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Ok, I'm Stumped. Radiator Drain Plug?

Haynes manuals rot in hell! radiator drain plug

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#1 BigD

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:17 PM

Following on from here, kind of: http://www.fordowner...is-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.



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#2 L666JER

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:00 PM

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

I found this if it helps - http://www.talkford....-plug-tdci-130/

Some people are saying just disconnect the bottom hose.



#3 BigD

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:53 PM

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.



#4 stooge75

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 06:44 PM

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



#5 BigD

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 07:45 PM

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).



#6 BOF

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:08 PM

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. 



#7 stooge75

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:40 PM

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

#8 Stoney871

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:13 AM

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.

#9 BigD

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:59 AM

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.



#10 BigD

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:03 AM

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.



#11 stooge75

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:32 AM

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!)



#12 BOF

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:56 AM

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?)


Edited by BOF, 10 October 2013 - 09:59 AM.


#13 BigD

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

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!



#14 BigD

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:11 PM

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!



#15 BOF

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

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!



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