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Old 01-22-2007, 01:58 PM   #1
chewbakarox
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Member#: 25478
Join Date: Oct 2002
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: I fart 15 psi.
Vehicle:
2003 WRX Sport Wagon
PSM

Question Coolant Change Gurus - Please Review!

Hey all Ė first off, I have searched extensively and done some homework, but wanted to confirm my approach with some of you maintenance gurus. I have a minor coolant leak (leaking from top radiator hose) and need to get this fixed tonight before I hit the road for work tomorrow, so I need to have my act together for it to go as smooth as possible. I typically do little maintenance on my own car (2003 WRX) other than oil changes, so this coolant change is brand new to me. Hereís my planned approach, based on the SOA service manual and tips from the posts Iíve read:

1. Raise the car (Rhino ramps)
2. Remove the under cover
3. After car is cool, either loosen the radiator drain pipe (and drain via a tubing or a small funnel) or loosen/remove the lower radiator hose (heard this may be easier/quicker but donít know where this hose even is)
4. Open radiator cap
5. Wait for radiator to drain
6. Remove plastic coolant reservoir tank and drain.
7. Either tighten radiator drain pipe or lower radiator hose
8. Reinstall plastic coolant reservoir tank
9. Replace leaky upper radiator hose
10. Take 50/50 mix of Subaru OEM coolant and distilled water plus Subaru coolant conditioner and refill radiator and reservoir tank slowly (to avoid creating bubbles).
11. Leaving the car on ramps and radiator cap off, start car and turn heater on to low
12. Let car warm up until fan starts and thermostat opens
13. Coolant should start to drain from radiator into the engine block, at which point coolant should be slowly added to radiator
14. Squeeze top radiator hose repeatedly to try and burp air out of the system
15. Once system is completely burped, replace radiator cap and top off reservoir tank.
16. Take car out for test drive and watch for temp spikes

Now for my questions:

1. Where is the bottom/lower radiator hose?
2. I have seen several posts (primarily from 2002 WRX owners) with people messing around with a coolant reservoir/cap near the turbo. Since I have a cap on the radiator (like I said, I have a 2003 WRX), do I even need to worry about this?
3. Anything special I need to know about removing and draining the plastic coolant reservoir tank?

This is the way to do it from what I have gathered Ė any comments/tips are welcome. I hope this isnít too repetitive or too n00b of a post, but I havenít seen a tutorial that combines both the OEM approach with pointers from people that should make it easier. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:59 PM   #2
chewbakarox
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 25478
Join Date: Oct 2002
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: I fart 15 psi.
Vehicle:
2003 WRX Sport Wagon
PSM

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bumpity.....anyone??
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:04 PM   #3
Tim Sanderson
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00 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl

Default

Looks good. When I fill them I stick a funnel in the top reservoir and leave the radiator cap off. The radiator will start to overflow and that's when I put the cap back on it.

After you drain the old coolant from the overflow you should overfill it a touch. Once the car is warm and your done burping you turn it off and let it cool. The motor will have expelled it's air through thermal expansion and cool to draw back in coolant from the overflow. That's why you want to overfill it a bit.

Once the motor is cooled you can then take it for a test. Before you do though, doublecheck your hose clamps.
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:52 PM   #4
wrxdrvr
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Chapter/Region: W. Canada
Location: Canada BC
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'09 STi 297.5 WHP
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Sounds good ...I would put heater on high and fan on low. And once you get it op on ramps you should se the lower water hose comeing out of bottem of rad.
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:35 AM   #5
chewbakarox
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Member#: 25478
Join Date: Oct 2002
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: I fart 15 psi.
Vehicle:
2003 WRX Sport Wagon
PSM

Default Did It....

OK, coolant change is done. took me forever and i made a mess, but for my first time it went OK. a couple of things i would recommend to other first-timers:

1. when draining the coolant, drain it via the bottom radiator hose and not the drain valve. the drain valve would have taken FOREVER. only thing is, disconnecting the bottom radiator hose is very messy. just have a bucket ready to throw under the undone hose.

2. when refilling the system with coolant, refill it through the reservoir right next to the turbo. leave the radiator capped. the turbo reservoir is the highest point in the coolant system. since air rises, this logically seems like the best point to refill and burp from. if you refill and burp from the radiator, you'll always have a pocket of air in the turbo reservoir, and makes burping more difficult.

3. be sure to let the thermostat open several times before capping the reservoir. i let the thermostat open three times. the first time the coolant level went down a lot, the second time a little, and third time barely at all. the whole time, i "massaged' the top radiator hose to burp the system.

hope this might help a fellow maintenance n00b in the future. thanks all for the input.
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