The sweet smell of coolant was lingering in the garage recently after Mother Nature had thoughtfully flipped the switch from "warm" to "cold." As such, today's cheap plastic radiator tanks can't withstand innumerable years of the freeze/thaw cycle and the radiator on a family 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S had given up the ghost.
Telltale signs of white residue had built up along the crimped edge of the cooling fins where they met the upper tank and were a sure location of the leak.
After checking on price and avail from a local OE dealer, I elected for an aftermarket variety for less than 1/4 of the price, but still a well-known name brand with a warranty. A few days after ordering, it arrived and just in time! The tank had started leaking ever more and the little crow in the Willow tree beckoned me to replace the radiator, so it would leak not "ever more."
With a quick jack in the air, deft pinch and removal of the lower radiator hose and draining a bit of coolant, the electric fan shroud came out with ease. The radiator slid up and away to reveal how permeated the cooling finds indeed were.
As the saying goes, installation is the reverse of removal, including filling the radiator after reinstalling the upper and lower hoses and auto trans cooler lines. All in all, I was ahead of the recommended Labor Time including a minor coolant service. Not bad for a weekend night!
The vehicle is back on the road, safe and sound for holiday driving. The sweet smell has been shifted from the garage and glycol to that of baked goods, not poisonous for mammals.