Completely stuck on radiator replacement

Atreus21

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2002 Rendezvous CX.

I've now wasted an entire day and ruined the new radiator from Autozone. No matter what I do, C-clips on or off, the transmission cooler lines will simply not click into place.

My first suspicion was that they were the wrong size, so I removed the bottom coupling from the new radiator and tried to replace it with the old coupling, just to see if it would work. Once removed, I tried connecting it to the line just to verify the size was right. It clicked on just fine with moderate pressure. With that confirmed, I thought I'd just thread the coupling back in with the line already attached, but then realized the female end of the coupling inside the new radiator had stripped during the removal: I couldn't get either the new or old male ends back in. I went to Autozone to rent a tap and die set to try to repair the female threads but it just made it worse. I thought about transplanting the old transmission cooler from the old radiator into the new one, but I just know that even if it worked, the radiator would probably leak coolant afterward.

So I bought another radiator and this time thought to try to connect the lines before I dropped in the radiator, since there was enough play in the lines. Simply impossible. I pushed as hard as I could. I tried prying against the engine block to force it in. I removed the clips. I've applied endless layers of lubricant to both ends. It simply will not go all the way in such that the clips engage and lock into place. I briefly tried, against my better judgment, to remove the couplings again but this time they simply won't budge, and I'm not about to force it and watch another $150 go up in smoke.

I replaced the head gaskets on this car myself two years ago, and that wasn't this infuriating. That they're called quick connect lines makes me want to punch through drywall.

Anyone with any advice would be appreciated.
 
Last edited:

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Unfortunately the replacement radiators lines for the transmission don't line up on some brands, some include required adaptors even. My experience was to get the lines in first and gently push the radiator in place, but this was on a Lesabre and had the room to do it. If you can and don't want to trash another radiator maybe get a separate transmission cooler and skip the radiator lines or fab up the inlet lines, cut the original and hose them together.
 

Atreus21

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Thanks for the input fellas.

I don't really know how to explain what has happened, but I'll tell you what happened anyway.

I was throwing such a tantrum over this that my wife asked to see what I was talking about this morning. I brought her to the car and showed her. I had the radiator set on top the car and explained the whole mechanism. The couplings, the clips, how the clips were supposed to lock behind the lip in the cooler line. Then I demonstrated the connection while she held the radiator.

It went in with a little pressure and the clips locked behind it.

......

.............

I double checked and triple checked. You could see the clip engaged. I took pictures to ensure I wasn't seeing things. Then I dropped the radiator in and did the top one. It also went in after a few tries.

I can only ascribe this to divine intervention. I mean there's no other explanation on logical grounds. What I wasted all of yesterday trying to do I did today in 30 seconds, with the only difference being my wife's presence.

At any rate, I apologize for wasting you guys' time.
______________________________
 

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Ahhhh, it's in. Been there, done that no apologies needed. I'm sure others have struggled and come back to have something just drop in or come apart after tool tossing and colorful language. The wife probably snuck out there and sprinkled pixie dust and sprayed the parts with unicorn tears LOL.
 

TollKeeper

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2005 Buick Rendezvous CXL Sport Plus
I dont trust the Autozone brands. They are manufactured by Kilmoto, and have a very poor rating. I only trust Advance radiators a inch more. I prefer OEM, but they are REALLY expensive.

You should be able to return the damaged new radiator as it is defective. You are supposed to be able to remove those JC Clips and mounts without issues. And this one had them.
 
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