North American Turbocoupe Organization



Draining coolant
Rob H Offline
Member
#1
I had my heater core changed when I bought the car, and had a coolant leak from the upper rad hose and another spot at different times. So what I'm getting to is that by now, my coolant is mostly new. But fortunately(?) I noticed my lower rad hose is likely original, and looking not good at the end on the engine. 
But...I'm bored with social distancing/staying home. I wanted to do a coolant flush and clean, like a teenager with his first car, who wants to do many likely unneeded things to their Pontiac 6000(I'm referring to me lol) so I get to do a coolant flush/clean/change!
Anyways, I could not find a petcock on the rad. I might have, but if I did, it did not point down, and it was not at the lowest point. Again, Chilton and Haynes suck. They only mention that IF so equipped, to open the engine and rad petcocks IF SO EQUIPPED. Of course if you just don't know, not a lot of help.
So I drained the coolant by removing the lower rad hose.
Is there a better way to drain the coolant that would drain everything completely?
I drained every drop I could. Lowered the front end from the jack stands. Raised the back up a bit. Managed to get approximately 6.5 quarts out(a little over 6 litres)
I think I had air in the system. Because when I refilled with water and the Prestone flush stuff I was able to put about 2 extra quarts(2 litres) extra back in.
I'll just talk in metric now, but regardless of how I put almost 2 whole extra liters in, it's still short of the  9.5 litres the owners manual says the 2.3 takes.
So either I didn't completely drain, or there's more room in there. As I did it myself I can confirm that I squeezed the hoses and fed more water in as needed. Pretty sure its full.
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#2
Well, your never really going to get all of the coolant out, unless you have a drain petcock on the block, there will always be some left in it. All of the Ford radiators I have seen had the drain on the passenger side lower corner, it did not face down and was a simple petcock to loosen or close. You can also help get more out by putting the rear tires only on stands so that the fluid will travel to the disconnected rad hose and remove the rad cap to allow air to flow in as it drains. When I refill and allow the system to stabilize, I always put the front on ramps so that any air in the system will rise and burp out the open rad cap. Turn on full defrost to get coolant through the hoses, when I see less burps and bubbles coming out the open cap, I put it back on, and watch the temp gauge. You can usually see the thermostat open with the rad cap off as fluid levels will drop quickly, top it off and should be good.
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 3 Speed, slow and low
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ABird Offline
Junior Member
#3
(05-16-2020, 03:16 PM)Kuch Wrote: Well, your never really going to get all of the coolant out, unless you have a drain petcock on the block, there will always be some left in it. All of the Ford radiators I have seen had the drain on the passenger side lower corner, it did not face down and was a simple petcock to loosen or close. You can also help get more out by putting the rear tires only on stands so that the fluid will travel to the disconnected rad hose and remove the rad cap to allow air to flow in as it drains. When I refill and allow the system to stabilize, I always put the front on ramps so that any air in the system will rise and burp out the open rad cap. Turn on full defrost to get coolant through the hoses, when I see less burps and bubbles coming out the open cap, I put it back on, and watch the temp gauge. You can usually see the thermostat open with the rad cap off as fluid levels will drop quickly, top it off and should be good.
I just put in a new radiator and hoses.  Here is a picture of the petcock.  I wish I would have read Jeff's reply.  I heard lots of gurgling and did not know to undo the cap.  Also, did not have the top hose on all the way and saw whiffs of smoke, but kept driving.  My serpentine belt fell off twice.  It's an adventure driving with no power steering.
.docx   Petcock.docx (Size: 964.61 KB / Downloads: 21)
AES
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RC Martin Offline
Posting Freak
#4
Notice the heater core is slightly above or near level of the radiator cap. It will never fill all the way in a level surface, the warm up trick with the cap off is the way to go. Applying throttle that way draws down the level in the radiator too by forcing the water pump to push into the block.

Get a 195F Superstat or similar upgraded thermostat. Cheap good upgrade. Also get a good radiator cap. I am using the plastic 16lb Motorcraft one listed for the SVO, had issues with a stant lever vent staying partially engaged causing too weak of system pressure, eff that.
Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, Bright Canyon Red TuTone, Desert Tan Interior; 1 of 7 in this combo in 1984 according to Marti.  1 of 13,361 TCs in 84.
   Rebuilt, 3-Angle Valve Job, SYB37 "OE/Small" Slider Cam
   Full 3" Stinger Exhaust to Flowmaster 40, Gnari FMIC/Recirc/BPV, MBC @ 18psi, RF-E6 Manifold, Remote-Mount TFI, PC1 and Flowed 35# Injectors, Inline Walboro 255HP, Kirban AFPR
   Rebuilt Suspension -- KYB & Energy Suspension
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Rob H Offline
Member
#5
Thanks for the advice guys. I don't think I'll use the petcock, it looks weak, like it might break.
I'll be draining the prestone flush and water tomorrow. I'll see what I get out and in this time.
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#6
I use the Preestone Flush N Fill Kit, less than $10 at Walmart. No mess, no fuss. I don’t keep it connected all the time though. I replace the small curved hose that connects the water pump to the heater (looking at the engine from the front, it’s the one on the left of the water pump) with a curved hose that has the Flush N Fill tee attached. I remove the radiator cap, put the flushing spout in there so the water pours out during flushing. Next, I attach a garden hose to the flushing tee, turn on the water and start the fun! It’s a VERY effective way to backflush the entire cooling system. After a couple of minutes I’ll start the car and let it idle so I can also backflush the heater—turn the heat up all the way (although the Ford manual recommends against flushing it, I’m not leaving dirty worn-out coolant in there).

When the water runs clear it’s time to shut it down. Now it’s time to disconnect the hose from the tee and remove the spout from the radiator filler neck to start pouring in Coolant in there (as we call it here in the Southwest, since the temperature rarely hits freezing), i.e. Prestone. Whilst you are pouring it in, water is being displaced out the open tee fitting. When it’s all done I remove the Tee fitting hose (you’ll likely lose a very small amount of coolant), reconnect the original curved hose and that’s it. No burping, and all done. Top off the radiator for the lost coolant, if any.

Rob, check the inner surfaces of the engine, if you take the thermostat out for any reason (not required with the Flush and Fill method). Also examine the existing coolant for the presence of rust. Anti-freeze/coolant has a rust inhibitor, but if you don’t put enough in it might not work as well. Before I went back to the Flush N Fill system i removed my thermostat to backflush and was disturbed by the amount of rust in the engine block, which was a surprise because I thought I always kept enough Coolant in there. There’s this stuff called Evapo-Rust that uses the chemical process called Chelation to convert rust to an inert compound that you flush away. It’s completely harmless to anything that’s not iron—I spent literally hours searching reviews and information on it—and have been using it for years. I put a couple gallons in the engine and left it in there overnight, actually about 12 hours. Hooked up the Flush N Fill Kit, and you would not believe all the yellowish black stuff that came out—that was my converted rust. Afterwards I had nice rust-free engine innards.

Oh and one more thing: USE DISTILLED WATER. Calcium and minerals found in regular tap water just help clog up the tiny passages in the heater and radiator. Not bottled DRINKING water—which has minerals added for taste. DISTILLED water only!
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#7
Agree, the Prestone flushing T is the way to go. Been doing it that way for 40+ years on at least 30 different cars with great results.

I just use tap water, but here in SE WI we get our water from lake Michigan (i.e., mineral content near zero) and after the criptosporidum virus outbreak in 1993 that sickened 10's of thousands (including me) and killed around 100 the city and state spent 100++ million dollars to make our water the purest in the country.

If we had well water or questionable water here, I would certainly use distilled water.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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Rob H Offline
Member
#8
Alright guys thanks, a few more questions. I'm probably making a mountain out of a mole hill here. 
Smile
It rained all day, so figured I'd wait.
Jeff and anasazi4st, after hearing about this back flushing kit, it sounds like it is easier and more effective than how I was thinking about doing it. I was going to drain via the lower hose on the rad(I found if I pulled off slowly, it wouldn't just gush out). Then I guess the plan was to refill the system with the hose, run the car and heater. Drain, repeat until I feel like I have done all I can do. Then refill with prestone and distilled water.
If I understand correctly. This back flush method will safely let me hook a hose into a tee that would go between the water pump and the heater allowing me to skip all the draining and refilling etc. as it could all be done in one shot.
I don't like doing things half assed, but I might skip the removing thermostat and checking engine anasazi4st(you need an easier name to type) mainly because tomorrow is Victoria day, which is a holiday here that I understand may or may not be the birthday of some past queen of England. Usually celebrated by throngs of drunken teenagers packing into the beaches and campgrounds rain or shine. Or snow.
Anyways, most things will be closed, so I wouldn't be able to get a thermostat or gasket if I ended up needing one. Or anything else for that matter if I did discover rust.
I do however have in the system as we speak, mostly distilled water, but also Prestone flush & clean which, according to its description:
  • Designed to remove heavy rust and scale deposits in neglected cooling systems

  • A super-chelating additive effectively removes heavy deposits by drawing metal oxides into the solution
Which is part of what I was aiming for. So hopefully I'm covered there.

Now what I mainly want, is to drain as completely as possible, and also to flush out completely any crud that may have become dislodged. If flushing with tap water, I would again prefer to drain as completely as possible.
Jeff, we get our water out of lake Huron, pretty sure it's also pretty good. Distilled water is pretty cheap though.
So anyways I did go  and obtained a coolant service kit. Looks almost identical to the prestone one that they didn't have.
I will attach a picture below, in it I am pointing at what I think you are saying is the line to the heater. Just want to be sure, as there is another hose right by the upper rad hose.
The distance is so short, I think it would be hard to have this tee permanently installed. So I'll hook it up temporarily as anasazi4st has said.
When you say you "put the flushing spout in there so the water pours out during flushing" i am unsure what this means. If I understand correctly, hooking the hose to the tee with the rad cap open, the system will be back flushed heater, block and all with the water coming coming out the top of the rad.
I'm just not sure about the spout. Is that the part that looks like a small gas container spout? And why is it needed, and how does it attach? I just looked without opening the package, looks like it may just press into the top of the inner hole under the rad cap? Is it just a more preferable way of flushing away from the battery etc?
Also, if I wanted to, is there a reason that I couldn't remove the lower hose and let it gush out from there instead? I only ask as I wonder if there may be heavier particles that may not make it to the top of the rad. Figured gravity would help here.
 I have no experience doing this, so I'm sorry for having so many questions.
So when I get to the part where I remove the hose from the tee anasazi4st, you said said to begin pouring coolant(we mostly call it that here as well) into the rad where it will displace the water which will come out the tee. Will this displace all the tap water through the entire system leaving me with nothing but coolant/distilled mixture?
And FINALLY(yeah I know right??) Smile
Do you guys do 50/50 like the manual says? Obviously can't go wrong there. Just wondering if you guys have any thoughts on that subject.


Attached Files Image(s)
   
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Rob H Offline
Member
#9
Well after all that, I ended up just doing it the way I said I was thinking of doing it.
When I drained the water/cleaner this time, I got about 8 litres out, I didn't jack the back up or anything. I thought it was odd, the water that came out was as green as coolant and all that was in there i thought was about 7 litres of water and the prestone flush cleaner which is also clear.
I ended up completely filling with the hose, running the engine for a bit for the thermostat to open and to run the heater then draining. I did that two times, it was pretty much clear after the first one.
I didn't get to back flush. The hose for the heater inlet is not great, it wouldnt have made it through the procedure I don't think.
It was either wait until tomorrow and get new hose, or get it done.
I'm pretty confident it was a decent job. I also removed and cleaned out as best I could a lot of crud from the coolant reservoir.
When I drained for the last time, I did it with the back end raised about a foot, and I was parked down a small incline. Refilled most of the way, moved the car so the front was up the incline and raised it up as much as I could.
Managed to get 8.98 litres in there! To me it felt like there was still air in the upper hose. I'm sure I'll figure it out.
Thanks for the advice guys!
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#10
(05-17-2020, 11:46 PM)Rob H Wrote: Alright guys thanks, a few more questions. I'm probably making a mountain out of a mole hill here. 
Smile
It rained all day, so figured I'd wait.
Jeff and anasazi4st, after hearing about this back flushing kit, it sounds like it is easier and more effective than how I was thinking about doing it. I was going to drain via the lower hose on the rad(I found if I pulled off slowly, it wouldn't just gush out). Then I guess the plan was to refill the system with the hose, run the car and heater. Drain, repeat until I feel like I have done all I can do. Then refill with prestone and distilled water.
If I understand correctly. This back flush method will safely let me hook a hose into a tee that would go between the water pump and the heater allowing me to skip all the draining and refilling etc. as it could all be done in one shot.
I don't like doing things half assed, but I might skip the removing thermostat and checking engine anasazi4st(you need an easier name to type) mainly because tomorrow is Victoria day, which is a holiday here that I understand may or may not be the birthday of some past queen of England. Usually celebrated by throngs of drunken teenagers packing into the beaches and campgrounds rain or shine. Or snow.
Anyways, most things will be closed, so I wouldn't be able to get a thermostat or gasket if I ended up needing one. Or anything else for that matter if I did discover rust.
I do however have in the system as we speak, mostly distilled water, but also Prestone flush & clean which, according to its description:
  • Designed to remove heavy rust and scale deposits in neglected cooling systems

  • A super-chelating additive effectively removes heavy deposits by drawing metal oxides into the solution
Which is part of what I was aiming for. So hopefully I'm covered there.

Now what I mainly want, is to drain as completely as possible, and also to flush out completely any crud that may have become dislodged. If flushing with tap water, I would again prefer to drain as completely as possible.
Jeff, we get our water out of lake Huron, pretty sure it's also pretty good. Distilled water is pretty cheap though.
So anyways I did go  and obtained a coolant service kit. Looks almost identical to the prestone one that they didn't have.
I will attach a picture below, in it I am pointing at what I think you are saying is the line to the heater. Just want to be sure, as there is another hose right by the upper rad hose.
The distance is so short, I think it would be hard to have this tee permanently installed. So I'll hook it up temporarily as anasazi4st has said.
When you say you "put the flushing spout in there so the water pours out during flushing" i am unsure what this means. If I understand correctly, hooking the hose to the tee with the rad cap open, the system will be back flushed heater, block and all with the water coming coming out the top of the rad.
I'm just not sure about the spout. Is that the part that looks like a small gas container spout? And why is it needed, and how does it attach? I just looked without opening the package, looks like it may just press into the top of the inner hole under the rad cap? Is it just a more preferable way of flushing away from the battery etc?
Also, if I wanted to, is there a reason that I couldn't remove the lower hose and let it gush out from there instead? I only ask as I wonder if there may be heavier particles that may not make it to the top of the rad. Figured gravity would help here.
 I have no experience doing this, so I'm sorry for having so many questions.
So when I get to the part where I remove the hose from the tee anasazi4st, you said said to begin pouring coolant(we mostly call it that here as well) into the rad where it will displace the water which will come out the tee. Will this displace all the tap water through the entire system leaving me with nothing but coolant/distilled mixture?
And FINALLY(yeah I know right??) Smile
Do you guys do 50/50 like the manual says? Obviously can't go wrong there. Just wondering if you guys have any thoughts on that subject.

It’s not that hose, it’s the one next to it.

I remove the entire hose and replace it with a hose assembly that I have spliced the fill tee into. Essentially it’s a short piece of hose, the fill tee coupling, a longer piece of hose, a copper 90 degree fitting, another longer piece, another 90 degree fitting, and finally to a smaller piece of hose again.

Like this: [Image: Photo%20May%2020%2C%206%2026%2032%20PM.jpg?dl=0]

The reason for not keeping the tee fitting spliced into the shorter hose all the time is because there’s a lot of pressure on that tee fitting in that tiny space, with just a few inches of hose on either side. I tried that—it was April and not even that hot, but that plastic fitting blew apart into two pieces. (Fortunately I had some spare hose in my trunk.)

The section at the top with the tee fitting attaches to the fitting on the water pump; the other end goes on the now-empty pipe coming from the heater on the left side of the engine. When you're all done, after the engine is cold, just replace the small hose you took off earlier.

Rob: the reason you put the spout on the radiator outlet is because you really don’t want scalding hot water running down on your headlamp and parking lamp connectors. That will happen if you don’t put that in there—it directs it away.

The only reason I mentioned taking out the thermostat was to check for rust. If you don’t see any in the radiator there probably isn’t enough to worry about.

As for that Prestone stuff—they marketed a product that was in a cardboard can and had two parts, a top and bottom. I think it was called Heavy Duty Cooling System Flush. The bottom of the can had a white powder that was a heavy-duty cleaner, you put that in and ran the car for 15 minutes or so I think. It was so powerful that it could damage older weak parts—if your heater core had corrosion damage you might blow a hole right through it. After you drained that out and flushed for a bit, you put the stuff in from the top. It was a Neutralizer—the cleaner was so powerful that you had to run that Neutralizer for like 45 minutes, and flush everything out again.

Yeah—stay away from that stuff. As for what you have—there can’t be enough of the chelating chemicals to really convert much rust. My 1987 TC has a 10 gallon cooling system capacity—so I filled it with 2 gallon jugs and half of another one of the Evapo-rust, to make sure I got all the rust. What you got should be enough if you don’t have much or any rust.

And yes, most of the tap water should be cleared out after you’ve poured in the distilled. Put the coolant in first.

If you remove the lower hose you aren’t flushing the radiator out. So you’re not doing a thorough job.

You can take a shortcut now on flushing your engine properly, but sooner or later you’re going to need to do the job right. The Flush N Fill kit is the way to go.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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