Aftermarket radiators--Mazda MPV?

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Oct 28, 2008
I need a radiator on my 2003 Mazda MPV. I can get an OEM radiator installed for $822 or an aftermarket for $575. Shop says the aftermarkets that they use are fine. Any opinions?
I worked as an auto mechanic at a Honda dealer before going back to school and eventually becoming a UPS diesel semi mechanic.
At the dealer, we bought non OEM radiators from crash parts stores when allowed. You can get one delivered if you bought online for under $150. The aftermarket ones are fine. Many radiators get borked in car accidents, making them cheap in the aftermarket if you know where to look.

My wife could replace it.
I would want to know (precisely) what brand the aftermarket is. I'd try to get the same brand as the OE, or at least a brand that supplies some OE.

Radiator is usually a pretty easy install, sourcing an OEM from a discounter and installing it your self should be a reasonable undertaking. I'm sure we could he,p you out if you hit a snag.
CSF is one brand that the shop mentioned. I normally do this kind of work myself, but the bumper has to come off. It looks like a 5 hour job. Shop quoted $300 for labor.
I installed a CSF in my 89 Accord, a Koyo in my ex's 99 Oasis, and a Spectra Premium in my daughter's 99 I30.

The one in the Accord was still good nine years, and over 100K miles later. The one in the Oasis lasted at least ten years (she sold the car). And, the one in the I30 is still fine after five years.

None of them cost over $100.
I have used plenty of aftermarket radiators with no real issues if it was not damaged in shipping.

Most come in a brown box with a different sticker so even if you like BrandX it may be the same as BrandY just a different sticker on the outside.
For imports: I'd typically opt for Spectra-Premium replacement plastic radiators, no issues over 2+ decades of repair works so far (no comebacks).

proper fitting.

DO replace the upper and lower rad hose while you are at it, for they typically would have become swollen over the years, and will not fit to your new replacement rad.

Also RE: observations with the coolant type and longevity of the cooling systems and such, seems like older silicate green tends to fair a lot worse in terms of maintaining component longevity and service life when compared to OAT type or H-OATs, for I have yet to see/encounter a single failure on high mileage cars that are on the latter type so far (even with my wifey's Camry with 200K on it, still on Toy long-life pink and rad hasn't blown/developed cracks like silicate green in the past), ditto with rad hoses (no swelling/cracks).

Also: do NOT put any so-called water-pump lubricant into the mix for you gonna kill your rubber coolant hoses in short order.

I had a bad experience buying a radiator on line that later failed. Was supposed to be lifetime warranty. It failed after 2 years. On line supplier said only a 1 year warranty through them. Called the manufacturer, they said lifetime, but it must come back through the retailer since they, the manufacturer, did not do business with individuals. So just be careful when purchasing.
Thanks for the tips. I'll look into Koyo, Denso and Spectra
Koyo is Japanese with a Japanese owned and CQ'ed Chinese factory. I'm at about two years on mine with no issues. Packaging in top notch too.
Koyo is readily available from multiple vendors on eBay and they don't cost any more than the other AM brands. I think you'll find Denso to be very expensive.
^You'd think that, but all three of the ones I ordered were perfect fits. All connections, threaded inserts, hose nipples, etc, were in the right places.
I bought a CSF radiator for my car 3 years ago. It has 45k on it and it has been solid. Cost me 75 bucks shipped. At the same time i bought some oem radiator hoses and coolant. All in all, after installing it myself, i spent about 120.

This job just requires a few tools. 10-12mm socket and pliers Save yourself HUNDREDSSSS
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