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Coolant Flush and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Coolant Flush and Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$40

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, vacuum bleeder, large drain pan

Applicable Models:

Volvo C30 T5 (2008-13)
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design (2008-13)

Parts Required:

Coolant

Hot Tip:

Change the coolant every two years

Performance Gain:

Better protection against overheating

Complementary Modification:

Replace coolant expansion tank

One often neglected task on many cars is the maintenance of the cooling system. In general, I recommend that you flush and clean out your cooling system every two years. The reason for this is that old, exhausted coolant can actually cause irreversible damage to your engine components. Over time, the old coolant can become corrosive to aluminum and cast iron.

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 Volvo operating correctly, it's important to check the level 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 siphon off coolant and cause overheating in your engine. You should regularly check the coolant level in your coolant reservoir, making sure that it is within the prescribed High/Low marks. These marks are printed on the side of the coolant container. The container is slightly transparent, and you can see through it slightly to see the current coolant level.

Your Volvo 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 almost certainly signifies 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. If you suspect a leak that you cannot see, a pressure test from a professional mechanic can verify the integrity of your system.

In the case of the C30, you'll need roughly one and a half gallons of coolant along with one and a half gallons of distilled water.

With your Volvo cold, jack the car up and place it on jack stands. See our article on Jacking up Your C30 for more information. Make sure the ignition is on and the heater is set to maximum heat, but do not start the car. Leaving the ignition on will keep the valves to the heater core open.

You'll want to have a drain pan of at least five gallons capacity to catch all the old coolant. Crawl underneath the car and find the radiator drain plug at the bottom right corner. Unscrew the valve and let it drain completely. Once empty, close the valve.

Now move to the rear of the oil pan. You'll see an oil cooler mounted on the side. Loosen the hose clamp holding the left coolant hose to the cooler. Pull the hose off and let all the coolant drain from the engine block. Once empty, put the line back on and tighten the hose clamp.

When filling the system, Volvo specifies the use of a vacuum bleeder to remove all the air from the system. These work like a siphon, sucking all the air out and creating a vacuum in the system. Don't be alarmed if you see the hoses collapse. This is normal.

The advantage of this type of bleeding is that it can also determine if there's a leak in the system. If there is, the system won't hold a vacuum. Once you have determined there are no leaks, use the transfer hose supplied with the bleeder kit to suck the coolant into the engine. If you have done it right, you should be just at the correct level when the system pressure equalizes.

Begin by unscrewing the cap from the coolant expansion tank.
Figure 1

Begin by unscrewing the cap from the coolant expansion tank. This will help drain the coolant out faster.

Jack up the front of your C30 and locate the radiator drain plug on the right hand side near the bottom (green arrow).
Figure 2

Jack up the front of your C30 and locate the radiator drain plug on the right hand side near the bottom (green arrow). Unscrew the drain plug and let the coolant completely drain from the radiator.

Now move to the rear of the oil pan and locate the oil cooler.
Figure 3

Now move to the rear of the oil pan and locate the oil cooler. Loosen the hose clamp (green arrow) on the coolant line and pull it off. This will drain all the coolant from the engine block.

Volvo specifies the use of a vacuum bleeder to remove air from the cooling system.
Figure 4

Volvo specifies the use of a vacuum bleeder to remove air from the cooling system. There's really no way around it. If you change the coolant, you'll have to bleed it. Follow the directions of whatever bleeder you happen to have.


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