Coolant Flush DIY - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Coolant Flush DIY

So for those who have tackles other fluid exchanges, this one is a real PITA. Now I see why dealerships charge close to a $1000 for this service. It is not for the weak at heart. Given that, it is still doable. Here is what I did.

First Name:  ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1452995716.395204.jpg
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post #2 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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The rear tray has been described elsewhere. I didn't take photos for the front tray removal. However there a 8mm bolts along the front edge where it ties into the bumper. On the outer edges in the wheel well there are 8mm bolts with two washers and 10mm counter bolt.

In board of the wheels are played which bolt over the front tray. These are held in place with 4 10mm bolts. Then the plate swings down and unclips from its front edge.

Finally the back half of the tray is held with multiple 10mm bolts. Once all the bolts are removed, slide the tray forward to uncatch the rear edge and the when the rear edge drops, slide the tray backwards to clear the front bumper edge.

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post #3 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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If you want to be thorough, you start by draining coolant from both cylinder banks. You need to find the coolant drain plug. The rear drain is easier to see. Looking from below just behind the axle you will see it between the exhaust manifold and the block. Name:  ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1452996789.100751.jpg
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The brass bolt is 10mm. Loosen it and fluid will drain out the tube. If your anal, you can attach a drain tube first so you don't make a mess.
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post #4 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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The drain is in a similar position to the rear drain but obscured from direct view.

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post #5 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Next step is to drain coolant from the front. Covering the radiator is a black plastic cover which is the bottom half of the scoop which directs air to the radiator. Removing the cover is very complex. I opted to loosen the rear edge and pry down. There are two 7mm bolts which hold the back edge of the cover.

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post #6 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Once the bolts are removed, I pried the back edge down. Looking above the back edge you will see the radiator and the drain plug. My car is MY'11. The shop manual says later cars lack drain plugs. I can't confirm this. Name:  ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1452999661.617030.jpg
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post #7 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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The drain plug does not have a bolt pattern. I loosened it with a pair of pliers. Name:  ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1452999788.968041.jpg
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post #8 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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After the drain is removed the fluid will drain. Slowly. To aid with draining, I lowered the front of the car compared to the rear. The manual says you can put compressed air to the rear coolant tank to help clear fluid from the pipes. I didn't have access to a compressor.

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post #9 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Since I couldn't purge all the coolant on first go, my plan was to exchange distilled water three times. So I filled the water in the tank. Then start the car.

This is where I had some trouble.

First I ran the car and noticed the fluid level didn't budge. Lesson : system is truly pressurized so the cap needs to secured on the tank.

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post #10 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Then after the cap was placed, the temp started rising but still no change in fluid level. Also the tubes leading to the radiator were cold indicating no fluid from the engine.

I had to bleed the air out.
First bleeder is in the engine compartment. If you have a factory air box, you probably need to pull it. I have a BOE, so the bleed screw is just to the right of the air cleaner. Open the bleed screw and air sputters out and finally fluid.

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post #11 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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The radiator tubes have to bled next. To get to the bleeder tubes, the wheel liners of the front wheel wells have to be removed. Then the bleeder is towards the top sandwiched between oil cooler lines and a wiring loom. Name:  ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1453000991.287553.jpg
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post #12 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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So I remove the cap to both bleeders and waited. And waited as the car ran. The temp kept rising and no fluid in the tubes. So I took some advice from a LT feed on Elige fluid coolant flush. I put the wheels back on and drove the car around the block.

When I got back the tubes started burping fluid and the temp dropped. I continued to add water until tubes completely bled.

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post #13 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Then I started over again, drain fluid and refill with distilled water. Three total cycles until the drained coolant appeared completely purged. Then I did a final drain and filled with coolant.

After the final air bleeding, wheel liners replaced. Front tray replaced. Rear tray and diffuser replaced.

Total time 12 hours.

Like I said a total pain. In retrospect compressed air would have made the purging of fluid much faster.

In the end, I will likely let the dealer do this in the future. But now you know how I spent the day.

Good luck!
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post #14 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:59 PM
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I use a Gates AirLift for coolant changes on my Exige. It pulls a vacuum for refill purposes.

I suppose (never tried it) that it could also be used to pull fluid for draining a system.

Just a thought.
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post #15 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 03:22 AM
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Wince write up iDuc! Very informative

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post #16 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Gates airlift looks very useful.
When I get a garage and stop tooling in the driveway, an air compressor and this is on the list.


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post #17 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 03:10 PM
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This is the one DIY I probably won't tackle. A-1 quoted me $100 for coolant flush and refill with Toyota coolant. I'm okay with that. The amount of efforts and time for me seem better spent at doing other things. But kudos for this write up, iDuc! If I was retired and have more free time, I would probably try doing this on my own.

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post #18 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 06:31 AM
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Knowing how to do it would you say you could do it much faster the second time? If so, what's your estimate?

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post #19 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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I just ordered the Airlift. I am actually going to do another flush this weekend. I think with this tool I can get it done in 2 hours. Some have said they can pull fluid out with the airlift. If so, the coolant exchange should go quick. If not, it is still a front pan off job and would take a couple of hours. Bleeding was the biggest thing to debug. The airlift should eliminate that problem.

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post #20 of 70 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iDuc View Post
I just ordered the Airlift. I am actually going to do another flush this weekend. I think with this tool I can get it done in 2 hours. Some have said they can pull fluid out with the airlift. If so, the coolant exchange should go quick. If not, it is still a front pan off job and would take a couple of hours. Bleeding was the biggest thing to debug. The airlift should eliminate that problem.
Excellent! PLEASE document the use of the airlift and the make/model and where you got it. I've seen numerous ones on Amazon but would rather get a known quality item rather than a half-assed knock off. I will no doubt be tackling this as early as this spring.

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