Mazda 323/MX-3/626/MX-6/Millenia/Protégé 1990-1998 and Ford Probe 1993-1997

Cooling System

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See Figures 1 and 2

Check the cooling system at the interval specified in the Maintenance Intervals chart at the end of this section.

Hose clamps should be tightened, and defective hoses replaced. Damp spots, or accumulations of rust or dye near hoses, water pump or other areas, indicate areas of possible leakage. 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. A worn cap should be replaced with a new one.



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Fig. Fig. 1: Be sure the rubber gasket on the radiator cap has a tight seal

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



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Fig. Fig. 2: Periodically remove all debris from the radiator fins

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

FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



The recommended fluid is a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol antifreeze 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. Use only antifreeze that is SAFE FOR USE WITH AN ALUMINUM RADIATOR.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 3, 4, 5 and 6

Coolant level should be checked at least once a month. With the engine cold, the coolant level should be even with the FULL mark on the coolant expansion tank. On some models, there is a coolant level dipstick.



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Fig. Fig. 3: On vehicles with see-through expansion or overflow tanks, the coolant level should read at the FULL line with the engine HOT



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Fig. Fig. 4: On vehicles equipped with a dipstick in the overflow tank, remove the tank cap, which is also the dipstick



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Fig. Fig. 5: Read the level on the dipstick. It should read at the F (Full) mark with the engine HOT, if not ...



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Fig. Fig. 6: ... place a funnel in the tank opening and add a 50/50 mixture of water/coolant until a F (Full) reading is obtained

DRAIN & REFILL



See Figures 7, 8, 9 and 10

  1. Remove the radiator cap.
  2.  


CAUTION
Never remove the radiator cap while the engine is running or personal injury from scalding hot coolant or steam may result. If possible, wait until the engine has cooled to remove the radiator cap. If this is not possible, wrap a thick cloth around the radiator cap and turn it slowly to the first stop. Step back while the pressure is released from the cooling system. When you are sure all the pressure has been released, press down on the cap, still with the cloth, and turn and remove it.



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Fig. Fig. 7: Before draining the cooling system, allow it to completely cool, then remove the radiator cap. This will aid in draining the coolant



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Fig. Fig. 8: If equipped, open the access door in the lower splash shield to access the radiator drain petcock

  1. Position a suitable container under the radiator and open the draincock to drain the radiator.
  2.  


CAUTION
When draining the coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by the ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are quite likely to drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain the coolant into a sealable container.

  1. Clean the cooling system by flushing with clear water.
  2.  
  3. Close the radiator draincock.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 9: Position a large drain pan beneath the petcock, then open it and allow the coolant to drain (splash shield removed for clarity)



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Fig. Fig. 10: Once the cooling system is drained, close the petcock and refill the radiator with a 50/50 mixture of water/coolant

  1. Refill the system with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Fill to the FULL mark on the reservoir and install the radiator cap only to the first stop.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine and run it at fast idle until the upper radiator hose feels warm, indicating the thermostat has opened and coolant is flowing throughout the system.
  4.  
  5. Stop the engine. Carefully remove the radiator cap and top off the radiator with the water/antifreeze mixture, if required.
  6.  
  7. Install the radiator cap securely and fill the coolant reservoir to the FULL mark.
  8.  

FLUSHING & CLEANING THE SYSTEM



Radiator and Engine Flush
  1. Drain the cooling system. Remove the thermostat and reinstall the thermostat housing.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the radiator overflow hose from the expansion tank and plug the end of the hose.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the intake manifold outlet hose from the manifold nipple and plug both the nipple and the hose.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the lower radiator hose from the radiator and position the hose to drain clear of the vehicle.
  8.  
  9. Connect a high pressure hose to the radiator lower hose outlet. Back flush the radiator and engine until water runs clear out of the lower radiator hose. Turn the water on and off several times to pulse the flow and help loosen sludge deposits.
  10.  


WARNING
The flushing water flow must be limited so that pressure inside the radiator does not exceed 15 psi (103.4kpa).

  1. When the system drains clear, unplug the radiator overflow hose. When water flows clear from the hose, reinstall the plug.
  2.  
  3. Before reconnecting the cooling system hoses, disconnect all of the hoses installed for the radiator and engine back flush procedure. The heater coolant loop must be backflushed separately to prevent loosened sediment from lodging in the heater core.
  4.  

Heater Core Back Flush
  1. Install and clamp a garden hose female end fitting in the heater return hose, disconnected from the bypass nipple.
  2.  
  3. Connect a garden hose to the hose fitting in the heater return hose and flush the heater core circuit until the drain water runs clear. Pulse the flow by turning the water on and off several times. Allow full flow for approximately 5 minutes.
  4.  
  5. Shut off the flushing water and remove all adapters and plugs installed for the flushing operation. Reconnect all cooling system connections and tighten the hose clamps to 22-31 inch lbs. (2.5-3.5 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the thermostat with a new housing gasket. Tighten the retaining nuts.
  8.  
  9. Fill the cooling system and check for leaks.
  10.  

 
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