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Discussion Starter #1
I just drained my 3.0 Duratec radiator. Since I could not see any reasonable way to drain the block, I refilled with distilled water, planning to drain again, then fill with 50/50.

When I ran the engine on distilled water, I soon noticed the Low Coolant warning. I rechecked the level in the plastic container -- it was full. The engine did not overheat in a short drive, but the light stays on. So I don't know whether there's an air bubble, or some other problem.

Suggestions will be appreciated.
 
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Most likely, it's a dirty sensor. The same thing happened to duratechhie's 2000 when we flushed the coolant. I'm not sure if he fixed it or not, or if it stopped happening.

When filling the system, make sure to run the car with the cap off the plastic container for a while after the upper hose gets hot. This will ensure you don't have any air trapped in the system.

Also, for a little easier way to flush your system, you could take out the thermostat, reinstall the t-stat housing, take the rear hose off the plastic tank, and run it into a bucket. Much easier, no under-car work, and all the old coolant is flushed.
 

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My low coolant sensor came on too, some people say you can clean it, but I ended up getting the tank replaced.
 

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I unplugged the sensor

Mike
B)
 

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Originally posted by Bob Gervais@Jul 4 2004, 08:04 AM
Most likely, it's a dirty sensor. The same thing happened to duratechhie's 2000 when we flushed the coolant. I'm not sure if he fixed it or not, or if it stopped happening.

When filling the system, make sure to run the car with the cap off the plastic container for a while after the upper hose gets hot. This will ensure you don't have any air trapped in the system.

Also, for a little easier way to flush your system, you could take out the thermostat, reinstall the t-stat housing, take the rear hose off the plastic tank, and run it into a bucket. Much easier, no under-car work, and all the old coolant is flushed.
Yeah, it worked itself out. I didnt even have to clean the sensor, but the coolant wasnt that dirty when I flushed it to begin with.

Dont worry about the coolant lite, if its on and you obviously have coolant in the car you have nothing to worry about. Once the flush is done, periodically check it for the next few days after every trip. You should be ok.

-Damon
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, I've removed the expansion tank, to get at the coolant level sensor.

I removed the sensor connector without breaking the clips (a rare event!!).

Now I want to clean the coolant level sensor. Does it just pull straight out of the tank?
 

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If it's anything like the gen3 coolant level sensor then it's just a skinny little black rod and yes it does pull straight out of the bottom of the resevoir. But that little rod doesn't need to be cleaned, it doesn't even touch the coolant. The hole that the rod slides into has a float around it that the rod uses to get a reading on the coolant level. I couldn't figure out how clean the float so I had to get a new resevoir to turn off that low coolant light.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I disconnected the battery for over an hour, for the computer to forget it's complaint. Now the LOW COOLANT light still comes on.

I also removed the expansion tank and washed it out thoroughly. There's a plastic doughnut surrounding the sensor. I guess there's a magnet in the doughnut. I am certain doughnut moves up and down freely.

Then I reassembled and filled with 50/50. The LOW COOLANT light still comes on. The coolant is within the lines on the side of the expansion tank and the engine does not overheat.

My present guess is that the doughnut has a leak, and does not rise with the liquid. BUT that would not explain why it occurred just when I changed the antifreeze.

There's got to be a logical explanation.
 

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Okay, it sounds like the gen4's are using the same set-up as the gen 3's. I couldn't figure out how to "fix" the sensor either, so you should probably just replace the whole resevoir. Is your car still under warranty?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
FOLLOW UP REPORT:

After my wife ran the car for several times (several warmup/cooldown cycles) the LOW COOLANT now behaves properly.

SO, I recommend that if your LOW COOLANT warning light stays on after changing the antifreeze:

1) Verify the coolant is within or above the marks on the side of the plastic expansion tank. AND reverify after a couple miles.

2) Ignore the light for a day or two. It will probably correct itself.

I now suspect that the chamber in the expansion tank where the float operates is not well connected with the rest of the tank, requiring several heating and cooling cycles for this chamber to fill properly.

Good Luck and thanks for the help.

Jack
 

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My thoughts of draining my coolant:

First I drained the radiator and got most of it. Then I filled it back up with garden hose water. Ran the engine for about 15 minutes and redrained. By now my bucket was full, but the coolant was coming out pretty clear with mere trace amounts of antifreeze left. Then I took the garden hose, put it into the expansion tank, unpluged the radiator, and ran the engine for another 15 mintues. That actually got plenty of "gunk" out and I didn't smell any antifreeze in the mix, and so I just let the water drain out and drain out and drain out as the engine ran and the hose kept filling her up. Worked great. I drained it again and refilled with about 60/40 coolant to water because there would still be plain water in the block and that would bring the mix pretty close to 50/50.

Also, on the block there are supposed to be 2 drain plugs (1 per cyl. bank) to drain the coolant out of the block, but I don't know what they look like.

-mobiuslogic
 

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Originally posted by jbnimble@Jul 7 2004, 09:50 AM
FOLLOW UP REPORT:

After my wife ran the car for several times (several warmup/cooldown cycles) the LOW COOLANT now behaves properly.

SO, I recommend that if your LOW COOLANT warning light stays on after changing the antifreeze:

1) Verify the coolant is within or above the marks on the side of the plastic expansion tank. AND reverify after a couple miles.

2) Ignore the light for a day or two. It will probably correct itself.

I now suspect that the chamber in the expansion tank where the float operates is not well connected with the rest of the tank, requiring several heating and cooling cycles for this chamber to fill properly.

Good Luck and thanks for the help.

Jack
You definitely lucked out on that one. My low coolant light stayed on for about a year and a half before I finally just replaced the resevoir.
 
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