HELP! Draining Stratus cooling system

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Alan Beagley, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. Alan Beagley

    Alan Beagley Guest

    I am trying to drain the cooling system of my '96 Stratus 2.5L so I can
    put in enough antifreeze to get through the winter. The temp. is
    supposed to drop below freezing tonight, and I am certain the system
    doesn't have enough antifreeze.

    I've been turning and turning the draincock (yes: counterlockwise), but
    no coolant is coming out. How many turns should it take? Should I be
    able to see the moving part coming out away from the radiator support?
    Should I be able to poke a wire up through the hole in the bottom once
    the draincock is open? (I can push it only a little more than an inch.)
    I have removed the radiator cap, so there's no vacuum to keep the
    coolant from draining.

    A Google search revealed that at least one person gave up trying to
    drain the system through the draincock and disconnected the bottom hose
    instead -- but that is perhaps even more difficult to get at.

    Looks as though I may have to run a fan-heater in the engine compartment

    Alan Beagley, Oct 22, 2003
  2. Alan Beagley

    Alan Beagley Guest

    It would have been nice if the manual had told me that the draincock was
    supposed to turn only 1/4 turn: I did wonder whether that was the case,
    but assumed that if that were so coolant would start running out after
    1/4 turn (like a household gas shut-off valve). What a pity they didn't
    say to pull it out after the 1/4 turn -- although I can't see how I
    would get anything in there to pull it out.

    Anyway, I took the easy way out and had JiffyLube work their wonders on it.

    (BTW, I found by trial and error that socket-extension-universal worked
    much better than socket-universal-extension; then I could use another
    extension + handle plugged into the universal.)

    Alan Beagley, Oct 22, 2003
  3. Alan Beagley

    Mike Behnke Guest


    I'd be more worried about spot overheating if you're low on coolant /

    The anti-freeze properties reduce the temperature where the coolant
    will freeze. A 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol to water will typically
    protect the coolant from freezing down to around -34F. Bump the mixture
    to 60/40, and the freeze point drops even further.
    Mike Behnke, Oct 22, 2003
  4. However, the higher the glycol/water ratio, the poorer the solution acts
    as a coolant. Unless you live in an area that experiences arctic
    temperatures, you're better off using a 50/50 mixture.


    Chris Mauritz, Oct 22, 2003
  5. Alan Beagley

    Icky Guest

    I can relate my experience replacing the coolant on my 97 Cirrus 2.5L this
    summer. I assume your vehicle is the same setup.

    I used the procedure in my Chilton's manual which calls for removing the
    right front fog light, then using a 19mm socket with 3/8" universal joint
    and 3" extension. The draincock turns only 1/4 turn CCW, then you should be
    able to pull it straight out. I didn't know this either, and mashed mine
    up. But the dealer had a new one for $8 Canadian, so it wasn't too bad. I
    think it should drain some without removing it, but it may be clogged with

    If you've been turning and turning it, it might be a good idea to pick up a
    new draincock at dealer before attempting to pull it out. The plastic
    threads strip if turned too far. <voice of experience>

    Icky, Oct 23, 2003
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