Refilling coolant

Refilling coolant

Postby coult45 [OP] » November 3rd 2014, 8:19pm

My block heated plug (or freeze plug) had a small leak around the o-ring of the screw. Instead of buying the $35 heater plug, i got the 69 cent freeze plug.

Yesterday, I pulled the old plug, fluid gushed out of the block, put the new one in, no leaks. I then filled the radiator through the filler neck, to the top, then the reservoir tank to full. I idle'd it for 5mins, drove around the block and then checked the overflow tank again. All looked good.


Woke up this morning, went to go get breakfast. Noticed my temp gauge going up, but the heat not kicking in (it was 27 degrees this morning, needed me some heat). By the time i got to the grocery store, which is a 2 minute drive, the gauge showed super hot (almost red). I turned off the van, and noticed the lines on the passengers side were cold, and the lines on the drivers side were hot, with the upper rad hose (drivers side) slightly warm... I didn't wanna mess with it, so my friend picked me up and we went skiing.



So then i get back home a few hours later, i pop the rad cap and the radiator is real low, with the res tank almost empty. So i fill them both back up. By the time i get the van back home, 2 min drive... again the temp is up super high. Whats going on here? I'm confused about when to open the cap all the way, or just half way to relieve the pressure. When its okay to open the cap, when not. From my understanding, the fluid gets hot as the car warms up, expands and the extra goes in the res tank. When the vehicle is off and cools down, that res fluid goes back in the radiator.



Obviously, the fluid i drained from the block needs to get refilled, via the radiator. So does fluid go from the radiator thru upper hose, thru the t-stat to the block?


I had my coolant replaced with a new stant t-stat last year when a new intake gasket went in. I've currently got the van jacked up passenger side, hoping the coolant will continue to be sucked down radiator/block...

im so confused
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Re: Refilling coolant

Postby chevymaher » November 3rd 2014, 11:19pm

Start it with the cap off and let it idle. It will slightly over flow a few times as it warms up. Then it will drop when the T-Stat opens. Keep filling it till it is full while it is running. Next 3 days fill it when it is cold and the reservoir.

Sounds like you just got alot of air trapped in the system.
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Re: Refilling coolant

Postby RECox286 » November 3rd 2014, 11:45pm

I'm not yelling at you, I'm not yelling at you, I'm not...

The average coolant system takes about 10 quarts to fill from dead empty to normal full. When you pull a stunt like

removing a frost plug, it's not only messy, it is expensive to spill all that expensive liquid on the ground. You have been

told ! If you had followed the instructions set forth in a maintenance manual, I'm sure you would have drained the coolant

into a container with the thought that it might be replaced back into the system once the maintenance proceedure was done.

By spilling the coolant out of the block, you in fact lost, in all likelyhood, more than half of what the system holds, or more.

When you dumped enough into the radiator to fill it, that was putting about 1/2, or less, of the capacity back into the system.

At that point, you did right, but then you guessed wrong. You should have left the rad cap off, started the engine, and let it

idle to warm up the coolant enough to make the T-stat open, then you would have seen the level in the radiator go way down,

giving you the tip-off to add more coolant to bring the level back up to the top of the radiator. Next you should have waited

for any further bubbling which indicates air being expelled from the system, resulting in having to pour more coolant into the

radiator. Once it is determined that the air has been expelled from the system, you can put the radiator cap back on the

radiator. Now it is time to service the overflow reservoir. Put enough in to fill the tank up to the HOT line, and no more.

Now go for a long ride, then let the engine cool to normal (ambient) temperature. Look at the reservoir tank to determine

if you need to add liquid to bring it to the COLD line, and no more. Also, this is a good time to look for puddles on the ground.

Don't assume it isn't leaking. If, further loss of coolant is evident, then it's time to hook up a coolant system pressure

tester, and (while everything is stone cold) check for leaks. It is only safe to remove the radiator cap when the system is

stone cold, and never should be removed when the engine is at or near operating temperature. It will bite you in the butt.

Any other questions ? I have one, why don't you have at least a cheapie maintence manual ? It would save you a lot of

embarassment. Check out your LAPS for one.

Uncle Bob



(OK, OK, I lied. I yelled at you !) S'all right, we all have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is usually the beginning.

Keep on truck'n
Start a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day.
Set a man on fire and he will be warm the rest of his life.

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Re: Refilling coolant

Postby coult45 [OP] » November 4th 2014, 12:24am

LOUD NOISES!!!!!?!??!?! ahhh

When i pulled the plug, i did catch all the fluid, but it was quite contaminated by dripping of of the underside of my dirty van. I didn't drain the radiator, it looked super hard to pull the lower hose and find route for the hose to dump into a container.

then, when filling the radiator and running the car without the cap, each time it seemed to want to overflow like crazy and I didn't want to spill the fluid everywhere. butttt, obviously it had to purge tons of air because that empty block was filled with air and needed to be replaced with fluid....

gotta love another learning experience.


I do have the factory service manual, but some parts are too vague and im car-tarded...

thanks for your help guys, currently the coolant looks great and I will keep checking for leaks and re-filling until all is good.
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Re: Refilling coolant

Postby Lumpy » November 4th 2014, 2:20am

What color coolant did you use?


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