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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm at the 5 year mark to drain/flush the coolant on my 09 Enclave (okay, 4 months over 5 yrs). I only have 40K miles. I was thinking of draining the coolant in the radiator, filling with coolant and running the engine, draining the radiator again, then filling for the last time. I don't want to remove engine drain plugs for fear of problems with them going back (and I don't know where to find the plugs). How long does it take for the coolant to circulate in the engine, heater, and radiator? Should I drive the car for some time to circulate the coolant? Or would just running the engine for 10-15 minutes be fine to circulate everything (with heater on)?
 

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I don't think I have ever flushed out a radiator. I have a 2000 Grand Prix with 219k miles and have never drained the radiator and dexcool still looks good and has the proper temp protection.
 

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Repair manual says to disconnect the lower radiator hose at the engine then bend it down to drain the radiator. The engine end of the lower radiator hose attaches to the long tube coming off the water pump---which is at the back of the block (driver's side) right above the transmission. To drain the block requires removing the drain plugs.

After draining the radiator, fill with a 50/50 mix of Dexcool and water. Add new mix to over flow tank, put caps back on and run the engine at fast idle for a few minutes to heat up and pressurize the system. Let cool. Once cool remove radiator cap and fill as needed and add to over flow tank if needed. Check again once or twice as the vehicle is driven.

Adding the new coolant should be enough to replenish the additives in the system for the corrosion control and such it provides. Try your best to maintain the 50/50 coolant water ratio. That is why it is not a good idea to flush the block with water.

GM recommends a full flush using one of those machines that are becoming common at most repair shops. A good way to go but expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Bayner. I think I'll just replace the coolant in the radiator and the 2 hoses. My water pump was replaced twice, and they topped off the coolant. However, the part number shows it was full coolant - I'm not sure they mixed it with water although I'd like to think they would have done it right. You can never tell with these technicians working on "flat-rate." They often do "short-cuts" which land up causing some other problem.
 

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100% coolant is not good as it will not perform properly and more likely to overheat than the 50/50 mix. Hopefully they used the 50/50 premix and misidentified it on the invoice.

Have fun getting to all those hose clamps. Speaking of clamps, reuse the original clamps if possible, The spiral clamps are easier but Motor Week TV program said they put extra pressure at the spiral screw on the plastic radiator neck and can cause it to crack.
 

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the good news is since your water pump was replaced 2 times--- your coolant was partially drained when it was repaired.
Then they refilled with new coolant.
So your cars coolant isnt 100% 5 yr old fluid.

In your case-- it should be sufficient to drain and refill.
I personally use the DEXcool that is PREMIXED 50/50.
Simply pour in. no need to try to figure out the mixing ratio
 

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I'm at 5 years as well, and thinking about changing the coolant. Where are the drain plugs that are mentioned? Also, I take it you have to pull the fasteners and remove the plastic shroud to get to the radiator cap, is this correct?
 

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the radiator hose at the engine--- as per the post above...



I was looking at mine the other day-
I may do the connection at the lower radiator...
and drain- then refill.
Ill have to see how easy that is.
 

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sparkydave said:
I'm at 5 years as well, and thinking about changing the coolant. Where are the drain plugs that are mentioned? Also, I take it you have to pull the fasteners and remove the plastic shroud to get to the radiator cap, is this correct?
You only have to remove the oil fill cap and then pull the engine plastic shroud straight off. There are no fasteners to remove in order to take the shroud off. While working put the oil filler cap back on to prevent anything being dropped or spilled in there.
 

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he was referring to the cover over the radiator cover.
you do have to remove a couple of push tabs- and then you have access to the radiator cap,
 

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rbarrios said:
he was referring to the cover over the radiator cover.
you do have to remove a couple of push tabs- and then you have access to the radiator cap,
OOPS!

Thanks for the correction.
 

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Bayner66 said:
...Speaking of clamps, reuse the original clamps if possible, The spiral clamps are easier but Motor Week TV program said they put extra pressure at the spiral screw on the plastic radiator neck and can cause it to crack...
Do yourself a favour, and replace with *new* clamps, since you have them off anyway. People run into issues with re-using old tension clamps. You think, they still have good tension, but they are worn, over time, and they have a tendency to leak, or even not hold.
 

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I tackled it today, and it's not too bad a job. Getting the channel lock pliers on the hose clamp on the lower radiator fitting is easier said than done; mine was pointed sideways and I had to "walk" it around to get a better grip on it. Surprise for me: I had never seen the spring hose clamps that lock open, I thought I had bent it until I examined it up close. Hose came off the radiator with no trouble, in fact, coolant started seeping once the hose clamp was released. You'll need a big catch pan. Although it says it holds nearly three gallons, you'll probably get only about 1.5 gallons out. I took the recovery tank off and washed it out too. I had 3 gallons of pre-mixed Dex-cool ready, but I could easily have done with 2. Per the owner's manual, refill the radiator (don't forget to put the hose back on first!), leave the pressure cap off, start the engine, and run until the upper hose gets hot. I had to top off the radiator a couple times as it ran and after it cooled off.
 

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5 year

I pulled the lower hose today. I also removed the overflow and washed it out. It only took a little over 1 gallon to refill including the overflow. I was hoping to get more out of it. I left the cover off tonight so I can recheck the radiator in the morning.
I used Craftsman cable hose clamp pliers for the first time and they work great!
 

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yes- that Craftsman tool is great.

When it came time to drain my coolant at 5 yrs of age...
went ahead and replaced the thermostat and the upper/lower radiator hoses.
I mean--- coolant was all out-- may as well.... no need to drain again later.
 

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yes- that Craftsman tool is great.

When it came time to drain my coolant at 5 yrs of age...
went ahead and replaced the thermostat and the upper/lower radiator hoses.
I mean--- coolant was all out-- may as well.... no need to drain again later.
Maybe next year I will drain and refill again and do the thermostat and hoses. I'm only at 61,000.
 

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Repair manual says to disconnect the lower radiator hose at the engine then bend it down to drain the radiator. The engine end of the lower radiator hose attaches to the long tube coming off the water pump---which is at the back of the block (driver's side) right above the transmission. To drain the block requires removing the drain plugs.

After draining the radiator, fill with a 50/50 mix of Dexcool and water. Add new mix to over flow tank, put caps back on and run the engine at fast idle for a few minutes to heat up and pressurize the system. Let cool. Once cool remove radiator cap and fill as needed and add to over flow tank if needed. Check again once or twice as the vehicle is driven.

Adding the new coolant should be enough to replenish the additives in the system for the corrosion control and such it provides. Try your best to maintain the 50/50 coolant water ratio. That is why it is not a good idea to flush the block with water.

GM recommends a full flush using one of those machines that are becoming common at most repair shops. A good way to go but expensive.
Good info I noticed you mentioned 50/50 and water...I know the 50/50 is dexcool and water mixed...but what is the additional water for and how much. I drained my 2011 traverse and took about 2 1/2 gal dexcool to fill system. I a big believer not to attempt to remove engine plugs. Always create new leaks.
Thank you
 

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Good info I noticed you mentioned 50/50 and water...I know the 50/50 is dexcool and water mixed...but what is the additional water for and how much. I drained my 2011 traverse and took about 2 1/2 gal dexcool to fill system. I a big believer not to attempt to remove engine plugs. Always create new leaks.
Thank you
I think you mis-understood. bayner66 was saying to use a mix of 50% Dexcool and 50% water. He was NOT saying to use a 50/50 mix of Dexcool and then water.

You have 2 options: either get 100% Dexcool and mix it yourself 50/50 with water OR you buy premixed 50/50 Dexcool/water and don't do any mixing.
 

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I think you mis-understood. bayner66 was saying to use a mix of 50% Dexcool and 50% water. He was NOT saying to use a 50/50 mix of Dexcool and then water.

You have 2 options: either get 100% Dexcool and mix it yourself 50/50 with water OR you buy premixed 50/50 Dexcool/water and don't do any mixing.
Got it! Thanks for response. Everyone is so helpful.
 
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