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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
coolant change at 5yr/100,000 (as per the manual)

I had my water pump replaced at 39,400… so the coolant was not 100% factory original.
So I waited till now.
About to turn 7 yrs old.
Now at 111,000.

Cooling system working fine….. (lets keep it that way).
I have a 4,000 mile trip coming up this summer.


Since I was going to do a simple drain/refill, I decided to kill 4 birds with 1 stone.
Purchased
Thermostat- AC-DELCO 15-11076- $40.19.
Upper radiator hose- AC-DELCO 24611L-$30.79
Lower radiator hose- AC-DELCO 26581X-$36.79
Hose clamp pliers- Craftsman #49804- $37.83
Prestone 50/50 Dexcool coolant- 2 jugs. $24.94




You need to remove the black shield up front. Since the fasteners are recessed, I recommend you use one of these paint can /bottle cap openers- sometimes given away for free at Home Depot---- that’s how I got mine.








You will remove the black shield, the engine cover, the throttle body tube, air filter cover, and High pressure fuel pump foam cover.
This took me about 15 min.

The High pressure fuel pump cover is held in place by 1 bolt- remove.
Towards the rear- use needle nose pliers to remove the clip holding the wiring cable.
Wiggle it out. Don’t bend too hard—or you may break the foam.











I decided to raise the front end of the vehicle and placed plastic on the floor to contain spilled coolant.


Now, Ive removed these type of clamps before with pliers/vice grips. But the clamps were very easy to get to on those cars.
On the Traverse- there is limited space to fit your hand and pliers.
So I simply decided to use the tool.


1st -
drain the coolant via the lower hose. (there is no drain-**** on this radiator).
Leave the radiator cap ON- this will suck some coolant out of the reservoir.

This is the view from the bottom of the vehicle—looking up-
Ive attached the clamp tool- and squeeze.






Once the clamp is loose- I move it back and stick my arm up and pull back the hose. This one slipped off pretty easily.
Have you container ready to catch coolant.
Very clean and clear coolant came out.


















While the coolant continues to drip out of the lower hose----

Remove and replace the UPPER hose.
Use the tool to loosen the clamp closest to the radiator.
This hose also easily slipped off.






Now use the tool to remove the REAR clamp- right next to a motor mount. Tight fit- but can be done.
This hose was not going to slide off like the other. It was stuck on.
Since I was replacing it- I simply used a razor blade and cut a line- then used a screwdriver to pry it apart and help unstick- and it came right off.
Then pull the hose out of the opening.
I transferred the sleeve and put the new hose in. Reverse procedure.









Next step-
Loosen clamp on hose attached to thermostat



Since the hose is hard to pull off- and the hose will be replaced- I simply cut.
NOTE- take note of the hoses routing.
Also take note how one end is shorter than the other end.



Remove the old hose- transfer the sleeve.
Do not install yet.




Thermostat.

At this point- slide your coolant container towards the rear----

The thermostat will also have 2 other connections in the rear.






I Used pliers for this.
You push down on the hose- and at the same time compress the clip- and then pull up.
Easy as that.



To loosen the thermostat- 4 bolts need to be removed.

There is a bolt that has to be removed- located where the ratchet is shown….




There are 3 bolts holding the thermostat at this point.
2 can be removed with the ratchet- the 3rd one as shown- as the ratchet hits the side of the transmission.




The thermostat assembly may be stuck on, but when you remove it- more coolant will come pouring out of the block.
That’s why the pan was moved towards the rear to catch some of the coolant.



Once removed- the old and the new.
Transfer over the clips. Carefully pry and push up- using a screwdriver.
(try not to break them).





The old thermostat. With the factory gasket.
Note the temp readings.... the same is stamped on the new thermostat.
82/95 C. (179.6/203 F)



To clean up the leftover gasket residue- Use your fingernail and a wooden/bamboo stick to scratch off the material.
Do not use putty knife, razor blade, screwdriver, wire wheel as these can leave deep scratches/grooves that will lead to leaks (ask the techs who had return customers due to timing chain cover/water pump leaks- due to this—yes there is a bulletin on this)




Almost done cleaning the mating surface. (and the top portion of trans).




Engine is very clean inside. No Dexcool gunk issues.




Make sure you clean up any scrapped off gasket from the engine opening.
Then grab the new thermostat assembly and mount all 4 bolts before tightening. No gasket goop required- as it comes with a special gasket.

Then tighten.
(this from the service manual- The three bolts are to be torqued to 10 NM or 89 Inch pounds. The fourth bolt is to be torqued to 59 NM or 37 foot pounds. ) (thanks LS973800)
I honestly – did not use tq wrench for this. But be careful that you don’t overtighten—you don’t want to strip them. I tightened to a snug fit—whatever that means to you.


Then reattach the 2 rear hoses. Simply push on- and make sure they click.
Then reroute the lower hose and attach to the thermostat and radiator.
Making sure that the hose is routed like the original.

The before and after










I then lowered the vehicle.
Put the throttle body tube and air filter back on.
I refilled the radiator and the reservoir.
Started the car and had someone revv the engine while I watched the radiator.
The person in the car watched the temp gauge- (remember the thermostat is in the CLOSED position- and the block is almost empty of fluid).
Once we saw the temp start going past the 210 mark- we shut off engine.
Gave the thermostat a chance to open-and allow coolant to somewhat flow.
We repeated this several time- revving the engine up to 2000.
You will see the coolant level drop in the radiator.
I topped off the radiator and put the cap on. Ran the car for a bit. Then shut it down.
While cleaning up- and engine cooled- you can see the reservoir level drop.
I kept topping it up to the full mark.
At the same time- I inspect all the hose connections and the thermostat area. No leaks.
I then put all the plastic shields back on- (including the HPfuel pump foam cover).

I left half the fasteners off the CHEVY shield so I can continue to check the level in the radiator.

I then took it for a drive- and came back home.
Since Saturday- I have been checking the coolant level.
So far it is staying full in the radiator.
The reservoir is the one that has dropped slightly- as trapped air is purged out of the cooling system.
The needle remains in the 210 range.

This took me about 4 hours. This included taking pictures, watching the kids, having breakfast, talking to some folks that stopped by….
It can be a 2 hr job.
 

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And a great write up too :D


Best gasket scraper for an aluminum surface - plastic ice scraper. Of course they probably don't sell too many of those in California!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
NHRATA01 said:
And a great write up too :D


Best gasket scraper for an aluminum surface - plastic ice scraper. Of course they probably don't sell too many of those in California!
I thought about one of those--- or a plastic putty knife-- but I dont think Ive seen one. The 3 I have are metal.
 

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rbarrios. I'm trying to figure out what that cable is for and what that tool does. What does that cable control. The right up is very good. Thanks for all your time.
 

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Took the car out for a test drive, and the temperature was climbing past the mid-way point of the gauge. It climbed within about 250 degrees, which is one mark below the red mark on the temperature gauge. I added more coolant when the engine cooled down. Not sure what else I can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
from the initial post---

I refilled the radiator and the reservoir.

Started the car and had someone revv the engine while I watched the radiator.

The person in the car watched the temp gauge- (remember the thermostat is in the CLOSED position- and the block is almost empty of fluid).
Once we saw the temp start going past the 210 mark- we shut off engine.

Gave the thermostat a chance to open-and allow coolant to somewhat flow.
We repeated this several time- revving the engine up to 2000.
You will see the coolant level drop in the radiator.
I topped off the radiator and put the cap on. Ran the car for a bit. Then shut it down.
While cleaning up- and engine cooled- you can see the reservoir level drop...

as the cooling system cools- it will suck in coolant from the reservoir.
I made sure the reservoir always had coolant in it....
and I always refilled to the FULL LINE --- this as a reference for me- to see how much the level dropped.

for the next few days- I monitored the coolant level in the reservoir...
In the mornings-- I could see the level did indeed drop slightly. I simply refilled to the FULL line.

Eventually all the air trapped in the system will be purged.
The level will then always return to the FULL mark once its cooled.
 

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@rbarrios, great write up. As you know from a different thread a simple coolant exchange is another job I plan to do soon (I'm at 152,000 miles & 7yrs, so it's due).

My question is if the cooling system holds around 3 gallons (if I remember correctly) & just pulling the hose off from the engine side & directing it downwards to drain the radiator only gets roughly half or less of the fluid out, should I repeat this procedure a few times to get most of the old coolant replaced with new (much like doing 3 or 4 drain & fills of the tranny)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
there are some who do a flush with tap water (garden hose).
But some dont like this- because of the minerals in the water- that could end up in your cooling system.


Some- will buy distilled water at the store- and use that to do a 'flush' of sorts.
Then refill with dexcool concentrate. This method Ive never done. Also- it would be a little difficult to get the right water to dexcool concentrate ratio.



Ive just drained out as much as would come out--- and refilled with store bought premixed 50/50.
My coolant was still not totally spent- as my water pump had been replaced.



But doing it like you suggest- sounds good to get more of the old stuff out. I would think maybe 1 time is good.
There are some little tools/kits at auto parts stores-- that let you know if the coolant is still good.
Maybe you can drain/refill- and then check to see if its still good.... before repeating process.... just an idea.
 

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Just did this today & it was a straight forward procedure. The only part that took a little bit was the spring clamp on the radiator hose by the engine side. It was a tight fit to get the channel locks in there & squeeze those tabs together till they lock together.

I was surprised that not as much coolant came out as I thought would. It was 2.75 qts. With the system capacity at 11.4 qts looks like I'll be having to do this drain & fill process 4 or 5 times to get most of the old fluid replaced with new.

I was however glad that this 7 yr old fluid at 152k miles still looked very clean & retained it's same color, didn't notice any deposits or crud at all. Still gives me peace of mind to have the fluid all new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
yes, it is nice to see the coolant come out 'crystal' clear (red/orange) of course-- but no crud
 
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