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Old 08-01-2021, 07:54 PM   #1
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What's this little bow tie metal attachment on my radiator drain bolt?

I'd like to change the engine coolant in my 1980 Winnebago Brave. When I looked at the bottom of my radiator, I found what I assumed was the drainage bolt, and it has a small bowtie like protrusion coming out of it.

1) What's this little bowtie(pictures attached)? Did it use to be the branches for a heat sensor.

2) Does that look like the drain bolt? It looks like I should be able to get a small wrench in there and undo it so that I can drain the old coolant.

3)Thanks for any help.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:56 PM   #2
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looks like a rusted petcock drain to me.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
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looks like a rusted petcock drain to me.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:05 PM   #4
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Be very gentle with it lots or rust might break!
That little bow tie is the pet cock turn one way the antifreeze runs out turn the other way the antifreeze stays in.
I would put some wd 40 on it before turning it.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:19 PM   #5
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And after successfully draining the old coolant, I would recommend replacing that rusty petcock valve before filling your radiator with fresh water/coolant.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:32 PM   #6
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And after successfully draining the old coolant, I would recommend replacing that rusty petcock valve before filling your radiator with fresh water/coolant.
i was gonna suggest consider replacing the radiator. assuming it's original equipment 41-yrs is well beyond useful life.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:35 PM   #7
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Agree on the WD40 idea.
. And you might need to clean it out with a toothpick first.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:48 PM   #8
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It's been a long time since I dealt with a drain petcock like that but yes you do need to clean out the middle of it with something as that is where the antifreeze will come out. I also third the penetrating oil suggestion but I would use a real penetrating oil something like Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster. Whatever you use, let it sit overnight and then be very careful with the petcock. As I recall you screw them in to open them and screw them out to stop the flow but as I said it's been a couple of decades or more since I've dealt with one. As to replacing the radiator it is getting on in years but as it's a brass radiator you may want to check on a recore instead of a new radiator. I don't know if anyone still does that but back in the day it was cheaper as you didn't have to replace the brass tanks. Be very careful with whatever you do as radiators can be pretty fragile and good luck.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:29 PM   #9
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It's been a long time since I dealt with a drain petcock like that but yes you do need to clean out the middle of it with something as that is where the antifreeze will come out. I also third the penetrating oil suggestion but I would use a real penetrating oil something like Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster. Whatever you use, let it sit overnight and then be very careful with the petcock. As I recall you screw them in to open them and screw them out to stop the flow but as I said it's been a couple of decades or more since I've dealt with one. As to replacing the radiator it is getting on in years but as it's a brass radiator you may want to check on a recore instead of a new radiator. I don't know if anyone still does that but back in the day it was cheaper as you didn't have to replace the brass tanks. Be very careful with whatever you do as radiators can be pretty fragile and good luck.
YES....but they are left-hand threaded
Turn counterclockwise and they screw IN to Open
Turn clockwise and they screw OUT to Close
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:57 AM   #10
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As rusty as that petcock is I personally wouldn't mess with it but rather pull the lower radiator hose to drain and flush the radiator. At least this way you dont risk damaging the radiator and have to pull it to be repaired or replaced
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:16 AM   #11
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Yep, that's the thing you twist and break off so you get to replace the radiator. After the 2nd or 3rd time doing that in my life fixing cars you figure out taking the lower radiator hose off to drain is faster, easier, and gets nearly all the coolant out. I can't think of the last time I've actually tried to turn one of those, it's just not worth the hassle. There's one on my RV water heater and to my great surprise, it was frozen shut too. Fortunately that's a standard 1/2" pipe fitting, and is readily replaced with a brass plug.

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Old 08-02-2021, 08:18 AM   #12
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as rusty as that petcock is i personally wouldn't mess with it but rather pull the lower radiator hose to drain and flush the radiator. At least this way you dont risk damaging the radiator and have to pull it to be repaired or replaced

exactly!
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:19 AM   #13
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As rusty as that petcock is I personally wouldn't mess with it but rather pull the lower radiator hose to drain and flush the radiator. At least this way you dont risk damaging the radiator and have to pull it to be repaired or replaced
I totally agree
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:19 AM   #14
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As rusty as that petcock is I personally wouldn't mess with it but rather pull the lower radiator hose to drain and flush the radiator. At least this way you dont risk damaging the radiator and have to pull it to be repaired or replaced
My vote as well.

I had a petcock fail on a Ford radiator, 1978 Ford. On Ford, the petcock was soldered in place. I was working in a machine shop, so I pulled the entire radiator one night, unsoldered/brazed the old petcock, machined a brass piece to fit into the hole, threaded it to accept a GM style petcock, and then re-soldered it in place.

I don't know if there are any radiator shops anymore to repair, you probably want to tread lightly with a radiator that old. Most radiators today are a throwaway part to go with our throwaway society.
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