Radiator Drain on 2002 Frontier? - Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old Sep 13th, 2005, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Radiator Drain on 2002 Frontier?

I can't find a drain in the bottom radiator tank. My old '91 had a plastic plug with a rubber washer. I have 38K on my 2002 Frontier. I would like to drain the coolant, rinse with distilled water, and refill with some of the long life 5 year/100,000 mile coolant. Prestone has a newer yellow colored type that is compatible with all coolant types. I planned on doing it the same way I did my '91. I just keep filling and draining with distilled water until it's clean. I drain it, add a gallon of coolant, and top off with distilled water. The cooling system has a 2 gallon capacity, so the gallon of coolant will give a 50/50 mix.

Does anybody know the best way to change the coolant in my 2002 4 cylinder 5 speed? Do I need to pull the lower radiator hose? Thanks.

Last edited by 300K+ Guy; Sep 13th, 2005 at 09:54 AM.
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post #2 of 4 Old Sep 17th, 2005, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Nobody replied, so I thought I'd answer my own question. It might help someone else. I changed my coolant today. I removed the plastic splash pan (like you need to do to change the oil filter). I got a better look at the radiator, it DOES NOT have a drain plug.

Here's what I did. From underneath, I used pliers to slide the clamp back on the lower radiator hose. From the top side (while standing), I reached down and pulled off the hose and let the coolant drain. The engine was warm...I started it and let it idle for about a minute hoping more coolant would come out. A little did, but more came out after I stopped the engine. I didn't want to bother taking the recovery bottle out, so I plugged the top vent hole with my finger and blew into the neck until it was empty. It just flowed into the radiator and out the open bottom. I put the hose and clamp back on. It took exactly one gallon of distilled water to fill the radiator. I drove it for 8 miles with the heat on, then repeated the procedure and added 22 oz. of Prestone radiator flush and distilled water to top it off. This time I drove about 12 miles to pick up my son. When we got home, I drained and filled again with a gallon of distilled water. I repeated this until I used six gallons of water and it was coming out clean enough to drink (or make instant coffee). The last time I drained it, I added one gallon of Prestone extended life 5 year/150,000 mile antifreeze. This is the newer green stuff that says it will mix with anything. I know the old original green Prestone couldn't be mixed with the orange "Dex-Cool" stuff. The coolant capacity is listed as 7-3/4 quarts, so the gallon of Prestone should give me a better than 50/50 mix considering what was remaining in the system was darn near pure distilled water. I'll check it with my tester to make sure the freezing point is -34 F or lower. The original 3 year old coolant with 38k didn't look very dirty, but it's nice knowing I have clean fresh stuff in there now.

I like clean fresh fluids! I even use a turkey baster to get out the brake fluid, clutch fluid, and power steering fluid so I can fill the reservoir with new clean stuff. Clean fluids, oil changes, and lubrication...the key to long vehicle life. My '91 4 cyl 5 speed Nissan truck is still running great after 14 years and 334k+ miles. Original engine AND clutch. Never needs oil added between changes, stays on the full mark. All suspension parts (except shocks) are original. Put grease fittings in all 4 ball joints, used a grease needle on the other joints. Never needed a front end alignment, still tracks straight down the road with even tire wear. These Nissans will keep going like the Energizer bunny.
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post #3 of 4 Old Sep 17th, 2005, 09:42 PM
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yeah those drain cocks are very nice. I loved having one on my 97 hardbody. I to had been hunting for one on my 04 frontier but like you had already determined that I would have to take the lower hose off to get it all out.
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post #4 of 4 Old Oct 5th, 2005, 01:59 PM
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I can only attest to my 1998 Frontier 4 cylinder. Personally, I like the Prestone type flush kits where water from a garden hose flushes all the old coolant out the radiator cap opening. On my 1998, there is a plastic cover (NOT the bolt-on cover, forward of that) that actually covers the radiator drain in the middle of the bottom of the radiator. It is NOT a standard cock type, removes with a screwdriver. What I did is drill a 1/2 inch hole through this cover so I could get the screwdriver through, using my other hand to catch the plug. Then the fresh water was drained off, new coolant and appropriate amount of water added, then bled off air through the bleed screw. The radiator drain design is not one of Nissan's best, but neither is removal of the oil filter. For that, I justbought this week a PermaCool remote oil filter kit, hope that takes the hassle out of the oil changes.
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