Change coolant please help!!!
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This is a discussion on Change coolant please help!!! within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I want to change the coolant on my 02 wrx but I am seen a ton of different instructions while ...

  1. #1
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    Change coolant please help!!!

    I want to change the coolant on my 02 wrx but I am seen a ton of different instructions while looking around and none seem to be very clear. I would like to know what needs to be done before I get started and screw something up.

    This is the most informative thing I have found so far but I am still confused.

    The Owners Manual has all the answers but I will help you. This is the only PROPPER METHOD to add coolant and purge air from the system

    AT NO TIME OPEN THE RADIATOR CAP

    Use propper 50/50 mix for all coolant resevoirs.

    1) Fill the coolant resevoir (plastic bottle) to the fill line (put cap on)
    2) Fill the Turbo Coolant Reevoir (small metal right in front of turbo) (put cap on)
    3) Start car and turn on heater (high)
    4) Hold RPM's at 3000 for 10 minutes ( even if temp = H)
    5) Turn engine off and leave key to ACC (keep heater on)
    6) Let engine cool to "C"
    7) Repeat steps 1-6 until no coolant is required to fill resevoirs
    So here are my questions:
    1. When filling back up with fluid were do I fill? Seem like just filling the overflow tank (plastic bottle) and the turbo coolant reservoir will not be enough. I.E. will both of those suck in enough coolant? Is the Turbo Coolant Reservoir the only 'pressurized' metal cap on the vehicle. I just want to make sure I have the correct one.
    2. When repeating steps 1-6 do I really open the 'pressurized' turbo reservoir?
    3. I have heard of added some special Subaru stuff I need to add. 50/50 mix of course, wetter (not sure what this is, please explain), and some additive (again not sure what please explain.)?


    Also should I flush Flush by running water through the system a couple times? If I do that do I need to do something special to get all the water out? I.E. won't some of the water stay in the system when I fill back up with 50/50 throwing off the ratio? The car has 120,000 miles and in the overflow resivoir there seems to be some flaky particles floating around. I have never had any problems and the coolant looks nice and clean so I am unsure what this is.

    So all in all is it just as easy as draining from the plug and filling up the reservoir and overflow tank until it will not take anymore??



    Thanks so much in advance!
    Last edited by newmanw10; 06-05-2010 at 07:52 PM.

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  3. #2
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    These are the steps I use when I do coolant flushes on Boxer Turbo engines.
    * After the engine is somewhat cool remove the cap on the surge tank (metal coolant resevoir on intake manifold).
    * Raise vehicle, remove undercover, and remove pet**** from the radiator to drain coolant.
    * Once coolant is drained reinstall and tighten pet**** ( make sure the little rubber oring on the pet**** is still there).
    * clean off any coolant accidently spilled on undercarriage.
    * reinstall undercover
    * Lower Vehicle, remove radiator cap ( if eqipped), fill up the cooling system from the surge tank ( on intake manifold) until coolant starts to pour from radiator fill cap, at this point install radiator cap
    * Continue to fill the surge tank until full
    * Let vehicle run and get up to operating temp. MAKE SURE THE FANS CYCLE AND BLOW HOT AIR WHEN THEY DO.
    *Once again check coolant level in surge tank and overflow container.
    * Cap the surge tank and clean excess coolant off of engine.

    The hardest thing of the entire process is getting the air out of the system if there happens to be some trapped ( Usually only on the 05+ models due to the location of the heater core).

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    Surge Tank

    Are you referring to the overflow tank when you say surge tank? I.E. the plastic tank? Thanks I really appreciate your help.

    What about flushing?
    What about wetter??? and additives???

    Pictures would do wonders if anyone has any.
    Last edited by newmanw10; 06-06-2010 at 05:55 AM.

  5. #4
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmanw10 View Post
    Are you referring to the overflow tank when you say surge tank? I.E. the plastic tank? Thanks I really appreciate your help.

    What about flushing?
    What about wetter??? and additives???

    Pictures would do wonders if anyone has any.
    No not the overflow, the surge tank is the tank that is attached to the passangers side of the intake manifold with the radiator cap on it...Once you completely flush the radiator, if you like you can run a hose through it until fresh water comes out of the pet****, personally I dont really do this unless there is a known issue at hand. FOR ANY MODERN SUBARU COOLING SYSTEM...when replacing the coolant add 1 bottle of blue coolant conditioner when refilling. ( I personally confirmed this statement by asking a Subaru factory training teacher)...

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    Looking under the hood I only see 1 pressurized radiator coolant cap, and I am pretty sure this is the turbo reservoir. It is on the passenger side of the manifold. The only other cap is the non-pressurized cap for the overflow tank. What am I missing?

    For sanities sake what is wetter water?? Do I need this in addition to the conditioner?

    What about the 'flakes' in the overflow tank? Are these normal. Again the coolant is a nice green color so it looks good, but not sure what the little flake particles are. Are these normal. I don't really want to flush unless I have too.

    Sorry for another reply I am a but of a perfectionist. Thanks again so much for your help!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by newmanw10; 06-06-2010 at 08:57 AM.

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    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
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    Depending on your mileage your stock radiator is probably on its last legs. These tend to fail at the plastic endcaps. This is besides the point but I thought I should warn you.

    Changing the coolant is not very difficult. You will need a good open container to catch all of the old coolant and find a tube that will fit onto the pet****. So it doesn't leak everywhere. Once the coolant is drained you could run some distilled water and let it drain.

    Next you tighten up the pet**** and fill the radiator through the reservoir by the turbo and intake manifold. I suggest you go to the dealer and buy their coolant with the conditioner. Once the radiator is filled, and you look for leaks and all is clear, turn on the car. Leave the reservoir by the turbo off and let the car idle. The heater should be turned on and in the hottest position.

    To keep this clean get a good proper fitting funnel and leave it in the reservoir. You might get a little freaked out when the coolant starts to expand and starts filling the funnel. If the fitment is good you won't leak too much. The coolant will drain from the funnel after a minute or two. You can add some coolant mixture into the reservoir if it looks dry. After doing this for about 15 minutes squeeze the top radiator hose. Finally remove the funnel and replace the radiator cap when you see the coolant drain. Never in this process do you rev the engine.

    Take the car for a test drive. Don't go to far from your garage in case it overheats. As you drive watch the temp needle. It should be slightly below the mid mark and not move at all. If the temp starts creeping past the mid mark return home because it still has a bubble. If you still have a bubble you need to let the car cool all the way down. Never open the radiator cap while your car is hot. Repeat the process again.
    If your car was good fill up the overflow reservoir to the mid mark and before each drive make sure it is at the mid mark.

    This process works for me.
    Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.

  8. #7
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmanw10 View Post
    Looking under the hood I only see 1 pressurized radiator coolant cap, and I am pretty sure this is the turbo reservoir. It is on the passenger side of the manifold. The only other cap is the non-pressurized cap for the overflow tank. What am I missing?

    For sanities sake what is wetter water?? Do I need this in addition to the conditioner?

    What about the 'flakes' in the overflow tank? Are these normal. Again the coolant is a nice green color so it looks good, but not sure what the little flake particles are. Are these normal. I don't really want to flush unless I have too.

    Sorry for another reply I am a but of a perfectionist. Thanks again so much for your help!!!!!!!!!!

    Personally I would not recommend anything to be put into a Subaru cooling system besides the conditioner and coolant.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvoEatr View Post
    Personally I would not recommend anything to be put into a Subaru cooling system besides the conditioner and coolant.
    Does your shop use the conditioner on all Imprezas, turbo or not?
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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Does your shop use the conditioner on all Imprezas, turbo or not?
    Yes, I was at factory training last week over in northern new Jersey and took the liberty to ask one of the teachers there, he told me to put the conditioner in any modern Subaru cooling system any time it is drained and filled again....I cant argue with them, They are Subaru of America
    Last edited by EvoEatr; 06-06-2010 at 04:54 PM.

  11. #10
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    Are you seeing head gasket problems on WRX motors though? Do you feel the conditioner is a necessity or a precaution? I suspect there are many, many cars out there that have never used it since new and am curious.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
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  12. #11
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Are you seeing head gasket problems on WRX motors though? Do you feel the conditioner is a necessity or a precaution? I suspect there are many, many cars out there that have never used it since new and am curious.
    I personally have seen one head gasket issue on a WRX, I look at it as a precaution fore lord knows Subaru wouldnt want to have a problem like the 99-04 SOHC HG issues again..

  13. #12
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    That's how I'm interpreting it also. I don't think the WRX motors are having the failures like the older 2.5Ls did. In a way that's good news.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
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