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5,207 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to Hiroshima for the original DIY, wjbertrand for the engine drain portion and coolmonk for the added picture of the engine drain.

DISCLAIMER: The procedures, methods and products written up here was for my circumstances only and were performed on a 2001 Automatic. I make no promises that your results will be the same nor do I claim that this is the best way to do it. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

WARNING on working under a raised vehicle: This procedure requires that he vehicle be raised. Do not depend on the jack alone. Use jack stands and place them under the lift points as described in the owner’s manual.

Time Required: 1 hour

Parts Required: 1 Gallon Toyota Long Life Concentrated Coolant Part Number: 00272-1LLAC-01 Cost $15.95

Tools Needed:
- graduated 5 gallon bucket
- Small Funnel (ones designed for gas tank additives)
- #2 Phillips head screwdriver
- 10mm socket (preferably deep)
- 3/8" ratchet
- Masking Tape
- Turkey Baster (optional)
- 1 Gallon distilled water (Thanks 2pac)

Start with a cool car. Never open the radiator cap of a hot car as the contents are under pressure and could cause severe burns.

Step 1: Jack up front of car only.
Step 2: Remove front underbody cover. There are (16) 10mm self tapping screws that you will need to remove.
Step 3: Remove center pop-pin. To remove, use Phillips screwdriver and unscrew center portion of pop pin 90 degrees. It should pop out. At this point the whole tray should drop down.

Step 4: Remove Radiator cap.
Step 5: Unscrew white drain plug located on the driver's side of the radiator. You can unscrew part-way but it will drain faster if you remove the plug entirely.

Step 6: While radiator is draining, use turkey baster to remove fluid from expansion tank and dump into the 5 gallon bucket. This is where a lot of crud gets deposited, I always like to remove the fluid from here.
Step 7: Once fluid stops, close plug securely. Don't overtighten, snug is fine.
Step 8: Take bucket and mark the top line of radiator fluid with a large band of masking tape. This is how much fluid you need to put back into the system. Dump radiator fluid into another holding container and clean out the drain bucket, taking care not to move your masking tape line.

Step 9: Using the graduated marks of the bucket, put a 50/50 mix of coolant/water mixture up to the masking tape line.
Step 10: Using the funnel pour in as much fluid as will go into the radiator and put any remaining fluid into the expansion tank. 100% off the fluid that came out should go back in. If it does not, you will need to add fluid later, after step 12.
Step 11: Reinstall all removed parts: Radiator Cap, Expansion Tank Cap, Underbody tray.
Step 12: Turn on heater and turn temp dial full hot. Set fan setting to High. Start car and let idle until cooling fan turns on. Watch the temp gauge. It should not move above 1/2. If it does, you likely have a bubble in the system. Stop the car and allow to cool. Check the expansion tank and add fluid to the full mark. Start car again following the same procedure.
Note: I start the car on the stands (With the front end raised) to help any bubbles or air pockets float towards the front of the car and the radiator. I have found that this helps on front engine cars. Mid engine cars do work the same way in my experience.

Added new info. Credit goes to wjbertrand
For those of you with doubts on the exact location of the drain bolt on the engine block, it's right below the headers on the left side of the engine (if you are standing in front of the car).

Here's a pic:

Don't loosen the drain bolt all the'll be a PITA to put back on.

911 Posts
Should be included here,

When draining the block, use a 12" extension and go behind the furthest exh mani runner. I was having a hard time w/ this until I looked at Hiro's original thread. The proper route is mentioned there.

From the manual:

(a) Pour coolant into the radiator until it overflows.
Capacity (w/ Heater):
7.5 liters (7.9 US qts, 6.6 lmp. qts)

Use of improper coolants may damage the engine cooling system.
Only use Toyota Super Long Life Coolant or similar high quality ethlene glycol based non-silicate, non-amine, non-nitrite, and non-borate coolant with long-life hybrid organic acid technology (coolant with long-life hybrid organic acid technology consists of a combination of low phosphates and organic acids).
New Toyota vehicles are filled with Toyota Super Long Life Coolant. When replacing the coolant, Toyota Super Long Life Coolant (color is pink, premixed ethyleneglycol concentration is approximately 50% and freezing temperature is -35°C (-31°F)) is recommended.

Do not substitute plain water for engine coolant.

(b) Check the coolant level inside the radiator by squeezing the inlet and outlet radiator hoses several times by hand. If the coolant level goes down, add coolant.
(c) Install the radiator cap securely.
(d) Slowly pour coolant into the radiator reservoir until it reaches the FULL line.
(e) Warm up the engine until the cooling fan operates.
Set the air conditioning as follows while warming up the engine.

Automatic air conditioning system
Set control as follows:
Fan speed - Any setting except OFF
Temperature - To the highest temperature
Air condition switch OFF
AUTO switch OFF
Maintain the engine speed at 2,000 to 2,500 rpm and warm up the engine until the cooling fan operates.

(f) Squeeze the inlet and outlet radiator hoses several times by hand while warning up the engine.
(g) Stop the engine and wait until the coolant cools down.
(h) Remove the radiator cap and check the coolant level inside the radiator.
(i) If the coolant level is below the full level, perform the steps from (a) through (h) and repeat the operation
until the coolant level remains the full level.
(j) Recheck the coolant level inside the radiator reservoir tank. If it is below the full level, add coolant.


(a) Fill the radiator with engine coolant and attach a radiator cap tester.
(b) Pump it to 177 kPa (1.8 kgf/cm2, 26 psi) and check for leakage.

274 Posts
In the past, I have serviced a few radiators. I have used this method:

1. Drain fluid from radiator.
2. Fill with water and cleaning agent
3. Drive for 1 day
4. Drain fluid from radiator
4. Fill with fresh water and coolant.

I see you do not use a cleaner here so is it really necessary? If you run fresh water through the system at least you don't have to drain the block, right?

525 Posts
Thanks to jasonm4 for referring me to this page. I'm replacing my radiator tomorrow and will be following the steps here. My only question is about the small screw below the header on the passenger side. What size is that screw / bolt? Sadly, I don't have a 12" extension so it'll probably be a PITA for me. :(

525 Posts
Update for previous post:

Followed the steps on here for the fluid removal then took the OEM radiator out. That thing was beat! Put the new one in, hooked up all of the hoses, reconnected all of the stuff I took apart and I was back in business after refilling it.

Super big shout out to jasonm4, again, for assisting me with the bleeding of the new coolant and water. The system took what seems like forever to take the fluid in and he guided me through the bleeding process and told me what and what not to look for.

The hardest part was getting to the drain on the engine block. My extension was too long to get in there so I just put the socket in there and was able to loosen it with a smaller socket wrench. Other than that, the replacement of the radiator was probably a 2/10 on a scale of toughness.
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