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Dave Nova
Dave Nova, Chevrolet Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 19450
Experience:  ASE Master Certification. GM World Class Certification
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how do I flush the radiator of a 1999 chevy cavalier

Customer Question

how do I flush the radiator of a 1999 chevy cavalier?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.
Cooling System Draining and Filling

Caution: As long as there is pressure in the cooling system, the temperature can be considerably higher than the boiling temperature of the solution in the radiator without causing the solution to boil. Removal of the pressure cap while the engine is hot and pressure is high will cause the solution to boil instantaneously -- possibly with explosive force -- spewing the solution over the engine, fenders and the person removing the cap.

Notice: When adding coolant, it is important that you use GM Goodwrench DEX-COOLTM coolant. If coolant other than DEX-COOLTM is added to the system, the engine coolant will require change sooner: at 50 000 km (30,000 miles) or 24 months.

Before draining and recovering the cooling system, inspect the system. Perform any service needed to ensure that the system is clean, does not leak and is in proper working order.

Some coolant manufacturers are mixing other types of glycol in their coolant formulations; propylene glycol is the most common new ingredient. Propylene glycol is not recommended for use in GM vehicles that were manufactured with GM Goodwrench Dex-Cool. A hydrometer will not always provide a correct measurement of freeze protection when anything other than ethylene glycol and water is being tested. The degree of inaccuracy will vary depending on the proportion of other glycols present in the coolant. Hydrometers test the amount of glycol in a mixture by measuring the specific gravity of the mixture. The higher the concentration of ethylene glycol, the higher the float balls go in the hydrometer. This in turn indicates better freeze protection. Because ethylene glycol and propylene glycol do not have the same specific gravities, hydrometer readings of mixtures containing propylene glycol give incorrect values. It is recommended that a refractometer be used when testing coolant. Refractometers test for the amount of glycol in a coolant mixture by measuring the speed of light as it passes through the fluid and are not affected by the specific gravity of the glycol. For proper coolant testing.

Draining Procedure

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface.
  2. When the engine is cool, remove the surge tank cap by following these steps:
    2.1. Slowly rotate the surge tank cap counterclockwise about a ¼ turn and then stop.
    2.2. Wait until any residual pressure is relieved. Residual pressure is indicated by a hissing sound.
    2.3. After all hissing stops, continue to rotate the surge tank cap counterclockwise until the cap is removed.

    Object Number: 339454  Size: SH

    Important: For procedures requiring the cooling system to be partially drained, opening the radiator drain valve should provide sufficient draining. No further actions should be necessary.

  3. Use a 1/4 square drive or a 3/16 inch hex drive in order to open the radiator drain valve. The radiator drain valve is located at the bottom of the radiator tank.
  4. Remove the engine block drain plug.
  5. Allow the coolant to drain completely.
  6. Inspect the drained coolant:

Refilling Procedure

    Notice: When adding coolant, it is important that you use GM Goodwrench DEX-COOLTM coolant. If coolant other than DEX-COOLTM is added to the system, the engine coolant will require change sooner: at 50 000 km (30,000 miles) or 24 months.

  1. Close the radiator drain cock. Remove the drain hose.
  2. If previously removed, install the engine block drain plugs.

    When installing the drain plugs, use pipe sealer GM P/N 12346004.

    Important: On vehicles equipped with the 2.4L engine, open the coolant air bleed valve. The coolant air bleed valve is located on the top of the thermostat bypass pipe/heater pipe assembly. Close the valve once a continuous stream of coolant is expelled from the valve.

  3. Fill the surge tank to the base of the filler neck.
  4. Start the engine with the pressure cap off. Let the engine run until the upper radiator hose starts to get hot.
  5. If the coolant level in the surge tank is low, add the proper mix of coolant until the level reaches the full cold line.

    Important: After servicing the cooling system, and if the vehicle is equipped with an intermittent low coolant light, an occasional low coolant light may be encountered during some extreme driving maneuvers. This complaint should be eliminated by removing the surge tank cap and adding coolant to a level just at or above the full cold line when the system is cold.

  6. Install the cap onto the tank with hand tight pressure.


Important: Dispose of used coolant in a proper fashion, such as in a used coolant holding tank. Never pour used coolant down the drain. Ethylene glycol antifreeze is a very toxic chemical. Disposing of ethylene glycol antifreeze into the sewer system is both illegal and ecologically unsound.

There is currently no approved method for recycling used DEX-COOLTM coolant into new DEX-COOLTM coolant. DEX-COOLTM coolant can be recycled into new conventional coolant. Consult local listings for coolant recycling facilities in your area.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Where is the radiator drain valve?
Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.
The radiator drain cock is on the bottom, left side(drivers side) of the radiator end tank. It faces forward.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you have a picture of it I still cant find it
Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.





Look under the vehicle from the front. Look to the drivers side bottom of radiator.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
how do I remove the radiator plug from a 1999 chevy cavalier
Expert:  Dave Nova replied 7 years ago.
Use a1/4" square drive ratchet to turn drain plug 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

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