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Replace Radiator DIY w Photos

Image of inlet side endcap after removal from aluminum core, showing crack running around corner.
Image of inlet side endcap after removal from aluminum core, showing crack running around corner.

Need to replace your Volvo 850, S70, V70, C70 or XC70 radiator? Here’s a replace radiator DIY, with photos and step-by-step instructions in a downloadable PDF. These pre-2001 FWD and AWD Volvos — P80 family — share common components, and procedures are often similar or identical.

Nine out of ten P80 radiators fail at the plastic endcaps, and may blow coolant out the crack in a gentle rush or whistle. You can hear it and sometimes see it immediately after you turn the car off. Open the hood and look/listen for it. You’ll also/alternatively notice low coolant in the coolant expansion tank, because it’s escaping from the crack(s) in the radiator into the atmosphere.

Ten-year MVS Volvo repair documentation mega contributor Jason — jreed — drops another outstanding DIY on us.

Though there are some good guides on this job that have already been written up, I couldn’t find a guide to doing this job that included swapping over the intercooler to the new radiator so I decided to write up my experience. The Haynes manual procedure was well organized but lacked detail. It also has the flaw of describing the radiator as coming out of the top of the car. I wouldn’t recommend this approach– it’s much easier in my opinion to lower the radiator and remove it from the bottom of the car. The Chilton manual, while generally second rate and often worthless, was more detailed than the Haynes in this particular area. It correctly in my opinion shows removing the radiator from the bottom and has good photos of the fan shroud and radiator removal. I recommend checking it out for this job.

The radiator on my ’97 855 GLT developed a crack in the plastic endcap near the upper radiator inlet. I replaced the radiator with a new one from Volvo (OEM Volvo made by Valeo). Along the way I took photos and wrote the whole procedure up step-by-step. It was a big job and I took lots of photos so it was easier to put it into a PDF file (attached below) rather than try to upload the images one by one to the website.

New radiator/intercooler assembly in position for lifting back up into engine bay (just one of many photos of the procedure — download the PDF file for additional photos and description)…

Radiator replacement write-up, illustrated

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