Replacing Radiator Honda CRV 1997

Discussion in 'CR-V' started by Kerry, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    Hi all,

    I just got an estimate for $760 to fix my radiator and I simply don't
    have the option to pay for it. Of course, replacing the whole car
    isn't any more feasible.

    I found radiators online for the CRV 1997 for less than $100 and I'm
    wondering what the chances are I can just replace it myself.

    Step-by-step websites make it look easy, but they are all generic and
    I have no idea how it translates for my particular car.

    My car experience is nil (changed tires, oil, and spark plugs, that's
    it), but I think I have a knack for fixing stuff. I don't really see
    any other option anyway.

    Is this possible? Will I need any special tools?

    Kerry, Aug 17, 2009
  2. Kerry

    HowardH Guest

    I don't know what amount you can afford but according to published data on
    Alldata, which is a source for parts and labor information ( like Chiltons
    or Motors ) used throughout the country, it says the price for the Honda rad
    from Honda is $371.39. The labor is 1.8 hours and add .2 for automatic
    transmission. Now, unless the labor rate in your area is around $195/hr, I
    think your dealer is trying to retire early on the backs of his customers.
    But then, what else is new?
    Ask him what labor time he's using and his hourly labor. If he's out of
    range then quote the dealer the recommended labor rate from Alldata and ask
    if he can install an aftermarket rad that he or you supplies for that amount
    of labor time. There are some excellent non-oem rads made that are high
    quality and are a true bolt-in. Some don't fit well at all. A brand I'm
    familiar with is Koyo. There are others.
    You may also try a local independent Honda repair shop. Their labor will be
    less and they probably would gladly install either rad in your car. Just be
    sure they use Honda coolant and no substitutes.
    Good luck!
    HowardH, Aug 17, 2009
  3. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    Thanks for looking this up. In the meantime I priced shopped and found
    the everyone else offered to do a radiator replacement for $450, so
    I'm a little angry that they tried to rip me off, especially b/c
    they've been operating in my home town for as long as I remember. I
    would tell them, but I'm afraid they'll purposely damage the radiator,
    which I'm not convinced is even broken anymore.

    I'm still curious if this is something I could do myself though. Seems
    like a long-term investment to acquire such skills.

    Thanks again,
    Kerry, Aug 17, 2009
  4. Kerry

    Tegger Guest

    The dealer did not try to "rip" you off.

    The other places will be selling you an aftermarket rad, which is hundreds
    cheaper than the genuine Honda rad the dealer would sell.

    Plus the dealer's hourly shop rate will be higher, reflecting the better
    training and equipment that they have versus most indpendents.

    You offer no reasons why you wanted to change the rad in the first place..

    Sure can, but it is involved.

    Yes, it most certainly is.
    Tegger, Aug 17, 2009
  5. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    It actually wasn't a dealer, but I guess they could still be trying to
    sell my the geniune radiator. I'm not sure why they wouldn't offer the
    aftermarketradiators when I told them I couldn't afford the price,
    especially since the other places the have provided a 40% lower
    estimate provide warranties. I also read somewhere that it is better
    to go with the aftermarket rad, but it's difficult to know with online

    I don't have any info about why it needs to be replaced, but was told
    it had to be the repair shop. Other places told me to make sure they
    did a pressure test, but I'd rather not ask them to do anything else
    considering their labor rates may be astronomical.

    Kerry, Aug 17, 2009
  6. Kerry

    HowardH Guest

    If you look at the figures I quoted in previous post the labor rate would be
    over $190/hr. I don't think you'll find that in any Honda Dealership. Maybe
    Rolls or Ferrari.
    It's typical of many dealers to "freelance" their own labor charges for a
    little extra gross profit. Dealers do minor services (oil change, brakes,
    tires, etc.) at a reasonable or competitive price. As soon as you get to
    significant repairs, watch out. Services such as rad replacement are not
    advertised so a consumer often can not or will not compare.
    I respect your opinion and knowledge Tegger, but you can't be sure that
    every independent shop will sell you an aftermarket rad. Some independent
    shops use factory parts because most of the time (not all) they are of
    better quality. In many instances aftermarket rads are junk, but not all. As
    I mentioned before, I have experience in one brand. That experience involves
    selling hundreds of them in a Honda dealership over the past ten years. I
    sold many other aftermarket rads, but none of better quality and better fit.
    BTW, I have about 36 years experience with Honda ( you may remember me).
    When given a choice and the difference in cost, more than half opted for the
    aftermarket. In that period of time. I only had one returned for a leak in
    the filler neck.
    You are correct on that point. But, there are a lot of ex-dealer techs
    opening their own shops. They may not have the same equipment but they do
    have the training and experience and you can get good labor rates compared
    to the dealer most of the time. Evidently Kerry found one that didn't. But
    as Kerry did, "caveat emptor".
    There are many repair shops that specialize in Japanese imports and some
    just Honda/Acura. The hard part is finding an honest, dependable experienced
    shop. Sometimes the answer can be found by asking other Honda owners, BBB
    and online referral services with customer ratings or feedback.

    HowardH, Aug 17, 2009
  7. Kerry

    Tegger Guest

    Kerry would need to provide an itemized invoice in order for either of
    us to have any idea where the money is /really/ going.

    If a consumer does not bother to comapre unadvertised prices, he's a
    fool. He's also a fool if he does not make sure he's comparing apples to

    A hypothetical example:
    Suppose a low estimate and a high estimate on the same vehicle from two
    different shops. On the face of it it may appear that the high shop is
    conducting a pocket-picking operation, but if one were to look at the
    itemized quote, one may find that the low shop will be reusing the rad
    hoses, is using the wrong coolant and has included the cheapest
    aftermarket rad they could find.

    No, I can't. But it's very usual for independent shops (and many
    dealers!) to quote aftermarket parts when the customer is extremely
    price-conscious. Most of the independent shops I've dealt with sell you
    aftermarket unless you specify OEM.

    Most of the aftermarket rads I've had experience with are of
    surprisingly good quality and last just as long as OEM. I have one in my
    own car. The OEM Denso was something stupid like $600, so I passed in
    favor of a $150 Visteon.

    I think this may be more or less true depending on where you are
    geographically. In my neck of the woods (admittedly relatively thinly
    populated), Honda-specific independents are few and far between.And GOOD
    ones are hen's-teeth rare.
    Tegger, Aug 18, 2009
  8. Kerry

    Tegger Guest

    Warranties are usual with aftermarket products. Most aftermarket is of
    such bad-quality that you often end up using the warranty at least once.

    It seems to be cheaper for the aftermarket supplier to honor the
    warranty than it is for him to do proper quality control on his
    products. And in the meantime you have to tear back in and start all
    over again. I'd rather do it once and forget about it, which is why I
    prefer $400 reman Honda alternators over $180 reman aftermarket

    Many aftermarket rads for Hondas are a fraction of OEM in price and are
    of suprisingly good quality. If you get one, make sure it has an
    aluminum core.

    Rads usually need to be replaced for the following common reasons:
    1) tanks cracked and leaking
    2) neck cracked and leaking
    3) fins corroded, missing or filled with gravel
    4) core tubes leaking or damaged to the point where leakage is imminent
    5) leak from seam between tank and core.

    "Pressure test"? Mention of this implies the presence of a leak of
    unknown origin. Dye tests are more reliable. I think you need to provide
    or gather more information.
    Tegger, Aug 18, 2009
  9. Kerry

    jim beam Guest

    visteon are actually very good and oem suppliers to many car companies.
    not all brands are the same quality.
    jim beam, Aug 18, 2009
  10. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    Thanks, that's a lot of great information! I'll be sure to bring up
    these points to all of the shops I have in mind before towing to the
    final destination. I also agree about doing things once instead of
    using warranties...time is money. On other hand, this car is 12 years
    old and nearing 100K, that may not be elderly for a Honda, but it
    seems the repairs are getting more and more frequent. There's a fair
    chance I'll need a new car before another radiator assuming this one
    doesn't come from the scrapyard.

    Thanks again,
    Kerry, Aug 18, 2009
  11. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    Just to follow-up, they were totally ripping me off. I found a place
    in the same town (1 mile away) that did the same work for less than
    half what they were charging. Actually I think they did more as they
    ran a carbon monoxide test to make sure it wasn't something else,
    replaced an extra hose, and flushed out the system. The first place
    was trying to charge $960 ($760 for radiator replacement, $160 for
    hose replacement, the rest for tests). The cheaper place charged $330
    for the radiator, including hoses, and another $120 for tests ($450
    total). Moreover, when I picked up my car from the 1st shop, I noticed
    the check engine light was on when it wasn't when I picked it up, the
    tested the engine and found that 2 cylinders were misfiring. They gave
    a dubious reason for this, so I had to have the cheaper place check
    that too. The difference couldn't be customer service either. The
    whole team at the 2nd place came out to look at my car when I brought
    it there for a quick look and explained a lot of the car issues to me.

    I should also mention that I asked the first place and they were going
    to install an aftermarket radiator, so that cannot explain the price

    In summary, James Madison Shell in Vienna, VA is a waste of money and
    C&C Garage Inc in Vienna, VA is OUTSTANDING! Not surprisingly, others
    reviews say the same thing.

    Thanks for all of your help,
    Kerry, Aug 24, 2009
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