Matt Rawlins
August 1, 2001
Contributers: Matt Rawlins

Step By Step

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Here’s the ’92 LX we destined for the new aluminum Fluidyne radiator (which retails for $429.95). The stock radiator was still working fine, but after seven years of duty it was time to let this old dog sit the remainder of its days out in the sun.
The first step is to make sure the engine is cool and to remove the negative battery cable if your Mustang is equipped with an electric fan. The fan could come on at any time. Once that’s done, remove the radiator cap and drain the cooling system into a suitable container. We’re using a drip pan which holds up to 15 quarts of fluid because ’87-’93 5.0L Mustangs had a cooling system capacity of 14.1 quarts. It’s also a good idea to keep children and pets away from the coolant because the ethylene glycol in the antifreeze has an odor that attracts dogs and cats to it. We don’t need to tell you that if swallowed, it can be fatal.
Once the system has been drained at the petcock located at the bottom of the stock radiator on the passenger side, go ahead and disconnect the upper and lower coolant hoses at the radiator. Stock hose clamps can be difficult to remove unless you use a good set of vice grips. If your Mustang is equipped with an automatic tranny, this is the time to disconnect the fluid cooler lines at the radiator. If your Mustang comes with the quick-connect coupling fittings, you’ll need to remove the lines with a special coupling tool (PN T82L-9500-AH or equivalent).
Remove the two upper fan shroud retaining bolts at the radiator support. Lift the fan shroud enough to disengage the lower retaining clips and lay the shroud back over the fan. On some Mustangs the reservoir bottle is actually bolted to the radiator, so you’ll need to unbolt it from the radiator to ease removal.
Our ’92 didn’t have that problem, so the overfill bottle didn’t need to come out. Next, remove the two radiator upper-support retaining bolts with a ratchet to free up the radiator.
With the radiator freed up from its supports, lift it out of the vehicle.
But remember to make sure the coolant overflow bottle’s electrical sensor connector has been disconnected and the small rubber hose from the top of the radiator to the reservoir bottle has also been removed. .
Once those are disconnected, go ahead and lift the stock unit and put it aside. It may still be dripping some coolant, so make sure you wipe up the excess
Out with the old and in with the new (top photo). Check out the difference between these two. When installing the new aluminum unit, be careful not to ding or scratch any of the fins as you lower the radiator into position. Once the new radiator is in place, install the upper supports and the retaining bolts. If you have an automatic, connect the fluid-cooler lines and reinstall the overflow bottle if it was removed.
The rest of the job is just putting it back the same way you took it off. Reinstall the retaining clips on the fan shroud and install the two upper shroud retaining bolts. Keep a .38-inch minimum clearance between the fan blades and the shroud.
Reconnect the radiator hoses, connect the battery cable, then fill and bleed the cooling system. To ensure a good installation, run the engine up to operating temperature and check for leaks of any kind. Shut the engine off and check the fluid levels.
Here’s the installed two-row Fluidyne aluminum radiator which not only does a much better job over the stock unit but looks a lot better to boot. The end result shows a definite drop in temperature with the stock water-temp gauge. Usually, after running the engine for about five minutes, the stock needle would rest on, or just about at, the third mark from the bottom. Now, with the new Fluidyne radiator, the needle stays at the second mark. Even after running around town pretty hard the needle won’t go above the third mark at all. Now that’s performance!

We all know how important a cooling system is no matter what vehicle it resides in, be it a B-52 bomber, a Sherman tank, or a ’92 Mustang. No matter what your transportation preference may be, an effective cooling system is essential to a healthy engine. The cooling system is comprised of three major components—water pump, fan, and radiator. No one of these is more important than the other because each serves a specific purpose in attaining the overall goal of cooling the water/coolant mixture, and thus the engine.

We’re going to show you how easy it is to keep your Mustang’s cooling system in tip-top shape by replacing the old stock two-row copper/brass radiator with one of today’s best aftermarket units from Fluidyne High Performance. Our replacement is also a two-row unit (yes, that’s right), made from aluminum and about twice as thick as the stock radiator.

According to Fluidyne, one of its radiator’s rows is equivalent to about three times the depth of a stock row. This means there are a few advantages over the copper/brass type. First, more coolant will be allowed to pass through each row. Second, aluminum weighs a lot less and will therefore keep the front end of your Mustang lighter, which is why aluminum radiators are so popular among the Pro 5.0 racers. Third, as with aluminum heads, an aluminum radiator will dissipate heat much faster, which will keep your coolant cooler faster. The end result is a cooler-running engine, which means more efficiency and power.

This installation took one person about two hours to complete from start to finish, and that includes stopping to take the photos. It could have been done a little quicker if it wasn’t for a stubborn, lower-radiator hose which took some elbow grease and cussing to get loose.