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How to Drain Refill and Bleed Engine Coolant System 98-12 Ford Ranger

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How to Drain Refill and Bleed Engine Coolant System 98-12 Ford Ranger

Created on: 2016-09-28

Need to drain or flush the coolant but want to do it right? Our experts will show you how to drain, refill, and bleed the engine cooling system properly

  1. step 1 :Draining the Coolant
    • Remove the radiator cap by turning counterclockwise
    • Remove the four 10mm bolts securing the cover underneath the radiator
    • Pull the cover down
    • Have a drain pan ready
    • Open up the plug with a 19mm wrench
    • Let the radiator drain
    • Hand-tighten the plug
    • Insert the cover into place
    • Tighten the 10mm bolts to the cover
  2. step 2 :Bleeding the System
    • Fill the radiator with the appropriate mixture
    • Leave the radiator cap off
    • Leave the funnel in the radiator
    • Place a drain pan beneath the radiator
    • Put the fan on the lowest setting
    • Put the heat on the highest setting
    • Run the vehicle
    • Watch the air bubbles
    • Refill coolant as needed while the vehicle is running
    • Let the coolant reach operating temperature
    • Wait for the coolant level to stop dropping
    • Check for heat to come out of the vents
    • Turn the vehicle off
    • Reinstall the radiator cap
    • Top off the overflow bottle if necessary
    • Test drive the vehicle and monitor the coolant levels

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Drain Pan

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies


  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions


  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    10mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

    19mm Wrench

Installation Video
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Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. I hope this how-to video helps you out, and next time you need parts for your vehicle, think of Thanks!

In this video, we're going to be working with our 2001 Ford Ranger 4.0 liter V6. We're going to show you the proper way to drain and refill your cooling system, as well as how to properly bleed it when you're done filling it back up. This is an important thing to do as a regular maintenance or if you need to drain and fill it to make a repair somewhere on the cooling system and want to try to contain the mess.

If you like this video please click subscribe. We have a ton more information on this truck, as well as many other makes and models. If you ever need parts for your vehicle, you can follow the link down in the description over to

Here are the items you'll need for this repair: 10mm socket, ratchet, socket extension, drain pan, 19mm wrench, flat blade screwdriver, coolant, and a funnel.

Remove the radiator cap at the top of the radiator on the driver side. Simply push down and turn counterclockwise. Remove the four 10 millimeter bolts securing this plastic cover underneath the radiator. We're going to use a socket ratchet and a long extension for this.

We put our vehicle on a lift to make it easier to show you, but you should be able to do this job with the vehicle on the ground. You may need a flat blade screwdriver to remove the plastic push pins securing it in, but usually you can just grab both sides and pull down.

Set up a drain bucket underneath your drain plug, located on the passenger side of the radiator at the bottom. We'll open it up with a 19 millimeter wrench. Don't open the drain plug all the way as coolant will come out the end where the plug sits in, so we'll crack it loose until it starts draining and wait for the radiator to be completely empty.

Reinstall the plug by hand just wipe that little bit of drip off the bottom there. Reinstall the bottom cover. Remember it has the plastic clips to help you line it up. Then install the four 10 millimeter bolts with a socket ratchet and extension. There are two on each side.

Any time this coolant level has been dropped, you'll have to bleed the system the way you see here. We're going to refill it with a 50/50 mix of the coolant designated for our truck, as well as distilled water to get the proper mixture. We'll then fill the radiator through this funnel back up to the top level, run our vehicle up to temperature with the fan on the lowest setting and the highest heat we have to make sure that that air if built up in the heater core circulates through fully and removes any air pockets from our system before we test drive it and confirm our repair.

Make sure the adjustor on your radiator is closed if you opened it to drain the system, and always use a funnel and a drain bucket to prevent any spills when filling the system. After filling the radiator completely, start the vehicle with the radiator cap off and a drain bucket underneath. Set your fan for the heat to the lowest speed and the heat to the highest setting blowing out of the vents so we can monitor the temperature coming out of the heater core.

While the vehicle is running, you'll notice air bubbles coming out of that filler neck. Be sure to keep an eye on that and keep the level up top throughout this process. You can see here that our vehicle needs more coolant. This means that our vehicle has probably gotten up to temp and that thermostat is open allowing the air inside the block to be pushed out by the cooling and the rest of the cooling system.

With a quick check inside the vehicle, we can see that our coolant temp gauge on our dash has gotten up to the normal operating temperature, so we know our thermostat's open and has allowed the coolant to circulate into the block pushing that air out. Now we just need to wait for the level to stop dropping so we know our coolant's full and check that we have proper operation of the heat to be sure that the heater core has had all those air bubbles pushed out as well.

Now that we have heat coming out of our vents, the bubbling has stopped and our radiator has maintained its level for a little while now. We'll shut the vehicle off, and remove our funnel. Levels stayed right up top. We'll reinstall our cap.

The level in our radiator overflow tank, which is located here hasn't changed so there's no need to touch that but you can top it off if necessary. Now we'll wash down any spilled coolant off of our engine and test drive our vehicle. Always be sure to monitor your cooling temperatures anytime you have to bleed the system on the initial test drive to be sure the vehicle doesn't overheat.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope this video helped you out. Next time you need parts for your car, please visit Also check out our other helpful how-to and diagnosis videos.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Funnel
  • Drain Pan

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Anti-Freeze

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 10mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 19mm Wrench

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