I replaced the radiator in my V6 expecting it to be one git of a job. After all, the proper procedure requires removal of the slam panel, headlights, wheel arch linings and near removal of the bumper and threads on the forum made it look like not a lot of fun. I was, however, a little suspicious as my car had a new rad some four years ago which was fitted by a dealer. I noticed that the slam panel bolts have never been removed - the paint was pristine. I looked under the car and sure enough there was evidence that the rad support cross-member had been removed. A quick double-check with a tape measure and that was definitely the way to proceed. Hardly any bolts to undo and so no shearing, stuck or otherwise nasty to get to nuts, bolts or screw.
Including coffees, a nice cheese on toast lunch and lots of jaw wagging with a mate the whole job was very quick at about 5.5 hours. If you take off the removal and re-fitting of the undertray and the above mucking about you could do the job in 4-5 hours on your own. A huge improvement on a local independent who reckoned it was a three day job (that wasn't a quote, he was just trying to worry me in a friendly way).
All in all a pleasant few hours in the fresh air and a job that couldn't be much simpler. There is one controversial bit but its really not that bad and a fair swap for the time and trouble (and WD40) saved, as you will see. You can do a lot of the job in no particular order but here is my method with a couple of pics attached.
I recommend 2 new jubilee clips for the rad hoses (just in case).
Minimum 2 litres of anti-freeze.
A small socket set with 13/10/8 mm sockets and some short extensions
Small 8 mm ring spanner.
Large 13mm socket or ring spanner for the big cross-member bolts.
Vaseline (to help get hoses back on).
String to tie up the fan.
Disconnect the wiring for the fan assembly and move it out of the way.
Remove (or at least loosen) the centre trim around the bonnet latch.
Remove the chromed plastic trim on either side of the latch.
Remove the fog light surrounds.
Remove the black mesh grill between the fog lights. This is the controversial bit as you will have to snap the grill off. Starting at one end, work along the top of the grill pulling sharply at each fixing point. Some fixing pins will snap but most should remain whole. Then do the bottom part, although all of the fixing pins will snap here. It doesn't matter as you will need to re-fix the grill with glue anyway (Araldite recommended). I guess you could use a tiny socket set to get through the mesh to the aircon bolts behind, but it seems extremely fiddly. You be the judge for yourself.
Now you can get to all four aircon radiator fixings to the rad and also the plastic rad surround fixings to the rad. Remove all of these so the aircon rad and plastic surround is completely detached from the main rad. Don't lean on the aircon rad or anything as its supported by its feeder pipes only now, but its not heavy and doesn't really need any support.
Facing the car from the front, undo the top left fan fixing to the rad.
Jack the car up and place on axle stands (you could have done this earlier, of course). You need to have about 18 inches minimum from the bottom of the rad to the ground and more is better.
Under the car you will see that the radiator is held on rubber mounts on a metal cross-member that runs parallel to the bumper edge (incidentally this also holds the bottom of the air filter housing). From this cross-member, pop as many aircon pipes as possible from the plastic clips that hold them. This is pretty easy to do with fingers but very gentle persuasion with a flat blade screwdriver can help.
Undo the four bolts, two at each end, that hold the cross-member in place and allow it to drop, double checking that all aircon pipes are freed and no longer attached. The rad is now attached to the car only by the top and bottom hose but these can support it without any difficulty.
Use some string tied to the fan housing and some handy part of the engine (like one of the chrome inlets) to stop it dropping down when you fully detach it. You can prop the fan in place but its easier to tie it up, especially if you are working on your own.
Remove the bottom two fan bolts.
Take of the header tank cap and remove the lower rubber hose from the lower rad elbow and stand well back whilst 5 litres of fluid mainly miss the bucket you put in place to catch it all.
Remove the top hose at either the rad or thermostat end. You can now get to the last fan bolt. Be aware that it is only the top hose holding the rad in place so when you disconnect it the rad will be trying to fall out. Get someone to hold it during this part of the job or support the whole thing underneath with a box, bricks, dog whatever.
Get back under the car and the rad will just slide out
Its helpful to have someone to hold and jiggle the fan as it tends to get in the way a bit. Nothing bad, its just annoying.
Remove the lower inlet elbow off the rad for use on the new one. Fit this to the new one rad before putting the rad back in as its much easier to do on the floor than under the car.
As all the best instructions say, reassembly is the reverse of the above. At this point it does help to have a second pair of hands to help hold the rad up whilst you attach it back. You need to get at last the bottom fan bolts on and then the bottom hose before it will stop trying to fall out again.
When offering up the cross-member to refit, make sure all pipes are clipped back on and the rad and air box are properly located in their rubber mounts. Again, its easier to refit with two people but quite possible on your own.
Fill to max with approx 5 litres of ready-mixed anti-freeze and boiled and cooled water.
Run the engine until the fan switches in to check for leaks and that you have reconnected the fan properly
My car now runs at 85 like a rock
Good news as it means the water pump is ok!