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Pressure testing cooling system
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Mike Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:00 pm    Post subject: Pressure testing cooling system Reply with quote

Howdy folks

I was on the Gowesty site and they have a tool like a bike pump that will pressurize the cooling system by pushing air through the cap on the coolant reservoir. Making the bleeding or testing of the cooling system's integrity easy.

So ... Rather than buy the tool ... How would I do this with a small compressor.

How about dial it down to 20psi, connect it to the cap on the coolant bottle and pressurize the system?

Would this work?

Is there a better way?

M
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bike pump and a valve stem would be much safer than a compressor.
I use a fitting and hose with my brake bleeder for this task.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Right tool for the the job you want to perform, as posted in the subject line.
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Last edited by Terry Kay on Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

certainly agree with you Terry that it's the right tool for the job.
and that (snapon) one is quite nice and $$$ for a shop that will do this on a semi-regular basis (and charge $$ for the task)
(and yes, thanks to my Dad(rip) I do have one of those)
but for the back yard driveway mechanic a tire pump and a fitting to hook the valve stem to the coolant cap and pressurize the system.
it's all of <$10 and does the same gig, adds air pressure to the top of the coolant tank to facilitate moving coolant out the radiator bleed screw much easier (than parking/tilting the whole van as bentley desribes)

in fact I recommend everyone make and learn and carry one in their on the road kit.. as that's when it's most critical.. ie. adding river/stream/faucet water to top off after an emergency repair and bleed the cooling system while the van is loaded with gear, kids, wife and dog.. where a <$10 item (and the knowledge) can save the day.. away from the shop and your $100 snap on multi vehicle kit.


this
NAPA part # NTH 90290 (90-290)
http://napaonline.com/Search/Detail....290_0215254349
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Plus female NPT hose barb

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


and a bicycle pump (I do use my small compressor tire air pump, it has a gauge and I stop at ~10psi. the cap will vent at 12~15 psi anyways to protect the system) you are just putting some air pressure in to bump the coolant out.. another plus to this system is that you can
#1 do it while the motor is running.
#2 do it while the motor is hot.. be careful and use common sense.
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OhBetty
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to clarify, if you guys are using this system to bleed the coolant, where are you letting it pour from?

Or emptying completely, then using pressure to force up to top of radiator?
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the pressure testet when the system is full, or as full as it can get prior to bleeding.
Bleed at the bleeder screw on the top of the radiator.

Gotta ask;
What would you be bleeding it if the system was empty?

Curious what you are thinking.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:24 am    Post subject: Re: Pressure testing cooling system Reply with quote

Mike Robinson wrote:
...How about dial it down to 20psi, connect it to the cap on the coolant bottle and pressurize the system?

Would this work?

Is there a better way?


I won't claim it is better, but there is another way. I use a cheapo inline fuel pump (about 3 lbs) to pump coolant in through the cap on the pressure tank.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Takes a few minutes, no drama, just let it run until coolant comes out the radiator bleeder.
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OhBetty
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
Gotta ask;
What would you be bleeding it if the system was empty?

Curious what you are thinking.


Apologies for the confusing wording... And I don't mean to hijack the thread from Mike Robinson, but getting this one thing clear would be hugely beneficial for the work I'm about to do.

I'm in the unfortunate position of not being able to utilize the coolant drains at the bottom of the engine because of corrosion and stripped plugs. So I'm looking for creative solutions for removing all of the coolant before replacing and bleeding...

I've attempted a number of solutions (including plugging a Shop Vac into one of the hoses underneath) but have never been very satisfied that I'm removing ALL previous coolant.

Any thoughts from the group on alternatives? Could one of these pumps be used to push through (and empty) much of the coolant?

Thanks in advance
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd venture to say removing the coolant hoses at the radiator & the engine would get most of it outa there.
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Mike Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just had an entertaining time with the cooling system

I have a pressure gauge from a spray gun, which I connected to my compressor. Connected the 'out' from the gauge to the coolant reservoir cap. I then put between 10 and 15lbs pressure into the system.

What a piece of cake to bleed the system! By far the easiest way and fasted way I have ever done it.

Then I checked the cooling system for leaks and found a couple of small ones, tightened up a couple of clamps. All good.

Fun time in the shop.

Thanks for the help.

Mike
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Robinson wrote:
...Connected the 'out' from the gauge to the coolant reservoir cap. I then put between 10 and 15lbs pressure into the system.

What a piece of cake to bleed the system!


Just so I can visualize this - do you apply pressure and watch the pressure tank go down, then open and refill as needed until the bleed is complete?
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Mike Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not need to bleed my radiator - no air in it. But if I had I would have watched the coolant reservoir. As it went down a bit. Stop. De pressurize, fill coolant reservoir, repeat.

M
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a constant 3 psi with the electric pump or the hand pressure pump on the expansion tank is a much better way to get this job done-- no questions asked.

Plugging your compressor onto them tanks with constant 15-20 psi is an accident waiting to happen.

No thanks.
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Last edited by Terry Kay on Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well 10 to 15 with a bit of a leak, sort of the same as the pressure of the cooling system when it is warm.

20lbs I agree would be too high.

M
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Pressure testing cooling system Reply with quote

<<How about dial it down to 20psi, connect it to the cap on the coolant bottle and pressurize the system?>>

I didn't pull the 20 psi outa thin air.
I was using your figure back when you were just asking a question, prior to taking your cooling system into your own hands with that compressor hook up which is pretty shakey in my opinion.
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veloandy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My FLAPS (O'Reilly's) has a nice coolant pressure kit in their "free" tool rental program. You pay a hefty deposit, take home the tool, and return it to get your full deposit back.

The kit I've borrowed had several different caps. Not sure if it had a stock Vanagon cap adapter b/c I run "The Tank" from Rocky Mountain Westy.

Totally agree that it's a great tool. Was invaluable for bleeding my cooling system, tracking down some pesky leaks, and making sure the system was A-OK before a big trip.

Was extra nice that I didn't have to buy anything!
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vegpedlr
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it goes against the DIY ethic here, but I like my GW pump. I wouldn't trust myself with any power tool hooked up to my cooling system. Nor would I trust a pump I built myself, but that's just because I know myself. FWIW, GW's instructions for the pump are to never exceed 20 psi. when pressure testing.

Just the other day I drove up the hill with everything running great. I was working on camper bits when I casually glanced behind the license plate. WTF? Where's my coolant?! Hooked up the GW pump, and it was like someone threw a grenade in my cooling system! Tightened up hose clamps, but found a nasty abraded hole in the heater hose right by the CV joint. Thanks to the GW pump I found the leak in the driveway, and thanks to the Samba, I fixed the heater hose.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veloandy wrote:
My FLAPS (O'Reilly's) has a nice coolant pressure kit in their "free" tool rental program...

The kit I've borrowed had several different caps. Not sure if it had a stock Vanagon cap adapter...


The one I borrowed did not but the adaptors are available:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CKTJXM/ref=pe_385040_30332190_TE_M3T1_ST1_dp_1

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000CKTJYG/ref=pe_385040_30332190_TE_M3T1_ST1_dp_2
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FarPoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Pressure testing cooling system Reply with quote

Does anyone know where to buy an adaptor for expansion tank to pressure test the cooling system (for 90 Vanagon)?
Thanks
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:23 am    Post subject: Re: Pressure testing cooling system Reply with quote

Amazon has this:

https://www.amazon.com/Stant-12016-Threaded-Radiat...1_ST1_dp_1

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And to test the cap add this:

https://www.amazon.com/Stant-12017-Threaded-Radiat...1_ST1_dp_2

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Or you can just use a bicycle pump on the overflow tube.
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