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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

After taking care of the brake bleed myself not too long ago, and finding it completely easy...I'm now taking a look at performing an honest to goodness "radiator flush" on my 4 1/2 year old vehicle that is almost on 50K miles. Here is the outline in my head of what I want to do in the exact steps. Please let me know your thoughts, if you'd do something different, if I missed something, or even if you think something is overkill.


1) Pre flush. 2 days prior to actual procedure, dump a bottle of this in my radiator overlfow tank.Amazon.com: Genuine Ford Fluid VC-1 Premium Cooling System Flush - 22 oz.: Automotive

2) Initial Drain. Put the car up on lift or on stands, remove belly pan (for less splashing), attach rubber hose to petcock valve (again, for less splashing), and open the petcock, draining all the coolant into a container below. Pop open the coolant overflow cap for faster drainage. Also detach lower radiator hose (why it also helps to have belly pan off). Drain. Tighten petcock, and reattach hose when everything looks to be out.

3) Rinse out. Maybe someone can explain to me why, but everyone is telling me that I need to use this kit to attach to the coolant overflow tank in order to fill and burp the system. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I40ZQWE/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?smid=A1L7F5DL4H71TK&psc=1 I mean it looks easy, but I'm not sure why a regular funnel wouldn't work either? 🤷‍♂️ So anyway, I figure I need to fill up the system with 9 1/2 quarts of distilled water, and possibly another bottle of flush. Again, I do this from loading from the coolant overlflow tank, little by little, watching, it slowly go down, until it maybe can't no more. At this point, I start the car, and the water pump should then do the sucking for me. I'll go ahead and finish the entire 9 1/2 quarts of water + flush ... run the car for about 15 minutes, with heater open, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. Once I feel the water + flush has had a chance to cycle all the way through the system, including the radiator, I shut the car off.

4) Second Drain. Make sure the car has cooled down some, and then release the petcock + lower radiator hose again. Let everything drain out again. Tighten petcock, reattach hose.

5) Coolant Fill. To be sure, its 9 1/2 quarts of 50/50, right? Not 9 1/2 quarts of concentrate, right? So fill with 9 /12 quarts correctly into the Overflow Tank, again, running the engine, and heater, but this time, running for maybe upwards of 20-30 minutes, allowing the coolant to burp out of the radiator tank.

6) If no more bubbles, you are done.
 

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Ford did it for me last summer when they replaced my head gasket, so...
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Ford did it for me last summer when they replaced my head gasket, so...
Yeah, I feel mine has gotten pretty sludgy at this point, and I don't wanna pay 2 bills for just a coolant swap. I really do wanna flush/cleaning type service, and I don't trust the dealerships or any of the service centers to do it to my liking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would consider doing a second rinse before doing the final fill.
I'm okay to do it as many times as necessary, or as time allows, as long as the premise of running my engine on 9.5 quarts of distilled water, if only for a short amount of time, is sound. I've never actually never tried this, but this is the type of "flushing/rinsing" step that I think would be missing if I simply went to a service center. But yeah, I'm worried about overheating the engine running on distilled water only. Should it not be a bid deal, you think?
 

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I'm okay to do it as many times as necessary, or as time allows, as long as the premise of running my engine on 9.5 quarts of distilled water, if only for a short amount of time, is sound. I've never actually never tried this, but this is the type of "flushing/rinsing" step that I think would be missing if I simply went to a service center. But yeah, I'm worried about overheating the engine running on distilled water only. Should it not be a bid deal, you think?
Pure water is a better heat transfer medium than water/antifreeze mix. Also, the boiling point of water increases by 3°F for every psi increase in pressure, so with a 15 psi cap you have raised the boiling point to 257°F. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water raises the boiling to 223°F so the boiling point is raised to 268°F with a 15 psi cap.

You have no more danger of overheating with pure water than you do with antifreeze. Racing sanctioning bodies do not allow antifreeze in the cooling system because of the danger of it being spilled onto the track surface. You do want antifreeze for the corrosion inhibitors and cold weather operation long term but pure water is a better coolant.

Also, after flushing use pure antifreeze put in 5 quarts then top off with distilled water. This way if there is any water left in the block from the flushing you will still have the correct 50/50 mix.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Pure water is a better heat transfer medium than water/antifreeze mix. Also, the boiling point of water increases by 3°F for every psi increase in pressure, so with a 15 psi cap you have raised the boiling point to 257°F. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water raises the boiling to 223°F so the boiling point is raised to 268°F with a 15 psi cap.

You have no more danger of overheating with pure water than you do with antifreeze. Racing sanctioning bodies do not allow antifreeze in the cooling system because of the danger of it being spilled onto the track surface. You do want antifreeze for the corrosion inhibitors and cold weather operation long term but pure water is a better coolant.

Also, after flushing use pure antifreeze put in 5 quarts then top off with distilled water. This way if there is any water left in the block from the flushing you will still have the correct 50/50 mix.

Dave
Thanks Dave. I had been planing on using the 50/50 and keeping strict count of how much fluid I was putting in so that it was exactly 9.5 quarts but I see your reasoning. I guess as long as you ensure that the air is fully bled, you'll be just as accurate by filling it to the appropriate level in the degas bottle. But why 5 quarts? Just to keep it an easy read on the container when you pour, or do you think its actually slightly better to run above 50/50 ratio?

I've also seen videos where people run the car with the petcock open, to allow the water pump to help evacuate the engine block, but I've also seen a lot of comments in these same vids where other users say that doing that could screw up the seal on the water pump??

Also, one more follow up question if I may, do you recommend those "spill proof funnels"? Do they make burping the car any easier? Any tip you can give me on making sure I get all air pockets out of the hoses and out of the heater core? I've seen tricks like using those funnels, or raising the elevation of the degas bottle, or even jacking the car up in the front only.

Thanks again.
 

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Thanks Dave. I had been planing on using the 50/50 and keeping strict count of how much fluid I was putting in so that it was exactly 9.5 quarts but I see your reasoning. I guess as long as you ensure that the air is fully bled, you'll be just as accurate by filling it to the appropriate level in the degas bottle. But why 5 quarts? Just to keep it an easy read on the container when you pour, or do you think its actually slightly better to run above 50/50 ratio?

I've also seen videos where people run the car with the petcock open, to allow the water pump to help evacuate the engine block, but I've also seen a lot of comments in these same vids where other users say that doing that could screw up the seal on the water pump??

Also, one more follow up question if I may, do you recommend those "spill proof funnels"? Do they make burping the car any easier? Any tip you can give me on making sure I get all air pockets out of the hoses and out of the heater core? I've seen tricks like using those funnels, or raising the elevation of the degas bottle, or even jacking the car up in the front only.

Thanks again.
You are over thinking this whole project. Not sure what you mean by a "spill proof funnel" but just remove that plug in the pipe along side the head and refill until fluid comes out that port. Start the engine keep adding fluid as necessary until you see it moving past the port indicating the thermostat has opened, any trapped air will make its way to the port because it is the high point in the system. Put the plug back in and go for a drive and get the engine up to temperature. As long as you don't see any pecular behavior you are done.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure what you mean by a "spill proof funnel"
I linked it in the OP. Here: Spill Proof Funnel Do you think one of these connectors in this kit will work on that port pictured above? 🙏

Anybody know??
 

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Hi all.

After taking care of the brake bleed myself not too long ago, and finding it completely easy...I'm now taking a look at performing an honest to goodness "radiator flush" on my 4 1/2 year old vehicle that is almost on 50K miles. Here is the outline in my head of what I want to do in the exact steps. Please let me know your thoughts, if you'd do something different, if I missed something, or even if you think something is overkill.


1) Pre flush. 2 days prior to actual procedure, dump a bottle of this in my radiator overlfow tank.Amazon.com: Genuine Ford Fluid VC-1 Premium Cooling System Flush - 22 oz.: Automotive

2) Initial Drain. Put the car up on lift or on stands, remove belly pan (for less splashing), attach rubber hose to petcock valve (again, for less splashing), and open the petcock, draining all the coolant into a container below. Pop open the coolant overflow cap for faster drainage. Also detach lower radiator hose (why it also helps to have belly pan off). Drain. Tighten petcock, and reattach hose when everything looks to be out.

3) Rinse out. Maybe someone can explain to me why, but everyone is telling me that I need to use this kit to attach to the coolant overflow tank in order to fill and burp the system. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I40ZQWE/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?smid=A1L7F5DL4H71TK&psc=1 I mean it looks easy, but I'm not sure why a regular funnel wouldn't work either? 🤷‍♂️ So anyway, I figure I need to fill up the system with 9 1/2 quarts of distilled water, and possibly another bottle of flush. Again, I do this from loading from the coolant overlflow tank, little by little, watching, it slowly go down, until it maybe can't no more. At this point, I start the car, and the water pump should then do the sucking for me. I'll go ahead and finish the entire 9 1/2 quarts of water + flush ... run the car for about 15 minutes, with heater open, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. Once I feel the water + flush has had a chance to cycle all the way through the system, including the radiator, I shut the car off.

4) Second Drain. Make sure the car has cooled down some, and then release the petcock + lower radiator hose again. Let everything drain out again. Tighten petcock, reattach hose.

5) Coolant Fill. To be sure, its 9 1/2 quarts of 50/50, right? Not 9 1/2 quarts of concentrate, right? So fill with 9 /12 quarts correctly into the Overflow Tank, again, running the engine, and heater, but this time, running for maybe upwards of 20-30 minutes, allowing the coolant to burp out of the radiator tank.

6) If no more bubbles, you are done.
Here are a few of my thoughts. First off, I'd want to take a sample of the old coolant to see its condition. The Ford long life coolant is very good stuff and will last a long time. Its recommended replacement interval is 7 years or 50-60,000 miles. So, if the coolant isn't dirty or full of sediment, I'd skip the flushing chemical. It's probably not necessary. Secondly, you only need to rinse the cooling system out once. Just run tap water through the system until everything flows clear and you're done. Thirdly, use ONLY Motorcraft long life coolant. I believe it's the orange coolant (although it actually looks more pink than orange). Get the 50/50 pre-mixed, so you don't have to screw around with mixing. Additionally, that coolant funnel kit is an excellent idea. It looks like the kit has a threaded adapter that will fit the coolant bottle. I have two of these and use them on every coolant flush. They make the job so much easier. That plug on the metal coolant pipe is for the purpose of bleeding air out of the system after a drain and refill, so open it up, as you are filling the system to bleed air out. You should be good-to-go after that.
 
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I don't recommend using the premixed coolant after a flush, always use the concentrate. The reason is its near impossible to get all the water that you used for flushing out of the block. If you refill with premix you will have a mix in the radiator that is less than 50/50.

Just pour in 1/2 the capacity of the cooling system with concentrate then fill the rest of the way with water, that will get you to 50/50. I always use distilled water because it does not have all the minerals that are in tap water that can collect and plug things up or cause corrosion over time.

Side benefit of concentrate is, a gallon costs the same as a gallon of pre-mix and makes twice the amount of mixed coolant.

Also, Motorcraft orange coolant is rebranded Prestone Dexcool, just like Motorcraft Oil Filters are rebranded Purolator or Mororcraft oil is rebranded Kendall. Any brand of Dexcool coolant is suitable to use. There is no reason to pay dealer prices for Motorcraft brand. FWIW, the Dexcool standard was developed by the coolant manufactuers to address corrosion issues with aluminum radiators, it was first adopted by GM but everyone pretty much specs Dexcool these days.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #17
First off, I'd want to take a sample of the old coolant to see its condition
I took out my overflow tank late last year to paint it. In doing so, I siphoned out a bunch of coolant from the tank. It wasn't "filthy" per say, but I would say it was "dirty" and had too much sediment for my liking. I had actually purchased a new overflow tank and painted it before hand so I could just stick it right in, and when I removed the old one, it was so caked with coolant stain that I couldn't remove, that I simply tossed it.

Just run tap water through the system until everything flows clear and you're done.
I'm worried about using tap water, and inadvertently leaving some in there somehow. South Florida is built on limestone, and hence the freshwater here is super "hard"....full of minerals. I don't mind spending a few bucks on distilled water just to avoid this worry.

Additionally, that coolant funnel kit is an excellent idea. It looks like the kit has a threaded adapter that will fit the coolant bottle. I have two of these and use them on every coolant flush. They make the job so much easier. That plug on the metal coolant pipe is for the purpose of bleeding air out of the system after a drain and refill, so open it up, as you are filling the system to bleed air out. You should be good-to-go after that.
Okay, so here's where I don't want to get in to much more trouble for "overthinking", but I'm sorry...I just really like to be clear on what I need to do. The last time I changed coolant, it was 20 years ago, and there was no degas bottle. The radiator had a fill cap, and that's exactly where you placed your funnel to fill. Once the radiator was filled up, the funnel would have some excess fluid on the top, where you would continue to fill, and watch for bubbles as you bled. Job done. However, with the degas bottle, it had seemed counter intuitive to me to fill here and fill it up all the way to the top so I could see the bubbles, since the degas bottle is not supposed to be completely full when done. So now, its dawning on me that the bubbles should be watched at the bleed valve, and the only thing I need to make sure of in the degas bottle is that I keep filling it, as its sucked in, so that air never enters the hose underneath...correct?

Further to this "bleed plug"....so essentially, this is something that I don't unscrew "all the way" (or do I unscrew it all the way?). Essentially, I'm going to fill and run the car with this loosened and I should maybe see bubbles here, and continue filling until there's an actual flow of "coolant" coming out of it?

I don't recommend using the premixed coolant after a flush, always use the concentrate. The reason is its near impossible to get all the water that you used for flushing out of the block. If you refill with premix you will have a mix in the radiator that is less than 50/50.
This makes sense to me Dave. One of the things that I was curious about, was how to ensure I wasn't diluting the coolant when I flushed, because I was leaving water in the block.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Also, Motorcraft orange coolant is rebranded Prestone Dexcool, just like Motorcraft Oil Filters are rebranded Purolator or Mororcraft oil is rebranded Kendall. Any brand of Dexcool coolant is suitable to use. There is no reason to pay dealer prices for Motorcraft brand. FWIW, the Dexcool standard was developed by the coolant manufactuers to address corrosion issues with aluminum radiators, it was first adopted by GM but everyone pretty much specs Dexcool these days.
You're absolutely right. I've been looking around. This Dexcool is much more available AND much more cheaper than the motorcraft vc3db. Dave, you're absolutely positive that this is safe for our cars?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I am in no danger of freezing conditions in Miami. On the contrary, I could use the extra cooling capacity of distilled water as described to me by Dave, and after doing some research it seems like 40% antifreeze to 60% distilled water ratio would still be acceptable in a daily driver. However, I don't want to prematurely shorten my engine life because I don't have enough "corrosion inhibitors" in the coolant. This liquid mixture seems like it will be in my car for at least a couple years after I do this, so I want to be sure. Can anyone who has been following this thread concur or offer their two cents? Thank you.
 
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