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non-katana question.... How to refill a car cooling system?

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  • non-katana question.... How to refill a car cooling system?

    Hey guys, I know this isn't a kat question, but I need to do this tomorrow and I'm not exactly sure how to do this. I found a leak in my car radiator today, so I pulled the radiator out to have it repaired. But since I don't have a manual, I'm not sure what the best way to refill the cooling system after I install it again. Do I need to purge the lines of air somehow or other things? How about the transmission coolant lines (as far as I know, those smaller lines are the transmissions coolant lines.....)?This car is a 92 Honda Accord.

    Any ideas? I just want to make sure that filling the tank and radiator up and running the engine, then filling it up some more is or is not the correct way to do things.... Thanks!

  • #2
    let it run with the cap off until the t-stat opens(when both radiator hoses are hot) and top it off slowly, make sure you fill the overflow bucket to the correct level and be sure to use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze/water. tou probably won't lose enough trans fluid to worry about but check it after it's warmed up anyway. good luck.


    • #3
      while your running it...keep the cap off.....but the above advice just about covers it


      • #4
        Just so you know when you are running it and keeping the cap off do it parked in the driveway, not running down the road. I know it sounds like common sense but I failed to state that little piece of advice once to a friend. He bought a new motor.


        • #5
          Hehe, thanks for tips guys. As an engineering student, I know that when things sound common sensical, they usually arent.

          Do i have to worry about the transmission fluid pump (I'm assuming its pumped through the radiator....), in terms of priming/filling? I'll check the fluid level after everything is plumbed up.....


          • #6
            No you shouldn't have ot worry about the tranny pump. Just make sure you get everything hooked up right and check the tranny fluid while it is warm and running.


            • #7
              You may want to seriously consider flushing the system with a flush product before filling it, especially if the failure in the radiator was from inside rather than outside (i.e. - not rock or impact damage). A flush is basically an acid product designed to remove rust and biological slime build-up from the system. Look for a flush kit that's designed to permit you to add permanent attachments in your hoses for future annual flushes (usually a buck or two extra; well worth it).

              The other thing you may want to know:

              Depending on the water quality where you live, you may be very well served by using a combination of coolant and distilled water instead of tap water. The system you have is basically aluminum, and aluminum corrodes very easily, which greatly changes the heat transfer rates (and the corrosion rates). Using distilled water will also ensure that you're not introducing a source of fresh bacteria/algea, but that aspect only makes sense if you flush first and let the system drain completely before proceeding.

              Check the thermostat (by dropping it into boiling water to verify that it opens all the way, then into cold water to verify it closes all the way), and depending on the configuration of the engine, if you are due for a water pump and/or timing belt change, consider doing the repair while the radiator is out of the way (most toyota's have a transverse engine mounting and the radiator probably doesn't make much difference for the timing belt, but if you're driving one that has a front-to-back arrangement, such as some of their pick-ups, etc, already having the radiator out is a time saver for the other repair).

              Finally, check to ensure that you are picking an appropriate coolant. I don't know about toyota's in that sense, but VAG (VW/Audi) systems like certain coolants (pure ethyl-glycol based ones for the VAG's if memory serves me well -- I know the audi I have likes Havoline Orange and the very expensive Audi brand stuff) and dislike others (Green Prestone doesn't fair as well for some reason in our Audi by comparison).

              =-= The CyberPoet
              Remember The CyberPoet


              • #8
                if you have a 92 honda, then typically the radiators are the plastic kind and some shops say they can't be fixed (depending on the degree of damage i believe). but i 2nd cyberpoet's comments. with the radiator out of the way, it's a good time to check/replace the thermostat if needed. and make sure you don't add too much antifreeze to the mix with it being winter months and all, the car won't heat up to normal operating temps on cold days and that's not good. always use distilled water, it's better than tap water as far as pollutants and bacteria go. after you've refilled the radiator, let the thermostat open and finished topping it off, take a short ride through town and keep an eye on the temp gauge. if it starts getting too hot, turn the heater on full blast and get it back home. then check the fluid levels again and top off if necessary. it's also good to squeeze the radiator hoses as your refilling so you can get any air bubbles out and get a proper fill.... just my $.02 anyways

                "If you ain't first, you're last..." - Ricky Bobby
                "Your stuck on an anger bridge man, you gotta cross the anger bridge and come back to the friendship shore..." - Magic Man


                • #9
                  these guys have pretty much everything covered. My only comment is that most antifreeze/coolent is pre diluted these days, so make sure the one your using actully requires you to add water, you may not have to do that at all.


                  • #10
                    Some cars have 'air bleeder' valves in the coolant circuit to help
                    remove trapped air in the circuit. Most are located around the
                    thermostat housing or thereabouts. Later Honda's definitely have
                    them, don't know about yours. Look around for something that looks a
                    lot like the brake bleeder screw (or other valve device) sticking out of the thermostat housing.
                    If you do have one it's important that you open it when filling the
                    cooling system until a steady stream of coolant comes out, then you
                    close it and continue filling.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the tip guys. I need to check on that air bleeder screw, there might be one.

                      I got the radiator repaired today at a shop, they welded the hole shut (impact damage). I decided to skip the flush/thermostat testing because of time constraints, but I'll look into doing that in the future. I guess I don't really care that much considering the car is a beater that cost me $500. I did use fresh Honda coolant though, so at least I know I have the appropriate coolant.

                      But I haven't tested driven it yet, thats going to be the true test...... Thanks all!


                      • #12

                        they make a "honda coolant"?? i wonder what makes it different than any other coolant....

                        "If you ain't first, you're last..." - Ricky Bobby
                        "Your stuck on an anger bridge man, you gotta cross the anger bridge and come back to the friendship shore..." - Magic Man


                        • #13
                          I just bought it cause I had to go to the dealer anyway to get a part the other stores didnt carry. But yeah, they make a honda coolant, premixed, I just figured I'd know I was putting the proper coolant in anyway. (as per Cyber's suggestion).