Dealing with the cooling system can be a dangerous matter unless the proper precautions are observed. It is best to check the coolant level in the radiator when the engine is cold. This is done by removing the radiator cap and seeing that the coolant is within 2 in. of the bottom of the filler neck. On some models the cooling system has, as one of its components, an expansion tank. If coolant is visible above the "Min" mark on the tank, the level is satisfactory. Always be certain that the filler caps on both the radiator and the expansion reservoir are tightly closed.
In the event that the coolant level must be checked when the engine is warm, place a thick rag over the radiator cap and slowly turn the cap counterclockwise until it reaches the first detent. Allow all the hot steam to escape. This will allow the pressure in the system to drop gradually, preventing an explosion of hot coolant. When the hissing noise stops, remove the cap the rest of the way.
If the coolant level is low, add equal amounts of antifreeze and clean water. To fill the cooling system on models without an expansion tank, fill through the radiator filler neck. On models with an expansion tank fill to the "max" level of the tank reservoir.
The radiator hoses and clamps and the radiator cap should be checked at the same time as the coolant level. Hoses which are brittle, cracked, or swollen should be replaced. Clamps should be checked for tightness (screwdriver tight only-do not allow the clamp to cut into the hose or crush the fitting). The radiator cap gasket should be checked for any obvious tears, cracks or swelling, or any signs of incorrect seating in the radiator neck.
At least every two years, the engine coolant should be drained, the system flushed and refilled with a 50/50 mixture of fresh anti-freeze and water. 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.
DRAIN, FLUSH & REFILL
- Open the radiator drain, or disconnect the lower radiator hose at the radiator outlet. Completely drain the system.
Before opening the drain, spray it with some penetrating lubricant.
- Close the drain or reconnect the lower radiator hose and fill the system with clean water.
- Add a can of quality radiator flush.
- Allow the engine to idle until the upper radiator hose gets hot. Make sure the dash heater control is set to hot. This lets water and radiator cleaner circulate through the heater core.
- Drain the system again.
- Repeat Steps 2 through 5 until the drained water is clear and free of scale.
- Close all drains and connect all hoses.
- If equipped with an expansion tank (coolant recovery system), flush the reservoir with water and leave empty.
- Determine the capacity of your cooling system (see capacities chart). Add a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to provide the desired protection.
- Run the engine to operating temperature. After operating temperature is reached, return the heater control lever to normal.
- Stop the engine and check the coolant level. Add coolant if necessary.
- Check the level of protection with an anti-freeze tester, replace the radiator cap and check for leaks.