Leaky Top Radiator Hose Repair - 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty

  • Thread starter Newman
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May 11, 2021
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I have decided that I am now an evangelist for RockAuto. RockAuto is an online auto parts store that simply has the best prices around. I’ve been using them for a few years now and all I can say is “Wow.”

Please allow me to give you a few examples. Some years back, I had to change the rear tail lamp on our sedan because of a bad blinker. For this type of a car, the entire tail light assembly needed to be swapped out, not just the offending blinker bulb inside. Because of this, I was very concerned about the price. The dealer cost was most likely in the hundreds. Most regular auto parts stores charged around $100. RockAuto sells them for $58. I bought one from them, installed it and it’s still going strong. You can’t tell the difference between it and the original.

A few days ago, my friend and I changed the brake pads in his car. I did a bit of pricing around before I recommended some nice ones to him. For the same exact brand (Bosch) from Amazon and a few different auto parts stores, he would have had to pay upwards of $80 for both sets of pads. I think he paid half of that through RockAuto. It’s nuts.

I just changed a leaky radiator hose in my truck this morning. This hose costs around $70 from a regular auto parts store. I got it from RockAuto for half. And the antifreeze that I bought from them was $28 less than what it costs elsewhere. It puts me in such a good mood to tell you this. I feel like I’m winning in the auto repair world, knock on wood.

Okay, so a few days ago, I brought my truck into an auto repair shop for its yearly inspection. Everything was fine, but the mechanic and I did notice a small leak coming from somewhere on the engine. Fluid was dripping on the floor. I smelled the fluid that was leaking out and deduced that it was antifreeze. Trust me when I say this; no one wants to find an antifreeze leak coming from their vehicle after a long, cold winter. That spells trouble and it could be anything from a cracked engine block to a dislodged freeze-out plug.

The mechanic had a small flashlight and after a few minutes, he discovered that the leak was originating from the engine side of the top radiator hose. I looked in there with the light and wondered how in the world I was going to fix this one. Things were tight, to say the least. Here, take a look.


If you’re not familiar with radiator hoses, this one is sitting just to the north-west of the red wire.

I have never seen a radiator hose that didn’t use clamps before. Upon inspection of this one, I noticed that it uses some sort of clips to secure both sides. I brought the truck home and did a bit of internet research to see what was going on and to familiarize myself with the situation.

Apparently, Ford now uses wire clips to hold the hose to both the radiator and the thermostat housing on the engine. It’s quite the genius idea and after working with them this morning, I can say that I’m definitely a fan. The hoses use interior o-rings as opposed to exterior clamp pressure. The only problem with these trucks is that the original hoses that were used years ago come with only one o-ring on each side. This is what causes many leaks on many trucks. Check it out.


The new radiator hoses people are using come with two o-rings on the engine side. Take a look.


To make this repair, I needed just one tool. A pick that looks sort of like a screwdriver. I didn’t really need to, but I also used a long screwdriver to manipulate the inside clip once I got it off the outside of the hose. Check out the Ullman pick set I purchased just for this very occasion. I always wanted one of these sets.


Photo courtesy Ullman Tools

All I did was reach the 45 degree angled pick into the tight area and released the clip from the hose. Once it was loose, I kept wiggling it until it fell off. The most challenging part was dealing with the tight area. There was no way I would be able to fit my hands in there.


After I did that, I released the other clip that was attached to radiator side part of the hose.


Then, I pulled the radiator side of the hose straight off and the thermostat side of the hose straight off and I had a free hose sitting in my hand. Well, sitting on the truck.


After a quick inspection of the engine side hose attachment, I simply pushed the hose in place.


Then, I pushed the top part of the hose against the radiator and I was almost finished. By the way, both sides of the hose will make a “click” sound when they are seated correctly. That click is the clips moving into their proper positions.


After that, I made a 50/50 mix of distilled water and radiator fluid and filled the fluid reservoir to the proper level. I took the truck for a spin to warm it up and came back to find no leaks. What a wonderful thing. I’m now waiting for the engine to cool down so I can check the fluid again. I’ll have to keep my eye on things for a while.

If you’re interested in making the same repair, please check out this video on YouTube. This is the one I used. In it, the guy replaces both the top and bottom hoses and it’s extremely helpful.