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Coolant Flush and Fill Procedure

182RG

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Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
878
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City, State
Winchester, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'11 XLT / '13 Touareg TDI
June marked 5 years of service on the 2011 Explorer, with 80K miles on the clock. It also means that it's time for a coolant flush and fill.

5 years or 100K miles has always been my personal service schedule for coolant under normal driving conditions. I am a believer in following the recommended service intervals from the manufacturer, except when it comes to the subject of 'Lifetime' fluids. I don't believe any automotive fluid is lifetime.

The 2011 MY uses the Ford 'Dark Green' coolant. Starting with the 2012 MY (July 2011), Ford switched to 'Orange' (essentially the same as DexCool). I'm not an OEM fluid guy, so I have my own preferences. I switched to Prestone Cor-Guard Concentrate, which is labeled as 'Any Make, Any Model'. For those who closely follow spec, Cor-Guard meets the Ford WSS-M97B55-A spec.

It's important to purchase the 'Concentrate' version, instead of the 50/50 premix, as the drain process doesn't evacuate all of the fluid from the system, which after the flush still contains a percentage of distilled water. Using the 50/50 premix in this procedure means that you will be over diluted with distilled water.

If you are changing fluid types, it is important to completely flush the system down to clear water as much as possible.

The Explorer coolant system capacity is 13.5 quarts.

Materials needed:

10 gallons of distilled water
3 gallons Prestone Cor-Guard Concentrate (or your choice)
Coolant tester
1 bottle Prestone Flush / Cleaner
Lift / Ramps

Tools needed:

Mity Vac or hand pump (to suction out the coolant reservoir)
3/4" wrench (to open the drain valve on the radiator)
Drain bucket and optional drain hose

Step 1

Warm up vehicle to operating temperature. Set front and rear heat controls to 'HI' to circulate coolant through the heater core(s). Turn off vehicle.

Step 2

Carefully open coolant reservoir and suction all the coolant out of the tank. (HOT). Using a 3/4" wrench, carefully open the radiator drain (located on the drivers side of the radiator right behind the air dam) and allow to complete drain into bucket (HOT). Close drain hand tight only.

Step 3

Fill coolant reservoir with the Flush / Cleaner, and distilled water. Start vehicle and continue to fill with distilled water to bring it up to the proper level. Re-install cap. The directions on the Flush / Cleaner specify circulating for a minimum of 10 minutes, or a maximum of 3 days depending on how dirty you feel the system is. I drove the vehicle for about 90 minutes running errands.

Step 4

Leave vehicle running. Carefully open coolant reservoir. (HOT). Carefully open the radiator drain and allow radiator to drain. (HOT). At the same time, continue to add distilled water to the coolant reservoir, not allowing the reservoir to run empty. If you need to empty the bucket, simply close the radiator drain hand tight, and resume the process when you've emptied the bucket.

Step 5

I continued the distilled water fill until the fluid draining into the bucket began to run clear. This took approximately 7 gallons. At this point, turn off the engine and continue to let the radiator drain. Re-vac the reservoir if necessary.

Step 6

Once drained, close the radiator drain hand tight. (HOT)

Draining the radiator and coolant reservoir leaves distilled water in the system (block, heater core(s), hoses). I estimated, based on what drained out, to be approx. 4 quarts. To make sure you are not over diluted, use the first gallon of coolant concentrate, unmixed with distilled water, to fill the coolant reservoir. This will mix with the existing distilled water in the system.

Step 7

Restart the engine, make sure that the heater controls are still on 'Hi' front and rear. Mix coolant concentrate and distilled water 50/50, and continue to add this mix to the coolant reservoir until topped to the proper level. If you are concerned about mix, you can continue to drain/add 50/50 mix until you are completely out of concentrate. I did for a few cycles and reserved a small amount in a clean, tight container for topping off purposes.

Step 8

Reinstall coolant reservoir cap, and clean off outside of reservoir. Gently snug the 3/4" fitting on the radiator drain a very small amount with your wrench. (HOT) DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. A little goes a long way.

Recheck level after driving the vehicle at operating temperature. Test the coolant to ensure that the mix is proper. Mine showed a freezing rating slightly better than the 50/50 mix rating on the Prestone specs.

Step 9

Dispose of old coolant properly, following manufacturers directions.
 




Sixonemale

Well-Known Member
Joined
October 2, 2010
Messages
683
Reaction score
76
Year, Model & Trim Level
2015 XLT Appearance Pkg
June marked 5 years of service on the 2011 Explorer, with 80K miles on the clock. It also means that it's time for a coolant flush and fill.

5 years or 100K miles has always been my personal service schedule for coolant under normal driving conditions. I am a believer in following the recommended service intervals from the manufacturer, except when it comes to the subject of 'Lifetime' fluids. I don't believe any automotive fluid is lifetime.

I assume that this is the first time you are changing the coolant. According to my 2015 maintenance schedule it does not need to be changed until 100,000 miles under normal driving conditions which I think is a very long time to go without changing the coolant, especially with this particular engine that has a water pump inside the engine block. I also would only use coolant that fit the specifications, in contrast to my 2002 Explorer, I used all purpose Prestone coolant and never had a problem with the external pump and sold it at 192,000 miles. On this vehicle and engine, I'm almost surprised the interval to change the engine coolant isn't somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 miles because of where the water pump is located and the damage it can cause, a seized engine, when it fails.
 




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