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Installing a Hyundai radiator into an AE86

With many original sprinter radiators reaching their limit in age and cooling capacity owners often are in the need for a newer replacement. One very affordable option is the radiator out of certain models of Hyundai Excel. This radiator has the outlets in the right position, has a greater cooling capacity, integral cooling fan(s) and is readily available.

Note: This conversion can also be directly applied to a KE70 or AE71, if the same engine is used then the steps would be identical.

Model of radiator used

There are a few radiators available in Hyundai’s however only two models are easily usable. The model to look for has an aluminum radiator and with a central top inlet and a bottom outlet on the left side (please see picture below). The two usable radiator models are physically identical however if the donor car had an air conditioner fitted then a secondary thermo-fan will be fitted on the second side of the radiator. This second fan would be highly recommended for those seeking the best cooling capacity, however the original fan is still more than enough for any non forced induction 4A based engine. The exact model of the donor vehicle is a Hyundai Excel X2.

A radiator from the air conditioned model of Hyundai Excel showing the twin thermo-fans it has as standard fitment.

Bare radiator


Multiple wreckers have this radiator in stock however self serve wreckers are often a highly economical choice. It is highly recommended to buy a radiator that still has the cooling system connected with an anti-corrosion liquid in use. Otherwise the radiator could of suffered corrosion inside and would have a limited life. Also of note that when buying the radiator of choice make sure to buy all four of the original mounting brackets and if possible the original top hose.


Unfortunetly the original radiator mounts in a Sprinter can’t be used and they will need to be chopped off. For the fitting pre-fit the original sprinter bottom radiator hose on the Hyundai radiator, it is a direct fit. With the bottom hose on move the radiator so it is central in-front of the opening and move down till the bottom hose is slightly squashed, this is the position the radiator needs to end up in. The bottom hose will need to be lightly pushed on by the castor rod support bracket to get the radiator low enough.

The Hyundai mounts need to fixed to the radiator support, this ideally is done with welding however other options such as self tapping screws may be possible.

Bottom mounts in place with the top mounts read for mounting.

Note: On an AE71 & KE70 model car the radiator will sit further down as the radiator supports is higher than the AE86 model.

Top mounts finished by welding brackets to the radiator support.

The welded brackets where cleaned up and painted. Genuine second hand Toyota bolts where also used to add to the OEM fitment appearance.

Both hoses shortened and a piece of tubing pushed in to allow for a clamp.

Installed with a 4Ac engine, Hyundai bottom hose and half of each top hose.

With some custom installations it may be possible to just use a shortened cut down section of the original top hose.

Once all installed refill with some anti-corrosion coolant and then bleed the air.


The fan(s) can be run either directly by using an ignition fed relay or a thermostat of sorts.

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