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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
In the aftermath of the roadtrip, the radiator of the SLK is covered in dead bugs that are starting to smell bad. There are almost more bugs visible than radiator surface.

Unfortunately, I'm having problems getting at the front face of the radiator. There is a black plastic shroud/baffle around the entire unit with only a very small hole near the hood latch. It seems that even if you did dry to clean through the hole, all the bugs and gunk would collect at the bottom with no way out. The shroud on the intake side doesn't look easy to remove.

Has anyone cleaned out a 171 radiator before and provide some tips on how to do it?
 

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No never done it, but according to WIS the fan shroud is not that hard to remove.
Only thing is, you have to detach one of the cooling hoses, which means drain the system. Again according to WIS.
But maybe it can be done without detaching the hose, who knows?
Would you like the WIS for remove/install the shroud?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No never done it, but according to WIS the fan shroud is not that hard to remove.
Only thing is, you have to detach one of the cooling hoses, which means drain the system. Again according to WIS.
But maybe it can be done without detaching the hose, who knows?
Would you like the WIS for remove/install the shroud?
Thanks, but I'm not sure the fan shroud is the right thing to remove. I did find WIS AR20.40-P-6800VA Fan Shroud: Service and Repair, but it looks like its aim is to remove the fan unit behind/downstream of the radiator. I'm looking to remove the piece upstream it to get at the bugs, apparently called an "air baffle" PN 1715050030.



If you have the WIS to remove that piece, I would very much like to see it. I haven't been able to find anything for the "air baffle".
 

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Ah,well,no,sorry,my bad.....
Completely slipped my mind that the fan is located behind the radiator.
Not much use in removing that in order to clean the radiator.
No the WIS I found is the one you already have.
Will have a look though if I can find something.
 

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Found attached WIS that shows how to remove the condenser.
It also shows the "air baffle" or "intake air duct" as it is called here and how to remove it for 4 and 6 cylinder engines. For 4 cylinder engines (step 15.1) it seems easy, remove 4 expansion clips and remove it from above.
For the V6 engines,(step 15.2),well..hmmm... maybe not so easy?
Anyhow, maybe it's of some use to you if you did not already found it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Found attached WIS that shows how to remove the condenser.
It also shows the "air baffle" or "intake air duct" as it is called here and how to remove it for 4 and 6 cylinder engines. For 4 cylinder engines (step 15.1) it seems easy, remove 4 expansion clips and remove it from above.
For the V6 engines,(step 15.2),well..hmmm... maybe not so easy?
Anyhow, maybe it's of some use to you if you did not already found it yourself.
Great, thanks.
 

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You're welcome!
And please let us know how it went and if turned out to be a job also doable for the less mechanically skilled members like myself.
Sooner or later I may be facing the same problem.
 

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Can you not get in there with a small pressure jet washer lance thats been modified etc ??

And would it not be easier just to remove the front bumper to gain a little more access to front radiator as such ?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Can you not get in there with a small pressure jet washer lance thats been modified etc ??
Potentially, but then I would be concerned about bending the radiator fins with an offset stream of water. Plus then all the gunk would be sitting on the bottom of the baffle, which would still bother me.

And would it not be easier just to remove the front bumper to gain a little more access to front radiator as such ?
I may well go that route. An additional problem for me is that the flappy rubber seals on the baffle are disintegrating, so I would like to change out that part.

Diving in this weekend, I'll post some pictures with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To clean the radiator out, I ended up removing the bumper. It wasn't as difficult as I expected and there are instructions elsewhere on the site to to that job. With the bumper off, you have good access to the front of the condenser (heat exchanger for the A/C). I used a soft brush, a jeweler's screwdriver and a light mist of water to get the bugs off.




I chose water over a cleaning product because it is difficult to ensure all the cleaning product is rinsed with the condenser in the car and I didn't want to encourage any corrosion issues. However, I did notice some additional gunk between the condenser and the radiator.



I used some compressed air to blow out as much of that as I could and reattached the bumper.

Thoughts and lessons from this work:

  1. Even if the front of the condenser looks OK, there is probably a lot of gunk between the condenser and the radiator. The car has been driven in Southern California for almost 10 years and there was plenty of grass/dirt/etc. between the two that did not come from the road trip. Check yours for build up regardless of where you live.
  2. This cleaning method was only partially effective. It got rid of the rotting insects, but a lot of dirt is still in the unit. To do a complete clean, I will one day take the radiator out of the car and flush it from the back. It would be good to do this when the "15 year" coolant is changed. This can't be done in the car with the engine fan in the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Part of my issue was that the shroud around the radiator was falling apart. It can also be helpful to remove this shroud when cleaning the radiator and condenser:


To get the shroud off, the bumper and lower engine cover need to come off. Then remove the two inner bolts for the horns and the two outer rivets for the shroud:

There are two more rivets where the shroud meets the front frame:

Then just work the shroud downward bending it around all the metal and being sure not to let anything punch through the condenser:
 

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