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Its time to replace coolant before I take this car to live in las Vegas for awhile. I'm an avid DIYer. Does radiater have a drain plug-I can't see it for all plastic shields. OR once I get the shield(s) removed, do I just pull off the lower rad hose?
Any other plugs to remove like somewhere on the engine block?
I read about the air bleed on a valve (near the airbox) when refilling...
I plan to go back with Prestone extended (NOT DEX-COOL) premixed (to get the de-ionized water).
Yeah, pulling off a hose will do it but it's not a very controlled way to drain. And then you have to worry about the hose having a leak at the connection afterwords. Better left "factory stuck on" if one can do it by the drain plug.
Okey dokey. I got to this project today. To get to the drain plug, you have to take off a plastic shield that is under the radiator, the full width of the front end. (Three small bolts (8mm head) on the lower edge of the bumper plastic and three phillips head "spread the tangs" buttons on the bottom. I had to bust those off. The screws would not back out). Anyhow, the white drain plug (19mm head) is a captive plug-you can't remove it. It just loosens to allow coolant to drain.
I removed the small plug on top of the thermostat housing (remove clip first) and removed the cap on the revervoir.
All that done, I get about a gallon of coolant to drain (the reservoir waan't very full). For a coolant system that is supposed to hold 11+ quarts, I was disappointed. Obviously, there must be a drain plug somewhere on the engine block OR Ford must have some sort of circulation equipment to replace the coolant.
If not, I'm going to run it for a week and then do it again so i can at least improve the quality of the coolant.
Somewhere I read/heard that the Ford service method for coolant replacment is a circulation machine. There is not a block drain. Kind of a sad thing for the DIYerBut moving forward anyhow...
I worked on it again today. Because the reservior coolant looked like it had completely brand new coolant from my previous attempt, I sucked all that fluid out (turkey baster) before draining the system again. I got about 3/4 gallon of coolant out, a little yellower color than what I got out before (the old stuff) because I put in the new Prestone coolant (which is almost irridescent yellow). I refilled the reservior with what I took out of the reservior plus 3/4 gallon of new coolant. I'll run till next weekend and then do it again. WHAT A SLOW PROCESS!
This cooling system is set up much different than anything I have ever seen before. Water pump driven by one camshaft, making the pump at a high elevation. The coolant reservoir is actually part of the pressurized system, not just a "suck it to the cooling system when cooling system cools down" type tank. It would be interesting see how Ford service attaches a circulating system to replace the coolant....Maybe a DIYer could replicate such a system on the cheap. These are probably secrets that Ford service mechanics are bound by blood to take the their graves....
Okay, NOW I have a DIY method worked out for complete replacement of the coolant. USE at your own risk but if you pay attention to what you are doing, there shouldn't be any issues.
You will need the following parts:
(1) 1" x 1" x 1" PVC tee
(1) 1" x 24" long PVC pipe
(1) Fernco DTC-150 flexible plastic coupling (1-1/2" x 1-1/2")
The above should be available at your local big box store or local hardware store.
You'll need 3 gallons of 50/50 mixed coolant (NOT DEXCOOL red stuff). I used Prestone 50/50 mix because they use de-ionized water for the mix. You could just as easily mix your own using full strength coolant and distilled water if you are trying to save a few dollars.
Start with the engine cool so you don't burn yourself. Although not absolutely necessary, it helps to have the passenger side of the car a little above level. Drive the right front wheel up on a brick or 2 x 4. If the car is level, draining from the radiator drain causes the coolant to run along the bottom of the radiator support, requiring several more drain pans to capture the draining coolant. Tilting the car a little makes it stay on the drain plug end of the radiator (if you care).
Remove the plastic panel under the radiator. The panel is attached by three 8mm headed bolts along the bottom edge of the bottom edge of the front bumper cover. There are also three phillips head button fasteners that hold the panel on the bottom. (I had to get new fasteners because the threads in those plastic fasteners were stripped. I had to pry the panel down to pop out the button head fasteners).
From underneath, locate on the driver's side, rear near the bottom of the radiator, a white 19mm hex plug. With a 3 gallon drain pan ready. Loosen the plug with a box end wrench (Think carefully about righty tighty, lefty loosy so you are sure you are wrenching in the right direction. These are PLASTIC parts). The plug is captive so you can only loosen it, not remove it.
Up top, remove the cap on the plastic coolant tank, Coolant will drain into the pan.
On the top of the thermostat housing, next to the water pump, remove the stainless steel clip for the little black plug and pull the plug up and out. The owner's manual actually has instructions about this. (Put the plug and clip in a safe place-Not on the engine or battery-IN A SAFE PLACE).
Disconnect the top radiator hose from the plastic thermostat housing next the water pump. (If the clamp is the OEM spring clamp, use slip-joint pliers to "open the clamp" and slide the clamp back on the radiator hose about 6 inches). Loosen the hose on the PLASTIC housing. Don't be a brute and don't use pliers on the hose. Gently slipping a flat blade screwdriver at the end of the hose helps and then wiggle it off. Some coolant will drain for the hose and housing (drain pan is still below).
Fold the end of the radiator hose out of the way next to the air filter housing. (You can put the handle end of a screwdriver in the end of the hose and wedge the business end of the screwdriver under the sheet metal of the front panel.)
Screw the radiator drain plug back in. Don't over tighten.
Take the 1 inch plastic tee and push the end of the 1 inch plastic pipe into the run of the tee. (a gentle tap on the ground is enough force to make it stay). Significantly loosen one of screw clamps of the flexible coupling and force that end of the coupling over the branch of the plastic tee. Tighten the clamp to hold the coupling onto the tee. (No need for brute force, this is not going to see pressure).
Guide the end of the 1 inch plastic pipe down towards the drain pan and engage the end of the flexible coupling onto the thermostat housing where the top radiator hose connected. Tighten the clamp. (No need for brute force, this is not going to see pressure). The photo below will make all this clear.
Fill the coolant tank with new pre-mixed coolant to the top. The level might drop over a minute or so as it takes a little time for the radiator to fill. Replenish the coolant to about 2 inches from the top of the coolant tank. Make sure you don't fill the tank too full as the coolant will just runout the end of the top radiater hose.
Empty the drain pan (used coolant) into a bottle/jug. Replace the pan under the end of the 1 inch pipe.
Ready the remainder of the 3 gallons of pre-mix coolant. Start the car and let it idle. In about five to ten minutes, the thermostat will begin to open and coolant will begin to flow (fairly slowly) into the PVC pipe assembly to the drain pan. (Youc an look down into the top of the tee to monitor the flow) At idle, the flow is not to much so it won't get ahead of you. DON'T REV THE ENGINE - don't be in a rush. You'll be surprised how much the coolant tank drops after things gets warmed up.
Keep adding coolant to the coolant tank. Don't let the tank run dry and don't fill it up above 2 inches below the top. Once the thermostat opens, the water pump is pulling from the bottom of the radiator (which the coolant tank is connected to) so if you keep the tank replenished, the pump doesn't suck any air.
When you have about 3/4 gallon of new coolant left to pour in, stop the engine. Let the coolant stop draining into the drain pan. Disconnect the PVC pipe assembly from the thermostat housing. Reconnect the upper radiator hose to the thermostat housing and replace the clamp.
Pour more coolant into the coolant tank until the coolant begins to come out of the "bleed port" of the top of the thermostat housing (where you removed the black plug previously). Install the black plug and install the stainless steel clip (DON'T DROP IT).
Fill the coolant tank with new coolant to about 2 inches from the top and replace the coolant tank cap. You should have some coolant left over for "topping up" later
Reinstall the plastic "under panel". Empty used coolant from drain pan into the coolant jugs. Mark jugs USED COOLANT. Take used coolant to someplace that recycles used fluids.
DONE (for now).
Drive around town for a couple of days and check for leaks. When the engine is cool, check level of coolant and adjust to the COLD FILL LEVEL indicated of the side of the coolant tank. Don't over fill.
Now you are DONE.
Last edited by XPlumber; 11-17-2013 at 19:18.
Reason: Add photos
After Note: Don't fool yourself by thinking you can re-use the hose clamp on the upper hose to the thermostat housing connection. Just get a new clamp (screw type) and get rid of the OEM clamp once you have removed the hose. My connection leaked and I had to replace the clamp.
(I think that is mechanic rule no. 82 - never re-use an OEM hose clamp)
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