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Full Version: Ok, I'm Stumped. Radiator Drain Plug?
Ford Owners Club - Ford Forums > Ford Models > Ford Mondeo Club
BigD

Following on from here, kind of: http://www.fordownersclub.com/forums/topic/47311-argh-this-flippin-car/

 

I didn't change the radiator as the repair, as ugly as it was, seemed to be structurally fine.

 

Today my wife was just off to her mate's house, as she reversed back I noticed a small puddle under the front of the car.  Popped the bonnet and had a look at the repair - put my finger under the bottom of the pipe, barely touched it and BOSH - off it came.  It had completely decayed and felt just like paper.  There was no gush of water, though, telling me that it's been on the way for some time.  I did a 150-mile run the other day and I would have been proper (insert random swear words here) if it'd had happened then.

 

To cut to the chase...

 

I've got a new rad on order which should be here tomorrow.  I've got the car up on ramps, tied the radiator from the top to take the weight, and undone 3 of the four bolts on the mounting brackets - one is siezed, and rounded, currently soaking in WD40, will probably have to beat it with a hammer, or drill it.  Something.  Anyway, I then turned my attentions to draining the coolant.  I cannot find a drain plug anywhere.  The Haynes *spit* manual shows a picture of the drain plug, situated what appears to be directly above one of the radiator support pegs that sits in the rad mount.  I have checked both sides, front and back, there is no such drain plug.  Nor can I see any practical way of draining the fluid.  The bottom hose is barely reachable, points upwards at a 45-degree angle, so I don't see that as a viable way of draining the fluid out without it going everywhere.

 

So, where's this dam drain plug???  I'd like to do the job properly but if all else fails, given that the rad is going to scrap, should I just stab a screwdriver through the bottom of the plastic bit and do it that way?  There might not even be much in there (the header tank is now all but empty), but I've got cats and don't especially want antifreeze all over the floor.

L666JER

It seems you are not the only one with this problem.

I found this if it helps - http://www.talkford.com/topic/159851-noon-question-cant-find-the-rad-drain-plug-tdci-130/

Some people are saying just disconnect the bottom hose.

BigD

Yeah, I know.  I even gave that advice to someone myself (although, that was without prior knowledge of the Mondeo radiator - only done it on a Focus).

 

As I said, the trouble with taking the bottom hose off is that the port in angled upwards, and there's electrics next to it.  So that doesn't seem like an awfully good plan/design, to me.  Plus, I cannot see any way of even getting the bottom hose off without being laid directly below it as access is poor, and again, that doesn't seem like a very good idea.

stooge75

pair of adjustable mole grips worked for me from above.

yeah,cats love the taste but not the affects(dead cat).last time i did ths job,i was just coming back out for the last of my tools & my cat was just about to lap up a wee puddle of it.near s*it myself. :o

BigD

I got a mobile mechanic coming over tomorrow to take a look.

 

The nut on the radiator mount, is now completely mashed.  Apart from a blowtorch, it's had absolutely everything thrown at it and it has not budged a millimetre; hammer, screwdrivers, brute force, molegrips - even attempted to cut a slot in the bolt head so I could get a massive screwdriver at it - nothing has worked, there just isn't enough space to get any 'beefy' tools in.  The only way it's going to come off, is by cutting the bolt head off with a hacksaw, and I'm not even sure I'll be able to do that.

 

Suppose I ought to go and get the Haynes manual back out of the recycling bin, really, where I threw it after deciding it wasn't actually the right book for my car (even though it allegedly is, but I rarely see any relevant information in it).

BOF

If you are about to drain the radiator 'the hard way', have a supply of water (bucket, or better, a hose) to wash the old anti-freeze away immediately.

 

Theoretically, this problem can be avoided if you use a propylene glycol antifreeze, rather than an ethylene glycol one, but these have more or less disappeared from the market, and the anti-corrosion packages weren't always compatible with the older ones (OAT vs inorganic) and the 'specific gravity' type of concentration testers didn't work on them (the 'refractive index' ones apparently do) so you had to instruct anyone working on the car not to top up the antifreeze (inevitably they would insist that they knew all about it, and had done the right thing, even though it was very apparent that they knew only enough to be dangerous).  Rant over. 

stooge75
Do you not think you'd be better taking front bumper off to try make more room etc? In the haynes it looks like they have
Stoney871
Have you tried a screw extractor tool on the bolt?
Failing that, welding another bolt to it so you have something to get a spanner on to may be an option.
BigD

I don't have any screw extractors, though I looked, and I didn't go that route for two reasons - first, they were like £150 a set even on eBay, and second, they don't seem to make 'em that small (it's an 8mm bolt, or thereabouts - which is a lot of the reason why it's been such a swine to get out - a bigger bolt would have been MUCH easier to deal with).  I also tried hammering the next size down socket onto it, but it just wouldn't go.  I don't have any welding gear to weld a bigger nut on top.

 

One idea I did have, was to put two nuts onto the other end (where it pokes through the frame) - there is enough poking through to do this.  Then get a socket on the end-most nut, and unscrew that way.  The only problem there, is sourcing two nuts that are the right size and thread gauge.

 

The mobile mechanic is coming to have a look today, and my new radiator already arrived (coolpartsuk on the Bay of E - awesome service), so hopefully this whole charade might have moved forward by sometime tonight.  I'm changing out the coolant completely.  What I've already caught in the bucket looks old - I'd guess it's never been changed since it rolled off the production line.

BigD

Do you not think you'd be better taking front bumper off to try make more room etc? In the haynes it looks like they have

In the Haynes manual, as is a common problem, they photograph most of the parts when they're off the car, rather than in situ.  They also do their photographs close-up which has always bugged me as it makes it really difficult to determine which part of the car you're looking at.

 

Taking the front bumper off might make the job easier (at least in supporting the condenser).  But with temp sensors and airbag stuff and God knows what else behind there, it's just more work than I'm prepared to take on.  I'm going to leave it to a pro as I think I'm going to get out of my depth on this one.

stooge75

true.plus its getting COLD. I have to replace my nsf wheel bearing,but no-way am i doing it in 7 degrees.lol(whimp!)

BOF

I'm changing out the coolant completely.  What I've already caught in the bucket looks old - I'd guess it's never been changed since it rolled off the production line.

 

Makes sense to change it completely; the Ford stuff (pink) is specified for 10 years (which always seems a bit ambitious to me), but who knows whether a previous owner has put something else in it, and most stuff is only specified for 5 years, or less.

 

Don't mix the coolants (its the corrosion inhibitors that can be incompatible; the organic stuff doesn't mix well with the inorganic, and you won't know until, typically, a water pump bearing goes), and, if you are in a hard water area, don't just use tap water and hope. Also, if you had doubts about the previous coolant, you may want to give it a quick flush.

 

edit: there is one supplier, Prestone I think, that has a 'compatible with either organic or inorganic technology' type anti-freeze, and that might be a good way forward if it was difficult to flush the system and you were uncertain about what was in previously. (Don't know how it works; it be both organic and inorganic, can it?)

BigD

true.plus its getting COLD. I have to replace my nsf wheel bearing,but no-way am i doing it in 7 degrees.lol(whimp!)

I'll swap you!  You do my rad, and I'll do your wheel bearing!

BigD

It's off!! \o/

 

We got a hacksaw blade on it (minus the handle because there was no room), sawed half way through the bolt shaft.  Then got a chisel behind it and beat it repeatedly with a big hammer.

 

After that we had a few mm more to get the molegrips around it, and it finally began to come undone.  The bolt is now cut half way through, the end is completely wrecked, and the shaft is bent by about 10 degrees.  Guess we won't be putting that back in!

 

But it didn't stop there.  There was no way on God's earth we could get the bottom hose off.  Seriously, how tight are they?!  In the end, we drilled a hole in the bottom of the radiator to get the coolant out - that way we could take the top hose off first without coolant going everywhere.  So we did that, and STILL could not get the bottom one off, so we got the hacksaw on that too and cut the port off the radiator, pulled the hose up with the remainder of the plastic still in it, then prised it out with a flat screwdriver either side.  It was all going great til his screwdriver slipped and got my hand.  Fortunately it just took a lump of skin out, didn't bleed much.

 

So, after four hours of blood, sweat and swearing, it's all out.  The air con radiator is tied up to the slam panel with string, and that's how it will stay until tomorrow night when the process of refitting begins.

 

[edit] Oh, and the mobile mechanic didn't bother to turn up!

BOF

Sounds like a total nightmare (and doesn't it make it worse when something that should just be a little difficult turns into a nightmare just because they didn't make it easy at the initial design stage?). Anyway, good to hear that you've got this far, hope the 'reassembly is the reverse of disassembly' phase goes better!

BigD

You don't realise how truly terrible the design of the Mk3 Mondeo is, until you have to do anything semi-major to it.  Everything is inaccessible.  The radiator hoses - there is absolutely no need for them to be anything more complicated than a flexi hose with a jubilee clip at the end to hold it onto the radiator.  There is no reason for them not to use a decent sized bolt on the rad mounts, given the pressure needed to remove them.  I don't care what the Haynes manual says - the radiator fan does *not* fit between the crossmember and the back of the radiator - it will *not* go out of the bottom of the car.  It just won't.  There is no reason for a radiator to *not* have a drain plug on it.  There is no reason for the radiator and aircon radiator to be bolted together with nothing else supporting the aircon radiator, except for the metal coolant pipe at one side, which will not take the weight of the unit by itself.

 

Everything about this car, is just wrong.  Stupid, and wrong.  I bet Henry Ford is in his grave, spinning like a top at what his namesake has become.

stooge75

true. true.true & true!

(it will not go out the bottom.it just wont) lol. i bet you were swearing like a good un

got my own lil problem,replaced n/s front bearing & got everything back together moved car forwards a foot & thunk.i think ive pulled drive-shaft out too far,& dropped a bearing. (B***ard)

it was bloody freezing here today as well. tomorrow's gonna be even colder. Lets go!!!lol

BigD

(it will not go out the bottom.it just wont) lol. i bet you were swearing like a good un
Well, here's the thing.  The only reason I am doing all of this, is because the fan broke, and I had to take it out of the top, which is what ripped the header tank port off the radiator and kicked off this whole, sorry pantomime.  If it had gone out the bottom like it's meant to (i.e. without manhandling it around 20 different hoses), there would probably have been no problem.

 

And no, I didn't swear so much today.  I'm much calmer doing stuff on the car when my mate's helping me.  Whereas if I'm doing stuff by myself I just end up bouncing off the inside of the garage walls when it doesn't go right (which is pretty much all of the time).  You have a talk and a laugh and it eases the pain.  Though, his face was a picture when he thought he'd stabbed me through the hand with his screwdriver.  It went white. :D

stooge75

true. true.true & true!

(it will not go out the bottom.it just wont) lol. i bet you were swearing like a good un

got my own lil problem,replaced n/s front bearing & got everything back together moved car forwards a foot & thunk.i think ive pulled drive-shaft out too far,& dropped a bearing. (B***ard)

it was !Removed! freezing here today as well. tomorrow's gonna be even colder. Lets go!!!lol

Well,job done. all running a-ok now. wont say what the problem was as too embarassing lol :iim:

BigD

Me too, finished a couple of hours ago.  I can honestly say it's the biggest, most complete and utter pig of a job I've ever done to a car.  Never again.

stooge75

Me too, finished a couple of hours ago.  I can honestly say it's the biggest, most complete and utter pig of a job I've ever done to a car.  Never again.

Aye it can be the simplest of jobs that can go wrong,& normally its with nuts/bolts that are near extreme hot/cold/water. Every time I see a car without an undertray,well,need I say more.......

Ah I cant resist telling ya what I did,I re-stripped my left knuckle/shaft etc all over again,to find I'd forgotten to tighten up the lower wishbone(rear) nut.and it was this that made the crunch noise. It really threw me,as Ive actually done the same thing before but it just made a clunk noise. this time it gave me a crunch that made my eyes water. Oh well,live & learn lol :D

BigD

Mine doesn't have an undertray, and I must say I generally prefer it like that.  If I've got something leaking I'd like to know about it.  On the other hand, it'd be nice if everything under there didn't seize up solid.

 

I had to source replacement bolts for the radiator mounts - one was destroyed getting it off, one had damaged threads and wouldn't go back in, another had a damaged/rounded head and I couldn't tighten it.  My mate dropped off his box of spare screws last night (literally hundreds of all sorts of spare screws and bolts in it), and I was fortunate enough to find a set of four that were the right size, only with a 10mm head instead of 8mm, so, even better.

 

Plus I put a big dollop of copper grease on each - that way I shouldn't have so much trouble getting them off the next time.... if there is a next time... which there will be, cos my car's like that.



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