How do I drain ALL the coolant?
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, How do I drain ALL the coolant? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; When I was replacing my coolant level sensor (and the whole surge tank, inherently), I was only able get about ...
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    CadillacLuke24's Avatar
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    How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    When I was replacing my coolant level sensor (and the whole surge tank, inherently), I was only able get about a gallon and a half of the old garbage out. I drained it through the petcock, and I did forget to remove the surge tank cap until about halfway through. Seeing as I had to get down to school today (this occured yesterday), I just filled the system to full and figured I'd mess with it later. Since the manual states the system capacity to be 3 1/8 gallons, I know I didn't get all of the old stuff out. To remedy this situation, what woud be the best route? Lower radiator hose?

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Turn the car upside down and shake vigorously.



    Seriously, you will never get it all out. The plug you pulled is the lowest point in the system (look where the lower radiator hose is). The only thing you can do to get a bit more out is to stick a shop vac hose nozzle in the surge tank and seal it with your hand or a rag and reverse the flow to blow out a little more. Don't expect a lot though.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    I did the shop vac deal and got about 1/2 gallon more out. When I did it alot of crap came out that didn't from just a drain. I also used a few gallons of water to flush it out, I poured a gallon in the upper rad hose and was surprised how the sudden volume cleaned the rad out.

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    You can try removing the water crossover lol!

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Quote Originally Posted by rodnok01 View Post
    I did the shop vac deal and got about 1/2 gallon more out. When I did it alot of crap came out that didn't from just a drain. I also used a few gallons of water to flush it out, I poured a gallon in the upper rad hose and was surprised how the sudden volume cleaned the rad out.
    Sealant tab residue.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Thanks guys. I guess in that case I will go round up a shop vac. I think I'll remove the lower rad hose too.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Just thinking out loud here, but couldn't you remove the thermostat (or let the car warm up to temperature), remove the upper rad hose from the radiator and extend it into a bucket, and let the water pump expel all the old coolant from the engine? Of course, you would have to keep adding fresh coolant to the surge tank, but you would eventually get all the old stuff out, right?

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    No, the WP will suck air before long. The radiator drain is the lowest part in the system. You'll get the most coolant out by draining it from there.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    I don't get all of it out, but what I do to get more of it out is to remove the purge line from the resevoir after it has been draining for awhile. Then I run a line from my air compressor (at only around 5 or 6 psi) and push air into the purge line hose, then right into the resevoir. I did this when I was replacing all the heater hoses on the firewall, and I avoided the usual mess.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Thanks for the tip bigtone. I will have to try that next time I change the coolant. What I ended up doing was as follows:

    Remove the pressure cap.
    Open the drain.
    While coolant is draining, I turned the engine on and gently revved it. It never got past 170 degrees (Did this first thing before going and driving the car) The engine bay was cool enough to where I could get my bearsized paws down there and shut the drain.
    Refill system with new coolant.
    FROM FSM-Replacing surge cap, turn heater to highest setting and start engine. Cycle engine to 3000 rpm and back to idle 5 times. Check coolant and add as needed.

    Doing this, I got almost 2.5 gallons out, and the old stuff that came out looked cleaner, indicating that the new DexCool that was in there mixed well. I'm a happy camper

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    2.5 gallons sound as much as what you can get. I'd not worry about what stayed in it, it should be far less than the new stuff and should not effect the efficiency(new-ness?) of the new coolant.

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Thank you That confirms my happiness on my repair. I LOVE FIXING MY CAR ON MY OWN!!!

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Quote Originally Posted by vincentm View Post
    You can try removing the water crossover lol!

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    PTMech is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    I flushed mine:
    Remove the cap from the purge tank and open the radiator drain cock to drain the system; close the drain cock and replace the purge tank cap
    Remove the thermostat and reinstall the bell housing and hose
    Remove the upper radiator hose from the inlet side of the radiator and place into a suitable bucket for antifreeze reclamation
    Place the end of a garden hose into the radiator inlet and run water until all the antifreeze is flushed from the system and water from the upper radiator hose runs clear
    Remove the garden hose and reattach the upper radiator hose to the radiator inlet
    Remove the cap from the purge tank and open the radiator drain cock to drain the system; close the drain cock
    Reinstall the thermostat
    Fill the system through the purge tank with undiluted DexCool. Purge the system per GM guidelines (between the clean water that’s remaining in the system and the undiluted DexCool, the mixture should end up close to 50/50)

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    Re: How do I drain ALL the coolant?

    Quote Originally Posted by vincentm View Post
    You can try removing the water crossover lol!
    That got me to LOL!

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