I have a dodge caravan 2000 w/ 3.0L engine and changed the coolant in the summer. The hardest part was getting the drain valve out and back in again. The drain valve i located on drivers side lower portion of the radiator that faces the driver. You can access it through the top and reaching down to get it. use a pair of pliers but nothing that locks on.
The drain valve is made of plastic so be careful. The trick is to push the drain valve in and then turn it before it will come out. I found that i had to push the drain valve in with considerable force before it would release. If and when you get the drain valve out, you will want to make sure the little rubber gasket around the drain valve is still in good condition.
Mine wasn't and i had to replace it. I found a suitable gasket at a department store automotive section. It came in a package with a bunch of other different sized gaskets (had to buy the bunch). Anyhow, you may have to push the drain valve in and then turn it before it is in properly.
Other than that, make sure you use the proper coolant and mixture for the climate you'll be driving in most. the owner's manual will give you an idea of how much coolant it will hold. i went through about 10 liters to fill mine up. I'll admit that changing the coolant was frustrating at times and i spent a lot of time getting together everything i needed and properly disposing of the old coolant. It was a learning experience. I saved myself some money but i think next time I'll get someone else to do it for me.
On a 2003 Ford Ranger : The 2.3 litre four cylinder engine has a thread on cap on the engine coolant reservoir , that is the pressure cap / radiator cap ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On the 3.0 and 4.0 litre V6 engines , I believe there is a radiator cap on the top of the radiator , but with the engine cool you should add engine coolant to the engine coolant reservoir - it has a cold fill mark
When the engine heats up to a certain temperature, the thermostat opens up and lets the coolant flow through the engine. Heat from the engine is absorbed by the coolant, which then cycles back to the radiator. Heat from the coolant is exchanged to the air which flows through the radiator fins, thus causing the coolant to rapidly cool down.
The radiator consists of cooling fins around tubing which the coolant flows through. A water pump circulates coolant from the radiator through the engine. A smaller radiator around the dashboard makes up the car's heater. An automotive cooling system has 6 basic components; the radiator, coolant/water, pressure cap, expansion tank, thermostat, and the water pump. When an engine is running, the water pump circulates the engine coolant inside the engine. As the engine heats up, the thermostat opens (usually at above 160 degrees), which allows the engine coolant to be pumped into the radiator, through the top radiator hose. The coolant flows through tubes inside the radiator, and is cooled by air passing over the car's grill. The cooled coolant exits the radiator and reenters the engine through the bottom radiator hose. The pressure cap holds the entire cooling system under pressure, which allows the coolant to reach higher temperatures without boiling. The expansion tank holds extra coolant for the system and allows for extra capacity when the coolant expands with the heat.
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