Draining and refilling coolant system

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Gerry Atrix
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Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Gerry Atrix » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:36 pm

Evening All,

Decided as winter may happen sooner rather than later, to drain down, flush and refill coolant system (well it beats work =P~ ) as the weather wasn't too bad.
I was surprised how it all seemed to go okay, have renewed hoses, thermostat and housing and made a mess of the parking area, I think dark brown tarmac looks cool O:) .
Now according to the manual the system takes, with rear air, approx. 16 litres of coolant and distilled water, I have managed to get in, wait for it . . . . .
only 7 litres and my maths isn't that bad so I know there is something not quite right, as they say :withstupid: .
Would any who has nothing better to do try and explain to the idiot on the left - oh sorry that's me =; what I have done wrong, as I cannot figure out what to look for and obviously don't want any problems developing later in the year.

Thanx for any help.

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:36 pm

Once you fill the radiator, start the van and turn the heat to high temp and fan to high. As the coolant is pulled through the engine by the water pump, you just keep adding until the rad is full. Let it get to operating temp with the rad cap on and make sure the overflow is at max level. When it cools down, the coolant will pull back into the rad. Keep checking the level over a couple days.
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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Gerry Atrix » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:04 pm

Hi Lifted,

Thanx for the info. O:) , started topping up today,

now up to 10 litres and counting . . . . . easy when you know how,

Regards =;

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Gerry Atrix » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:26 am

Hi Guys,

Thanx to Lifted I am almost up to speed with the correct amount of coolant in the van, the only problem is I do not appear to have heat at the rear of the van, anyone know where to point me O:)

Thanx

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by timelessbeing » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:45 am

Most likely the valve isn't opening. The solenoid which controls the vacuum actuator burns out.

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:51 am

Yup, find the heater hoses going to the rear and you'll find that valve. Make sure the vac hose is connected. Maybe tap on it to see if it frees up.
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Gerry Atrix » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:01 pm

Hi Lifted - me again =;

Great thanx for the info. as this is a conversion van and i'm not that up to speed with the layout 8-[

could you please let me know exactly where the solenoid is located, also, is this the correct

replacement part: http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carco ... type,16375

Regards.

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by timelessbeing » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:18 pm

That's the one. You'll find it deep in the passenger side of the engine bay. You will see all the water lines coming together into sort of a control centre. It's a pain in the butt to reach. Here's a close-up of the solenoid in question.
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vacuum valve solenoid 2.JPG

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Gerry Atrix » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:54 am

Hi Timeless,

Thanx to you and Lifted for coming up trumps again, you're on my Christmas list \:D/

Regards.

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Wiley » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:20 pm

Same problem, so started the van hoping to get more coolant in. Well, nothing happened, the upper radiator hose got warm yesterday, not today. The van got up to 210 idling so I shut it back down. How long does it take for the thermostat to open normally? I have a new thermostat, and a new heater control valve both installed 4 days ago, before I started the van yesterday, so it seems they worked last night though I didnt pay great attention. I had a leak after my flush so took off the thermostat housing again to take a look, and tightened it back on which fixed the leak, but maybe messed something else up even though relatively easy job. How long should I run the engine for to check the hoses for warmth without damaging anything, it seems to me the thermo or vacuum is the problem, hopefully not the valve.

Will the vaccuum issue people have influence this? I think I lost my heat since working under the hood, though in socal I dont use it much, but I am sure it was there last week. Touched the two heater hoses on the passenger side and they are cold, upper radiator hose is cold. Not positive on what the vaccuum line is (but if its the terribly rotted rubber hose I think it is) it still has vaccuum pressure, just looks very crumbly and needs replacing, would love to do that after getting the van back running. If that is the vaccuum hose in question, it is not attached to anything, should it be?

Edit : I think loss of heat is normal think I read people just needed to burp system. I'm gonna try my old thermo and see what happens


Is the hose running vertically to the left of the oil stick down in front of the belt the hose in question??
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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by timelessbeing » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:13 pm

You won't damage anything unless your temp gauge goes into the red.

My van takes around 10 mins to get up to operating temp. Once this happens, the thermostat should open, you should feel the rad hose get warm, and the temp should stabilize. If the tstat is stuck open, the coolant will not reach operating temp. If it is stuck closed, the temp will continue to climb. I'm confused as to why your rad hose is cool, yet the water is at operating temp. Maybe you have some air in your system. If so, let it run a good long time and then top up the radiator.

I'm not 100% certain of the routing on a 2004, and you didn't mention if you have rear heat or A/C, but it generally works like this:

MAIN HEATER: The valve that opens the flow to the heater core is vacuum actuated. (This is the part in your "How do i reattach this thing?" post). The vacuum is controlled by the temp dial on your control panel. All the way cold turns it off, and any other position turns it on (there's no in between). You can test to see if the controls work by unplugging the hose at the valve and testing the vacuum with your finger.

REAR HEATER: This water valve is behind the main valve. It is vacuum controlled but with a little twist: The vacuum to it is controlled by another air valve which is controlled electrically by the switch on the dash panel.(see the pic a few posts up) Again, you can test vacuum with your finger, and the electrical potential with a multimeter or common 12V bulb. Sometimes it fails causing no water to flow, which should not affect the rest of the system. However, if it should happen to become stuck open, it could prolong coolant warm up time.

The "T" in your photo is the main junction between the vacuum source from the engine (the skinny hard plastic line), the vacuum tank, and the rest of the HVAC system. The vacuum tank is a hollow plastic shot-put size ball behind the passenger wheel well. Its job to retain a reservoir of vacuum so that you can use your controls when your engine manifold pressure rises (usually under heavy throttle). The vacuum in the tank is held by a one-way valve inside the "T". The next stop along the way should be the rear heater vacuum valve, and then through your firewall to your dash controls.

Unfortunately, I don't have schematic for your year, but hopefully this one is close enough.
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1998-2000 Vacuum routing.jpg

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Re: Draining and refilling coolant system

Post by Wiley » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:05 pm

Thanks, I guess I didnt give it long enough, hose it hot and I saw the coolant drop from the radiator fill when the thermostat popped open, now to get in all that coolant.
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