Fig. Fig. 6: ... be careful not to miss any (a long extension is handy for the upper-to-lower shroud bolts)



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Fig. Fig. 7: With the retainers removed, carefully lift the upper fan shroud from the engine compartment



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Fig. Fig. 8: Loosen and disconnect any threaded transmission or engine oil cooler lines ...



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Fig. Fig. 9: ... note the shape of this open-end wrench, it is a special line wrench just for this purpose



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Fig. Fig. 10: Disengage the overflow hose from the radiator ...



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Fig. Fig. 11: ... and finally, loosen the clamps and disconnect and remaining radiator hoses ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... then CAREFULLY lift the radiator from the engine compartment



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Fig. Fig. 13: Transmission and engine cooler lines are either of the threaded type (left) or the Quick-Connect type (right)



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Fig. Fig. 14: Exploded view of a typical early-model Astro and Safari radiator and cooling fan mounting



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Fig. Fig. 15: Exploded view of a typical late-model Astro and Safari radiator mounting

1985-95 Models

For certain late-model vehicles (1993-94 AWD and all 1995 vehicles) you will need a special Quick-Connect fitting release tool, such as J-37088-2a or equivalent to release the transmission fluid cooler lines from the fittings at the radiator.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  2.  
  3. Place a catch pan under the radiator, open the drain cock and drain the cooling system.
  4.  


CAUTION
When draining the coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are quite likely to 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. For 1985-87 vehicles, remove the brake master cylinder from the firewall (non-power brakes) or the power booster (power brakes) and support it aside. Take care not to stress or damage the brake lines.
  2.  

DO NOT disconnect the brake lines from the master cylinder, unless there is not enough room to move the master cylinder to provide enough room.

  1. For 1992-95 vehicles, matchmark the position of the hood latch to the radiator support, then unbolt and position the latch aside for clearance. Also, if equipped, loosen the A/C accumulator brackets.
  2.  
  3. Separate the upper fan shroud from the bottom half of the shroud assembly, then remove the upper shroud from the vehicle. For many mid-to-late-model vehicles (late 80's to 1995) it will be necessary to unfasten upper radiator hose and power steering pressure switch harness from the shroud. It may also be necessary to remove the upper radiator hose from the radiator in order to provide sufficient clearance.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the radiator hoses and the coolant overflow hose from the radiator.
  6.  


WARNING
When working on fluid lines BE VERY CAREFUL not to strip them. Although an open-end wrench must be used, the use of a special line wrench is HIGHLY recommended. Line wrenches are open-ended wrenches with smaller openings (meaning a greater surface area to contact the line fitting) that are designed to be just large enough to fit over a line.

  1. If equipped with an automatic transmission, disconnect the transmission fluid cooler lines from the radiator assembly. For most models, use the appropriate sized flare (line) wrench. For 1993-94 All Wheel Drive (AWD) models and all 1995 models, you must use J-37088-2a or an equivalent Quick-Connect Fitting tool to disengage the lines from the radiator.
  2.  

Once transmission or engine oil cooler lines have been disconnected, immediately cap or plug the openings to prevent excessive fluid loss or system contamination. Golf tees or specially made plastic caps work well for this, but it is sometime difficult to really seal them. If necessary, raise and support the front of the vehicle, this should keep fluid in the lines, but will help speed up the draining process of the oils in the radiator cooler tanks.

  1. If equipped, loosen and disconnect the engine oil cooler lines from the radiator assembly.
  2.  
  3. Check the bottom of the radiator assembly for fasteners (some early-models are retained by mounting bolts which thread through the lower shroud and radiator), and remove if any are found.
  4.  
  5. Carefully lift the radiator from the vehicle, keeping in mind that the coolant tank and any oil cooler tanks (transmission and/or engine) are still filled with a pretty significant amount of fluid. Take care or get wet.
  6.  
  7. Inspect the radiator for leaks or physical damage, then repair (if necessary).
  8.  

The radiator is constructed of aluminum. If repairs are necessary, it should be taken to a radiator repair shop.

To install:
  1. Carefully lower the radiator into the mounting insulators.
  2.  
  3. If equipped, install the retainers and tighten to 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm).
  4.  
  5. If equipped, install the engine oil cooler lines to the radiator assembly.
  6.  
  7. If equipped, install the transmission cooler lines to the radiator assembly.
  8.  

When reconnecting the Quick-Connect fittings on certain late-model transmission cooler lines, listen and feel for a distinct snap which should be heard when the line is fastened. The line must be fully inserted into the connector to assure proper seating. Check this by hand using a forceful pull on the fitting.

  1. Connect the radiator and overflow hoses. Remember that if the upper radiator hose had to be removed earlier in order to remove the upper shroud, installing it now would not be doing yourself any favors, since you would likely have to remove it again for the next step.
  2.  
  3. Install the upper fan shroud. If not done earlier, connect the upper radiator hose. Also, if applicable, secure the upper hose and the power steering pressure switch bracket to the shroud. If loosened, secure the A/C accumulator brackets.
  4.  
  5. For 1992-95 vehicles, align and install the hood latch and cable assembly to the radiator support.
  6.  
  7. For 1985-87 vehicles, install the brake master cylinder to the firewall (non-power brakes) or the power booster (power brakes), as applicable.
  8.  
  9. Connect the negative battery cable to the battery.
  10.  
  11. Properly refill and bleed the engine cooling system, then check for leaks.
  12.  
  13. If equipped with an engine oil cooler or with a transmission oil cooler, check and top-off those fluids, as necessary.
  14.  

1996 Models

See Figures 16 and 17



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Fig. Fig. 16: Use a small pick-type tool to release and remove the retaining clips from the cooler line fittings



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Fig. Fig. 17: When installing the replacement clips to the cooler line fittings, PROPER ALIGNMENT IS CRITICAL

To assure a proper seal upon installation you will need NEW cooler line retaining clips for the transmission and engine oil cooler line fittings for this procedure.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  2.  
  3. Place a catch pan under the radiator, open the drain cock and drain the cooling system.
  4.  


CAUTION
When draining the coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are quite likely to 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 clamp, then remove the air cleaner assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the upper fan shroud retaining bolts, then remove the upper shroud from the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the radiator hoses and the coolant overflow hose from the radiator.
  6.  

To disconnect the transmission or engine oil cooler lines, use a small pick-type tool or a small screwdriver to release one of retaining clip's open ends, then remove and discard the old clip.

  1. Disconnect the transmission oil cooler lines from the radiator, then discard the old retaining clips.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the engine oil cooler lines from the radiator, then discard the old retaining clips.
  4.  
  5. Carefully lift the radiator from the vehicle, keeping in mind that the coolant tank and the engine/transmission oil cooler tanks are still filled with a pretty significant amount of fluid. Take care or get wet.
  6.  
  7. Inspect the radiator for leaks or physical damage, then repair (if necessary).
  8.  

The radiator is constructed of aluminum. If repairs are necessary, it should be taken to a radiator repair shop.

To install:
  1. Carefully lower the radiator into the mounting insulators.
  2.  


WARNING
DO NOT attempt to reuse the existing retaining clips that were removed from the cooler line connector fittings. ALSO, take care to assure that each clip engages all 3 slots in the connector fittings. Old, damaged or improperly installed clips could cause the cooler lines to loosen in service, allowing for fluid leaks which could damage the engine or transmission.

  1. Install the new retaining clips into the cooler line connector fittings. For each fitting, use your thumb and forefinger to insert a new clip into one of the 3 recesses in the connector fitting. With one end of the retaining clip engaged in the connector fitting slot, use your thumb to rotate the retaining clip around the connector fitting until it snaps into place.
  2.  
  3. Install the engine oil cooler lines to the radiator assembly. Make sure that your hear and/or feel a click as each line is snapped into place, then pull back sharply on the pipe to assure it is tightly fastened to the fitting.
  4.  
  5. Install the transmission cooler lines to the radiator assembly. Make sure that your hear and/or feel a click as each line is snapped into place, then pull back sharply on the pipe to assure it is tightly fastened to the fitting.
  6.  
  7. Connect the radiator and overflow hoses.
  8.  
  9. Install the upper shroud and secure using the retaining bolts.
  10.  
  11. Install the air cleaner assembly and tighten the clamp.
  12.  
  13. Connect the negative battery cable.
  14.  
  15. Properly refill and bleed the engine cooling system, then check for leaks.
  16.  
  17. Check the engine and transmission fluids and top-off, as necessary.
  18.  

 
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