Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Boston Mass. area
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Just had to do this again, so I got a year of heat -- and devised a new detail.
You can lower the level of coolant prior to the procedure by removing the top (small) hose from the coolant de-gas bottle, aiming it into a bucket and letting the water pump run coolant out of the system until the de-gas bottle is empty.
Result: minimumal coolant spillage when you take off the heater hoses.
Just as a precaution:
Do this from a cold start so you won't fry your upper cylinders or head/manifolds.
(Obviously) Stop when the de-gas bottle is empty.
Dave w/ the geezer wagon
EDIT: if you can't see the level in the bottle from the outside because of opaque crud, you can sight into it when you remove the cap. If your bottle is in this shape AND obviously bulged out, it's a good time to replace this under-$20 part, since it will leak eventually when it cracks at the mounting points... and it will crack soon.
1986 MT-4 4-cylinder (R.I.P. circa 1990, rust, clutch)
1994 Station Wagon (R.I.P. circa 9/2005)
1991 Station Wagon (R.I.P. 1/2007, but the Benz that pulled out in front was bent much worse)
1998 SE Station Wagon (R.I.P. 2/28/09 at ~186k)
2004 Taurus SE w/Vulcan & AX4N | dark shadow gray metallic | gray cloth interior | still strong at 192K+
2000 Taurus SE wagon w/Vulcan & AX4S / tropic green metallic | gray cloth interior | purchased 6/12 at 51k miles