It's a VERY common problem with the second gen Expedition/Navigators/F-150 vehicles. Ford decided not to galvanize/paint/rustproof this area of the trucks. Saved them $5 per vehicle. Awesome. Costs the owners $1,000+ to get it repaired. Only thing you can do if yours hasn't rusted out yet is spray it with a rust preventative type oil, but nothing will stop it completely. Doesn't matter if you are in the north or the south. I guess Ford thought when owners radiators dropped out on the ground they would come back in for a new vehicle? Well, most likely it wouldn't be another Ford.
Anyway you can get the replacement support panel from RockAuto for under $100. Part number is : FO1225133 .
If you're not comfortable doing the swap out yourself you can probably take it to a body shop and have them do it.
Here's the support panel, it's the whole front cross sectional piece...
I discoverd a similar problem on my 98 Expy about three years ago. I ended up spraying it with an aeosol oil and wil continue to do so on an annual basis.
Even though I still have the expedition, I still have done nothing with the radiator/core support. The AC system leaks now and I have rust everywhere on the frame with a hole in the front cross member, holes in the front suspension arm stops. Expy goes down the highway just like new and body still looks good for a 16 year old vehicle from New England, but its time for the junk yard for this vehicle, and hope I can get by until the 2015 F150 becomes available. Not sure until I see the 2015 F150 what I will buy next but it will be a truck not a SUV.
Hi. I have a 97 that has this same rust problem, on the drivers side. The area where the radiator post sits in the grommet is gone, AND, the area around the body mount has just broken completely around this weekend.
Does this replacement part above include the body mount area, where it sits on the big rubber bumper and bolts to the frame? It's hard to see from the picture. Thanks.
Well, I ordered the radiator support, and I'm collecting miscellaneous parts that will likely need to be replaced. I might document/photo the whole process in another thread for reference in case any other poor bast***s have to do the same thing. After all that's that what these forums are for, to help each other out, eh?
A question for those who have replaced this radiator support before. Do you have any tips for getting it aligned correctly with the body? I'm about to start the job this week, and I imagine getting it positioned just right is critical or the fenders won't line up, or who knows what else might be crooked. I don't see any marks on the new part that say "weld here" (not that I expected that). So, any advice?
I replaced mine (2000 EB Exp) about 4 weeks ago. Ordered it from parts geek. About 30 hours by my self. Had a friend give me about 6 hours help. Sort of basic. Most difficult part was drilling all the spot welds to remove the old support, especially at the top of the fenders.
Mig welded all the spot welds back together, put in a new radiator, hoses, thermostat and serpentine belt. Just returned from vacation yesterday (2000 miles later), not a problem. Except I think I may have lost a little juice from my air- cond system. I had to move the air-cond components around to get the radiator supporting. Oh well time for a recharge.
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most difficult, I give it an 8.5
I started the replacement Saturday morning. Took off all the front end parts outside to have plenty of light. Tried to figure when the best point is to move it inside to finish. There are 2 grounds on either side of the radiator support. Don't remove them until you no longer have to move the truck to finish the job. I had those off and it wouldn't start, and the the theft light blinked. Had to jumper those leads to the frame since the bolts were broken off, and lucky me it started, so into the garage it went.
I did not have to remove the radiator or the A/C condenser. Same with the transmission fluid cooler and power steering cooler, they are still on, just need some support. The body mount bolts, nuts and rubber were completely shot and had to be cut apart. Battery box, washer fluid and coolant reservoirs were removed or moved out of the way. After that the spot welds were ground or drilled out. They are a pain. There are spot welds under spot welds. Took some studying to figure out which ones had to go, and which didn't. Had to split about an inch of the top fender rail where it curves down in front of the radiator support, and bend it up. After that, the radiator support tilted out and was slid out from under the radiator and condenser.
Put about 3 cans of anti rust paint on the new radiator support. The truck is black, but I used silver. After years of doing work down in the dark recesses of that engine compartment, I should be able to see better in there now. One of the basic problems with the radiator support I think is that the body mount area is a dish shape that collects water, and barely gets any air circulation to dry it out. So I put a small hole in one corner to let it drain, then drowned it with paint.
Now I'm just waiting for parts to come in. New body mounts, a bunch of 6mm bolts and U-nuts, and x-mas tree fastener thingies. Next weekend, the rebuilding process should begin.
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