How to change radiator fluid
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Cadillac Escalade, EXT and ESV Forum - 1999 - 2006 Discussion, How to change radiator fluid in Cadillac Escalade Forums; Alright, I just changed out the radiator fluid in my Escalade.... To remind everyone, this is an 04, Regular Escalade, ...
  1. #1
    Patrick7997's Avatar
    Patrick7997 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    How to change radiator fluid

    Alright, I just changed out the radiator fluid in my Escalade....

    To remind everyone, this is an 04, Regular Escalade, not the EXT or ESV. 6.0L V8, AWD.

    Step One, the truck should be COLD when you are doing this! Leave it overnight!



    What we see here is some of the stuff you will need. On the left is straight DEXCOOL, That's prestone, but in the upper area of the bottle, you can see the GM Approved markings.

    You will also see a bottle of Distilled Water there. I like to mix the distilled water with the dexcool, using a measuring cup, to get a perfect 50/50 mix. I am NOT a big fan of using tap water, hose water, stuff like that. There is minerals in that water, and aluminum hates minerals.

    The distilled water is about 50 cents a gallon at Wal-Mart, and about 80 cents a gallon at my grocery store. Splurge on some distilled water....

    It took me about 2.7 gallons of total fluid to do this deal, so, you'll need 2 gallons of DexCool, and 2 gallons of distilled water, and you'll have some left. The Dex is $10 a gallon, roughly, so the whole job is about $23 bucks.

    On the right, in the picture, you'll see a pre-mixed 50/50 Dexcool Water mix. That bottle also costs about $10, which is kind of a rip, since it's half full of very cheap distilled water. But, if you don't feel like mixing, that is an option for you. I bought that because the place I stopped closest to my house doesn't stock straight dexcool anymore, just that stuff.

    Anyway, moving along....



    This is your surge tank. This is where you refill it, after you drain it. To promote draining, remove the black cap. You can also see my little yellow funnel there... very handy. Cost like $3 bucks. A good investment. Again, the truck should be cold. Do NOT remove that black cap on a hot engine, unless you wanna be sprayed with screaming hot sticky burning anti-freeze.... they tell me it is NOT pleasant.

    I couldn't find a petcock on this radiator... if anyone knows if there is one, where it is, let me know. Thus, we will be using plan B, which is to pull the lower radiator hose, and let it drain...



    There's your lower radiator hose. I am on the ground, under the truck, on the passenger side, camera near the front tire, looking up and forward towards the front bumper. You will see it. It's a pretty big hose.

    This is held on with one of those pressure clamp deals, where squeezing the two tabs opens it up... This is a real strong clamp. I used like a needle nose style vise grip on it.

    Position yourself carefully, and have your pan ready, because when you pull this, fluid is going to be gushing out of both the hose and the radiator.

    I personally got a little doused, so be smarter than me... I did this with the truck on the ground. Getting the truck up in the air might help.

    So, you squeeze and lock your vise grip, and pull the hose back, towards the back of the truck... it will come off, and the fluid will start gushing....



    What you're seeing here is the hose... you can see my vise grips, holding the clamp open.... Also, looking above, it's hard to see, it's black, but you can see the male fitting on the radiator, still dripping... You can also see, there was some splashing, a lotta that surrounding stuff is wet, obviously...

    After the initial surge, it will trickle for awhile.... take a smoke break, use a hose to flush the radiator fluid off of your hands, face, chest, whatever.... come back, the draining will have stopped.

    When that's done draining, put the radiator hose back on. Press it forward firmly, make sure it's all the way back on... And release your vise grip. Visually inspect, make sure it looks like it did before, back in place.

    Now you can get up, thankfully. Gonna refill now.

    We are refilling with a 50/50 mix of DEXCOOL and distilled water. I personally mix it up in a leftover prestone bottle, that I have clearly marked as 50/50. I have a measureing cup that I leave in the garage for this. It's probably not a good idea to eat from the same measuring cup that you used for the radiator fluid...

    Put your radiator funnel into the opening on the surge bottle. If it's the right size, it will go in, and stay put real nicely for you.

    Start filling. Keep filling until some fluid is left in the bottom of the funnel.

    Now start the engine, and crank your heater dials to full hot, 90 on both sides, AC snowflake off.

    The fluid level will probably go down. Keep adding more. Keep adding until the temp guage in the truck gets to around 11 O'Clock or so, and heat is blowing out the vents.

    Rev the truck a little a few times.

    When the level seems to have stabilized, remove your funnel, and put the black cap back on.

    And shut off the truck.

    Drive it for a day or two, and again, when it's cold, remove the black cap, check your level, add as needed. I topped it off a little once, and since then, it's been fine.

    Now get a cigar and a beverage, because you just saved a lot of money, and did your truck a nice service.

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  3. #2
    Scott in Milwaukee is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    You didn't drain the fluid out of the engine block. I will find the block drains (which are usually the spark knock sensors) and tell everyone where they are.

    I would have purchased a Prestone Flush and Fill kit and installed the T-fitting in the heater core line. Then hook up the garden hose and flush the system out throught the filler cap. This sometimes requires some ingenuity to get the overflowing fluid down to the ground without soaking everything else. Then pull the lower radiator hose and the knock sensors to fully drain the system. Hook up the hose and re-install the sensors and then fill the system with a 50% mix.

    Hope this helped someone.....

  4. #3
    sk7's Avatar
    sk7
    sk7 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    Had to update this thread as I had to remove the drain plugs after removing the intake (will make a separate post on that one). Engine block heater install to do on drivers side, and while there why not drain the passenger side as well... Those drain plugs are a real b***h to remove! You need to get the oil cooler out of the way first (13mm for the bracket up front, 10mm for the 2 bolts on the connection on engine block). Then I had to get the front driveshaft out of the way to get a good straight acess to the 17mm hex plug on the block. Front driveshaft bolts are 11mm. Mark the location of the ujoint with marker to reinstall exactly as it was. Here is a pic of the plug with the cooler out of the way.



    I got quite wet by the amount of fluid in there! Watch out... That plug was put in there by the same employee who tightens the front caliper guide pins! Had to use patience and impact wrench on low setting to get it to move. Passenger side you need to move the starter to acess the plug, 8mm hex right above it. 2 X 13mm for the starter bolts and 10mm for the tranny cover. This one wasnt as tight. Could not get a good pic of that one, its just too high up there. I'm glad I did drain it tho, there's quite a bit of coolant in the block. Yes I got another dexcool shower from that one!

  5. #4
    zerocarpileup is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    So, is there a way to properly flush the coolant system?

  6. #5
    coralreef35mm is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    I took mine in..
    Drain and flushed system to get scale out and installed block heater $160

  7. #6
    zerocarpileup is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    well, i kinda want to do it myself, id rather avoid taking it in for such a simple task. But about this block heater; tell me more. any pics of it? and where can i buy it?

  8. #7
    sk7's Avatar
    sk7
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    Got my block heater from GM, very nice piece and cheap imo at $50. It screws in place of that 17mm allen plug pictured above. Sure beats punching out frost plug to install (once you manage to get the thing out).

    $160 is a hell of a deal for coolant flush + replacement and block heater install! I got close to $100 worth of stuff (heater and dexcool), add to that $500 (canadian funds) of swearing to finally get to the plug and take it out, + afternoon to get the job done. Oops forgot to factor in the few cold ones for moral support... But I do enjoy working on my own stuff.

  9. #8
    ESCALADOR's Avatar
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    Quote Originally Posted by sk7 View Post
    That plug was put in there by the same employee who tightens the front caliper guide pins!


    I hate that damn employee!

  10. #9
    pcguy760 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    Hey guys what is the interval for coolant flush? I have about 84000 miles on mine so do I HAVE to do this?

  11. #10
    sk7's Avatar
    sk7
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    CutNpaste for GM shop manual:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Maintenance Schedule
    Normal Vehicle Use
    The maintenance instructions contained in this Maintenance Schedule are based on the assumption that the vehicle will be used as designed:

    Carry passengers and cargo within the recommended limitations as indicated on the Tire Placard located on the edge of the driver's door.
    Are driven on reasonable road surfaces within legal driving limits.
    Driven off-road in the recommended manner. For information on the recommended driving manners, refer to the Owner's Manual
    On unleaded gasoline of the recommended type. For information on the proper type of fuel to use, refer to the Owner's Manual.
    Maintenance Schedule Intervals
    The services shown in this schedule up to 166 000 km (100,000 miles) should be performed after 166 000 km (100,000 miles) at the same intervals. The services shown in this schedule to be performed at 240 000 km (150,000 miles) should be performed after 240 000 km (150,000 miles) at the same intervals.

    For explanations of the maintenance inspections and services included in this Maintenance Schedule, refer to Explanation of Scheduled Services .

    For additional maintenance inspections and services which are not included in this Maintenance Schedule, refer to Periodic Maintenance Inspection .

    Maintenance Schedule Engine Oil Change Intervals
    This vehicle is equipped with a GM Oil Life System ™. The GM Oil Life System ™ will show when to change the engine oil and oil filter. This will usually occur between 5 000 km (3,000 miles) and 16 000 km (10,000 miles) since the last oil change. Under severe conditions, the indicator may come on before 5 000 km (3,000 miles).

    Never drive the vehicle more than 16 000 km (10,000 miles) or 12 months without an oil and oil filter change. The system will not detect dust in the oil. If the vehicle is driven in a dusty area, be sure to change the oil and oil filter every 5 000 km (3,000 miles) or sooner if the CHANGE OIL SOON indicator comes on. Reset the Oil Life System when the oil and filter have been changed.

    This vehicle is equipped with an engine oil life monitor. For description and resetting information, refer to GM Oil Life System - Resetting in Maintenance and Lubrication.

    This is an Emission Control Service.

    Chassis Lubrication
    Lubricate the chassis components with each engine oil and filter change. Lubricate the front suspension, ball joints, steering linkage. transmission shift linkage, transfer case shift linkage, parking brake cable guides, and brake front axle. Ball joints should not be lubricated unless their temperature is -12°C (10°F) or higher, or they could be damaged.

    Footnotes
    † The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the California Air Resources Board has determined that the failure to perform this maintenance item will not nullify the emission warranty or limit recall liability prior to the completion of the vehicle's useful life. We, however, urge that all recommended maintenance services be performed at the indicated intervals and the maintenance be recorded.

    + A good time to check the brakes is during tire rotation. Refer to Explanation of Scheduled Services in Maintenance and Lubrication.

    Scheduled Maintenance

    12 500 Km (7,500 Miles)
    Inspect rear/front axle fluid level and add fluid as needed. Check constant velocity joints and axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    25 000 Km (15,000 Miles)
    Inspect engine air cleaner filter if you are driving in dusty conditions. Replace filter if necessary. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Inspect rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    37 500 Km (22,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    50 000 Km (30,000 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +
    Replace the fuel filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Replace engine air cleaner filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †

    62 500 Km (37,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    75 000 Km (45,000 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    83 000 Km (50,000 Miles)
    Change the automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicle's GVWR is over 8600 lbs. or if the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
    In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 32°C (90°F) or higher
    In hilly or mountainous terrain
    When doing frequent trailer towing
    Uses such as found in taxi, police or delivery service Allison Transmission 8.1 Liter Engine Only: If vehicle is not used under any of these conditions, change the fluid and the filter at 166,000 km (100,000 miles).
    Change transfer case fluid.

    87 500 Km (52,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    100 000 Km (60,000 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +
    Replace the fuel filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Replace engine air cleaner filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Inspect the Evaporative Control System. Inspect all the fuel and vapor lines and the hoses for proper for proper hook-up, routing and condition. Ensure that the purge valve works properly, if equipped. Replace the components as needed. This is an Emission Control Service. †

    112 500 Km (67,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    125 000 Km (75,000 Miles)
    Inspect engine air cleaner filter if you are driving in dusty conditions. Replace filter if necessary. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    137 500 Km (82,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    150 000 Km (90,000 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Replace the fuel filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Rplace engine air cleaner filter. This is an Emission Control Service. †
    Rotate the tires. +

    162 500 Km (97,500 Miles)
    Inspect the rear/front axle fluid level. Add fluid as needed. Inspect the constant velocity joints and the axle seals for leaking.
    Rotate the tires. +

    166 000 Km (100,000 Miles)
    Inspect the spark plug wires. This is an Emission Control Service.
    Replace the spark plugs. This is an Emission Control Service.
    Change the automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicle's GVWR is over 8600 lbs. or if the vehicle is driven under one or more of these conditions:
    In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature regularly reaches 32°C (90°F) or higher
    In hilly or mountainous terrain
    When doing frequent trailer towing
    Uses such as found in taxi, police or delivery service
    If vehicle has not been used under severe service conditions listed previously and, therefore, the automatic transmission fluid has not been changed, change both the fluid and filter.
    Change transfer case fluid.
    Except 8.1L V8 Engine: Inspect the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve. This is an Emission Control Service.

    240 000 Km (150,000 Miles)
    Drain, flush and refill the cooling system (or every 60 months since the last service, whichever comes first).

    Inspect the hoses.
    Clean the following components:
    The radiator
    The condenser
    The pressure cap
    The neck
    Pressure test the cooling system and the pressure cap. This is an Emission Control Service.

    I still have one of my front caliper guide pins stuck on! I was able to replace disc and brake pads anyways (other one came off). I also hate that employee

  12. #11
    oldworld is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    GREAT POST. Thank you!

  13. #12
    jbeau302 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    i dont even know if im posting this in the right place!!how do i get to the radiator drain plug on a 96 sts. i can see it i just cant get to it.im needing to do a radiator flush.any help would be much appreated.

  14. #13
    NutzAboutBolts is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: How to change radiator fluid

    Here's a video on how to do a drain and refill method on this vehicle
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktk1OJ0rhHs

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