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Old 09-18-2007, 04:00 PM   #1
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Default IS300 Radiator Drain / Refill *DIY* with Pictures

*Thanks to Hiroshima for permission to use this information.*

DISCLAIMER: The procedures, methods and products written up here was for my circumstances only and were performed on a 2001 Automatic. I make no promises that your results will be the same nor do I claim that this is the best way to do it. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

WARNING on working under a raised vehicle: This procedure requires that he vehicle be raised. Do not depend on the jack alone. Use jack stands and place them under the lift points as described in the owner’s manual.

Time Required: 1 hour

Parts Required: 1 Gallon Toyota Long Life Concentrated Coolant Part Number: 00272-1LLAC-01 Cost $15.95

Tools Needed:
- graduated 5 gallon bucket
- Small Funnel (ones designed for gas tank additives)
- #2 Phillips head screwdriver
- 10mm socket (preferably deep)
- 3/8" ratchet
- Masking Tape
- Turkey Baster (optional)
- 1 Gallon distilled water (Thanks 2pac)

Start with a cool car. Never open the radiator cap of a hot car as the contents are under pressure and could cause severe burns.

Step 1: Jack up front of car only.
Step 2: Remove front underbody cover. There are (16) 10mm self tapping screws that you will need to remove.
Step 3: Remove center pop-pin. To remove, use Phillips screwdriver and unscrew center portion of pop pin 90 degrees. It should pop out. At this point the whole tray should drop down.


Step 4: Remove Radiator cap.
Step 5: Unscrew white drain plug located on the driver's side of the radiator. You can unscrew part-way but it will drain faster if you remove the plug entirely.


Step 6: While radiator is draining, use turkey baster to remove fluid from expansion tank and dump into the 5 gallon bucket. This is where a lot of crud gets deposited, I always like to remove the fluid from here.
Step 7: Once fluid stops, close plug securely. Don't overtighten, snug is fine.
Step 8: Take bucket and mark the top line of radiator fluid with a large band of masking tape. This is how much fluid you need to put back into the system. Dump radiator fluid into another holding container and clean out the drain bucket, taking care not to move your masking tape line.


Step 9: Using the graduated marks of the bucket, put a 50/50 mix of coolant/water mixture up to the masking tape line.
Step 10: Using the funnel pour in as much fluid as will go into the radiator and put any remaining fluid into the expansion tank. 100% off the fluid that came out should go back in. If it does not, you will need to add fluid later, after step 12.
Step 11: Reinstall all removed parts: Radiator Cap, Expansion Tank Cap, Underbody tray.
Step 12: Turn on heater and turn temp dial full hot. Set fan setting to High. Start car and let idle until cooling fan turns on. Watch the temp gauge. It should not move above 1/2. If it does, you likely have a bubble in the system. Stop the car and allow to cool. Check the expansion tank and add fluid to the full mark. Start car again following the same procedure.
Note: I start the car on the stands (With the front end raised) to help any bubbles or air pockets float towards the front of the car and the radiator. I have found that this helps on front engine cars. Mid engine cars do work the same way in my experience.

*Additional Information from wjbertrand*

After draining the radiator, I moved my bucket and drained the engine block. The tap is at the rear right side of the engine and can be reached with some dexterity and the correct length extension between the 14mm socket and your ratchet wrench. I was surprised to see that about as much came out of the block as I had drained from the radiator - almost half the total amount! I think it's very important to do a thorough job and change all of the coolant, otherwise why even bother. After all, who would drain only half their oil?

I did not suffer any air bubble problems and the system took almost 8 quarts of 50/50 Toyota coolant and distilled water to refill. The manual says the system hold 7.9 qt., so I feel I performed a very complete change out and there couldn't have been much air volume trapped anywhere. After driving the car and letting it cool completely, I was able to add maybe an inch's worth of additional coolant mixture to the recovery tank.

After pulling all the under body panels, I'm now convinced this job could be done from above without bothering with all that. You can reach the radiator drain from the top with some dexterity and there is a hole in the belly pan to allow drainage. The block drain is accessed from above as well, but I found it easiest to remove the air intake temporarily, to improve access. You'll need some kind of low-sided pan to slip under the car if you do this without lifting it though.
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