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Old 09-13-2011, 01:34 AM   #1
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Coolant Change ISL-400

All - Searched the forum and did not find exactly what I was looking for so here goes. The Engine Manual says to flush the coolant after two years or 60,000 miles, since we only have 25K on it, but it's been 5 years since it was manfactured/made, and over a year since the DCA was tested, I think it's easier to drain and replace it.

1. To drain the coolant, where is the drain plug located? Is there also a drain port on the engine? If so where is it?

2. About how much coolant aside from what cummings says in the blook (11.7 quarts) is in the complete system if you know?

3. I am planning on Fleetguard ES Complete for the replacement coolant, do I need to fill the system with distilled water and flush out all the old stuff first? Since ES Complete has the DCA additive, and is pre-mixed with distilled water, it's just getting the old stuff out first I'm concerned with. Page V-13 of the Engine Manual, it's listing ES-C as one of the approved choices, so that is what I'm going to use.

4. Has anyone done this procedure, or would taking it to cummins (I need the brake fluid flushed anyway) be better. If you have had it done at cummins, about how much did they charge you?

I don't mind doing it, since I already do my own oil change, I am concerned about how to recycle the old stuff.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:20 AM   #2
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My drain valve was on the right bottom of my radiator. I drained my radiator and flushed it with Dionized Water until it was clean. Make sure to run your heater to get all of the old coolant out. It took me about 4 hours of flushing to get it clean. I took the old coolant to a recycle center. I added 1 gallon of 100% and and the rest a 50/50 pre mix. I used Fleetguard ES Optimax and mine took 9 1/2 gallons. I also drained and flushed my Generator and used ES Optimax.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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There should be a drain at the bottom of the radiator. There should be one on the engine block but mine is different to yours so can't help there. As long as the new coolant is compatible with the old you don't need to flush it all out. I used Zerex in mine and it took nearly 12 gallons. My city does not accept antifreeze for recycling and neither will any of the auto-parts places.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:37 PM   #4
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Here is what Brett Wolfe wrote about coolant changes:
I just changed out my coolant to Caterpillar ELC and replaced all water hoses and belts. Thought I would share the experience.
To my knowledge no chassis/coach maker is using ELC—so all are “low silicate coolant for diesels” with included or added SCA. Coolant needs to be changed per manufacturer’s instructions (usually every 3 years). Additionally the SCA, pH and freeze point need to be checked on regular intervals using SCA test strips and SCA added as needed. The test strips are inexpensive and easy to use (we check the SCA concentration in all coaches at Cat RV Club Rallies). When either the time lapses (time starts when coolant installed in cooling system, NOT when purchased) or testing reveals an out-of-line conditions like pH or freeze point, it is time to change it. You can avoid all the testing and SCA adding, and go to 6 year change intervals by going to Caterpillar ELC and get better cooling system protection as well. Whichever coolant you choose, most of the steps are the same. The job is reasonably time consuming TO DO RIGHT, but low-tech.

Turn dash heater to full hot for the rest of the procedure—fan off. With the engine cold or at least cool, drain coolant. On some, there is a drain cock. On others, pull the lower radiator hose. I catch it in 2 Rubbermade 10 gallon storage bin lined with black trash sacks so I do not even get them dirty. At the end of the whole process, use a coffee can and funnel to pour old coolant into new coolant/water containers for recycling. Our city maintenance shop recycles coolant for free.

Refill cooling system with tap water. IMPORTANT: Be sure to remove any air lock from the thermostat housing. Some systems have a hose set up for this—on ours I just loosen the coolant line to the air pump and bleed the air out. Allow engine to warm up (using the cruise control to select idle speed of 1,000-1,100 speeds this up). Run for about 10 minutes at regular temp. If the temp gauge does not rise as normal, you likely have an air block and need to bleed the thermostat housing. Allow engine to cool 20-30 minutes and drain again. Repeat until the color is clear.

At this point, if this is the first coolant change on a 2-3 year old coach and you are not changing coolant brands/types, skip right to “Last rinse”. For older systems or for switching types of coolant, add a Cooling System Cleaner such as Cat Fast Acting Cooling System Cleaner 4C4611. Follow directions. Run, allow engine to cool, drain and again flush until effluent is clear. The flushing is markedly sped up by pulling off the heater hose (usually 5/8 to ¾” lines going to dash heater/motor-aid water heater, etc from the water pump. Put a hose nozzle in the hose and let it run until what comes out is clear. Run the engine to temperature at least once with tap water.

If your hoses are over 3-4 years old, this is a good time to change them as well (before last rinse). Same for thermostat(s).
Last Rinse is with distilled water. At $.62/gal at Walmart, it is silly to skip this step and leave your system full of high-mineral content water (there will be several gallons of residual water that you can not easily remove). Run engine for 10 minutes after getting to operating temperature. Cool and drain. Also drain and flush your coolant overflow container and refill with new coolant/distilled water.

Add the proper amount of Coolant CONCENTRATE (NOT PRE-DILUTE) to make 50% of cooling system capacity. My cooling system is 18 gallons, so I added 9 gallons of Caterpillar ELC CONCENTRATE (119-5150) (plus one for overflow container). Top off with distilled water to achieve your 50/50 mixture.

This is also a good time to clean the OUTSIDE of the radiator/after-cooler whether you have rear or side radiator. On rear radiator, most if the debris will be on the FRONT of the after-cooler (accessed from under the bed). On side radiators, most debris is on the outside of the after-cooler (side of coach). If it is just dirt, a hose and regular nozzle is all you need. If greasy or oily, use Joy liquid (dish washing detergent) in a spray bottle. Be SURE to rinse it off completely. You need to insure that the perimeter is as clean as the center. Ya, I know it is easier to see the center, but the fan blades "sling" the dirt to the perimeter.

Check belts while you are in there.

My add:
Since you can never remove residual water it is best NOT to use premix. Determine the actual amount of 50/50 mix, then buy half that amount of concentrate. Same for distilled water. For instance our system takes 12 gallons, but I found that I could only drain about 8½ gallons, leaving 3½ gallons of distilled water (after the flushing). Had I just filled it up with premix I would not have the required 50/50 mix. I poured in 3½ gallons of concentrate, then started mixing the rest as I filled the system up.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:32 PM   #5
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To be on the safe side I am getting 15 gallons of Fleetguard ES Complete. Detroit Diesel in Ridgefield is going to actually do the drain and refill for 102, which includes the recycling part of it. The Coolant is going to cost me 215.00, so I'm into this little project for 317 and change. I might be able to do the job in the driveway, but have nothing to collect that much coolant into, and such as that. Then I would have to drive it up to the recycling center.

They are also going to power flush the brake fluid since it's at the two year point. That is going to cost more since they have to take off the rear wheels to get at the bleed screws. But then maybe not, as they said it would be only an hour or less to actually bleed the system once the wheels are off.

Thank you for all the replies, I am going to think about doing this anyway since I could save some money at it. FWIW-The ES Complete is recommended in the ISL-400 Engine Manual as the recommended coolant for this engine.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:33 PM   #6
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The transfer station in NW Portland will take antifreeze in there hazard waste dept.
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:48 AM   #7
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Your engine came with ES-Complete which is why Cummins recommends it. (They own it too). I assume you are getting 15 gallons of pre-diluted which may be an issue if you do the full flush as described by Mr_D above since you won't know how much distilled water is left in the system. I would just drain as much as possible and skip the flush. Compatibility is not an issue in your case and the small amount of old coolant left will not harm anything.
I used a 5 gallon bucket to collect the coolant and transferred this to old 1 gallon milk jugs that I had saved just for this purpose. Pays to plan ahead.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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If you do not have a filter on your cooling system I would flush the system. There is a flush from Cummings, you use tap water with it and it is enviromentally safe to drain (no hazardous disposal required).
I do not remember exactly how much was required.
The worst part about the flush is getting some coolant on you as you are laying on the ground under the unit. You have to run the engine for like 1/2 hour, I think it was.
We had 2 drains that worked, one on the engine and one in the heater system.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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Monty, when we got our radiator replaced 2 weeks ago - it took 13 gallons. We had run up to Elkhart IN to pick up the concentrated antifreeze at Coach Care for 6/$116., and the shop diluted it with RO water. We thought we were getting an extra gallon but turned out they used it all.

I take it that your radiator hasn't had to be replaced yet?
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:26 AM   #10
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No, and next week I'm going to rubber shock mount those lower support bolts/rods to hopefully prevent that failure. In thinking about all the information provided in this thread, I cut down my order to 13 gallons and paid 219 for it. With the shop up the road charging 102 for the work, I feel ok with how much it's going to cost. When talking to cummins they said their was no need to flush the system unless it's been contaminated with oil or another foreign body as what is coming out is what is going in. They wanted 400 + to do it, and up to 6 hours labor to flush the brakes, so I am using another shop. Cummins is starting to get way to expensive for service, and so I am doing more of my own, or finding other good places to have the work performed. Hopefully diesel won't hit the 5 a gallon price I see coming or I'm thinking or parking it, and using if for my happy place (now if you don't know where that came from, you are not old enough to be reading this forum-hint uncle remus).
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Rv'er View Post
To be on the safe side I am getting 15 gallons of Fleetguard ES Complete. Detroit Diesel in Ridgefield is going to actually do the drain and refill for 102, which includes the recycling part of it. The Coolant is going to cost me 215.00, so I'm into this little project for 317 and change. I might be able to do the job in the driveway, but have nothing to collect that much coolant into, and such as that. Then I would have to drive it up to the recycling center.

They are also going to power flush the brake fluid since it's at the two year point. That is going to cost more since they have to take off the rear wheels to get at the bleed screws. But then maybe not, as they said it would be only an hour or less to actually bleed the system once the wheels are off.

Thank you for all the replies, I am going to think about doing this anyway since I could save some money at it. FWIW-The ES Complete is recommended in the ISL-400 Engine Manual as the recommended coolant for this engine.
According to a Cummmins Coolant Engineer the Detroit Diesel Power Cool Plus is EXACTLY the same. I found that it was cheaper than the ES Complete. He even said I could top off with ES Complete if I needed to. BTW, I bought it at the Ridgefield DD dealer too. I got the concentrate for just over $15 a gallon. For $102 I'll do it in my driveway following the directions I published earlier. You don't need big containers, I saved milk jugs and use them to dispose of the old coolant. I catch the coolant in a galvanized oil drain tub, just shut the spigot off and fill the milk jugs as I go.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #12
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Monty,
If you find a good shop around Portland, please let me know. My engine seems to run cooler than it should.
Brad
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:55 PM   #13
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Brad, I sent you a long e-mail, you should have gotten it by now, if not, I will cut and paste it into a PM for you. Allison Transmission/Detroit Diesel in Ridgefield, WA off I-5 at exit 14 on the west side of the Freeway, does good work, and not too expensive. I think I paid 300 for my transimission service back in the spring and they are only charging me 102 for the coolant flush (I am suppling the coolant), but they are pleasant to deal with. Cummins in Coburg, OR is getting way too expensive and I am going to do more of my own work because of it. They said as much as 6 hours labor to flush the brakes, and at 150 hour shop time, that is too much. So I called DD and they said it would take about an hour or so to do it. Better time frame, and think its going to be a better price. Wish I had a shop so I could do more of this stuff myself.
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:29 PM   #14
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At times I wish the MH was parked alongside the house, but then I think of all the stuff I
would probably screw up not knowing what I was doing. I don't like paying those $100+ an hour charges either.
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