Fitting a radiator back into the Windstar

I’m working on replacing the radiator in our Windstar (see my previous post about older vehicles inhaling unknown chemicals), and I’m running into a bit of trouble in the final stages of the re-install. The connections on the radiator for the quick connect/disconnect pieces on the new radiator are significantly larger than the ones on the old radiator. The threading that goes into the radiator side is the same, but on the outside it’s a 1-inch bolt. This bolt is very difficult to work with because the crescent wrench I have that can work with the 1-inch bolt is so large that it has hardly any clearance.

I’ve put a picture of one of the bolts below.

Is it OK that the bolt might not go all the way in until the threading on the outside is no longer visible?

That fitting needs to go as far in as it can to prevent a fluid leak. Transmission fluid runs at a high pressure, above 100 psi in many cases, so a tight, leak-proof connection is a must. If your having that much trouble with the new fittings, why not use the old ones?

The quick connect clasps inside were compromised.

Take the radiator out and tighten them?

Ugh – I was hoping this WASN’T the case, but I guess if that’s how it has to be to make it right then so be it.

Thanks for the responses.

You could buy a 1" open end,box or socket, whichever would make it easier.

I hand-tightened it pretty good with a 10-inch long crescent I was using on the 1-inch bolt. I’m sure a socket could get it a little tighter, but I can’t imagine it needing all of what’s left. I guess we’ll see

The conclusion:

For the lower tranny line connection, I ended up getting a 1" socket from a local auto parts store, brought it home and it was just a tad too small.

I went back, and got a 1-1/16", 1-1/8", 1-3/16", and 1-1/4" (knowing I could return the three of these I did not use).

It was 1-1/16"

I used my 1/2" socket and tightened it as much as I could, but about half the threading was still showing. This looked to be the same amount of threading visible on the top bolt.

I ran it for a test drive last night and it didn’t do so well. That’s because I forgot to reconnect the lower hose.

After rectifying this, I have driven it about 20 miles (some freeway, some stop and go) and not a drip is coming from the radiator or its derivatives. Including the bolts.