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Old 05-31-2010, 01:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile DIY coolant flush (2004)

I flushed the coolant this past weekend. Here are some cell phone photos of the work.

-Allow the auto to cool off overnight (make sure the climate control is set on hot when you shut the engine off)
-Remove the radiator cap
-Remove and drain the overflow reservoir
-Loosen the radiator drain plug (you don't have to fully remove). It is a white plastic wingbolt with conventional threads.
-Drain radiator
-Remove the block drain plug (19mm wrench)
-Drain the block and prepare for a mess
-Clean up the mess
-Wipe off the bolt/block and replace the block drain bolt
-Tighten the radiator drain plug
-Add coolant to the overflow reservoir (max fill line) and reinstall the overflow reservoir
-Add coolant (I purchased 2 gallons of the Honda Type 2 premix)
-Replace the radiator cap
-Rinse the splashed coolant off of the engine bay/block/exhaust pipe/etc.
-Warm up the engine and check for leaks
-Once the car cools off... check to ensure proper coolant levels

Notes:
-The block drain bolt was 'very' tight.
-The easiest access to said bolt is from the top (it is just behind the front header heat shield).
-Good luck and don't cross thread the bolt during reinstallation.

Radiator cap (wipe it clean before reinstallation):


Coolant overflow reservoir (a little tricky to remove):


Radiator drain plug:


I used a section of hose to help keep the mess to a minimum:


Hose that I used:


Location of the block drain (very 'fun' to access):


Tools needed:
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the writeup Willard! Should be a sticky.

I just saw this for the first time tonight. I'm changing the gaskets on the water passage tomorrow so I was browsing. I've read the block drain can be tough, and I'm still a bit unclear on its exact location, but I have a service manual so I'm sure I'll figure it out once I get under there.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Lets add most shops will run the engine with the expansion cap off to allow the coolant to burp the air out of the system-merely topping up the coolant level as this happens.

Also, keep pets away from any antifreeze-you only have to hear one dog in pain as a result to know how bad it is.
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustino8 View Post
I've read the block drain can be tough, and I'm still a bit unclear on its exact location, but I have a service manual so I'm sure I'll figure it out once I get under there.
It is on the front side of the engine... and was 'tight'. The phone above was shot from underside looking up (the item at the lower portion of the photo is the header).

Have fun.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willard View Post
It is on the front side of the engine... and was 'tight'. The phone above was shot from underside looking up (the item at the lower portion of the photo is the header).

Have fun.
I had no problem finding the drain bolt once I got under the Pilot.

Just out of curiosity, by front you mean firewall side? I was a little confused by your description. Just another note, on my '03 the bolt is a 17mm, and there is a "nipple" (like a brake bleeder screw) threaded through the middle of the bolt that you can attach a drain hose to, then just loosen the nipple. It isn't necessary to remove the drain bolt in this instance.

I found it easiest to access the block drain from inside the passenger side tire then slide your socket and ratchet towards the driver side past the oil filter, if that makes any sense.

Overall, draining the coolant is a pretty straight-forward task. Removing the water passage, thats a whole other story...
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you. Your write up helped me a lot
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As suggested in post #2...make this a STICKY!
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Just a few suggestions

Hey all,
Great write up!! The pics are very helpful!! I just did a flush today and thought I'd share a trick I used.
To access the block drain plug I removed the #6 coil pack(front right). I used some painters tape to cover the hole. This allowed me more room to move the breaker bar. On my 2005 it's a 19mm bolt. Thanks for the post this helped a ton.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Excellent write up with some good additional recommendations. Good job.

Last edited by Armystrong; 01-14-2014 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Replaced the radiator yesterday. Bit more challenging than I hoped but all went well.

How do I get the air out of the system?

I filled the radiator and overflow tank, ran the engine with the rad cap off, but if I squeeze the upper and lower hoses I can hear air in both. I repeatedly squeezed the hoses with the motor running, and that seemed to help. Took the truck for a short drive, and the temp gauge stopped at the normal position (not running hot).

Thanks in advanced,
Bob
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Run engine with interior heater on, cap off and allow it to burp the air out. Takes patience sometimes!
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks Rocky, I'll try that again when the truck cools down. I started doing that last night, but the coolant level rose and started pouring out the top. I'll open the reservoir tank cap in case that happens again.

Took it for a 45 minute highway run. Top radiator hose hot, lower hose barely warm, overflow tank and hose dead cold with coolant only at max line (where I filled it). Temp gauge never went past 3/8ths way. Just keeping tabs for folks future reference.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yup, just took patience. The truck worked itself out. I ran it for a bit last night with the overflow tank cap loose and the heat on full blast. Let it get up to temp. When it was cool I squeezed all the different hoses, and I could see the level in the radiator rise, so I knew there wasn't a blockage in the hoses. Checked it tonight after my wife drove around all day. The overflow tank went down to 1/2 way, and the overflow hose was warm after driving. All's well that ends well. Doing the radiator myself saved me at least $400.

Happy Trails,
Bob
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustino8 View Post
Just another note, on my '03 the bolt is a 17mm, and there is a "nipple" (like a brake bleeder screw) threaded through the middle of the bolt that you can attach a drain hose to, then just loosen the nipple. It isn't necessary to remove the drain bolt in this instance.

I found it easiest to access the block drain from inside the passenger side tire then slide your socket and ratchet towards the driver side past the oil filter, if that makes any sense.
dustino...Thanks for the simple explanation of where the coolant drain bleeder screw is on the 2003 Pilot. The picture of its spot in the service manual is pretty ambiguous but your post helped me find it in seconds. I did the 105k/120k maintenance over the weekend, and draining the block via tube before removing the water pump prevented a lot of mess.

Quick note for future folks who attempt this. The 17mm bolt will dump all the coolant if you loosen that. You want to put a 10mm wrench on the bleeder screw if you want to attach a tube and drain the block through that.
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