Draining and Refilling Coolant in my 5.9
I have a 1999 Ram 5.9 2WD 1500-series Shortbed coming up on 60,000 miles. As part of the 60,000-mile service I'll do myself, I want to drain-and-fill the coolant. My records show that I did this in April 2007, and that only 2 gallons of replacement coolant were needed. Yet my owners manual shows that the coolant capacity for this truck is 20 quarts (5 gallons)....
When I did this in April 2007, I remember finding only one radiator draincock (which I believe was in the drivers side lower corner of the radiator). Are there more draincock locations elsewhere in the system? If so, where are they and how are they accessed? I'd like to get most if not all of the old coolant out of the system this time....
As always, thanks for your assistance....
Normally there is only one valve. Sounds like you didn't drain the block and heater at the same time.
Here's how I've done it in the past.
1. Drain the radiator.
2. Remove the hoses leading to the heater.
3. Flush the heater under light pressure just to make sure you don't damage it. Sometimes they will leak if they have any kind of blockage.
4. Remove and replace the t-stat (I do this whenever the coolant is changed)
5. Flush the radiator until clear water is coming out.
6. Connect all hoses and close the valve but keep the fresh water hose going in the top of the radiator. Make sure the radiator is full. Turn the heater lever to full hot, no need to turn on the blower more than just low. We just want the water to flow through.
7. Start the truck and let it idle keeping an eye on the radiator. You'll be able to see when the t-stat opens up, there will be a sudden drop in volume in the radiator.
8. Feel both heater hoses, they should be the same temp (hot).
9. Check your temp gauge in the truck. Should be normal range.
10. Turn off the truck and drain the radiator.
11. Normal mix is 50/50 anti-freeze and distilled water. However, you'll have a lot of water still in the motor and heater. So make the mix a heavier on the anti-freeze side. Or you can pull the hose off the lowest point on the motor and let it drain out.
Not really hard to do, just a PITA sometimes.
Thanks for the very detailed instructions. But how can I tell which hoses lead to the heater? I assume they head into the firewall somewhere, but I could be wrong....
Do I flush the heater through those hoses using my garden hose without the spray nozzle attached so there is little pressure?
Never done this before so I'd rather be safe than sorry....
Thanks again for your kind assistance....
I don't know if Prestone still makes them, but they used to have a flush kit for the entire cooling system, you installed on the top heater hose. Just hook your garden hose up to it, worked great. Still have to change the t-stat and get all that old stuff out.
Thanks for the additional information....
I popped the hood this morning and found the two heater hoses. Everything looks fairly accessible so I think I'll just follow your excellent instructions and do this as part of my 60,000-mile service coming up in a few weeks....
One more question - after I've flushed the radiator and the heater, will every drop of water eventually drain out of the system if I leave that lowest block hose disconnected long enough? Or does some water always remain in the block even with the hose disconnected? I'm just trying to understand how much new coolant I'll need to do the job. My owners manual states that the system capacity is 20 quarts (5 gallons). But I wonder if I can really get 5 fresh gallons in there before all components have taken all the coolant mix that they can handle....
Thanks again for your excellent instructions. Never done this before and I'm looking forward to trying it. I'm sure that some if not most of the coolant in my truck is still 1999 original stuff. Although it still looks fairly green, not rusty, I'll bet that its protection capability is pretty weak by now....
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