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Tips on bleeding the radiator?

 
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Old 22 Aug 2010, 08:11 am
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Default Tips on bleeding the radiator?

I needed to replace the coolant in my sister's PT cruiser, so I spent a good amount of time searching this forum for wisdom before I did. I had the radiator running fresh water clear out its drain and the overflow tank pumped clean and flushed several times. I then ran the engine with the pressure cap off for about 10 minutes after it came to temperature and it didn't look like I needed to add any more coolant, so it seemed I had bled the system. My problem is that the next day when the system was cool, I noticed the upper radiator hose completely collapsed. I opened the radiator cap and the hose sucked in a bunch of air and came back to its original shape and size. What might I have missed here? I know the radiator has a dedicated bleed valve, but the clearance to get a wrench in there is pitiful. By the time I get the wrench there I'm gripping with finger tips and can't actually turn it. I want to make sure I get this done correctly before my sister needs to drive the car again because here in central Texas, your cooling system is critical and I really don't want an air pocket damaging something. As a side note, I ordered a Haynes manual for the car which came in yesterday. The radiator flush/refill procedure in there is quite extensive requiring the removal of all hoses and the thermostat. Is all that really necessary. Should I do this again from scratch to make sure I don't miss anything?
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Last edited by briancpearce; 22 Aug 2010 at 08:14 am.
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Old 22 Aug 2010, 09:34 am
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Default Re: Tips on bleeding the radiator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by briancpearce View Post
I needed to replace the coolant in my sister's PT cruiser, so I spent a good amount of time searching this forum for wisdom before I did. I had the radiator running fresh water clear out its drain and the overflow tank pumped clean and flushed several times. I then ran the engine with the pressure cap off for about 10 minutes after it came to temperature and it didn't look like I needed to add any more coolant, so it seemed I had bled the system. My problem is that the next day when the system was cool, I noticed the upper radiator hose completely collapsed. I opened the radiator cap and the hose sucked in a bunch of air and came back to its original shape and size. What might I have missed here? I know the radiator has a dedicated bleed valve, but the clearance to get a wrench in there is pitiful. By the time I get the wrench there I'm gripping with finger tips and can't actually turn it. I want to make sure I get this done correctly before my sister needs to drive the car again because here in central Texas, your cooling system is critical and I really don't want an air pocket damaging something. As a side note, I ordered a Haynes manual for the car which came in yesterday. The radiator flush/refill procedure in there is quite extensive requiring the removal of all hoses and the thermostat. Is all that really necessary. Should I do this again from scratch to make sure I don't miss anything?
I've have always been able to bleed the system with just the cap off while I added antifreeze. So I can't say why the hose collapsed. When you took the cap off did the PT need more antifreeze?
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Old 22 Aug 2010, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Tips on bleeding the radiator?

Yes, it did need some more. I took a hand pump and put the exit hose of the pump directly inside the upper radiator hose. I pumped in a 50/50 mixture until it spilled back into the filler neck. I haven't had a chance to run the engine again since then as I just finished an all weekend garage cleaning spree and so will have to monkey with it tomorrow. There was still a fair amount of coolant in the overflow tank which is probably what threw me off. If the radiator needed a little more coolant, it should have drawn it in from the overflow tank.
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Old 23 Aug 2010, 02:15 am
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Default Re: Tips on bleeding the radiator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by briancpearce View Post
Yes, it did need some more. I took a hand pump and put the exit hose of the pump directly inside the upper radiator hose. I pumped in a 50/50 mixture until it spilled back into the filler neck. I haven't had a chance to run the engine again since then as I just finished an all weekend garage cleaning spree and so will have to monkey with it tomorrow. There was still a fair amount of coolant in the overflow tank which is probably what threw me off. If the radiator needed a little more coolant, it should have drawn it in from the overflow tank.
It's an overflow tank, not a suction tank. The radiator itself needs to be full. You can't rely on the overflow tank to supply additional coolant into the radiator if the radiator is low.

Run the engine to operating temperatur with the radiator cap off. Keep the coolant level at the top of the filler neck at all times. If it drops at all, top if off until the level stabilizes. Then you can fill your overflow tank to the hot line.
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Old 23 Aug 2010, 08:13 am
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Default Re: Tips on bleeding the radiator?

I realized that last night when inspecting the system closer. If the pressure cap never pressurizes enough to lift a little, the hole that the overflow tank connects to is covered up. Faulty concepts will always lead to faulty conclusions.
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Old 23 Aug 2010, 05:17 pm
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Default Re: Tips on bleeding the radiator?

I'm a bit confused. Did you have your heater control turned to "On" when you drained the system--and refilled it? Also, did you ever open the bleed screw while filling the radiator? You're supposed to get a forty-eight inch long transparent flexable hose to fit over the bleed screw's male end, aim the open end of the hose away from your belts and anything electrical, open the bleed screw a bit, pour in the 50/50 coolant mixture while watching the hose until the coolant starts coming out of it--and keep watching until the bubbles completely disappear, then tighten your bleed screw, and fill your overflow bottle about midway. Then start the motor, watch the level of the radiator coolant, and add more if necessary. Then screw on the radiator cap, and drive the car a bit. Let the coolant get nice and cool to the touch, then check the level in the overflow tank--and add if necessary.

Anyway, that's how I've always done it, and never got and air pocket ....

Tim
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