Replace lower radiator tie bar

Has anyone ever done this replacement by themselves?

My mechanic is quoting me $200 labor and parts to replace the lower radiator tie bar on my 1999 Pontiac Sunfire sedan. I found a replacement tie bar (they call it ‘radiator support’) online for $25. Is the replacement hard enough to prompt such a high price on labor?

I would preferably like to replace it myself.

Thank you in advance.

It sounds like a reasonable cost to me. There is a quite some labor involved here and if you make a boo-boo the radiator will be toast. New radiators can exceed $200 easily. If you want to have a job done right you have to pay for it. I know how to pull my teeth but I would never think of doing it since dentists are all around me. If you are mechanically inclined however…go for it.

I am having trouble finding instructions for replacing the lower radiator tie bar. Some forums mention welding.

Will replacing the lower radiator tie bar on my 1999 Pontiac Sunfire require welding? Does anyone have instructions?

Thank you.

Why Are You Replacing It, Rust, Collision, Or Other ?

Most lower radiator supports are a welded part and most upper radiator supports are bolted.

What’s wrong with your’s ? Usually they are replaced following a crash, not as a regular maintenance item.


I am not sure how long the support has been broken, but I am willing to bet it happened after hitting several pot holes very hard.

When I look under the car it looks like the bar is snapped off at the front end. It slightly bends down.

What are the safety consequences associated with having a broken radiator support bar?

since you can see the broken part without jacking the car off the ground, I would suggest the next step is to jack the car off the ground, put it on stands, and crawl under it to get a better look at it. If you then think you have the skill and fortitude to fix it, go ahead. If it looks to difficult for your skill level, pay the man.

The procedure will be in the Pontiac factory body manual where there are instructions panel replacements, sheet metal, glass, upholstery, and so on. And I believe they are all welded in so yes it would require welding.

I looked up a 2004 (at work I did not know what year you had) and it claimed the lower tie bar was bolted in and book time was only .5 hour. It did not specify if this was .5 total of if the radiator and condenser was already removed. If it is bolted in you might be able to r&i the tie bar with out r&i of the rad with some creative thinking.