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Draining the radiator without a mess?

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:02 AM   #1
Tele_Man
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Default Draining the radiator without a mess?

I'm about to tackle the job of replacing the radiator and I was surveying the underside of the radiator yesterday to locate the drain plug. I found it without problem, but I noticed it is directly above a section of the front frame. I had hoped that I could simply place a drain pan under the plug to catch the coolant, but it looks like the coolant is going to splash on the frame and run all over the place.

Is there any clever way to drain the radiator without making a mess on the floor of my garage? Any of your tips and tricks would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:06 AM   #2
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put a piece of hose on it and direct it down towards the drain pan
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tele_Man
I'm about to tackle the job of replacing the radiator and I was surveying the underside of the radiator yesterday to locate the drain plug. I found it without problem, but I noticed it is directly above a section of the front frame. I had hoped that I could simply place a drain pan under the plug to catch the coolant, but it looks like the coolant is going to splash on the frame and run all over the place.

Is there any clever way to drain the radiator without making a mess on the floor of my garage? Any of your tips and tricks would be appreciated. Thanks!
I use a siphon method---a 2 foot piece of copper tube 3/8 dia.connected to a boat fuel squeeze bulb and a 3 foot piece of 3/8 rubber hose -put copper tube to bottom of radiator-put hose in bucket-squeeze bulb start siphon and presto no mess--most vettes have a plug in rad.and not petcock-another reason for this is so you dont tear the soldered in nut out of the bottom of radiator.

Last edited by ...Roger...; 06-19-2006 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:10 AM   #4
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I can confirm that there isn't a petcock on my radiator. It looks like a regular bolt and the last guy put teflon tape on the threads.

The boat fuel sounds like a clever idea, but my radiator cap is on the on the surge tank, not the radiator itself. So, I don't know how I would get the tubing down the radiator. (But I like that idea for syphoning the coolant out of the surge tank.)

Maybe I could duct tape a section of hose onto the end of a small plastic funnel, and then hold the funnel under the drain hole.

How much coolant should I expect to drain, i.e., how bid does my collection bucket have to be?
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:18 AM   #5
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I used a small hand pump. Place the "intake" tube down to the bottom of the radiator, start pumping till you hear slurping. Then wait a couple of minutes, and pump again (coolant will flow from engine to the radiator slowly). I didn't fill a 5 gallon bucket.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:29 AM   #6
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How can I get a tube down the radiator?

Can I disconnect the inlet hose and shove a tube down to the bottom radiator through that opening?

Remember, on a '69 the radiator cap is on the surge tank, not the radiator itself.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:48 AM   #7
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Heck, my radiator doesn't even have a drain plug or a petcock-- nothing. I ended up removing the plugs on the engine block, one each side, down low in the middle, which drained the majority of coolant from the system. Then when I could finally access the bottom rad hose (this was on a rad removal job) I just had to loosen the hose and drain, oh probably a gallon, maybe not that much, into a bucket.
When I put it all back together I did put drain ***** in the block. That won't drain it all, but it'll be better than nothing....

John
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tele_Man
How can I get a tube down the radiator?

Can I disconnect the inlet hose and shove a tube down to the bottom radiator through that opening?

Remember, on a '69 the radiator cap is on the surge tank, not the radiator itself.
No you might damage tubes you have to use the bottom -unless someone else can think of another opening-I guess you could use a small plastic tube but dont force it
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:59 AM   #9
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I have also used a hose, clamped it to the drain **** and this worked fine, very little spill or mess.
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:06 AM   #10
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my radiator didn't have a drain either, so i drilled a hole and brazed one it. much more convienent.

how about putting a funnel with a piece of tubing under your drain hole?
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:39 AM   #11
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Are you planning on replacing hoses.Why not just slit the lower hose over a bucket.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:51 AM   #12
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I start by going to the local A&P and getting cardboard and laying them flat. If you don't have 2 oil drain buckets get 1 or 2 deep turkey foil trays. Then I take off the water pump hose, it's easier to get to and less mess...
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toyvet1
Are you planning on replacing hoses.Why not just slit the lower hose over a bucket.
Well, I was planning to drain it and then fill it again will a flush solution, run the engine hot, and then drain it again.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:22 PM   #14
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http://www.griotsgarage.com/catalog.jsp?&SKU=10122
Got it as a gift, never used it for oil but use to drain all my rads.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:50 PM   #15
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Cool product, but it costs $100! I really don't need that contraption to help me change the oil on the Vette, and I surely don't expect to be changing the coolant frequently enough to justify that expense. But it is an interesting product.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:54 PM   #16
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Any reason you couldnt just pull the lower rad hose over a bucket? You dont have to cut it as long as it is not fused on there.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensch53
Any reason you couldnt just pull the lower rad hose over a bucket? You dont have to cut it as long as it is not fused on there.
Theoretically, this would work. But opening a larger drain is going to cause a larger gush of coolant. One had better be quick with the hose and bucket.

I'll take a look under the car to see what the clearance is directly under the lower rad hose as it hooks up to the rad outlet. You may be right and there may be a clear passage to the bucket without splashing the frame.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:10 PM   #18
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Shop vac,tygon tubing and gallon pickle jar.
Drill two holes in lid of pickle jar for tygon tubing ,snug fit,run one end of tygon tubing in radiator,auto transmission tube,rear end or anything else you want to drain and other end in hole in lid.
Then use a second piece of tygon tubing in other hole in lid and put in hose on shop vacuum and seal with duct tape or make a wooded adapter plug.Turn on the vacuum and watch the jar fill.Turn off vacuum before liquid gets into tubing going to vacuum.
Using jar allows you to inspect condition of fluid.
If its anti-freeze or other non explosive fluid and you don't mind having the fluid in the vacuum hose and canister don't use the jar.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:07 PM   #19
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I just went thru this while preping my car for the Power tour. On the first drain there was not enough room to really catch the coolant and not cause a mess as, like you stated, the drain is directly over the frame. After the first drain, I removed the petcock and installed a 90 degree brass street Ellbow, 1/4 pipe thread into the rad. Then reinstall the petcock into the ellbow, pointing straight back. Now when you open the petcock, the coolant will flow into a bucket under the car with out hitting ANYTHING. You can expect about 2 1/2 gal of liquid if the system was full. By the way I am using a B-Cool alum. Rad.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:10 PM   #20
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Pull the lower radiator hose over a bucket; with the front of the car jacked up...pull both the lower radiator hose and the heater return at the water pump...then you can easily reconnect and flush...
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