Bleeding coolant system - Need advise - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Question Bleeding coolant system - Need advise

I unsuccessfully refilled my coolant system today after replacing the radiator. Need some help with what I'm doing wrong.


First I drained both front coolant pipes (Left and right), drained the block, and flushed the reservoir with distilled water.


1. Opened front and rear bleeders
2. slowly poured 1.5 gallons of fluid into the reservoir
3. fluid came out of front bleeder, closed it
4. started engine, let idle to 180, fans came on. let it climb to 209.
5. front coolant pipes never got warm, neither did Radiator. Coolant level in the reservoir raised and flowed out the overflow tube.
6. I squeezed the front driver side radiator hose (a lot), the one w/o the bleeder, and it didn't feel pressurized. I could hear air and fluid sloshing around in the Radiator.
7. If I opened the front bleeder fluid just pours out, no air.

** I left the reservoir cap off the entire time.

It doesn't seem like the coolant is circulating.

Am I doing this right? Shouldn't the front coolant tubes and radiator get warm right away once fluid is flowing? The water in the reservoir was 119 and steaming.

BTW: I have the Radium expansion tank, not the OEM one if that matters.

2006 Lotus Exige: Avery Matte Graphite wrap, partial built motor (9:1 Mahle pistons, Ferrea Competition valves, ACT Clutch, ARP head studs), REV300(ish) TVS, Nitron SAs, BOE QS exhaust, Ultradisc rotors, Moroso Oil pan, Circuitworks oil pump, CF Stuff (Cup Roof, ReVerie diffusor, side scoops, APR air dam, craftsquare mirrors), Worksbell quick release, Odyssey PC625, Morimoto Xenon HID

Last edited by mwehnes; 03-19-2017 at 07:39 PM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:27 PM
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Arrow AirLift Kit

There are multiple posts on this topic if you search the forum using google like this:

site:<url> <search text here>

You will want to get a suction unit. It is the only way to go. This is what I use:

Airlift? Kit | Cooling | UView
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'05 Lotus Elise - Saffron Yellow | Sport Pack | Touring Pack | REV400 - 5.6 lbs/hp | ACT HDSS Clutch | DMC Header | Sport Cat | Larini SE Exhaust | re-Enforcer | LETSLA | SSC Cables | BWR Double-Adjustable Shocks | Shorai Lithium-Iron Battery
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:42 PM
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Did you have the heat on while running the car? Did you run the car until the fans came on? While the airlfit does make the job easier, you still need to do the burping step to ensure the system is full,
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 04:47 AM
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There are three bleeder screws (overflow tank, front, and near the block) and all three need to be cracked/closed several times each. Running the heater has no effect with our cars since we do not have the heater core bypass that most cars have (unless this changed in later years or you have Tony's heater core bypass mod).

I have found that you still need to drive the car a bit even after cycling through the process and then repeat it, even with the airlift.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 05:01 AM
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Really? I did not have any issues, [AFTER using the AirLift], and really didn't need to bleed the system, no air seemed to come out. and my system was 95% empty. But I did have all the same issues before using the AirLift.

'05 Lotus Elise - Saffron Yellow | Sport Pack | Touring Pack | REV400 - 5.6 lbs/hp | ACT HDSS Clutch | DMC Header | Sport Cat | Larini SE Exhaust | re-Enforcer | LETSLA | SSC Cables | BWR Double-Adjustable Shocks | Shorai Lithium-Iron Battery
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 05:11 AM
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Put the cap on your reservoir if it's not. I found that I needed the pressure to bleed properly. I only had to open the bleed on the rad and the one at the engine block to get the fluid flowing.

2007 Exige S with almost every track mod...
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XtinctElise View Post
Really? I did not have any issues, [AFTER using the AirLift], and really didn't need to bleed the system, no air seemed to come out. and my system was 95% empty. But I did have all the same issues before using the AirLift.

Mine was definitely better with the airlift but far from that nice.

Mine does have the heater core bypass mod, so it could be that is what's making mine so consistently hard to bleed even though I did cycle it a few times, too. I also was able to hold adequate vacuum (but barely), so I don't have a leak but just a weak compressor.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback... I'm going to try kfennel's suggestion to cap the reservoir and see if it helps.

Not really keen on buying a $80+ tool I'm only going to use every couple years at best.

2006 Lotus Exige: Avery Matte Graphite wrap, partial built motor (9:1 Mahle pistons, Ferrea Competition valves, ACT Clutch, ARP head studs), REV300(ish) TVS, Nitron SAs, BOE QS exhaust, Ultradisc rotors, Moroso Oil pan, Circuitworks oil pump, CF Stuff (Cup Roof, ReVerie diffusor, side scoops, APR air dam, craftsquare mirrors), Worksbell quick release, Odyssey PC625, Morimoto Xenon HID
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwehnes View Post
Thanks for the feedback... I'm going to try kfennel's suggestion to cap the reservoir and see if it helps.

Not really keen on buying a $80+ tool I'm only going to use every couple years at best.
Make sure the fans come on as the manual states.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:17 AM
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The airlift is worth every penny imho. It takes about 5 minutes and you don't have to mess with any bleeders.

2005 Nightfall Blue Elise: Sport, Touring, Quantum Zeros, Pro Alloy, BWR De-Cat, Stage II, BOE Torque200 tune
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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I assume I'll need to empty the system again to use it?

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2006 Lotus Exige: Avery Matte Graphite wrap, partial built motor (9:1 Mahle pistons, Ferrea Competition valves, ACT Clutch, ARP head studs), REV300(ish) TVS, Nitron SAs, BOE QS exhaust, Ultradisc rotors, Moroso Oil pan, Circuitworks oil pump, CF Stuff (Cup Roof, ReVerie diffusor, side scoops, APR air dam, craftsquare mirrors), Worksbell quick release, Odyssey PC625, Morimoto Xenon HID
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:32 AM
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I assume I'll need to empty the system again to use it?

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Yes, you'll need to drain the radiator. You can leave the engine block drain alone. When the airlift creates a vacuum it'll suck out most of the leftover coolant.

2005 Nightfall Blue Elise: Sport, Touring, Quantum Zeros, Pro Alloy, BWR De-Cat, Stage II, BOE Torque200 tune
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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So how to do you know for sure when all the air is out?

Tonight I repeated all the steps from my first post, but this time with the cap on (as Kfennel suggested). Car heated up, fans turned on, hit 198, and the radiator got hot on both sides. I know the coolant is flowing, car never got above 199. Oddly, the more I revved the car the faster it would cool down. Running at a 3,500 idle for a few minutes dropped temps from 199 to 192 in no time. The front coolant tube is noticeably firmer indicating there is pressure now.

Front bleeder still has a few air bubbles coming out every so often. I'm going to top the reservoir off tomorrow and restart the process.

2006 Lotus Exige: Avery Matte Graphite wrap, partial built motor (9:1 Mahle pistons, Ferrea Competition valves, ACT Clutch, ARP head studs), REV300(ish) TVS, Nitron SAs, BOE QS exhaust, Ultradisc rotors, Moroso Oil pan, Circuitworks oil pump, CF Stuff (Cup Roof, ReVerie diffusor, side scoops, APR air dam, craftsquare mirrors), Worksbell quick release, Odyssey PC625, Morimoto Xenon HID
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 08:59 PM
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You're done. I hope you used the right anti-freeze.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sweet!.. New coolant and brand new dual 10" pullers just installed, I'm all set for track days this summer.

I used Peak Global Lifetime & distilled water.

2006 Lotus Exige: Avery Matte Graphite wrap, partial built motor (9:1 Mahle pistons, Ferrea Competition valves, ACT Clutch, ARP head studs), REV300(ish) TVS, Nitron SAs, BOE QS exhaust, Ultradisc rotors, Moroso Oil pan, Circuitworks oil pump, CF Stuff (Cup Roof, ReVerie diffusor, side scoops, APR air dam, craftsquare mirrors), Worksbell quick release, Odyssey PC625, Morimoto Xenon HID
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 05:40 PM
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Glad to hear you got it sorted.

Though, the AirLift is very much worth the money even if used every few years...depending on how you value your time and sanity. I got an AirLift after following the Lotus manual coolant refill procedure of fiddling with the with bleeder screws to burp and fart the coolant system. It was a night-and-day experience: fiddliness versus science.

An AirLift works by pulling a vacuum in the coolant system, and the amount of vacuum is indicated by the tool's vacuum gauge. Once you hit the target vacuum number, shut the vacuum valve, open the coolant inflow valve...and whoosh.

You may find it necessary to top the coolant off after an initial drive as others mentioned.

2006 Exige - Phantom Black
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