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Cars > Forums > Tech Garage > Low coolant light is on. Proper way to fill coolant?

 

Forum: Tech Garage

  • Topic: Low coolant light is on. Proper way to fill coolant?
  • Started by Toicontien Jul 24, 2008 at 7:28 am
  • Last post by gbodydude Jul 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm
  • This topic has been viewed 866 times and has 4 replies
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Topic: Low coolant light is on. Proper way to fill coolant?

Forums > Tech Garage > Low coolant light is on. Proper way to fill coolant?

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  1. #1 Jul 24, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Toicontien’s Profile Photo
    Toicontien
    Total posts: 134
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    This should be an easy thing. I've done it before. First, a little back story.

    On my 1995 Skylark (3.1 V6), the coolant fan wasn't working. I was going to replace it. I had to detach one end of the radiator hose feeding coolant from the radiator to the engine so I could bend the hose out of the way to remove the coolant fan. Of course to do this, I had to drain about a gallon of coolant from the engine.

    Put the hose back on, then started putting the coolant back into the engine by pouring it into the recovery tank. Mind you the last car I did this sort of thing on was a 1978 Bonneville. There was a radiator cap on that, but no such thing on my '95 Skylark.

    The coolant all went back in. While pouring the coolant in, I periodically stopped and squeezed the radiator hoses to try forcing any air bubbles through. When I started the car, the low coolant light came on. I figured the engine just needed to work the air bubbles out of the system, so I let it run for a bit. No dice.

    I've even let the car almost completely warm up and the low coolant light hasn't gone off. The light wasn't on before I tried my repair. I'm afraid an air bubble is trapped in the upper parts of my engine and that running the car in the current condition would cause the heads to over heat.

    Did I just not run the car long enough? Having not let it heat fully to operating temperature, I'm sure the thermostat hasn't opened yet. In hindsight, this would force a lot more coolant through the engine and might blow any bubbles through. Any ideas? Did I fill the coolant wrong?

    ...

    Does voodoo work on car repairs, or should I spare the chicken?
     

     

    Motortopian. Lover. Code Geek.
  2. #2 Jul 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    gbodydude’s Profile Photo
    gbodydude
    Total posts: 30
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    There should be a little purge valve on or around the water neck or on one of the pipes that run across the motor.It will be located above the highest point on the radiator. Because this car dosen't have a radiator cap on the radiator it tends to trap air in the cooling system. The valve looks like a small pipe plug. When you fill the radiator open the purge valve to let air escape . I don't recomend doing it while the engine is hot but sometimes its nessesary. BE VERY CAREFUL! Good luck and let me know how it turns out. Thanks,
    Mike
     

     

    Mike The g-body guy

    Edited Jul 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm

  3. #3 Jul 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Toicontien’s Profile Photo
    Toicontien
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    Thank for the tip. smile image Maybe I won't resort to voodoo chicken magic after all.
     

     

    Motortopian. Lover. Code Geek.
  4. #4 Jul 25, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Toicontien’s Profile Photo
    Toicontien
    Total posts: 134
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    I found the valve. So here's the problem: smile image

    I already put the coolant back in and had started the car. This morning I just ran the car for about 5 seconds, shut it off and opened the valve. A small amount of air escaped each time. Since I had put a gallon size bubble in the system, this would take me approximately 2 months to bleed the air out of the system. I'd like to run a few ideas past you.

    For one, if I just have the valve released while the engine is running, it spits coolant out and no air.

    I live in central Ohio. There's no such thing as flat ground, so I parked my car facing uphill. The valve is located on a 3in pipe that shoots up from the neck of the water pump.

    I'll make sure that pipe and valve are at least higher than the radiator, no matter which way it's facing on the hill.

    I'm thinking I might need to drain the radiator again? Because just sitting there, no air escapes obviously, because it's trapped somewhere else in the system. Will draining the radiator and then refilling it with the valve open help out, or just create another bubble.

    Sorry for all the questions, but this is the first time I've put coolant back in a car with no radiator cap, and I'm not doing so hot.
     

     

    Motortopian. Lover. Code Geek.
  5. #5 Jul 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm

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    gbodydude
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    Hey man , No problem with the questions I mean thats what this forums for right? Anyway, the big spoiler here is the thermostat, you need to get the thermostat to open so that any trapped air behind it can escape. I would say that if you added a gallon of coolant to it you're very close to being full. Air will purge out of the overflow tank by itself. If the car is not overheatting I'd say drive it for a lttle while warm it up and cool it off a couple times. Then open the valve again and add more coolant. Just make sure that it warms up enough to up the thermostat. The hill idea will probably help too. Sometimes I even bounced my berretta up and down and watch more bubbles come out. Let me know if this works Thanks,
    Mike
     

     

    Mike The g-body guy

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