2012 Golf 2.5L Wagon - Radiator Change


New member
Hey all

First time post but do lurk from time to time. I just changed a leaky radiator on my 2012 Golf 2.5L Wagon. I live up north and the rad basically rusted out at the edges then started leaking. I looked all over the internet to find good instructions but did not find any, and the big debate seemed to be whether or not you can do the work without taking apart the front end of the car. Bottom line that you have to take apart the front end as the rad screws face forward and the rad mounts slide into the plastic front clip. FYI i am not too car literate so I'll just describe a part if I don't know the real name.

3 ton jack
2 jack stands
t20, t25, t30 ratchet and screw driver
channel locks
16mm short socket with breaker bar
10mm socket to disconnect battery
tray/bucket you can fit under the car to catch the waste coolant
flat head screw driver
a few pieces of wood or a box
A bunch of ziploc bags wand and a marker to label your bag (every time you do a step but the bolts/screws in a dedicated bag and label it)

1. jack up car so you can get under it
2. remove belly pan (t25s)
3. remove front air intake (t20 and t25)
4. remove bumper (t25s) - disconnect the fog light bulbs before pulling the bumper away
5. remove front grill (t25s)
6. disconnect battery (10mm socket)
7. disconnect plugs from top - 5 plugs - use flathead screw driver for this - 2 on passenger side and 3 on driver side
8. remove headlight mount bars (t30s)
9. disconnect hood latch cable as you do #8 - it is attached to the driver side headlight mount bar (don't close the hood anymore)
10. remove headlight plastic assemblies (3 t25s/t30s on edges and 1 long t30 with washer at front of car)
11. disconnect outdoor temp sensor plug at front of car
12. remove the lower T30s from the bar that connects to the hood latch
13. unscrew coolant reservoir lid.
13. get under car and disconnect fan plug and coolant temp sensor plug
14. use channel locks to slide clasp off of lower coolant hose
15. disconnect lower coolant hose from fan
16. slide tray/bucket under car and disconnect lower coolant hose from radiator (just pull/wiggle it off) - catch all the fluid (many litres) in the tray - it will keep dripping so squeeze the hose in a few different spots to get as much out as you can
17. disconnect 2 x upper coolant hose on driver side from top
18. remove 16mm bolts and t30s holding the front metal core support. support rad/fan/sensor at this time using wood blocks/box
19. remove wind deflectors
20. remove plastic front clip (t30s and plastic click in middle)
21. disconnect rad/fan assembly and leave ac condenser in place (t25s/t30s plus side and bottom mounts into plastic front clip) - support the condenser and don't move it too much (don't forget the long screw on the passenger side)
22. now that rad/fan is out, remove fan and all the parts from the old rad and put them onto your new rad.
23. reconstruct the rad/fan assembly and install
24. rebuild your car using these steps in reverse order

Hope this is helpful