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Need tips on coolant system flush and fill

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Exproblems, May 9, 2011.

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    1. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      Does anyone know the correct or best procedure to flush and fill the cooling system on a 2005 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L engine? Start to finish instructions would be great, I just want to get it right. I've checked around at this site and couldn't find any instructions for this procedure and my engine type. Also, besides removing and installing a new "thermostat", does anyone recommend the fail safe type of thermostat? Currently, I have no leaks and the hoses look okay or have any heating issues as far as getting heat into the vehicle, but the coolant appears to be original factory (pinkish red in color) with 84,480 miles on it and it's time for a change. Thanks to all who respond.
       
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    3. JoshMcMadMac

      JoshMcMadMac Well-Known Member

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      Flushing is pretty simple. There is a drain valve on the bottom passenger side of the radiator. Open it up and you should get about 1½ gallons out of it. You have two choices from there: you can use a hose and do a "constant" flush of the system, or you can just add a gallon of water at a time as you remove coolant from under the radiator. This is done at the reservoir on the passenger side fender. Do this until only water is draining, then let the valve run dry. Close it up, and fill the reservoir to the fill line with coolant. Drive around a bit and top it off until it stops bleeding down.
      You can leave the thermostat alone.
       
    4. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Flushing is pretty simple. There is a drain valve on the bottom passenger side of the radiator. Open it up and you should get about 1½ gallons out of it. You have two choices from there: you can use a hose and do a "constant" flush of the system, or you can just add a gallon of water at a time as you remove coolant from under the radiator. This is done at the reservoir on the passenger side fender. Do this until only water is draining, then let the valve run dry. Close it up, and fill the reservoir to the fill line with coolant. Drive around a bit and top it off until it stops bleeding down.
      You can leave the thermostat alone>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Thanks for the info JoshMC but a couple of questions. When you say do a "constant flush" do you mean connect a T-valve into one of the heater hoses then connect up a garden hose to the T-valve and flush out the cooling system while the hose is turned on, petcock is open and draining and the truck is running? I would like to make sure that all the old coolant is removed from the entire system so if this is the best way to do this, this is the way I would want to do it. Also, how do you know if all the clear water is removed from all the lines after flushing, so you know how much water and antifreeze to mix together when you go to refill the system at the resevoir?
      When you start to refill the system at the resevoir, will the radiator fill up from there since there is no radiator fill cap? At what point after refilling has started do you start the engine and turn on the heater to high, so you can top it off from there? This is the first vehicle I've owned that has no radiator fill cap, kind of new to me. Thanks again for the help.
       
    5. jrford

      jrford Well-Known Member

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      Before you drain it, make sure you can refill it. . .

      i have done two methods, early on it was drain the Rad through the drain valve, took forever, never got it all out.

      Option two, pull the bottom hose and get ready for the flood. Just use a big pan, use cardboard to cover the driveway works for me. Quick too.

      Re-fill might be a little more difficult as there is no traditional Fill neck on the Radiator. In looking the only thing i can think of is to pull that top hose and fill the Rad through it, maybe someone else has a better idea? Or use a heater hose. Just be sure to get most of the air out, burp it.

      Or take it in and pay someone to do it. . .they will take care of the used stuff, they get to take the shower. . .or they might have some machine which they hook up that can do it without a mess. . .just tossing some ideas out there.
       
    6. jrford

      jrford Well-Known Member

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      few miutes behind on your post. . . .I think the hose method should work, for Drain/Fill. In fact when i've had to do water pumps, that's what i do.

      When refilling, i'd put in 50/50 to be sure, run it for a while then test it. Pull and flush the overflow bottle, make sure the lines are clear.
      Many years ago i've done the flush T-adapter method, but you get so much waste, there is no where to put it. . shop should recycle.
       
    7. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      Thanks for the ideas JRFord,


      >>>>>>>>>>>>>Option two, pull the bottom hose and get ready for the flood. Just use a big pan, use cardboard to cover the driveway works for me. Quick too.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      I did it this way years ago on an older model vehicle, but I was told the engine block still holds more fluid and doesn't empty just by pulling off the lower rad hose.

      >>>>>>>> In looking the only thing i can think of is to pull that top hose and fill the Rad through it, maybe someone else has a better idea?>>>>>>>>>

      Thats an idea to get the radiator full, but isn't the radiator suppose to fill up from the bottom-up through the hose that connects from the resevoir to the radiator anyhow?

      >>>>>Or use a heater hose. Just be sure to get most of the air out, burp it.>>

      Fill it thru one of the heater hoses using a T-adapter? I wouldn't know how to pump the new antifreeze mix into the hose to fill it. How do you "Burp" the air out of the cooling system on these vehicles?

      >>>>Or take it in and pay someone to do it. >>>>>>>. .

      It's looking like I may wind up doing that. I called one of those oil change places 2 months ago and they gave me a cooling system flush price of $109.00 +tax. I was hoping to do it myself and save some money. Thanks again!
       
    8. jrford

      jrford Well-Known Member

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      sorry for the long reply but mine is at 90k and i'd like to change it before it reaches 100k. I've swapped many water pumps in older trucks but i've yet to do this one. But i've been researching looking into it, so its speculative.
      I think the quickie lubs dealer etc, use a vacuum method that eliminates the need for a Radiator fill neck, coolant in the block, burping etc. Coolant is like $20 alone figure $80 to use their machine. One quote of interest was:
      "WILL OVERHEAT if the coolant refill procedures are not followed and all of the air is removed. For that reason, the dealer will use the vacuum refilling method (saves time)."
      From what i've read there 'might' be a block drain. Another option was to refill with water and run it for a few, then drain it again.
      if you remove the top hose t-stat side the fluid should fill the radiator and through the bottom hose it should fill the engine from the bottom up;
      In the past i've removed the temp sensor to provide a way for the air bubble to escape. When coolant started to flow out, i was reasonably sure most of the air was out and normal heat/cool cycles would do the rest. In searching specifically for the 4.6L some mustang forums said on the Cross Over pipe there is a plug which you can remove; the cross over should be a connector between the left/right cylinder heads that lead to the t-stat (need to check). Taking off one of the heater hose might do the same thing. If i do do it myself i'll try and keep track of how much comes out and how much goes in. . . .should give me an idea of how much is left in the block and how air might be in the system.

      some reading matl. . .http://www.f150online.com/forums/v8-engines/7213-4-6l-coolant-change-flush.html
      http://www.fordf150.net/howto/changecoolant.php
      http://mustangforums.com/forum/4-6l...587294-coolant-what-colour-how-to-change.html
      http://reischeperformance.com/refill.html

      good luck and if you find any good info let us know. . ..
       
    9. JoshMcMadMac

      JoshMcMadMac Well-Known Member

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      Wow, you guys are making it pretty complicated. If you wish to keep it simple, do this:

      1. Open petcock. Allow it to drain completely, ~1½ gallons.
      2. Close petcock.
      3. Fill reservoir with water as full as possible.
      4. Repeat steps 1-3 at least four times, until drained fluid is only water.
      5. Once only water is in the system, repeat step 1 and 2.
      6. Fill the reservoir with 100% coolant to the fill line.
      7. Drive the vehicle up to temperature and at varying RPM, running the heater.
      8. Top off reservoir with 100% coolant (not while the engine is hot!).
      9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until the level in the reservoir stops dropping.

      This should get you to ~40% mixture on the coolant, which should be perfect. Obviously you could make the first half of the process quicker by leaving the petcock open and supplying water constantly to the reservoir.
       
    10. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      You might also premix the new coolant with water before refilling to get the right ratio
       
    11. JoshMcMadMac

      JoshMcMadMac Well-Known Member

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      You would waste quite a bit trying to determine when all of the water was out of the system, or worse yet as it would dilute with the freshly added coolant complicating matters.
       
    12. Ronin8002

      Ronin8002 Well-Known Member

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      Ah true. Well I will definitely use your method when it's time to flush mine :thumbsup:
       
    13. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>[I think the quickie lubs dealer etc, use a vacuum method that eliminates the need for a Radiator fill neck, coolant in the block, burping etc. Coolant is like $20 alone figure $80 to use their machine. One quote of interest was:
      "WILL OVERHEAT if the coolant refill procedures are not followed and all of the air is removed. For that reason, the dealer will use the vacuum refilling method (saves time)." >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Thanks a lot "JrFord" for the detailed reply, I appreciate it. It appears I'll be taking my Ex into an oil change place and let them do the cooling system flush and fill. I hate spending the money on something that use to be easy to do with the older model vehicles I am use to, but with this vehicle and type of cap-less radiators they use, it's not as easy to do as it once was. I don't know much about these newer computerized engines either. I liked the cars from the 70's and 80's, they were much simpler and easier to work on and I was a lot younger and flexible back then to crawl under them. Thanks again for all the info and help.
       
    14. jrford

      jrford Well-Known Member

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      yea, i know what you mean. Long gone are the days of Adj. Carbs, Points, timing etc. . .easy back then, you could also see the too engine, lol. . .
       
    15. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      >>>>>>>>>[JoshMcMadMac;]>>>>>>>>>>>Wow, you guys are making it pretty complicated. >>>>>>>>>>>

      Thanks Josh for the reply. Your instructions on flushing and filling the cooling system I think I can handle, but, see questions below:

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>If you wish to keep it simple, do this:

      1. Open petcock. Allow it to drain completely, ~1½ gallons.
      2. Close petcock.
      3. Fill reservoir with water as full as possible.
      4. Repeat steps 1-3 at least four times, until drained fluid is only water.
      5. Once only water is in the system, repeat step 1 and 2.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      I'm good steps 1 thru 5 other than do you run the vehicles engine while you are flushing the system out so as to circulate all of the old antifreeze thru the radiator and out the petcock? Will running the engine during the flushing out process with just plain water in the system damage the water pump? I still have the factory coolant in my system and the repair manual says not to mix the factory coolant with the after market brands of antifreeze. I want to make sure I get all of the factory coolant out of the system. Do you also need to jack up or tilt the vehicle to aid in draining the system? I saw something about that in here.


      >>>>>>>6. Fill the reservoir with 100% coolant to the fill line.>>>>>>

      Why would I add pure 100% antifreeze (not mixed yet) to the system when I don't know how much plain water is still left inside the rest of the system, knowing the radiator and overflow resevoir are currently empty having just drained them out on step 5? How will I know when I have the right mixture in the system, at least a 50/50 mix or better is what I need living in the Buffalo, NY area. If I lose 1 1/2 gallons of water out of the radiator and resevoir after the old coolant has been flushed out in step 5, that leaves me with approx: 2.8 gallons of water still inside the engine block, heater core, lines etc. My system holds 16.3 quarts(no auxillary climate controls) or 4.3 gallons of fluid. If it takes only 1 1/2 gallons of 100% antifreeze to top off the system with the 2.8 gallons of water still left in the system, I would be under the 50/50 mix ratio I am looking for. I guess I'll have to measure how much comes out after I start draining the clear water from the system in step 5.

      >>>>>>>>>7. Drive the vehicle up to temperature and at varying RPM, running the heater.
      8. Top off reservoir with 100% coolant (not while the engine is hot!).
      9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until the level in the reservoir stops dropping.>>>>>>>>

      I fully understand these steps, good thru here.

      >>>>>>>>This should get you to ~40% mixture on the coolant, which should be perfect. >>>>>>>>>>>>

      -40 Below zero protection is fine with me, where I want to be.

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>Obviously you could make the first half of the process quicker by leaving the petcock open and supplying water constantly to the reservoir.>>>>>>>>>>>

      Do you run the engine while you are supplying fresh water to the resevoir and draining the system through the open petcock? Can you leave the resevoir fill cap off during this process? This way seems faster. Do you need to have the heater on when you do this or leave it off? What about "burping the system" after refill like I've been hearing about in here? Will the burping take care of itself by driving it after the initial refill process? Any additives recommended other than the antifreeze? Thanks for the tips Josh!
       
      Last edited: May 11, 2011
    16. Saik

      Saik Active Member

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      How many gallons of Motorcraft® Premium Gold Engine Coolant do I need for a V6 2004 Ford Explorer?
       
    17. therover1991

      therover1991 Active Member

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      just buy two bottles and mix with water, should get you to the capacity. I dont recall how many gallons are in each bottle.
       
    18. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Huh? ;)

      I've used the Zerex G-05 Gold coolant for years, meets Ford's spec and cheaper.
      Two gallons of unmixed coolant will make 16 quarts, more than enough for the 4.0
       
    19. therover1991

      therover1991 Active Member

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      I dont remember how many gallons were in each bottle I bought from ford, but I got two of them. Then mix those two with water, and you should have enough to fill the coolant to capacity.
       
    20. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Coolant is always sold in one gallon containers, I've never seen any other size.
      I'm sure it's also available in 55 gallon drums, for business or dealers. Cheers.
       
    21. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      >>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Make that "distilled water" when you go to mix full strength anitfreeze and water together. A 50/50 mix is generally the norm.

      >>>>>>>>>>> I dont recall how many gallons are in each bottle. >>>>>>>>>>>

      Antifreeze is sold in 1 gallon size bottles, so that would be 1 gallon per bottle. ;) The entire system holds around over 16.3 quarts/ which = 4 gallons plus, give or take depending on if you have rear heat or not. Rear heat models hold a little more coolant, (18.2 quarts)
       
    22. 03Explo20

      03Explo20 Active Member

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      Now if you do the multiple distilled water flushes until the water comes out clear, would you just add in full strength coolant instead of a 50/50 mix being the block is still filled with all water??

      That's my plan. Just add straight coolant in to the degas bottle until the system is full. I'm thinking the radiator solely on its own probably holds about as much fluid as the block does.
       

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