Some 2006-2009 Ford Explorers are experiencing failure in their radiators. This article will share some of the things that you can do to prevent this failure from occurring, and get you back on the road if your radiator does fail.
While not a difficult repair, replacing a radiator does have significant cost associated with it. Wholesale cost from Ford on a radiator for a 2006-2009 Explorer runs as high as $470 for the part alone, and labor costs can take replacing the unit much, much higher.
It is thus prudent to take steps to avoid replacing the unit is possible. Regular coolant flushes are your best ally in keeping your Explorer Radiator in tip top shape. I personally do a complete machine flush of my coolant right before each winter. This not only keeps all my cooling lines and the interior of my radiator as clean as possible, but gives me a good time to check my coolant to make sure it can handle a hard freeze. Use a standard anti-freeze tester that you can buy at any local auto parts store to periodically check the coolant to make sure it can handle hard freezes in your area. If you think the temperature will fall to 20 below, make sure you are rated 20 degrees lower than that – handle 40 below! The alternative is a cracked radiator, or possibly even a cracked engine block.
One of the most common problems with 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Ford Explorer radiators is not with the radiators themselves. It is, rather, with the starter. The wiring leading to and from the starter corrodes. When this happens, there is, of course, electricity introduced into the frame of the vehicle. Electrolysis can cause coolant to eat through a radiator faster than you can blink an eye.
Ford has a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) out stating that anytime you replace a radiator on one of these vehicles, you should check for electrolysis in the cooling system. According to Ford, you should not ground the heater core in a 2006-2009 Ford Explorer. Rather, you should check for electrolysis. You check for electrolysis by disconnecting the battery cables, making sure they are not touching each other or the car, putting the negative DC voltmeter probe on the engine ground and the the positive probe in the coolant and checking to see if you get more than.2 Volts in the coolant. Ford says.4 in the TSB, but that is too much for me!
If you are experiencing electrolysis in the early stages, and use a voltmeter to check all grounds. This is long and tedious, but if it isn’t done, you’ll have the same problem again. No companies will honor a warranty on a radiator that has been subjected to electrolysis. Once you have repaired issues causing improper grounding, flush all coolant.
If your radiator is beyond hope (cracked tank, leaky core), you will need to purchase a new one. There is no need to purchase an OEM Ford Explorer Radiator, as aftermarket radiators can be found with better warranties for much less money. Silla is a leading brand and has an excellent radiator available for this application. When you get it in, again, check for electrolysis!