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Please Check my Coolant Flush Checklist
Old 08-17-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Please Check my Coolant Flush Checklist

I'm about to flush the echo's coolant. Is there anything missing in this checklist?

My Checklist

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I'm about to flush the echo's coolant. Is there anything missing in this checklist?

My Checklist

Thanks!
Somethings are easier to go to Pep Boys for - join their email list for coupon discounts on services. I change my oil - synthetic -, spark plugs, wires, timing belt and some other easy things to do. I have a truck so it is easy. But for coolant, brake fluid and some other items it is easier to have a shop do it. I think I paid under $40 for Pep Boys to do a drain and fill of my coolant.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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I prefer that someone who barely/didn't graduate 8th grade NOT touch any of my vehicles.

T-Al, that's some checklist! That uses the dilution solution & repeat method of changing A/F. If you do that, I would correct one obvious problem in the checklist... when adding the A/F at the end, FIRST add the total quantity of Full-Strength A/F that would be required for a 50% total mixture when done. Then, and only then, add water to reach the total fill.

The reason is that checklist's fill method does not take into account the quantity of water that will stay in the engine block when the radiator drain stops draining. You want to get all of the A/F needed in first, then finish with water.

I prefer to unscrew an engine blocks drain plug(s) to totally drain the system. Usually on a V-engine, one drain plug is easy to get to, the other may be behind the starter and I leave that one alone. But even one plug out drains a lot of the block's water jacket.
A 4 cylinder engine has only one drain plug. If it is reasonable to get to it, I would pull it if I was doing it (besides the radiator drain). Then I would do one water fill and run cycle, with the plug back in, then let it cool and drain with plug out again. Then do the final fill with full-strength A/F first, followed by water to complete.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #4
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I agree w/ Telly's suggestion as to the fill quantities. I don't remember how much liquid the system retains when drained as you propose, but it was significant in my case and it was mostly water.

In Drain 3, you talk about closing cap, running engine, and then checking
coolant level. How/where are you checking level.....reservoir? or radiator?
Possibly you might need a wait till cool step there?

The keep on checking step at the end could be very important.....I don't know if it was just hurried work at the mechanic's place or system design but after our Camry was done, the reservoir got empty or very low several times after the engine cooled. I'm guessing there was a large air bubble that had to be digested before true level was obtained.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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Thanks, Telly, I'll do it that way.

Quote:
How/where are you checking level.....reservoir?
Yes, reservoir. I'll add a cooling step.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks, Telly, I'll do it that way.



Yes, reservoir. I'll add a cooling step.
Just run the engine with the reservoir cap open. As the water circulates, it will reach an equilibrium level in the reservoir tank. Add to the proper line at this point.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:34 PM   #7
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I'm about to flush the echo's coolant. Is there anything missing in this checklist?
Checklists are good, but I have a question: "Why?"

Navy used to do certain maintenance items at certain periodicities because the manufacturer determined that it was "good engineering practice". However it's expensive ("good for the engineer's practice"), and frequently the collateral damage (time, labor, difficulty getting things apart/together, disruption to operations, realignment/recalibration) was more costly than the potential pitfalls of not doing the maintenance.

Later the Navy philosophy shifted to "performance monitoring". Run the equipment, do a bunch of testing, and decide whether something needs maintenance. Usually the decision was to keep on monitoring.

In the case of flushing coolant, draining the fluid introduces air to a system which is supposed to contain fluid. At some point you're going to have to get the air back out. Until the air is all gone you're risking the effects of accelerated corrosion and acidification of the system's piping & debris. You're also disturbing whatever is now harmlessly sitting at the bottom of a piping loop, risking the possibility of breaking it free to go jam another run of piping or grind into the water pump's bearings/seals. And last but not least, you're loosening bolts & drains that (so far) aren't leaking.

Instead of doing maintenance by the calendar or the odometer, what about just keeping the radiator's expansion tank topped off with antifreeze? Or sending a coolant sample for lab analysis, and then doing a feed&bleed (instead of adding air bubbles) as necessary to reduce the concentration of whatever's out of spec?

If deferring maintenance just doesn't feel right, then at least do the maintenance the way the manufacturer intended it to be done: pay an auto mechanic to do it so that that you can help them support their family.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:40 PM   #8
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If deferring maintenance just doesn't feel right, then at least do the maintenance the way the manufacturer intended it to be done: pay an auto mechanic to do it so that that you can help them support their family make their boat payments.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Later the Navy philosophy shifted to "performance monitoring". Run the equipment, do a bunch of testing, and decide whether something needs maintenance. Usually the decision was to keep on monitoring.
My previous daily driver was a 1992 Toyota 4wd truck -- had it for 16 years and 252,000 miles. When I sold the truck in 2008, it had the same coolant as when I bought it. Never had any issues at all, so "monitoring" worked very well.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:31 PM   #10
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Why?
In this case, I did it because the mechanic noticed that the coolant needed changing (bad smell and something else). He would have charged $110. The coolant (from toyota) cost me $34. I'm not sure I've ever had it flushed (I'm at 167,000 now) -- at least not in the last 70,000 miles.

Definitely debatable as to whether the $76 (free lobster dinner, as CFB used to say) is worth the chance of making a mistake. But from my evaluation it looked pretty easy, and so far (I'm in the middle of it now), it has gone perfectly.

It's a question of where to draw the line. I wouldn't pay a mechanic to change my wiper blades, and I wouldn't try to replace a wheel bearing myself, but in between there are a very few tasks that I can get some satisfaction out of doing myself.

Now that I'm an expert (ha ha), I'll have to decide whether to do it on the truck. I think I'll take your advice, Nords, and have the fluid evaluated first.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:55 PM   #11
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I'm about to flush the echo's coolant. Is there anything missing in this checklist?

My Checklist

Thanks!
Damm, You have a lot of problems and complication's in your life, don't you?
Please consider that I may, or my not, have consumed alcohol/many beers/ maybe that should have been written as meds, before you get ugly with your reply.
I guess I'm at my best, don't give a rats a$$ attitude at this point.
Your bed, your car, your bed, your mold, your friends/neighbors dog, what else is bothering you? Is your bedroom to small? Uh Oh I didn't push it to far did I? Do you still love me T Al?
All in fun. just kidding around!
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:08 PM   #12
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My previous daily driver was a 1992 Toyota 4wd truck -- had it for 16 years and 252,000 miles. When I sold the truck in 2008, it had the same coolant as when I bought it. Never had any issues at all, so "monitoring" worked very well.
How about transmission fluid? How often or did you change it? As to car maintenance, I write a check for someone else to do it.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:53 PM   #13
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How about transmission fluid? How often or did you change it? As to car maintenance, I write a check for someone else to do it.
It was a manual transmission, and I think I had it changed one time but cannot remember for sure. I have never changed or had the coolant changed in any vehicle I have owned though. The Toyota truck was a good one, mainly just oil and filter changes with one battery replacement at 9 yrs.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:40 AM   #14
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Somethings are easier to go to Pep Boys for - join their email list for coupon discounts on services. I change my oil - synthetic -, spark plugs, wires, timing belt and some other easy things to do. I have a truck so it is easy. But for coolant, brake fluid and some other items it is easier to have a shop do it. I think I paid under $40 for Pep Boys to do a drain and fill of my coolant.
Dex, what kind of car is easy to change the timing belt? I know, in theory, it's easy, but in practice, it's often necessary to remove most of the stuff in the way (could even be a radiator but at least power steering pump, AC compressor, maybe alternator, etc.) just to get to the housing. At that point, I wouldn't know as I've never tried it.

I used to do a fair amount of my own maintenance, but not anymore. I hate paying $75 to $100/hr to do "simple" stuff, but sliding under a car barking knuckles on greasy bolts, hidden behind a myriad of belts, pulleys, and other "stuff" just isn't fun any more. I figure I stand a better chance of screwing something up than saving money. YMMV, obviously.
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:47 AM   #15
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I think I'll take your advice, Nords, and have the fluid evaluated first.
You don't need to send it to a lab for analysis, I know Prestone sold an antifreeze testing tool that looked like a bloated turkey baster. It would suck out some fluid and the gauge tells you what temperature level the fluid is good for. I still have 2 but they're at least 10+ years old. They probably sell these, or something like it at the auto stores, although I haven't checked in a long time since I have a couple.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:33 AM   #16
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You don't need to send it to a lab for analysis, I know Prestone sold an antifreeze testing tool that looked like a bloated turkey baster. It would suck out some fluid and the gauge tells you what temperature level the fluid is good for. I still have 2 but they're at least 10+ years old. They probably sell these, or something like it at the auto stores, although I haven't checked in a long time since I have a couple.
There are at least 3 different types. A small one which has different density plastic balls that float or sink inside it, the Prestone swinging float type, and most accurate, the large weighted glass float type. All of them are different manifestations of the hydrometer concept to measure the concentration of ethylene glycol antifreeze in water via specific gravity. I do not know if there are newer ones out for different antifreeze types, or if those newer types of antifreeze can even be measured that way.

Those are nice for checking strength of antifreeze. But they cannot tell one anything about the level of corrosion inhibitors left in the solution. Today's engine and cooling system designs have many dissimilar metals. Galvanic action can do a lot of damage. Even eat up the inside of rubber hoses, which is now the most-common reason for hose failure. To my knowledge, all cars and trucks of today have the A/C evaporator core inside the dash, closely coupled with the heater core. In many/most, to replace a leaking heater core means messing with the A/C to get at the core. Even years ago, having to pull a heater core was not a nice job, and today it is much worse.

I flush antifreeze about every 4 years. Anything I can do to lengthen the life of a heater core, as we tend to keep them a long long time. If someone buys a new car every 3 or 4 years, then they won't be concerned about something like this. But then, most people buying cars today really know nothing about them except for Nav systems and other toys, or reading reviews online by some dimwit. And then there are some who intertwine religion and too-frequent oil changes
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:50 AM   #17
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My understanding is that the coolant contains anti-corrosion inhibitors that degrade over time. In my case with both vehicles GM products they say change it every five years. I change it every three since I've read that pushing the limit invites sludge that blocks passages.

What I do is run it until it reaches operating temperature, shut it off, open the radiator valve and let the coolant drain. Then refill with water until the thermostat opens again, then open the drain again and run water from the hose into the open radiator at a rate that will match the drain rate, this part done with the engine idling. This is to get all the old stuff out that I can and it runs clear. Then for good measure I run another couple of gallons of distilled water through. We have a water softener and I don't want salt or minerals in there.

Then button up the bottom, refill with the anti-freeze (on the truck that's nine quarts of an 18-quart system) and then refill as much as it'll take with distilled water, always less than the remaining nine quarts because of the water that remains, and I'm done.

The whole thing takes less than an hour.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:47 AM   #18
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It went well, and was easier than changing the oil, although it takes longer.

I had to drain the reservoir with a siphon. If I'd left the radiator cap on, and the reservoir cap off, would it have drained without manual siphoning, or not because the pressure cap is sealed when it's cool? Perhaps if I just put my palm over it while it is draining it would drain out.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:16 PM   #19
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You must've been reading over my shoulder as I drafted my original response! My snark filter eventually kicked in before I posted it.

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Damm, You have a lot of problems and complication's in your life, don't you?
Those of us who've been around this board for a few years tend to consult each other on many of these questions. It's more an indication of mutual trust and respect than venting or a quest for dramatic resolution.

It also gives us a chance to share our skills, and some of us enjoy writing to amuse/entertain.

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It went well, and was easier than changing the oil, although it takes longer.
One thing I'd keep an eye on, and which is such an issue on a Prius that most DIY owners will bring in the pros, is venting the air out of the system. You may have to refill the overflow reservoir once or twice over the next few weeks.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:10 AM   #20
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Those of us who've been around this board for a few years tend to consult each other on many of these questions.
It also gives us a chance to share our skills, and some of us enjoy writing to amuse/entertain.
My post was meant to amuse and entertain.
I hope everyone knew I was just being sarcastic and having a little fun.
I did my best to make sure that was understood in my response.
But I realize it is impossible for you all to see the grin or smile on my face behind the scene's.
Sorry if I went to far.
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