Chrysler Colt/Vista 1990-1993 Repair Information

Cooling System


See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

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Fig. Fig. 1: Check the radiator cap gasket for cracks or leaks

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Fig. Fig. 2: Keep the radiator fins clear of debris for maximum cooling

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Fig. Fig. 3: The cooling system should be pressure tested once a year

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Fig. Fig. 4: Lifting the lid from the coolant overflow bottle

At least once every 2 years, the engine cooling system should be inspected, flushed, and refilled with fresh coolant. If the coolant is left in the system too long, it loses its ability to prevent rust and corrosion. If the coolant has too much water, it won't protect against freezing.

The pressure cap should be looked at for signs of age or deterioration. Fan belt and other drive belts should be inspected and adjusted to the proper tension. (See checking belt tension.

Hose clamps should be tightened, and soft or cracked hoses replaced. Damp spots, or accumulations of rust or dye near hoses, water pump or other areas, indicate possible leakage, which must be corrected before filling the system with fresh coolant.

While you are checking the coolant level, check the radiator cap for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost and the engine will overheat. Worn caps should be replaced with a new one.

Periodically clean any debris --leaves, paper, insects, etc.--from the radiator fins. Pick the large pieces off by hand. The smaller pieces can be washed away with water pressure from a hose.

Carefully straighten any bent radiator fins with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful--the fins are very soft. Don't wiggle the fins back and forth too much. Straighten them once and try not to move them again.


Coolant used (depending on winter temperatures) is usually a 50-50 mixture of ethylene glycol and water for year round use. Use a good quality antifreeze with water pump lubricants, rust inhibitors and other corrosion inhibitors along with acid neutralizers.


On models without an expansion tank, if the engine is hot, allow it to cool for several minutes to reduce the pressure in the system. Using a rag, turn the radiator cap 1 / 4 turn to the stop and allow all pressure to escape. Then, remove the cap. On models equipped with an expansion tank, check the level visually in the tank. It should be above the low mark. Never fill the tank over the upper mark.

Fill the radiator until the level is within 25mm of the radiator cap. It is best to add a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to avoid diluting the coolant in the system. Use permanent type antifreeze only.


It's best to drain the cooling system when the engine is warm but has cooled to well below operating temperature to assist in complete removal of old coolant and any suspended material. Follow the procedure below to help ensure you will not be burned by hot coolant.

  1. The first step is to loosen the drain cock or remove the drain plug located in the bottom radiator tank to begin the draining process and relieve pressure. DON'T START OUT BY REMOVING THE CAP! Just make sure you are well away from the direction coolant flow will take when you remove the plug, and then remove it.
  3. Once coolant flow out of the bottom of the radiator has slowed, remove the radiator cap to vent the system. Then, remove the drain plug from the side of the engine block.
  5. When all the coolant has drained, replace the plugs. If the hoses need attention, this would be an ideal time to relace them. Now, slowly fill the system with water until the water level reaches the top of the radiator tank. Start the engine and run it at idle. When the thermostat opens and water begins to flow through the top of the radiator, add more water as necessary until the engine is full. Now, shut the engine off and again carefully remove both drain plugs. Repeat the process of filling the system with water and draining it until drained water is clear. If the system cannot be cleaned out effectively this way, you may want to buy a reverse flushing kit at your local parts store and use it. An alternative is the use of a chemical cleaner; if you need to use one of these, just make sure it is compatible with the use of aluminum engine parts and that you follow the directions on the can carefully to ensure that you do not damage your engine.
  7. Now, coat both drain plugs with sealer and install them snugly. Look up the coolant capacity in the "Capacities Chart". Then, see the chart on the side of the antifreeze container in order to calculate just how much antifreeze is required to protect the system down to the lowest expected temperature in your area. Pour the antifreeze in first. Then, follow up with clean water until the level reaches the top of the radiator tank. Finally, follow the steps at the end of the procedure above for filling the system with coolant after checking the level.