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How to Replace Lower Radiator Hose 94-02 Dodge RAM 1500

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Hey friends, it's Len here at 1A Auto. Today I'm going to be working on our 1996 Dodge Ram 1500. I want to show you something fairly basic, removing and reinstalling a lower radiator hose. As always, if you need any parts, check us out at Thanks.

So now that we're underneath the hood, one of the first things we have to do is remove our radiator cap. We do that by pressing down and turning counterclockwise. We're going to lift it up away from us, take a peek, make sure that it's not cracked or deformed in any way. This one looks perfectly fine, and I would say it's reasonable. We'll set that aside, and we can continue.

So right up here is where the drain is, or the petcock. I'll just show you with this hose. Right up here, okay? It's got a little flat twist where you just grab right onto it, and you can turn it counter clockwise and it'll loosen up. I grabbed myself a short piece of hose. If you can find one that's softer than this, it might work out better for you. But essentially, we're just going to go over the end of that petcock and we're going to make it so this has a nice drain, and it's going to go into our catch bucket so we can recycle the coolant properly. We'll get this up on here, and then we'll open it up. There we go. That's fairly secured at this point.

Now I'm going to grab my bucket, a set pliers, we'll get up in there. So I'm going to carefully take my pliers, and I'm just going to give this a little wiggle side to side. I'm going to turn it to the left once I feel like it starts wanting to break free. I've got my safety glasses on of course and my hand protection because I'm dealing with a chemical here. There we are. Okay, we've got coolant draining. We're just going to give this a couple of minutes to finish doing its thing, and then we can continue.

So now what we're going to do is we're going to remove the clamp that holds the lower hose to the radiator. It's just a squeeze clamp. You can use something as simple as pliers. They also sell hose clamp pliers that are special for this, but regular pliers seem to work just as good sometimes, and it's what I had in my hand. Slide this down, here we are. It's down nice and far now. I can move the radiator hose around on the radiator. You want to make sure you're wearing safety glasses, your mouth is closed, hand protection, and of course you have a collection receptacle. And here we go.

Okay, so now we're just going to grab onto this clamp right here. We'll squeeze those two ears together. We'll slide the clamp down a little bit, and get the hose off of the water pump. I'm going to use my hose clamp tool, just grabs onto the ears, give it a nice squeeze. Nice. Wiggle this around. Cool. Just going to slide that down. Of course, the serpentine belt's in the way, but I'll just give it a spin. That'll pull it down far enough. Take my tool off of there. Grab this hose, move the flashlight. Just give it a little wiggle, see if I can get it to break free from the water pump. Get it on, get it off the radiator side. Okay. Wow, I wasn't expecting that. There we go, give it a nice little tug. And here, my friends, is our lower radiator hose.

All right, so we've got some new clamps here, 1A Auto was nice enough to supply us with. Just going to put this on here, bring this around, get it up on there. Different clamps call for a different size sockets. This one is an eight. Sometimes you'll notice they'll be sevens, sometimes they'll be quarter inch, so they come in all different shapes and sizes. Just make sure your hose is up on there all the way. It's getting close here. Once it kind of feels like it's getting a little bit harder to turn, you're probably pretty close to where you need to be. So that feels probably pretty good right there, I'm just going to go a teeny bit more. Okay. Grab my hose, give it a nice tug and a twist. That's going nowhere. That's a great clamp right there.

Let's grab the other portion of our hose. We can see the lower portion, the radiator there. Let me get this up on there, try to slide this onto the radiator. That goes on really good. We're going to snug this up, same thing like we did the first one. Okay. It feels like it's pretty snug. I'm just going to give it a teensy bit more. That feels good. When you're tightening these clamps and it feels like it gets nice and snug and you go a little bit more and all of a sudden it feels like it breaks right free, at that point you need to remove the clamp. Take it right off of there, take the hose off and just replace the clamp. That means your clamp's stripped out. It won't hold no matter if you try to re-tighten it up again or whatever you try to do, it's going to be garbage.

All right, so we've got our vacuum tool here. It just has a couple hoses. One's for a letting the air out. As the air rushes past it creates vacuum, which is going to vacuum our system, create negative pressure. You're going to notice that this gauge is going to go all the way up. It needs to go up to where 25, or anywhere past the 25 and the green is. Once it's up there and it seems like it's holding steady, we're going to turn it off and we're going to let it sit, and then hope it doesn't go down below the 25 into 20, 15, 10. If it starts dropping like that, then you know that you have a leak someplace. It is at 25. We're going to keep going until the needle stops. All right, I'd say that's just about it right there. Close this off, turn off our air. And now we can get our coolant ready, and when we come back in approximately five to 10 minutes, we're going to make sure that this needle has not dropped below the 25 mark.

Okay, friends. It's been holding for a good five to 10 minutes here. So I'm just going our grab our coolant that we're going to be using. We've got our hose down in there. We're going to let the vacuum fill the system. All right, so we're on gallon number three here. I'm just kind of holding it up because the pressure is getting ... It's kind of evening out a little bit here. We don't have as much negative pressure in there to create vacuum. I'll just hold it up high, like I said, and that is it. So we'll let that drain back out of there real quick.

All right, so if you don't have one of those vacuums for filling your cooling system, you can go with something like this. This is available at It's a little funnel buddy, and it's got pretty much every single adapter you're ever going to need for pretty much any cooling system. All right? So what we'll do is we'll find the ones that'll worked for this. I've already figured out which one it is. It's the black one with the big cap on it. We also have the little cap. We've got the screw ons for like a Volkswagen or a Volvo. You got a Ford over here. All sorts of neat things in there. I'm going to put all these aside. We'll grab the pieces that we do need.

I'm going to put this right on here, push it down, give it a twist to the right until it's bottomed out. Put this on there, just like that. This right here, it's just a little stopper. That's going to come in super handy a little later and I'll show you why. Now we're going to carefully put some coolant in this, just like that. I'm just going to use whatever coolant's in all these jugs that I might've left in there. I hate to waste anything, and I definitely don't want to contaminate any landfills.

So now what you can do is you can either let this sit like this for a little while. You could also come over to one of your hoses, give it a little squeeze. You'll notice that I'm getting out some pretty good air bubbles there. After you noticed that there isn't any more air bubbles coming out, you can go ahead and run the vehicle for a little while. Once you run the vehicle and it starts to heat up, the water pumps going to be circulating the coolant. It's going to flush out any air that's in there. The air is going to work its way up to here, which is the highest point. As the air comes up, something's going to need to fill that void. That's going to be this coolant. It's going to work its way down in there.

Once you've run it, you know it's nice and hot, all you do, take this, push it right in there like that. You lift up your little funnel buddy like this, and then you go ahead and you put it right inside your reservoir. All right? If you end up needing more coolant, you're just going to add. The way you know if you need more coolant is by looking at the side of this. You have a minimum right there and a maximum right there. You need to have it somewhere between the minimum and the maximum. Anywhere above that is semi dangerous only because once the coolant heats up, it has to expand. It's going to go somewhere. Last thing you want is it to come out of here and then pour all over the ground. So I'm going to leave this right here for now. I'm going to run the vehicle, and we'll finish up what we're doing.

All right, so we're going to top off our coolant reservoir. You've got your low line and your max line. Let's get it anywhere in between here and here. Check it, maybe a little bit more. If you go a little bit over the max, it's okay, but you don't want to go very much over the max because you need room for when the coolant expands, when it gets warm. It needs to be able to come up in here and not come out of here. If it starts coming out of here, obviously it's going to contaminate the ground and it's going to cause issues. That looks great. Down the road you go.

Thanks for watching. Visit for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Drain Pan

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Hose Clamp Pliers

  • Specialty Tools

  • Coolant Funnel Set

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