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Coolant Flush and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Coolant Flush and Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$100 to $400

Talent:

***

Tools:

T25, T30 Torx drivers, 10mm, 13mm socket, Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, 6 gallon catch tray, vacuum bleeder

Applicable Models:

Porsche 955 Cayenne S (2003-08)
Porsche 955 Cayenne Turbo (2003-08)

Parts Required:

3 or 4 gallons of coolant, 2 gallons of distilled water

Hot Tip:

Lay down plastic sheeting and wear old clothes

Performance Gain:

Better cooling

Complementary Modification:

Replace water pump
A properly maintained cooling system must have a few things in order: adequate supply of coolant, a radiator that acts as a heat exchanger with the outside air, a fan or air flow source, a water pump to keep the coolant circulating, and a thermostat to regulate the engine at its optimum operating temperature. The coolant must also have the correct mixture and chemical compounds to promote heat transfer, protect against freezing, and also inhibit corrosion. To keep your Cayenne operating correctly, it's important to check the level, strength, and overall condition of the coolant on a regular basis. You also need to change the coolant before it degrades to the point where it doesn't perform its job adequately.
 
It's very important to check your coolant level regularly, as this will help detect leaks that can drain coolant and cause engine overheating. You should regularly check the coolant level in the coolant expansion tank, making sure that it is within the prescribed High/Low marks. These marks are located on a dipstick inside of the coolant expansion tank. With the engine COLD, open the cap and check the coolant level. Top it up with distilled water if needed. 

Your Cayenne will lose a little bit of coolant here and there over time due to evaporation from the reservoir. However, a significant loss of coolant over a very short period of time usually means a leak in the system. Sometimes a leak can be seen when you park the car overnight. Often the coolant leaks out and then evaporates while you're driving, leaving no tell-tale mark of coolant on the pavement. If you suspect a coolant leak, visually inspect all of the hoses, the water pump, the reservoir, and the radiator for seepage or the 'weeping' of coolant out of seams and gaskets. Check the seal on the radiator cap. Check that the radiator cap is fastened securely. If you suspect a leak that you cannot see, a pressure test from a professional mechanic can verify the integrity of your system.

If the system does not hold pressure, and you're still at a loss where coolant might be disappearing to, then you might want to start looking in the oil. A faulty head gasket will cause coolant to leak into the oil. If you remove your oil cap and find a yellow murky substance, then there is excessive moisture in the oil system. The oil level may be elevated and you will be able to see droplets of coolant inside the oil filler hole. If coolant is leaking past the gasket into a combustion chamber, you will see steam exiting out of the tailpipe, and the spark plugs will foul easily. In addition, the exhaust will be contaminated with the silicate corrosion inhibitors found in the coolant, and your oxygen sensors may be damaged - plan on replacing them (not cheap) if you have experienced this problem. A compression test is the easiest way to check for a bad head gasket. 

Checking Coolant Strength & Condition - You should periodically test the strength and condition of your coolant to assure that you have achieved the optimum balance for your Cayenne. This is just as important for protection against heat as it is for protection against freezing. An imbalance between water and antifreeze levels will change the boiling point and/or freezing point of the mixture. A 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol (EG) antifreeze will provide protection against boiling up to approximately 255 degrees F (with a 15 psi radiator cap). This mixture will protect against freezing to a chilly -34 degrees F. On the other hand, a similar 50/50 mixture of propylene glycol (PG) antifreeze and water will give you protection from -26 degrees F to about 257 degrees F.

 If you increase the concentration of antifreeze in your coolant, you will raise the effective boiling point, and lower the freezing point. While this may seem beneficial on the surface, having a antifreeze content of greater than 65-70% will significantly reduce the ability of the coolant to transmit and transfer heat. This increases the chances of overheating. As with most things in life, it's a good thing to maintain a healthy balance.

Beware - you cannot accurately determine the condition of your coolant simply by looking at it. The chemical composition and concentrations in the coolant are very important - if the chemistry is off, then your coolant may be harming your engine. Use a coolant tester (available at any auto parts store for around $10). to check the condition of the coolant. 

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with changing the coolant on your Porsche Cayenne. In general, I recommend using Pentosin G12 coolant. This is the same coolant that Porsche uses from the factory and it works well. Typically, you can find G12 coolant for a bit cheaper than the actual Porsche branded stuff. Figure on needing roughly 3-4 gallons of coolant and 2 gallons of distilled water to completely change the coolant. 

Keep in mind that you'll need to vacuum bleed the system after adding new coolant. Porsche specifically mentions the use of a vacuum bleeder to both evacuate and fill the cooling system. 

Airlift makes a very nice pressure bleed/fill system that allows you to do the job for around $100. It does this by attaching a pressure valve and gauge to the coolant expansion tank. Once installed, pressurized air causes a siphon effect, creating a vacuum and sucking all the air from the system. Don't be alarmed if you see the radiator hoses collapsing inward from the vacuum. You then open the valve and use the vacuum inside to draw the coolant in. Take care when draining each container of coolant. You'll want to shut the valve off before you drain it completely. Then transfer the hose to the next container of either coolant or distilled water. You don't want to get too much air back into the system, otherwise, you'll have to bleed the system again and this usually involves dealing with a frothy mix of coolant, water and air spewing all over the place.

If you follow the directions carefully, you should just have enough coolant and water in the system when the pressure equalizes. As with any tool, read the manufacturer's directions before use. 
Draining the coolant from the Cayenne is a bit challenging, as it requires removal of the lower under trays, a radiator support beam and a couple air guides. Even with these removed; it is still difficult to drain without getting coolant everywhere. Be sure you have a large catch tray of at least 6 gallons capacity under the car, or lay out some plastic sheeting. Also keep in mind that coolant is toxic and attracts animals due to the sweet smell. Don't leave old coolant lying around. Most auto parts stores will take old coolant once you have drained it. 

Begin by removing the left side engine cover (see our article in Removing Engine Covers for more info) and unscrewing the cap from the coolant expansion tank to help drain the coolant from the system.
Figure 1

Begin by removing the left side engine cover (see our article in Removing Engine Covers for more info) and unscrewing the cap from the coolant expansion tank to help drain the coolant from the system.

In addition to removing the under body trays (see our article on Removing Under Body Trays), you'll also need to remove the four T30 Torx screws (green arrows) holding the front bumper to the radiator support panel.
Figure 2

In addition to removing the under body trays (see our article on Removing Under Body Trays), you'll also need to remove the four T30 Torx screws (green arrows) holding the front bumper to the radiator support panel. You'll also need to remove the six Phillips head screws (yellow arrows) holding the air guides in place.

From inside each front wheel well, remove the three T25 Torx screws holding the air guide (yellow arrow) in place.
Figure 3

From inside each front wheel well, remove the three T25 Torx screws holding the air guide (yellow arrow) in place. Maneuver both air guides out from under the front bumper.

Underneath the front bumper lip, you'll see a set of two 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the radiator support panel on the left side.
Figure 4

Underneath the front bumper lip, you'll see a set of two 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the radiator support panel on the left side. Loosen and remove the bolts.

Remove the two 13mm bolts on the right side of the panel (green arrow, note that both bolts are directly under the metal lip shown here).
Figure 5

Remove the two 13mm bolts on the right side of the panel (green arrow, note that both bolts are directly under the metal lip shown here). Once removed, take the radiator support panel out from under the front bumper lip.

With the support panel removed, you can now access the radiator drain plug (green arrow).
Figure 6

With the support panel removed, you can now access the radiator drain plug (green arrow). Use a large flat head screwdriver to loosen and remove the plug. You'll want to hold the bumper lip forward when draining the radiator to help keep the mess to a minimum. Even then, I'd recommend laying down some plastic sheeting and have a large catch basin with a capacity of at least 6 gallons. It will be messy.

Once the cooling system is completely drained, Use a vacuum bleeder as shown here to evacuate the air from the system and also to fill it.
Figure 7

Once the cooling system is completely drained, Use a vacuum bleeder as shown here to evacuate the air from the system and also to fill it. Whichever bleeder you use, follow the manufacturer's directions for use.

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Comments and Suggestions:
bowser Comments: if you are simply replacing the coolant expansion tank because you notice slight leak ...but only a small fluid draw down, can you simply refill the cet after it is replaced or do you need to evacuate the entire system and then refill it......
September 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ciaka Comments: I have motive power bleeder. Will that do as vacuum tool to fill the coolant, and if yes, how do I use it to do this job? Thank you.
February 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not familiar with that tool. Check the tool instructions to be sure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jer in NJ Comments: Can we get an alt article or perhaps a forum member to provide input on CTT/CTTS coolant flush since they do NOT have drain plugs? It would make my day since I am in the middle of replacing these crap plastic pipes now and it seems like an opportune time... Thanks :-
December 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Red1 Comments: What is bleeding, and how to do it?
November 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article shows a vacuum bleeder. The vacuum bleeder will come with instructions on how to use, as each one is a little different. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Drew Comments: I have a 2006 S up in the air and it does not have a drain.
November 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you remove the support under the radiator to access the drain plug? My info says it is there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ryan Comments: How often would you recommend replacing the coolant?.
September 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Porsche considers it lifetime coolant. I would do it every 60,000 miles. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jerryjohn Comments: Thanks for you Tech help. Does the coolant draining procedure detailed here evacuate all the coolant from the heater?
June 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can get a little bit more out by disconnecting the heater hoses and blowing a little compressed air in there but this is usually not necessary if regular coolant flushes have been performed. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Chris Comments: Hi, could you please tell me if a coolant change can be carried without a vacuum bleeder
March 31, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, however it is tougher to bleed the system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mrbug Comments: The 2006 Cayenne S does not have this drain plug neither does the CTT.
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have someone look into it and have the article updated if needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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