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Author Topic: 1994-97 Ford Thunderbird Mercury Cougar Griffin High P Radiator Installation  (Read 6467 times)

J dot Miller

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This articles pictorially and verbally describes how I installed a Griffin radiator in my Cougar.  The cooling system on my car is stock so this article will apply to any 4.6L based MN12.  This post represents part one of a multi-part thread.  Installation will be slightly different for those of you who have v6 engines.

When I added 40HP to the Cougar I noticed that the engine started to run hot.  It was so bad that at times I had to turn off the air conditioner in the summer for fear of over heating.  Granted I always had radiator issues with my large engine.  Every 2-3 years I had to buy a new one.  This is because that the cooling capacity was marginal at best for my custom 5.4L engine.  Now with my custom made Bullet intake I do not believe I can live with a stock radiator any more.

Last year I purchased a Griffin High Performance ALUMINUM Radiator - Super High Capacity from Bill at SCP Performance.  This is a two row design with 1 1/4" tubes that supports up to 600 HP.



I choose this radiator because it is a direct fit and it includes transmission cooler connections.  This is important to anyone with an MN12.  We all know that the stock 4R70W transmission suffers from overheating and all the Mnq12 sites and many transmission sites recommend that you add an external transmission cooler to the stock radiator.  Removing the stock water cooled transmission cooler and going with a basic air cooled transmission cooler is not as good as having both.  I recommend that you first cool the transmission fluid through the radiator and then cool it with the air cooled transmission cooler.  I always use steal tube (just like stock) to connect the radiator to the cooler.   

Here is how I installed it in my 1995.  Click here for more info.


When I visited CT I decided to install the radiator at Pro Auto or is it Todd's?   :lunie:  He just moved in and did not have time to change the sign.  Plus the first phone number on the web site is incorrect.  Use the second number...  :-[



All I have to do is get past the sign!  It kinda sorta helps when you do not know how to read.   ;)




Or you know the owner...


First things first we remove the radiator from its box...


Protect the paint on the car...


As you can see here Jeff places shop towels on the fender and front end of the car.  They are secured in strategic locations with needle nose vice grips.  :flex:


The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM

J dot Miller

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Time to remove the old radiator!  You should remove the battery cable.  The first thing you do is let her cool a little and remove the radiator cap.



Then drain the radiator.



Try to get er in the bucket..



Remove the overflow hose...



Remove the upper radiator hose.



Wait lets do it with the Ford approved tool!





Move the clamps from each end in towards the hose.



Try to twist the end of the hose near the thermostat housing.  Some times the hose does not want to move.  If this happens you can use a tool between the housing and the hose.  If you are not careful you may have to replace the hose.  Another method is to cut the hose...  But we did not have to do that today.   :afto2:



Remove the upper radiator hose.  This is a good time to consider replacing your thermostat.  The hose is off and it will be a easy job.  I did not do it on my car because mine is only a year old.  If the thermostat is two years old or older I would seriously consider replacing the thermostat.  I recommend getting a good one that has a weep hole and tiny check ball built in to remove excess air from the engine.  Use a 195 deg F thermostat for stock applications.  I prefer Ford racing and Napa.  Only use a 180 deg F thermostat if you have a chip that will change the fan speed set points in the EEC program and advance the timing.



Remove the pig tail connection to the radiator fan motor.  There may be some plastic tie downs connecting the radiator wiring to the shroud.  Remove all the pig tails with a cutter and move the wiring harness to the side.  Then remove the four bolts that connect the radiator shroud to the radiator.





After the radiator fluid stops draining loosen the lower radiator hose and remove it from the radiator.



Next, remove the lower transmission feed followed by the upper transmission return lines.


One each side of the radiator there are two bolts that hold the radiator bracket in place.  Remove both the radiator support brackets.



Here is what the bracket looks like.


Carefully lift the radiator.


and toss it aside...


There is lots of room to work in front of the engine.  Now is a good time to inspect your hoses, belts, water pump and Belt Tensioner.  Check your radiator hose for wear.  If the hoses are three years old or older just replace them.  Check the belt for cracks and wear.  Look at the weep hole on your water pump and check for the discolored signs of a water leak.  Is the belt tensioner giving you some resistance; does the pulley make noise when spun?  If your engine is over 100,000 miles and you never replaced the water pump or belt tensioner now is the time!



Next we will prepare the Griffin radiator for installation in the vehicle.  :naww:

The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM

J dot Miller

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Next we place the radiator on a safe level surface.



Carefully remove the radiator cooler connections from the old radiator.  These are easy to break so do not force them.  Add some WD-40 and wait a tad if they are giving you a hard time. 



Clean up the threads with a wire brush.



I prefer Permatex High Performance Thread Sealant on the threads.  Normal teflon tape will work too...




Do it for both of the radiator connections.  Here is what the radiator looks like after the transmission adaptors have been installed.




Do the same thing with the new drain :censor: that came with the radiator.



Next we test fit the fan motor shroud.  The goal is to have the top and bottom of the shroud level at the edges of the radiator.  Some plastic from the shroud is hitting the aluminum mounting bracket.


A file can be used to remove the excess plastic.  So can a mini-tourch...






After the material was removed we discovered that we had to bend the mounting bracket a little to facilitate a better fit on this side.



On the other side we try bending the mounting bracket.


Do not forget to pay homage to the jar...  Gotta have something to drink after the job is done!


Oh yea...  Bending the bracket is not enough for this side.  There is a 1/2" gap that can be satisfied if press it in.



But the gap will have to be fixed by other means.  So we decided to fill the space with a hard piece of plastic that will be glued to the radiator fan shroud.  We found a fuse holder that fit the tab...  and cut it up!





We mix the two part Plastic Welder epoxy.



and put the epoxy where the plastic can touch.  Then hold it together.



The epoxy needs 10-15 min to harden so we minus well have a redneck chew...



Bend any other tabs level and adjust until the radiator shroud until it is parallel to the face of the top and bottom of the radiator.  You will see this with the final installed picture.

Next we install the radiator.
The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM

rjstat

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Instead of paying homage to the beer money jar you should of brought a case of beer. I would of  :afto2: 8)
97 - 4.6L Alpine Green Cougar XR-7 w/ Fiber Concepts Hood, SPC cold air intake, 2.5 SLP Dual Exhaust, Eclipse CD4000 w/ Polk's speakers, Koni Shocks, 11/4" Addco sway bars, and Vogtland more to come.
08 Volvo XC90 loaded.

J dot Miller

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Remember, we were waiting for you to bring the beer?   :nono:

The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM

J dot Miller

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When you carefully slide the radiator into place make sure the plastic tabs fir into the aluminum mounting brackets.



Here is the radiator fitting into the tabs.  We had to move cylinder shaped object forward a tad by bending it's mounting bracket by hand.




Reinstall the two radiator support brackets by sliding them in place from below and bolting them in.




Connect the radiator transmission feed and return lines.



and connect the radiator lower hose.  Do not install the upper overflow as show below or you will have to move it again later.



Make sure that the wires are tucked out of the wan and there is room for the radiator shroud.





Move the radiator shroud into position.



Oh oh, gotta move the overflow hose because it is in the way.   :-[



it is going to take a little bit of maneuvering to get the radiator shroud in place.



But once you get it in place secure the bottom two mounting bolts.




Notice how the top of the radiator shroud is parallel with the top of the radiator?  Notice those two pits in the top of the radiator.  Well they are there because someone forgot to disconnect the negative terminal in the battery...   :doh:



There was a 1/2 gap between the top two mounting holes on the radiator and the shroud.  We had to make two metal spaces to take up the space.




Then longer bolts were obtained to take up the extra length.



Several years ago I broke the radiator motor pigtail connectors.  So we placed a dab of the Right Stuff silicone on the connector (inside edge) to hold it in place.  Please note that the pigtail will not be easy to remove the next time you need to remove it.




Then we installed the pigtail on the fan motor and used two small black tie raps for the motor wires.


Finally reinstall the upper radiator hose.  As you can see the top of the shroud is level with the top of the radiator.  It takes a little work to make it happen.



Top off the radiator, keep the cap off and run it for a 1/2 hour then top it off again.  I was not happy when I discovered you can not buy distilled water in Connecticuit.  Now we had to use 50/ 50 mix...  :'(



All done... :bow1:
The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM

rjstat

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Remember, we were waiting for you to bring the beer?   :nono:


When did we discuss this. I don't remember that in the post I remember something about lunch.
97 - 4.6L Alpine Green Cougar XR-7 w/ Fiber Concepts Hood, SPC cold air intake, 2.5 SLP Dual Exhaust, Eclipse CD4000 w/ Polk's speakers, Koni Shocks, 11/4" Addco sway bars, and Vogtland more to come.
08 Volvo XC90 loaded.

J dot Miller

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After lunch you would have been standing around with nothing better to do.  Why not get beer?

We would have gave you directions and what ever was in the jar.   :shift:
The 5.4 swap has been called a bad idea, and considered an underpowered considerable waste of time, since 2007.

Nice to see that most donít think that anymore.
Bondfreak13 07/28/09 09:05 PM