Most people think that cooling systems on all vehicles can be simple to work on. On the other hand, cooling systems can be tricky to repair when working on an European vehicle.
Cooling systems are designed to keep the engine working at operating temperature for optimal performance. Plus, cooling systems also aid in heating the cab up for climate control and also defrost for foggy windows.
Cooling systems on some vehicles can be very complex. On European vehicles, most cooling systems are tricky to work on for the system is tucked away or is in tight spots. A lot of European vehicles have remote reservoirs to fill up the cooling system. The radiator usually is tucked away inside the front grill of the chassis. This makes it a bit difficult to fill up a system when changing the contaminated or weak coolant.
There are two types of cooling systems:
- Conventional cooling system
- Closed cooling system
When flushing a conventional cooling system, there will be access to the radiator and have an easy access to the drain valve on the lower portion of the radiator. Usually the heating system will drain with the radiator.
When flushing a closed cooling system with a reservoir (expansion tank) the radiator can be mounted in the open or hidden. Since the radiator is hidden in an European vehicle, this can be tricky when flushing the coolant. The best way to flush the coolant is to use a tool called - coolant vacuum bleeder. This tool will draw all of the coolant from the system into a drain container or bucket and place a vacuum on the entire system. Then when the system is ready for recharge, just take the drain hose and place it into the new coolant. Be sure to have extra coolant to keep from getting air into the system. Turn the valve to flow and let the vacuum draw in the new coolant. This will fill the system, but if there is a slow leak, the system will be low when recharged.
When replacing coolant hoses on European vehicles, there may be some obstacles in the way. For example, some European vehicles have coolant hoses that connect the the engine behind a pulley or a pump. This can be tricky, for it seems almost impossible to gain access to the hose clamp. In this case, the pulley or pump must be removed to gain access to the hose clamp. Sometimes when removing parts, they tend to break off and cause even more problems.
Other systems may be in the way of the cooling system like the air conditioning hoses. If the hose is bendable and can be moved, then removing the clamps to the air conditioning hose would aid in replacing a coolant hose. However, if the air conditioning hose is hard and cannot bend, then removal of the refrigerant from the air conditioning system is a must. This will remove all pressure to the air conditioning system allowing the hose to be disconnected and moved out of the way to gain access to the cooling system hose.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Why Cooling System Repairs on a European Car Can Be Tricky and was authored by Marvin Sunderland.