Radiator core support

Tiny
TCA4062
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 MERCURY SABLE
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 169,000 MILES
How do you remove and replace the core support, which is attached to the radiator on my car?
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Sunday, April 16th, 2017 AT 1:09 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You have that backward. The radiator is bolted to the core support.

Replacing the core support is a job for a body shop. Spot welds must be drilled out, and everything bolted to or in the way of the core support must be removed. The new support is welded in place, then everything is reassembled.

The only reason to replace the core support is if it was damaged in a crash.
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 AT 5:44 PM
Tiny
TCA4062
  • MEMBER
Thank you for this answer. I was in a low impact crash. The radiator was pushed back, but not punctured. The car was still drivable, but the core support (a plastic part) was broken up. I started taking the damaged pieces off the car, the bridge above the radiator, and then I began to remove the bolts securing the core support. From what I have learned here, this job is above my amateurish skill level. If I don't want to spend the money on a body shop, what advice do you have for me? The car, at best, is only worth maybe $1,500 to $2,000 - before sustaining this damage, and it does have other annoying maintenance issues, which are the catalytic converter and a slow cooling system leak that I have been living with. The car also needs a hood and a headlight, which is no big deal to replace. Please give me your opinion on what you think I should do.
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 AT 7:44 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
We're talking about two different parts. Core supports are structural, so they won't be plastic. This is the large flat piece of sheet metal that goes from side to side and attaches to the inner fenders. If your radiator was not damaged to the point of leaking or being broken, it is pretty likely the core support can be pulled straight and will not need to be replaced. One thing to be aware of though is there must not be any holes in it that can allow air to bypass the radiator. Removing things that sit in a hole is a common cause of elusive engine overheating problems. If something is removed, or if damage leaves a hole, screw on a thin piece of sheet metal to cover it.

My body-shop skills are limited to helping a friend rebuild smashed one and two-year-old Dodge trucks in his body shop, and that experience is limited to replacing parts. The way I would approach what you're trying to do is to visit a "pick-your-own-parts" salvage yard, and take apart a similar car to see what is involved. You may even end up with the parts you need. Do a search for "Pull-A-Part" and see if they have a yard near you. I've been to 16 of their yards so far. All are very clean and well-organized. Parts are not expensive, and the employees and other customers have always been very friendly. You pay your buck, take your own tools, and you can spend all day there.
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 AT 7:59 PM

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