Coolant Question

  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 02:16 PM
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My wife and I have a 2006 Saturn Vue 4-cylinder with just under 111,000 miles. I'm trying to do some of the regular maintenance myself and just got done draining the coolant. I have the Haynes manual which says to first open the radiator drain plug - which I did and not much came out. Then the manual says to remove the drain plug from the water pump - which I did and much more came out. However, I screwed the radiator plug back in before draining the water pump. Will that affect anything??
 
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:24 PM
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Well, I would have opened both drain plugs at the same time, and also removed the radiator cap as well - just my opinion though.
 
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:59 AM
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I've always just removed the lower radiator hose on my vehicles.
 
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:53 PM
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Hopefully, we'll hear back how it went ....
 
  #5  
Old 11-26-2012, 11:44 PM
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The act of draining coolant as you have found out from the variety of answers is pretty much what will work.
Out with the old and in with the new and how do you flush and using what method and do you have the tools?
On some cars the drain petcock in the radiator has become permanently non-movable. In others, it really is not important more or less because as Ruby Says, pulling the lower radiator hose off will drain things.
I've done that myself.
It works.
It helps to do something like removing the radiator cap too. Why? Because if you are using a small thing like the radiator drain pet **** it is a little bit like trying to drain a plastic bottle by making a pin hole in the bottom and leaving the cap on. Nothing comes out. Removing the radiator cap creates a vent to allow the coolant out.
Is it mandatory? Nope, it just helps some times.
It also helps to put the heater in full heat max temp. Why? Because depending on the car and how that works, it helps to both drain and fill the heater core along with the engine.
The Point? Again not mandatory but some cars it helps others it makes no difference depending on how those controls work.
How do you flush?
It ain't like a toilet and I do not have the tools to do a power flush and frankly speaking from experience? If it needs a flush the odds are it is not something that can be done at home and the radiator has to come out to do it correctly and also to take it some where. At least that has been the case for me.
There comes a time when you want to remove as much of the original coolant as you can. Why? Because it might be really cruddy and you want the cruddy stuff out. Again at home there is no for sure way to accomplish that.
There is always going to be residual coolant left in the block and probably in the heater. So what I do is remove water using what ever method works. Seal it back up and fill with fresh water from my hose at the house. Start the engine, let it warm up so the water circulates and when it has circulated a bit shut it down and remove the water or coolant again. Repeat this until you are satisfied that what ever is in there has been diluted so the residual left in is pretty much clean and call it good to go.

When the S model Saturn was originally made the factory coolant was formulated to do something and I don't remember what and don't care other than it was not compatible with the existing available anti-freeze.
If you used the anti-freeze at the time when mixed everything turned to brown sludge.
This was not good.
The anti-freeze world has changed and the jug should say somewhere on it:
Compatible with any color anti-freeze.
And it is.
But "flushing" all the old coolant out with the repeatable water cycle would be a good idea if you can.
The only other thing I make sure of is that some how it has become fashionable to sell pre-mixed coolant.
50% anti-freeze and 50% other wet stuff which is water.
I look for the jug which has 100% anti-freeze. It generally is about 10% more than the premixed stuff but it is 100% anti-freeze. The water I use comes from my bathroom faucet or the hose at the house.
If I have flushed the engine by cycling water through it, the residual in the engine and heater is water and I just top it off completely with a jug of anti-freeze. If you could measure the end result, by just filling the radiator up with pure anti-freeze that plus the residual will come out about 50% which is about optimum for protection from freezing and for cooling efficiency.
IF you are one who worry's about the characteristic of the water, that is your option. I don't, I haven't and I am not planning on starting to worry about it now.
I just make sure I purchase pure antifreeze, the jug says mixes with any colors and that when I am filling and burping the system that that the heater is on full.
Dealing with cooling is not rocket science and these things have worked for me over the years.
 
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Rubehayseed View Post
I've always just removed the lower radiator hose on my vehicles.
Thats the route I go. It also gives you a damn good idea how your hoses are doing.
 
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the input! By draining it the way I did (closing the radiator plug before draining the water pump) I still managed to drain out over a gallon of coolant. Next time I'll be sure to leave both open so that the vent is created and allows it to drain better.

Some of you mentioned removing the radiator hose...how do you go about doing that and is that done in place of something else? Like in place of draining from the radiator plug?
 
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:29 AM
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Yep, it's very simple, just loosen the hose clamp holding the lower hose to the radiator outlet pipe and start twisting it in order to loosen it. It'll come off with some gentle persuasion. Just don't try to muscle it off without trying a few twists first.
 
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by marcus.toft View Post
Thanks for the input! By draining it the way I did (closing the radiator plug before draining the water pump) I still managed to drain out over a gallon of coolant. Next time I'll be sure to leave both open so that the vent is created and allows it to drain better.

Some of you mentioned removing the radiator hose...how do you go about doing that and is that done in place of something else? Like in place of draining from the radiator plug?
The reason you would remove the lower radiator hose is generally because the drain on the radiator itself is frozen and will not move. Generally when that happens, trying to force it causes damage. To avoid the damage just remove the lower radiator hose from the radiator. It might be worthwhile to point out that in order to do that you may also have to jack up the car. Thus it would pay to purchase an inexpensive jack from an auto parts store or the auto section of a big box store. But if you are going to do your own maintenance that is a tool you will need over time.

As to draining the engine. Pretty much there will be a residual amount of coolant or water maintained in the engine and heating system in your car.
That gives two or three things to think about.

If you have reason to believe that you want to eliminate all of the coolant or water due to age or suspected contamination you will not be able to do so.

That is the reason you perform the draining with the heater on full to help drain the heater.

In addition, once you drain things the first time, replacing the hose or closing the valve and then filling things with water, and then redraining a couple of times will dilute what ever residual water or coolant is retained by the engine to something that approaches pure water.
You can then just simply top things off using anti-freeze once you have repeated the refill cycle using water a couple of times.
 
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:35 AM
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I pop the cap and pull the lower hose because it's fast and complete.
 
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