Impossible nuts -Radiator Need help ASAP (1 Viewer)

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Apr 13, 2021
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Replacing the radiator in my 1994 1FZ-FE. The top two nuts holding the radiator are impossible to get to. I've removed the passenger headlight, still cant get anything on the nut. The driver side nut is actually tucked behind the oil cooler, so removing the headlight won't get me access. The only option I see is to remove the oil cooler, which was not on my list so i don't have the parts to start that too. I really need to get this done. Daily driver, work rig, self employed. Any help is very appreciated.
 
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alia176

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It's been while but I recall the PITA factor of these two nuts. From what I recall and I might've blocked out some parts from my memory, remove headlights, install a wobble socket at the end of long extension and zip them out. I might've also remove the top radiator support piece to aid in this adventure. I recall removing the top radiator support piece that goes across the entire vehicle but can't think of why else would I've done that other than for the radiator R/R project.
 
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look at the bottom of my post

remove the top metal crossbeam in front of the radiator and you can easily get to the nuts w/ a ratchet wrench
it's easy
 
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As stated above, I removed the Radiator Support Brace (4x 14mm bolts) and then disconnected the brittle front headlight harness from under there, carefully. This let's you get a box end wrench in there more easily from the top.

Before you ask, removal of the Radiator is much easier if you remove the Battery and Battery box. You'll spend hours wrestling with it if you don't. Pro-Tip: removing the Fan and Shroud will also ease access. Though it takes a little longer, it goes much easier. Use a piece of cardboard between the Fan blades and Radiator when removing and installing to avoid buggering up your radiator fins...
 
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The front facing nuts can (just barely) be gotten to (from the front) but it's a very tight squeeze (with both headlamps removed) as I recall.

IIRC I used a combination of sockets (?deep or short. ?1/4" drive) with a wobble or flex joint, may have used a short (?4") thinner than usual 1/4" extension bar due to the tight space, possibly with adaptors (1/4-3/8) on one end with a 3/8" ratchet?? The top bolt/stud with the cushion, was a bear as it was frozen from rust, had to hold that from turning using vice grips IIRC, and one side (bolt/stud) ended up snapping anyways, then it came off of course.

No question it was a pain in the arse until I figured out which sockets and extensions would fit. Be sure to spray some penetrating oil on the bolt/nuts before starting.

Going from above (removing the radiator support brace) may seem like more work but likely less of a hassle as mentioned above. Remove the battery and tray and fan clutch/fan and shroud of course.
 
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flintknapper

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The front facing nuts can (just barely) be gotten to (from the front) but it's a very tight squeeze (with both headlamps removed) as I recall.

IIRC I used a combination of sockets (?deep or short. ?1/4" drive) with a wobble or flex joint, may have used a short (?4") thinner than usual 1/4" extension bar due to the tight space, possibly with adaptors (1/4-3/8) on one end with a 3/8" ratchet?? The top bolt/stud with the cushion, was a bear as it was frozen from rust, had to hold that from turning using vice grips IIRC, and one side (bolt/stud) ended up snapping anyways, then it came off of course.

No question it was a pain in the arse until I figured out which sockets and extensions would fit. Be sure to spray some penetrating oil on the bolt/nuts before starting.

Going from above (removing the radiator support brace) may seem like more work but likely less of a hassle as mentioned above. Remove the battery and tray and fan clutch/fan and shroud of course.


^^^^^

This the secret. Use 1/4" extension with a universal and or wobble. The smaller diameter will allow you to get past obstructions.
 
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Is removal of the radiator in the early models different than the 95-97? I don't recall having any issues on my 97 and I've replaced my radiator twice.

- Remove battery box (I have dual batteries, so that x2 for me)
- Remove grill and headlights
- Remove fan & shroud
- Two bolts at the bottom of radiator
- Two bolts in the front core support (1/4" shallow socket on short extension)
- Remove radiator and trans coolant lines
- Lift straight out
- Reverse for install
 
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Drilling that 1" hole in the bottom of the battery box with a hole saw makes getting the Radiator a much faster job. I did the same thing, and its almost like Toyota designed it to be hole-drilled for that reason.

If anyone's worried about dirt or water intrusion, you could always pit a 1" plastic or rubber plug through it, but I leave mine open. It's a speed hole!
 

cvenom96

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Just did this Monday. Remove the top crossmember as stated. You can get to them both pretty easy then. I couldn't get to the passenger side one with a wiggle socket unfortunately so this is the easiest way.
 

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