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Old 25-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
P6LTD351
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Default Advice needed - Coolant flush

Hi everyone,

I'm no mechanical expert when it comes to cars so where better than this forum to ask for some advice.

I got my car serviced at a well known dealer today and specified a coolant flush. When picking my car up, I was told that sometimes there can be 'air pockets' and for me to check my coolant level and if it has dropped, to top up with distilled water. Does this sound right? Wouldn't part of the coolant flush procedure involve bleeding out any air pockets? Sure enough, I just went out to check my reservoir and there's hardly any coolant in there. To tell you the truth, the reservoir doesn't look any different to before today's coolant flush.

Should I top it up with distilled water?
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Old 25-06-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

I'm no mechanic either but I had a coolant flush last year and there was definitely no 'topping up' required the next day. That being said, if they didn't run the heater when filling up the car, I'm fairly sure that would explain the empty reservoir. I would just add some water until the reservoir is full.
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Old 25-06-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_The_Win
I'm no mechanic either but I had a coolant flush last year and there was definitely no 'topping up' required the next day. That being said, if they didn't run the heater when filling up the car, I'm fairly sure that would explain the empty reservoir. I would just add some water until the reservoir is full.
Thanks mate. I had my other car done a few months ago and didn't need to top it up either. Different dealer. I just can't help thinking that maybe the proper coolant flush procedure wasn't followed. Doesn't it take a while to do a coolant flush? ie the car has to be running to reach temperature etc?
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Old 25-06-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

What we used to do at Honda was flush out the system, then cut up a 600ml coke bottle in half and open up the radiator cap and put the lid side down inside the hole. run the car and top it up as the level goes down/up bleeding out the air.
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Old 25-06-2011, 09:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Damo
What we used to do at Honda was flush out the system, then cut up a 600ml coke bottle in half and open up the radiator cap and put the lid side down inside the hole. run the car and top it up as the level goes down/up bleeding out the air.
Would it be reasonable to expect a Ford dealer to do the same? ie bleed out the air? It cost $195 for the coolant flush on top of the service itself.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb2monty
Would it be reasonable to expect a Ford dealer to do the same? ie bleed out the air? It cost $195 for the coolant flush on top of the service itself.
They should have unless they are rushing through all their jobs, keep an eye on the coolant level, if they did it correctly it won't move up and down because its been properly bled.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

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Originally Posted by Big Damo
They should have unless they are rushing through all their jobs, keep an eye on the coolant level, if they did it correctly it won't move up and down because its been properly bled.
Yeah that's what I think. Probably shouldn't have requested the coolant flush on a saturday when they close at 12pm. Is there an easy way to tell that they have actually done the coolant flush? There's practically nothing in the reservoir. The service sheet said that they did the coolant flush (drained and refilled cooling system, pressure tested and tested for leaks. I would assume if there was a leak, it would have been picked up?
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

The fact that the mechanic said to fill with distilled water indicates that he used coolant concentrate of the correct quantity, then topped up with distilled water. The reservoir normally gets stained by the old coolant so wont clean up unless the mechanic takes it out and cleans the inside of the reservoir by some means (can be difficult). Flushing wont clean it.

Accurate coolant level checks are done when cold, with the car on a level surface. When filling with the new coolant after a flush, some cars are notorious for air pockets remaining, others are not. Some have bleeder screws to enable air pockets to be bled out (eg. VL Commodore I6). The Falcons I have had haven't needed to be bled, but small pockets do normally remain so I check the next day or so and top up until it stabilised.

When the coolant warms up, the coolant level in the reservoir is normally higher because of expansion of the coolant as it heats up. So the mechanic cannot accurately recheck the level until its cooled down again (also that the reservoir pressure cap needs to be depressurized if hot). Sometimes it takes a few heat-cool cycles before the level stabilises.

Thats why a good mechanic makes the owner aware to check the level after the service.

Looking at eb2montys last post where it was mentioned that the service sheet stated the coolant was "drained and refilled", somehow I doubt they actually did a flush, only opened the draincock to drain out the old coolant, then refilled. Thats why I do that job myself so I know its done properly. I would query what they actually did.

Cheers.
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Last edited by Silver Ghia; 25-06-2011 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Ghia
The fact that the mechanic said to fill with distilled water indicates that he used coolant concentrate of the correct quantity, then topped up with distilled water. The reservoir normally gets stained by the old coolant so wont clean up unless the mechanic takes it out and cleans the inside of the reservoir by some means (can be difficult). Flushing wont clean it.

Accurate coolant level checks are done when cold, with the car on a level surface. When filling with the new coolant after a flush, some cars are notorious for air pockets remaining, others are not. Some have bleeder screws to enable air pockets to be bled out (eg. VL Commodore I6). The Fords I have had haven't needed to be bled, but small pockets do normally remain so I check the next day or so and top up until it stabilised.

When the coolant warms up, the coolant level in the reservoir is normally higher because of expansion of the coolant as it heats up. So the mechanic cannot accurately recheck the level until its cooled down again (also that the reservoir pressure cap needs to be depressurized if hot). Sometimes it takes a few heat-cool cycles before the level stabilises.

Thats why a good mechanic makes the owner aware to check the level after the service.

Looking at eb2montys last post where it was mentioned that the service sheet stated the coolant was "drained and refilled", somehow I doubt they actually did a flush, only opened the draincock the refilled. Thats why I do that job myself so I know its done properly.

Cheers.
Thanks for that info. I just want to make sure that I maintain my car properly. I don't drive my ef xr8 much as it's in the shed most of the time. I just thoughy it would be good maintenance to get a coolant flush as it hasn't had one for a while.

So do I need to do anything other than fill with distilled water and monitor the level? I just want to avoid any corrosion down the track.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

The last paragraph in my previous post, I have added to query what they have done with regard to a flush.

The concentrate quantity added was hopefully the correct amount so that when completely full (ie without air pockets and the reservoir at the correct level), the correct coolant % concentration will be there.

When there are coolant leaks or loss of coolant, is when the coolant will start to dilute too much, when distilled water only is added.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

$195?
geez
was it green? then it was fine.
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Ghia
The last paragraph in my previous post, I have added to query what they have done with regard to a flush.

The concentrate quantity added was hopefully the correct amount so that when completely full (ie without air pockets and the reservoir at the correct level), the correct coolant % concentration will be there.

When there are coolant leaks or loss of coolant, is when the coolant will start to dilute too much, when distilled water only is added.
Thanks for all that. So if I add distilled water and assuming that there is the right amount of concentrate, would the reservoir then fill with coloured coolant? On my service sheet it says FOR132 for the AntiFreeze - 1 litre. Would that be a green or yellow colour?
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Old 25-06-2011, 10:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Should be the right colour when its mixed with what's there. Seeing the reservoir internal surface is not clean, i suggest you have a look at the coolant down in the reservoir opening when cold, to see what colour it is, and whether its a clean colour, or a not so clean colour which may indicate an insufficient flush.
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Old 25-06-2011, 11:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Hardware
$195?
geez
was it green? then it was fine.

He he, I'm doing my best to at least keep Ford Service Centres in business.
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Old 25-06-2011, 11:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Ghia
Should be the right colour when its mixed with what's there. Seeing the reservoir internal surface is not clean, i suggest you have a look at the coolant down in the reservoir opening when cold, to see what colour it is, and whether its a clean colour, or a not so clean colour which may indicate an insufficient flush.
Had a look and it is a nice clean colour, just not to the level I expected as per between min and max in the reservoir. I'll top up with distilled water tomorrow and make sure it reaches the right level. Thanks
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Old 26-06-2011, 11:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Just to note, we never used distilled water for anything at our dealership.
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Old 26-06-2011, 11:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Damo
Just to note, we never used distilled water for anything at our dealership.
Me either, however here is a bit of info your coolant should be changed every 2 years it does go off if left unchanged and it crystalizes (sp) usually blocking up the cores in your radiator. Coolant like diff oil and tranny fluid are often overlooked on cars where almost everyone atleast on AFF change their engine oil every 5k weather its needed or not ....lol....
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Old 26-06-2011, 12:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Damo
Just to note, we never used distilled water for anything at our dealership.
What is added to the coolant concentrate if not distilled water? On my service sheet it says that 1 litre of coolant was used.
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Old 26-06-2011, 12:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by FPV+fteT3
Me either, however here is a bit of info your coolant should be changed every 2 years it does go off if left unchanged and it crystalizes (sp) usually blocking up the cores in your radiator. Coolant like diff oil and tranny fluid are often overlooked on cars where almost everyone atleast on AFF change their engine oil every 5k weather its needed or not ....lol....
Thanks for the info mate.
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Old 26-06-2011, 12:28 PM   #20
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb2monty
What is added to the coolant concentrate if not distilled water? On my service sheet it says that 1 litre of coolant was used.
Ordinary tap water, distilled water is used for battery top ups, ordinary water is used in radiators, remember its changed every 2 years roughly 30-40,000k's tap water is fine.
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Old 26-06-2011, 12:51 PM   #21
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

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Originally Posted by FPV+fteT3
Ordinary tap water, distilled water is used for battery top ups, ordinary water is used in radiators, remember its changed every 2 years roughly 30-40,000k's tap water is fine.
adelaide tap is murray river water....... mud....
i use and recomend distilled.....
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Old 26-06-2011, 01:06 PM   #22
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

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adelaide tap is murray river water....... mud....
i use and recomend distilled.....
Same here. For the tiny extra cost involved in using distilled / demineralised water you know the water has no trace elements and other impurities.

You can buy it from coles / woolies in the cleaning section for around $1 a litre.

When I got someone else to do a flush I left 5 litres with them to ensure it was used.
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Old 26-06-2011, 02:44 PM   #23
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

he may just be being cautious, theres no gaurantee to get every last ounce of air out, and different cars have different procedures for getting air out, one of my cars years ago you had to remove the heater hose at it highest end and let it bleed through, and you still had to check it the next day.
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Old 26-06-2011, 02:49 PM   #24
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

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Originally Posted by FPV+fteT3
Ordinary tap water, distilled water is used for battery top ups, ordinary water is used in radiators, remember its changed every 2 years roughly 30-40,000k's tap water is fine.
i would not use ordinary tap water in the cooling system, minerals , chlorine treatment circulating through alloy ........not for this little black duck.
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Old 26-06-2011, 07:20 PM   #25
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by eb2monty
What is added to the coolant concentrate if not distilled water? On my service sheet it says that 1 litre of coolant was used.
What does the manual specify for the coolant mix?

I suppose one concern is whether the flush was done or not, and if they couldnt bleed the system properly and the level to be down so quickly whether they did the actual flush properly.

In regards to distilled water, no harm in it other than the dent in your wallet. If the water looks clean and has no taste, then it will be fine in a motor. There will be far more rubbish polluting stuff from within the motor and radiator to be worried about trace elements in drinking water, though if you are topping it up with tap water every day those trace elements can build up, just like in your eleccy kettle etc.
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Old 27-06-2011, 03:02 PM   #26
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

one thing to remember, coolant has a limited life, specifically corrosion inhibitors(hence the use by date), from the moment you add coolant to the system inhibitors are fighting corrosion/chemical reaction, adding more impurities will shorten the life of the inhibitors and cooling system protection.
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Old 28-06-2011, 08:55 AM   #27
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

To clean a cooling system completely with no danger of harming anything see the link below to Liquid Intelligence 115 Pty Ltd (high temp coolant)

Liquid Intelligence 239 radiator cleaner, (a division of Mainlube)

http://www.liquidintelligence115.com...TELLIGENCE_239

Cheers

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Old 28-06-2011, 09:13 AM   #28
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

I've seen cabs run for 800,000klms that have:
* never had a coolant flush
* used the cheapest coolant
* had it mixed pretty thin
* run at operating temperature 23 hours a day
* only have a coolant change when they bust a hose

So anyone who pays $195 for a coolant flush is someone with SUCKER written on their forehead - especially if you've got a car that's over a decade old!
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Old 28-06-2011, 09:36 AM   #29
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainlube
To clean a cooling system completely with no danger of harming anything see the link below to Liquid Intelligence 115 Pty Ltd (high temp coolant)

Liquid Intelligence 239 radiator cleaner, (a division of Mainlube)

http://www.liquidintelligence115.com...TELLIGENCE_239

Cheers

Steve
Whats this stuff worth and how much will be needed to treat ?.
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Old 28-06-2011, 09:46 AM   #30
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Default Re: Advice needed - Coolant flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Hardware
I've seen cabs run for 800,000klms that have:
* never had a coolant flush
* used the cheapest coolant
* had it mixed pretty thin
* run at operating temperature 23 hours a day
* only have a coolant change when they bust a hose

So anyone who pays $195 for a coolant flush is someone with SUCKER written on their forehead - especially if you've got a car that's over a decade old!
Interesting point of view and not entirely unsupported by other manufacturers.
According to my M Benz manual they use a long life coolant good for 15 years or 250,000 km's, I phoned Honda about my wife's Civic and their long life coolant is good for 10 years, yet the coolant in my GT-P is good for 2 years. Now call me a cynic but there appears to be an obvious reason why Ford stick with standard life green coolant !! Why not get some of the cool stuff M Benz use in their vehicles and run that in my GT-P, they're both all alloy engines, thoughts anyone ??
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