Never remove the expansion tank filler cap when the engine is running, or has just been switched off, as the cooling system will be hot, and the consequent escaping steam and scalding coolant could cause serious injury. If the engine is hot, the electric cooling fan may start rotating even if the engine is not running, so be careful to keep hands, hair and loose clothing well clear when working in the engine compartment.
Cooling system draining
Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure.
To drain the system, first remove the expansion tank filler cap. Place a thick cloth over the expansion tank cap, then turn the cap anticlockwise as far as the first stop and wait for any pressure to be released, then depress it and turn it further anticlockwise to remove it.
If additional working clearance is required, apply the handbrake, then jack up the front of the vehicle and support it on axle stands.
Place a large drain tray underneath the radiator, and unscrew the radiator drain plug
. Allow the coolant to drain into the tray.
Radiator drain plug (shown with radiator removed)
The cylinder block may also be drained by removing the drain plug located on the exhaust manifold side of the engine at the flywheel end
Cylinder block drain plug
On completion, retighten the drain plugs securely. Where necessary, lower the vehicle to the ground.
Cooling system flushing
If coolant renewal has been neglected, or if the antifreeze mixture has become diluted, then in time, the cooling system may gradually lose efficiency, as the coolant passages become restricted due to rust, scale deposits, and other sediment. The cooling system efficiency can be restored by flushing the system clean.
The radiator should be flushed independently of the engine, to avoid unnecessary contamination.
Disconnect the top and bottom hoses and any other relevant hoses from the radiator.
Insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet.
If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, remove the radiator, insert the hose in the radiator bottom outlet, and reverse-flush the radiator.
Remove the thermostat, then, if the radiator top hose has been disconnected from the engine, temporarily refit the thermostat housing cover and reconnect the hose.
On completion of flushing, refit the thermostat and reconnect the hoses.
With the top and bottom hoses disconnected from the radiator, insert a garden hose into the radiator top hose. Direct a clean flow of water through the engine, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom hose.
Cooling system filling
Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the engine components.
Fill the system via the expansion tank, with the correct antifreeze mixture, until the coolant level reaches the MAX mark on the side of the expansion tank. Refit the expansion tank filler cap.
||Motorcraft Super Plus 2000 antifreeze to Ford specification WSS-M97B44-D
Start the engine and allow it to idle until it reaches normal operating temperature, then allow it to idle for a further 5 minutes.
Switch off the engine and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the filler cap and top-up the coolant level to the MAX mark on the expansion tank. Refit and tighten the cap.
Ford state that, if the only antifreeze used is Ford’s own purple Super Plus, it will last for ten years. This is subject to it being used in the recommended concentration, unmixed with any other type of antifreeze or additive, and topped-up when necessary using only that antifreeze type, mixed with clean water. If any other type of antifreeze is (or has been) added, the ten year life period no longer applies; in this case, the system must be drained and thoroughly flushed before fresh coolant mixture is poured in.
If any antifreeze other than Ford’s is to be used, the coolant must be renewed at regular intervals to provide an equivalent degree of protection. The conventional recommendation is to renew the coolant every two years.
To give the recommended standard mixture ratio for this antifreeze, 40% (by volume) of antifreeze must be mixed with 60% of clean, soft water. If you are using any other type of antifreeze, follow its manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the correct ratio.
It is best to make up slightly more than the system’s specified capacity, so that a supply is available for subsequent topping-up. However, note that you are unlikely to fully drain the system at any one time (unless the engine is being completely stripped), and the capacities quoted are therefore slightly academic for routine coolant renewal.
Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses checked for condition and security. Fresh antifreeze will rapidly find any weaknesses in the system.
After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze. If topping-up using antifreeze to Ford’s specification, note that a 50/50 mixture is permissible, purely for convenience.
Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will damage the vehicle’s paintwork. A screen wash additive should be added to the washer system in its maker’s recommended quantities.