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How To: Coolant Flush - PICTURES!

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by ramonortiz55, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Feb 13, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    ramonortiz55 [OP] New Member

    May 3, 2015
    First Name:
    2001 4runner limited silver millenium
    This is my write-up version of doing a coolant flush on my 2001 4runner Limited.

    Picked up 3 gallons of anti-freeze, a radiator funnel perfect for the task, a bucket, and a few gallons of DISTILLED water.

    Some people only do Toyota Red, I really don't care as long as it is Red.

    First thing first, make sure vehicle is cool and parked at a small incline where the front end is higher than the rear. This ensures that the vehicle is burped properly, all water bubbles are out of the coolant system.

    Pop the radiator cap off:

    Remove any skid plates in the way and locate the drain plug at the bottom of the radiator. Keep in mind that the drain plug will back out all the way if turned out enough.

    Drain the coolant. Yes, it was green. That's the reason I decided to convert to red.
    If you have any pets, make sure that they stay away from the vehicle. The radiator fluid smells/tastes sweet to them and if they drink it, they die.

    If any of it spills, immediately rinse it away.

    Remember the specialty funnel?

    This comes with various adapters for the radiator cap, locate the one that fits and put the funnel together. This is pretty much straight-forward:

    Once the radiator has been drained, close the drain plug. Clean up any mess and scare off any wandering pets.

    Fill up the radiator with distilled water:

    You'll see some gurgling action as the water funnels into the radiator:

    Once the radiator is "full", add more water until the funnel is about 3/4 full and turn on the vehicle:

    Ensure the AC/heater is off and watch the temperature climb, on the gauge pictured - 123*

    As the water pump cycles, you will see bubbles rising thru the water in the funnel and the water level start to drop. This is good. All air bubbles must be out. It might help a little to give the engine a bit gas..

    Keep an eye on the water level, if it gets down too low, add more.

    Once the engine starts warming up to about 190*ish..

    Crank the heater to max, this ensures that the distilled water flushes thru the system.

    If you have a rear heater, crank this up to max as well.

    Leave the engine running with heater full blast for a good 15 - 20 minutes, sometimes longer. It all depends if you no longer see air bubbles come up at the funnel.

    Once you believe that all the air bubbles are out, flush the water.

    Depending on how clean you want your coolant system, you may want to repeat this cycle 2 or 3 times. Since I wanted to make sure I removed as much green coolant as possible, I did 4 cycles.

    You will notice the water/coolant come out cleaner and cleaner after each cycle. It will be your call to determine when you are "satisfied"

    Don't forget to drain your reservoir!

    Once you are satisfied with the flushing of the radiator, do the final cycle:

    1. Add red coolant until the radiator is full.
    2. Once full, fill the funnel until it is about 1/2 full.
    3. Start the truck and burp it to remove all the air bubbles as instructed above.

    Once all the air bubbles are out, fill the reservoir to the cold/max level and you are good to go.

    After a few days of driving, check the reservoir and radiator levels. Top off if needed.

    ***Caution, do not open the radiator when it is hot***
  2. Apr 24, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    cashflow50 New Member

    Apr 24, 2018
    2001 black runner SR5 with hood scoop
    thank you
  3. Apr 29, 2018 at 6:56 AM

    toyota1986 New Member

    Apr 29, 2018
    Well put and great play by play , gonna give it a go this weekend
  4. Jun 5, 2018 at 6:52 PM

    woodman60 New Member

    May 26, 2018
    First Name:
    It looks like you're just draining the radiator fluid, but not the water/coolant in the block. When you fill the radiator only with 50/50 mix, aren't you only achieving about 25%.

    If I'm wrong, please clarify.

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