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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

My 2003 6x6 overheated after my last coolant change and I think air in the system is probably causing this problem. I've replaced thermostats, temp sensors, etc. and have raised the front end many times and burped the hoses trying to fix the overheat but to no avail. Assuming this is an air problem, do any of you have experience using a vacuum coolant fill system? If so, please let me know how the system worked. They have really good reviews and supposedly get all (or at least almost all) air out of the system during a refill. I've seen many reports of these kits concerning cars but not utvs. Thanks very much.
 

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First, are you certain an air pocket is your problem? A blown head gasket, lean fuel mixture or timing too far advanced can cause overheating as can a bad water pump impeller.

I've used my vacuum cooling system filler on several vehicles, my 5.3 Chevy Silverado, a Nissan Xterra and my Ranger. It worked well in every case.

I'm not certain whether your question has to do with how the vacuum filler actually works so I'll provide a brief explanation and what I've learned from experience. The information provided may not be necessary for you if you have a vast mechanical knowledge, however if others less experienced read this thread it may help them.

You'll need an air compressor probably with a minimum 20 gallon tank and capable of producing enough CFM airflow to create the vacuum which is done via venturi effect built into the tool. My guess is that 1.5 HP compressor is probably the minimum size. Of course a smaller compressor can be used as long as you have a large tank to fill with compressed air. If a smaller compressor is used you probably need a rather large tank as a compressed air reservoir. In short, a compressor designed to operate an air nailer isn't going to get it.

The kit comes with adapters to fit various size radiator filler necks. Get a kit that also has a tapered rubber "universal" neck adapter because the Ranger filler necks are small and the other adapters may not fit.

The system needs to be drained before using the filler. To operate install the tool into the radiator filler neck with air line and hoses attached. Have the replacement coolant mixed and ready for filling. Close the fill valve and open the air line. Watch the gauge on the tool until the vacuum reaches the maximum vacuum that can be achieved. You'll see the radiator hoses collapse as the vacuum is applied. Once you are certain the vacuum has reached maximum turn off the air line valve and watch the gauge. Any loss of vacuum indicates a leak somewhere; possibly a head gasket, water pump seal, hose, radiator, or even at the connection point of the tool at the filler neck. Find the source of the leak before proceeding. If there are no leaks place the fill hose in the coolant, open the fill valve and the coolant will fill the system. Note, it works better if the coolant is placed in a container large enough to hold all the coolant required and if that container is placed at or slightly above the level of the radiator filler connection. Be certain to have more than enough coolant in the container so as not to suck any air as the coolant level in the container gets low.

At his point your cooling system should be full and free of air pockets. If your cooling system is one that is difficult to purge it may be helpful to perform this operation with the radiator of the vehicle on a slight uphill slope. I've not had to do this for any system I've filled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First, are you certain an air pocket is your problem? A blown head gasket, lean fuel mixture or timing too far advanced can cause overheating as can a bad water pump impeller.

I've used my vacuum cooling system filler on several vehicles, my 5.3 Chevy Silverado, a Nissan Xterra and my Ranger. It worked well in every case.

I'm not certain whether your question has to do with how the vacuum filler actually works so I'll provide a brief explanation and what I've learned from experience. The information provided may not be necessary for you if you have a vast mechanical knowledge, however if others less experienced read this thread it may help them.

You'll need an air compressor probably with a minimum 20 gallon tank and capable of producing enough CFM airflow to create the vacuum which is done via venturi effect built into the tool. My guess is that 1.5 HP compressor is probably the minimum size. Of course a smaller compressor can be used as long as you have a large tank to fill with compressed air. If a smaller compressor is used you probably need a rather large tank as a compressed air reservoir. In short, a compressor designed to operate an air nailer isn't going to get it.

The kit comes with adapters to fit various size radiator filler necks. Get a kit that also has a tapered rubber "universal" neck adapter because the Ranger filler necks are small and the other adapters may not fit.

The system needs to be drained before using the filler. To operate install the tool into the radiator filler neck with air line and hoses attached. Have the replacement coolant mixed and ready for filling. Close the fill valve and open the air line. Watch the gauge on the tool until the vacuum reaches the maximum vacuum that can be achieved. You'll see the radiator hoses collapse as the vacuum is applied. Once you are certain the vacuum has reached maximum turn off the air line valve and watch the gauge. Any loss of vacuum indicates a leak somewhere; possibly a head gasket, water pump seal, hose, radiator, or even at the connection point of the tool at the filler neck. Find the source of the leak before proceeding. If there are no leaks place the fill hose in the coolant, open the fill valve and the coolant will fill the system. Note, it works better if the coolant is placed in a container large enough to hold all the coolant required and if that container is placed at or slightly above the level of the radiator filler connection. Be certain to have more than enough coolant in the container so as not to suck any air as the coolant level in the container gets low.

At his point your cooling system should be full and free of air pockets. If your cooling system is one that is difficult to purge it may be helpful to perform this operation with the radiator of the vehicle on a slight uphill slope. I've not had to do this for any system I've filled.
Thanks pyromedic for your information. It's good that I finally found at least one person who has used the vacuum system for a utv and it worked good. That was the main goal of my post. And I was wondering about the adapters fitting and your recommendation about getting a kit that also has a tapered rubber "universal" neck adapter. Thanks for that, it will really help since in any event I'm going to purchase a kit.

In answer to your question, I'm not certain air is the problem but it did happen right after I did a coolant change which makes me think that could be the cause. There are the other possibilities you also mentioned and I need to check them out once again as well. At this point, however, I just want to eliminate a potential air problem, which as you may know is a common problem in utvs, and move on to other potential causes if necessary.
 

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SG, just fyi, you can burp and fill till you are blue but if the radiator cap is bad it will keep on overheating. If you have not overheated the old girl severely and there is no obstruction in the radiator, it sounds like a cap problem.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SG, just fyi, you can burp and fill till you are blue but if the radiator cap is bad it will keep on overheating. If you have not overheated the old girl severely and there is no obstruction in the radiator, it sounds like a cap problem.
Hi jungleman, yes that's one of the earlier things I've tried but it didn't work. Thanks for the thought anyway.
 
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