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I had an accident recently which cracked the radiator support. Rather than have the dealer rip me off for 4.5 hours at $42.00 / hour I decided to try to change it myself. While at it, I figured that I’d do a write-up. My car is a 2004 V6, but I figure that the radiator support is common to all models. It is rather easy and should take no more than 2 to 3 hours.

Tools needed:
10mm socket wrench
12mm socket wrench
Torque wrench (Optional)
Axle stands or boxes to hold the radiator, condenser and fans up
A friend to help you out

Note:
In some of the steps, I’ve listed Mazda’s recommended torque setting for certain bolts. If you have a torque wrench, you can consult these numbers when reassembling.

Steps:
1. Remove bumper

2. Remove lights

3. Without using the hood’s prop rod, keep the hood open. I broke one of my hood lifter’s bolts earlier so I had to use boxes on top of the engine to keep the hood up.



4. Remove the two plastic pieces attached to the bottom of the radiator support. One 10mm bolt holds each piece in place. When the bolts are off, simply pull the piece forward; a tab towards the top may hold it in place.


5. Use the axle stands to prop the radiator support from underneath. This step is important!

6. Remove the two 10mm bolts (69.4 – 95.3 in-lbs) connecting the hood latch’s center support to the steel bumper.


7. Remove the steel bumper along with the Styrofoam covering. Four 12mm bolts (13.1 – 19.4 ft-lbs) and two 10mm bolts attach each side to the car. Once these bolts are released, the radiator support is held in place by only two bolts at the top corners. The bumper is pretty heavy so make sure that it is supported or that you have a friend to help.


8. Once the steel bumper is off the car it will look something like this.


9. The following need to be disconnected from the radiator support:
Extra wiring harness on the lower left of the radiator support.


Hood release cable. The cable is clipped to the radiator support in two additional places; remove those too.


Airbag crash sensor (I think) connector.


Hood sensor connector.


Power steering reservoir. It is connected by two 10mm bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
10. Remove the two radiator mount covers. Insert a screwdriver into the open hole and just pull forward. Underneath each cover is a rubber bushing. Remove these too.




11. Remove the two remaining 10mm bolts at the radiator support’s corners.


12. Have your buddy support the actual condenser / radiator assembly while you ease one side of the radiator support out. Once you’ve freed one side, adjust the axle stand to support the condenser / radiator assembly. Repeat with the remaining side. Your stripped down car will look like this:


13. Swap the latch from the old radiator support to the new one. It is connected by two 10mm bolts. To help in determining the placement, make a template from masking tape on the old support and transfer it to the new one.


14. Reassemble everything in reverse order with the new support. When mounting the new radiator support, make sure that the condenser / radiator assembly are properly seated. The rubber bushings at the bottom of the condenser / radiator assembly should fit nicely into the holes of the radiator support.


I noticed that when I was remounting the steel bumper, it did not line up properly. When the 12mm bolts were first removed, they left clear unpainted outlines. When I reattached the steel bumper, the bolts would not line up with the outlines (off by an 1/8 inch each side). Since the steel bumper attaches to the car’s frame, I hope that this doesn’t mean that the body alignment is all messed up.
 

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what is a hood sensor connector? I lost the connector to mine and have NO idea where it went. Help would be awesome. Thanks guys
 

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thanks for the write up even tho i didnt crack my raidator support i busted the steel bumper and now i no how to replace it thank u
 

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This was an extremely useful post. Although I only had to replace the cooling fan assembly, the pictures were very useful in helping me see how to complete the job. You saved me some $$$$. Thank you.

I do have one question ... What is the purpose of the small hose that comes off the top of the radiator and snakes down to the engine below the coil pack??
 
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