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Vacuum coolant filler? #5108895 05/18/19 10:11 PM
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JHZR2 Offline OP
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Is this really the way to go? Is the airlift the best tool vs OEM or others?

Is there any concern relative to vacuuming down hoses on older vehicles? Could it damage hoses or contribute to their failure?

Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5108990 05/19/19 02:50 AM
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Silk Offline
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Is Airlift a brand ? I've used the Snap-on and it's really good, no air locks to deal with. If a vacuum fill is going to damage hoses, maybe you should replace them. For customer vehicles where they might complain we damaged their hoses, I wouldn't do it....then when they blow later we can say nothing to do with us. We also used to have an exchanger that went in the top hose, took it out and put it in. Just for a coolant change, not a refill after repair.


1987 BMW R65 - Penrite VTwin 20-50
2005 Nissan Expert - 5W-30 Castrol Edge
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5109016 05/19/19 05:42 AM
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Astro14 Offline
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It collapses hoses but I wouldn’t fill a cooling system any other way, now that I have one.

There were always air bubbles when filling conventionally. And you had to go through a couple warm/cool cycles to get everything set. There was always a chance of overheating if an air bubble kept the thermostat from getting hot.

Never had a problem with a hose.

Filling is now quick, efficient, and safe.


32 Packard 15W40
01 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 AMSOIL SS
02 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 Edge
02 Volvo V70 XC 0W40 Edge
05 MB S600 0W40 M1
16 Tundra 1794 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5109057 05/19/19 07:11 AM
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atikovi Offline
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Airlift does shrink down radiator hoses just because of their size relative to their wall thickness. I suppose if they are old (over 25 years) and brittle, they could develop cracks but you should replace them anyway.

Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5109063 05/19/19 07:18 AM
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Trav Offline
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On some cars like you MB diesels vacuum filling is almost a must, these and quite a few other engines can be a real problem to get filled without getting air trapped in the system. This can present some real problems in of itself when the coolant temp sensor is in the air pocket and not coolant, you can seriously overheat the engine especially the head(s) without even knowing it.

Hoses are no longer an issue and while it is collapsed may make look alarming it is not a problem, when you figure 21 in Hg vacuum is only about 10 psi it is considerably less pressure than most cooling systems normally operate at so it will not cause heater cores and radiators to collapse or gaskets to get sucked in as some people fear.
I have a couple of these units and would not dream of doing the job without it, this is my favorite tool it always seals well and holds a good vacuum, it is well made.

They have this on sale a couple of times a year for $59 IIRC, its worth every penny.

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwabe...J-MGn4gIVkkwNCh0wnQPLEAQYASABEgKCaPD_BwE



ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5109640 05/19/19 09:43 PM
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clinebarger Offline
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The shop I work at has a Airlift brand, It's "Okay"......
I don't like that you must swap hoses around.
It doesn't fit ALL systems......Late GM with the 2-Seal caps about require you to use an adaptor!

I like the ones that have a standard "Stant" style hook-up, Snap-on & Matco have this style. (I have a Snap-on one)
When using the correct adaptor....You know that if/when the system won't hold vacuum, It's not the tool or how it's adapted to the filler neck. You have a leak in the system. Most likely from leaving the petcock loose mad

Not that I'm recommending to buy a tool that's at least twice the cost of the tool Trav posted! And you need adaptors for just about any late model vehicle.....Just sharing my experiences with them., And I already had a master adaptor set for pressure testing.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Last edited by clinebarger; 05/19/19 09:43 PM.

2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/U341E
2000 Toyota Avalon 1MZ-FE/A541E
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: clinebarger] #5109894 05/20/19 07:28 AM
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atikovi Offline
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Originally Posted by clinebarger
The shop I work at has a Airlift brand, It's "Okay"......
I don't like that you must swap hoses around.
It doesn't fit ALL systems......Late GM with the 2-Seal caps about require you to use an adaptor!

I like the ones that have a standard "Stant" style hook-up, Snap-on & Matco have this style.


The Stant style hook-up only works on a few cars. Airlift has expanding cone rubber adaptors that fit most any car.

Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: atikovi] #5110029 05/20/19 09:51 AM
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Trav Offline
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Stant has adapters for all cars for use with the pressure testers, if you have the adapters an additional tool that can use them is just making what you already have more useful. I bought the one from ECS on sale at a good price even though I didn't really need it and find it fits everything so far I have used it on without any trouble, it even does the big cap VW/Audi, SAAB, Volvo, BMW, MB and Japanese and US models.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: atikovi] #5110535 05/20/19 07:33 PM
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clinebarger Offline
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Originally Posted by clinebarger
The shop I work at has a Airlift brand, It's "Okay"......
I don't like that you must swap hoses around.
It doesn't fit ALL systems......Late GM with the 2-Seal caps about require you to use an adaptor!

I like the ones that have a standard "Stant" style hook-up, Snap-on & Matco have this style.


The Stant style hook-up only works on a few cars. Airlift has expanding cone rubber adaptors that fit most any car.


The cone's don't work well on all cars, The late GM's being one of them. Not saying that is a deal breaker as there are workarounds! But, I try my best to avoid fiddling with tools as time is money!

Like on the HHR in the above picture.....You can simply pinch off the Overflow/Recovery hose. But on other GM models....There is no recovery hose & the vent is built into the Degas bottle.

I see that you omitted the part of my post that clearly states "I have a master set of pressure test adaptors"......\


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/U341E
2000 Toyota Avalon 1MZ-FE/A541E
Re: Vacuum coolant filler? [Re: JHZR2] #5114109 05/23/19 11:46 PM
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Thax Offline
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Ive got the Airlift II . Its a universal fit tool that uses a cone rubber adapter. Its been pretty awesome, It fills efficiently , cleanly and thoroughly. Its not as nice as the one that clinebarger has , but I rarely use it on anything other than a KIA or Toyota. For my needs it has been pretty flawless for 2 years now. Id say it would be perfect for a tech working on asian vehicles or a well equipped diy enthusiast.


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2018 KIA Soul EX 2.0L
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