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How to Upgrade Radiator on Jeep XJ? (Cost, Explained)

Jeep XJ Cherokees have a reputation for overheating, especially when subjected to lengthy periods of hill climbing or sluggish rock climbing.

Although the 4.0L I-6 in the 1989 XJ is a great-running engine, the coolant system is happy as can be on certain hot summer days. Overheating and possible engine damage might result from a faulty radiator.

The radiator is frequently disregarded until it fails, prompting the driver to consider not just how to repair it, but also how critical it is.

Can You Upgrade Radiator on Jeep XJ?

The radiator of your Jeep XJ can be modified. To minimize bother and keep your Jeep motor cooled and calm, you’ll need a high-quality radiator.

It’s worth noting your vehicle’s factory cooling system will protect the engine from overheating. If you want to make more power or tune your engine beyond factory specs, you’ll need to upgrade these components.

Rapid upgrades may mask more significant underlying problems that your car already has. Be sure that your radiator is maintained for optimal cooling, since dirt and debris can become lodged on the radiator’s fins.

The radiator in your Jeep XJ should only be replaced when it is damaged beyond repair. Certain sections of the engine are better off being replaced rather than fixed, the radiator.

To its basic internal processes, radiators can typically be repaired by a trained technician. A damaged radiator should be replaced to preserve the long-term health of the remainder of your engine.

When Should You Upgrade Radiator?

If an engine can’t keep cool, it can cause a variety of issues, including radiator failure. Here are some frequent signs that your jeep’s cooling system needs to be serviced or repaired.

1. Leaking Coolant

A leaky radiator, which might be caused by a fracture, is a frequent symptom that it is failing. If a green liquid is discovered under a car, the radiator should be investigated to determine the source of the leak.

A mechanic can do a pressure test to figure out where the leak is coming from. A radiator pipe might potentially be the source of an immediately detectable leak.

If there is a leak, it is most likely coming from the hoses. A person may check to see whether any smoke is leaking out of the radiator, which will reveal the leak’s position. It is critical to change hoses regularly to maintain a radiator working properly.

2. Rusty Radiator

If rust is prevalent throughout the radiator, the cooling system may suffer considerable harm. When a particle of rust slips into the engine and mixes with the coolant, it can form a viscous liquid that prevents the engine from cooling.

When this happens, the radiator must be drained to eliminate all of the rust-infested coolants. When rust and coolant interact, a sludge forms w can cause corrosion.

3. Overheating

A radiator works by lowering the amount of coolant in the engine before it passes through it, which can reduce its efficacy over time. An engine will operate at a greater temperature than usual when this happens.

This might cause the engine to overheat over time. In a Jeep XJ, a thermostat keeps track of the temperature of the coolant. A signal will be sent to your gauge if the temperature rises too high.

If a driver detects the coolant temperature is too high while driving, he or she should pull over and let the engine cool. The engine may overheat if the driver continues to drive.

4. Bad Thermostat

A thermostat failure is another element that might cause radiator troubles. Even though the thermostat is not a component of the radiator, it is critical to its effective operation.

One of the most prevalent causes of engine heat dissipation is a faulty thermostat. If the thermostat malfunctions, the jeep will rapidly overheat.

There are more benefits than harm if you upgrade your radiator.

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade Radiator On Jeep XJ?

Whether you do it yourself or hire a mechanic to do it properly, the cost of draining a car radiator will vary. You’ll be able to keep prices down by only paying for the new coolant, which should be approximately $50 if you do it.

Taking your Jeep XJ to a specialist will set you back at around $90, depending on the manufacturer and version of your jeep.

A jeep radiator, on the other hand, may cost between $300 and $900 to replace. The cost of labor includes a technician inspecting for leaks, removing the radiator, flushing the entire system, and installing a new radiator.

With such large outlays, it may be easy to ignore the leakage while the jeep is still running.

My Top Recommendation on Jeep XJ Radiator Upgrade

I’ve compiled a list of the top radiators to assist you in finding the right one for your Jeep XJ.

Mishimoto MMRAD-XJ-89 Performance Aluminum Radiator

  • The dimensions are 40.2 x 33.25 x 7.7 inches.
  • Weight: 19.75 pounds.
  • TIG-welded end tanks with a brazed aluminum core.
  • For Jeep Cherokee XJ 1989-2001, a direct fit.
  • The surface area of fins has increased by 100 percent.
  • Mishimoto provides a lifetime warranty.

Spectra Premium CU1193 Complete Radiator

  • Has a 2-year guarantee from Spectra.
  • Measures The dimensions are 38.78 x 22.25 x 4.63 inches.
  • 14-pound weight.
  • Cooling efficiency at its peak.
  • For a correct fit, no adjustments are necessary.
  • Ensures a perfect fit.
  • Designed to last.

Cold Case 91-01 Jeep XJ Radiator

  • Dimensions: 38.1 x 7.4 x 15.5 inches.
  • Weighs 17.08 pounds.
  • TIG-welded to perfection.
  • More thermal transfer with corrugated fins.
  • OEM stamping.
  • Aluminum that has been pressure tested.

How to Upgrade Radiator on Jeep XJ?

This is a step-by-step instruction on how to replace your Jeep XJ’s radiator:

  • Raise the jeep and support it. Support the jeep safely by elevating it up and using jack stands to support it. Set the parking brake and place a wheel chock behind the back wheels.
  • Remove the hose from the radiator chamber. Depending on the clamp design, loosen the hose clamp using pliers or a screwdriver. Twist and pull the hose away from the radiator to separate it.
  • Remove the radiator hose from the bottom. According to the clamp design, loosen the hose clamps using pliers or a screwdriver. Then twist and pull the hose away from the connector to remove it.
  • Remove the bolts that hold the cooling fan in place. Using a ratchet, extension, and socket of the proper size remove the cooling fan mounting bolts.
  • Unplug the cooler lines from the transmission. To avoid rounding off the fittings, disconnect the transmission cooler lines from the radiator with a flare nut wrench.
  • Detach the nuts that hold the condenser in place. Using a wrench and socket of the right size, remove the condenser mounting bolts.
  • Install the radiator. Place the new radiator in its proper location. Bolts for installing the radiator should be installed. Using a wrench or ratchet and socket of the right size, tighten the radiator mounting nuts.
  • Install the fan. Place the cooling fan at the desired location.
  • Replace the connection if necessary. Reconnect the electrical connector for the cooling fan.
  • Place the upper radiator hose in place. Connect the hose to the connector by sliding it on. Then, depending on the clamp design, slip the hose clamps into place and tighten those firmly using pliers or a screwdriver.
  • Coolant should be poured into the radiator. As needed, shut the drain petcock. Then add coolant to the radiator.
  • Drain the air from the cooling system and drain it. Air can be drained from the cooling system by using a cooling system vacuum fill tool connected to shop air or by opening the bleeder valve if one is available.
  • Reduce the jeep’s height. Remove the jack stands and jack up the car. The car should then be lowered and the wheel chock removed.


Radiator replacement is a massive task. If this appears to be a job you’d rather delegate to an expert. Modern radiators are simple to install on your own, so you don’t need to be a technician to replace your old radiator with a new one. However, be sure the device includes a user handbook as well as the necessary hardware for installation.

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