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#1660309 - 11/06/09 02:35 AM Replacing Coolant
RoGuE Offline


Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 550
Loc: Atlanta, GA
My 2002 Suburban is due for a coolant change I believe. It was last done at the dealer at 60k miles about 3 1/2 years ago.

Whether this means anything or not it seems that the coolant is low (about halfway down the expansion tank when hot). The oil doesn't seem contaminated at all.

What is a good coolant to replace this with? I realize Dexcool isn't generally liked by a lot of people but I don't think there are issues with the 5.3L, are there?

What is a good method of flushing it out? My Haynes manual says to drain it from the valve at the bottom of the radiator and to flush it out with a garden hose.
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#1660313 - 11/06/09 02:47 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: RoGuE]
S2500Dog Offline


Registered: 08/15/09
Posts: 524
Loc: Fort Worth, TX USA
50/50 mixture of clean, drinkable water and use only Goodwrench DEX-COOLor HavolineDEX-COOLCoolant. Basically I would go with the Havoline brand being 50/50 blended because this brand is made by Chevron/Texaco which are excellent products over the Dex-Cool [censored]. Since you mention the above problems, I would strongly suggest stopping by your local radiator shop to diagnose and examine the cooling system and then have them flush it out professionally while addressing the problems with the cooling systems at the same time if any exists.
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#1660369 - 11/06/09 06:34 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: S2500Dog]
ls1mike Offline


Registered: 06/14/08
Posts: 3020
Loc: Bremerton Wa
The 5.3 is an LSX based motor. I had an 04 Silverado, 2 LS1 Camaros and one LS1 Trans Am. All the same or similar to your 5.3. Out of All of the LSX sites I hang out out, I have never heard a person have a problem with Dexcool with the LSX platform.
My 04 had 120,000 miles on it without a flush. Both Camaros had over 100,000 miles on them, both of them got flushed out at about 60,000 miles.
The Trans Am just rolled 55,000 and has only had a drain and fill when I did the Cam.
Do a back flush with on of those Preston kits. Use distilled water with the Dex Cool. It is 88 cents a gallon at Wally World (Wal-mart).
Don't use tap water.


Edited by ls1mike (11/06/09 06:37 AM)
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00 Trans Am
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04 Grand Prix GTP
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#1660482 - 11/06/09 08:48 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: ls1mike]
Bill in Utah Offline



Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 12782
Loc: UT
My 2004 has Dexcool and 119k miles. I'm going to flush it out and go with Peak Global lifetime coolant just so I have the same coolant for all vehicles.

I've never had a problem with Dexcool but it would be nice to have them all on the same stuff.

Peak Global is ok'd for every vehicle I have so in it will go.

I think with your Chevy, you have a lot of choices. Just make sure if you go with anything other than Dexcool you flush it out well.

I do a lot of drains and fill with distilled water till it comes out clear. Then I drain it, put in 50-60% of straight coolant (no 50/50 mix from the store) to the capacity then fill the rest with distilled water.

Take care, Bill

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#1660762 - 11/06/09 11:55 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: Bill in Utah]
defektes Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 3216
Loc: Hesperia, CA, USA
Your looking at fill/drive round the block for 10 mins with heater on max/dump: repeat like 15 times and when the water starts comin out nice and clear not pink. your good to go.

but the fact that your losing coolant is alarming IMO.
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#1660778 - 11/06/09 12:14 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: defektes]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10791
Loc: The Motor City
Coolant Fluid Exchange

The procedure below is the method I use for every car I own.

1. Drain fluid
2. Remove the thermostat
3. Reinstall the t-stat housing and upper radiator hose
4. Disconnect upper radiator hose at radiator
5. Flush system with garden hose through upper radiator hose until water runs clear
6. Disconnect heater hoses, open heat valve
7. Flush heater core
8. Flush overflow tank
9. Run engine for a bit during flushing to get the fluid from the water pump and other dead spaces.
10. Drain as much water as possible from cooling system
11. Run a shorter flush with distilled water to displace the tap water.
12. Siphon water from overflow tank
13. Reinstall thermostat
14. Button everything back up
15. Refill cooling system with specified amount of antifreeze, bring up to level with water, preferably distilled. The amount of antifreeze you need can be calculated from the published cooling capacity for your vehicle.
16. Run car, top off coolant
17. Keep adding water as required every morning until system is topped off.

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#1660791 - 11/06/09 12:24 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: defektes]
ls1mike Offline


Registered: 06/14/08
Posts: 3020
Loc: Bremerton Wa
Could be his water pump. I have run a 100 Shot of N20 in very F-body I have had. Never a dex cool problem, You would think with extra cyliner pressure I lose would some if there was problem.
It does happen to certain, cars when spraying.

LSXs are not a 3.1, 3.4, N/A 3800s or 4.3s. They don't lose dex cool through the headgaskets. The coolant dosen't even touch the intake in these engines. Where are the Corvettes, F-bodies, 6.0, 5.3, and 8.1 Trucks with the issues of the previously mentioned engines?

Don't have the poor guy ripping apart an LSX engine thinking he is going to find coolant everywhere.

Now the Water pump in your truck is just like any LSX car, I had coolant loss in the 01 Camaro, it was wicking down the shaft and it wouldn't do it all the time so you could not see it. Water pumps in these have been known to do this when they get some miles on them. My guess is if you did it three year ago with 60,000 miles on it, you most likely have close to 100,000 miles on it. Really take a look at your pump.


Edited by ls1mike (11/06/09 12:26 PM)
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00 Trans Am
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#1662427 - 11/07/09 06:33 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: ls1mike]
mechanicx Offline


Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 8576
Loc: Ohio
I agree about waterpumps. they can leak or drip out the weep hole slowly and you'd never notice. If he has the pressure cap on the reservior then I don't think anything should be able to evaporate out, so unless the truck has been ran hot or the pressure cap is bad, I'd suspect some sepage at the waterpump.

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#1662429 - 11/07/09 06:35 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: Kestas]
mechanicx Offline


Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 8576
Loc: Ohio
Originally Posted By: Kestas
Coolant Fluid Exchange

The procedure below is the method I use for every car I own.

1. Drain fluid
2. Remove the thermostat
3. Reinstall the t-stat housing and upper radiator hose
4. Disconnect upper radiator hose at radiator
5. Flush system with garden hose through upper radiator hose until water runs clear
6. Disconnect heater hoses, open heat valve
7. Flush heater core
8. Flush overflow tank
9. Run engine for a bit during flushing to get the fluid from the water pump and other dead spaces.
10. Drain as much water as possible from cooling system
11. Run a shorter flush with distilled water to displace the tap water.
12. Siphon water from overflow tank
13. Reinstall thermostat
14. Button everything back up
15. Refill cooling system with specified amount of antifreeze, bring up to level with water, preferably distilled. The amount of antifreeze you need can be calculated from the published cooling capacity for your vehicle.
16. Run car, top off coolant
17. Keep adding water as required every morning until system is topped off.


This a very good way to flush out the block without having to get at the pesky block drains. Another way that I think is even easier is to install a T-flush in the heater inlet line.

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#1666777 - 11/11/09 05:06 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: Bill in Utah]
rclint Offline


Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 1026
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah


I do a lot of drains and fill with distilled water till it comes out clear. Then I drain it, put in 50-60% of straight coolant (no 50/50 mix from the store) to the capacity then fill the rest with distilled water.

Take care, Bill


I have posted in the same threads with Bill at times, and we seem to have different ideas, views etc on oils, filters, synthetics etc, however here is one place I do exactly like Bill does. If the coolant is in good shape, there is no reason at all to introduce tap water (tap means tap your foot 3 times, guess what might be in the water) I purchase $15 worth of distilled water from walmart in gallon jugs (around 80 cent a gallon) and do just as Bill said, dump the rad, top off with distilled water, drive around, repeat until you have clear water, and while doing so run heat on high, max temp, and max fan. You can look up your coolant capacity, purchase your coolant of choice (you will have to pick that one out yourself) pick the concentrate , you already have a distilled water solution in your system, so all you have to do is dump the rad 9hose, or drain whatever you have) top off with concentrate, then if need be do it once more to get the concentration you prefer, your climate calls for etc. I would like to once more drive home the fact that if your coolant system is clean, then by all means don't go looking for a way, or reason to contaminate it with tap water, or adding any T's, just a drain/fill is perfect.

I had a 94 ford ranger with the 4.0, I flushed the coolant system with tap water, ran it around for a week or so doing it at my convenience, in that short a time I ended up with a rusty mess, I assume it was rust, it was brown gunk, the water was brown, you could also see brown on the inside of the rad.... it took me a month of flushing then, over, and over, a T-stat replacement twice, and 6 months later O changed the coolant once more just to make sure I had it cleaned out, after that tap water has never entered/molested any of my coolant systems.

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#1666798 - 11/11/09 06:28 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: rclint]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 3175
Loc: Texas
Once a year, I just drain the radiator, and refill with 50/50 distilled and supertech coolant.

Never a coolant related problem. It probably costs me about 9 dollars per year to do this.

Maybe a 15 minute job also.

I would only attempt a flush on a car that has an abused coolant system.

I figure, every year I'm introducing enough new coolant into the system to keep it very clean..
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#1666810 - 11/11/09 06:45 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: rclint]
sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 8054
Loc: The Old North State
I follow the same basic procedure as Bill & rclint at ~ the recommended intervals. The only thing different is I add some Prestone Super Flush (quick flush) after the first drain. That's optional, but as long as I'm doing a few distilled rinses anyway it makes me feel better about the flush series, and works for me. The basic procedure I use is written up here. fyi, as said by Bill, with this method you need to use full strength coolant which is my preference anyway. IMO, use Dex or Peak GL.

Fwiw, I used to use a Prestone flushing T, but since the advent of aluminium blocks/heads, I've gone to the distilled flush series.

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#1666821 - 11/11/09 06:58 AM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: S2500Dog]
MontyD Offline


Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 26
Loc: OK
Originally Posted By: S2500Dog
50/50 mixture of clean, drinkable water and use only Goodwrench DEX-COOLor HavolineDEX-COOLCoolant. Basically I would go with the Havoline brand being 50/50 blended because this brand is made by Chevron/Texaco which are excellent products over the Dex-Cool [censored].


Why not use the Prestone 50/50 Pre-Mix Dexcool? Any specific reason to stay away from there Dexcool line?

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#1667406 - 11/11/09 05:07 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: MontyD]
rclint Offline


Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 1026
Loc: Georgia
MontyD

The reason people don't like the 50/50 Pre-Mix is economics, it cost about the same, or the same price as the concentrate, and distilled water is much cheaper than coolant, so it's much more economic to purchase the concentrate as you already have the perfect (distilled water) carrier/dilution solution in the rad when flushing with distilled water. It's not just Preston pre-mix, it's any pre-mix. I had to use the pre-mix on my honda, as that's all that was available, so I done the math out, wasted lots of coolant myself doing the drain/fill cycle to get the correct concentration with pre-mix from honda, and I would not touch a engine drain bolt )for draining coolant from the block) with a 10 foot pole, like I said if it's not broken I don't want to break it just to say I fixed it...

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#1667514 - 11/11/09 06:52 PM Re: Replacing Coolant [Re: rclint]
MontyD Offline


Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 26
Loc: OK
I agree rclint. However, I dont understand why he was saying to Only use GM or Havoline Dexcool. Is there a difference in the formulation compared to Prestone Dexcool?

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