Draining the radiator

I need some advice on prep and then draining the radiator on my 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport.

Ensure you have all needed amount of antifreeze to replace the old. Also check all hoses for wear and after draining radiator, flush radiator before refilling.

Get a big drain pan. Your Jeep probably holds 3-4 gallons of coolant total. Get a repair manual. I don’t know the engine option you have, but some makes and models, you need to drain the radiator at the radiator drain or lower radiator hose and engine block at a block drain. A repair manual, even a cheap one like Chilton’s or Haynes can tell you.

I like to get the engine nice and warm when I drain the coolant. Getting the coolant warm and flowing helps get any contaminants stirred up and suspended in the coolant. I remove the radiator cap before starting up the engine to make sure the coolant doesn’t pressurize. The engine and water pump will heat and mix the coolant just fine with the cap removed. Just don’t drive it with the cap off. Constantly check the water temp by checking the lower radiator hose. Don’t let it get too hot where it is a burn hazard. Just good and warm to the touch.

Drain the radiator, then close the drains or re-attach the hoses. Use clean water to refill, and repeat the engine warm-up procedure above. Continue to fill and drain until the drained liquid looks like clean water.

Now, your ready to make any repairs to the cooling system, like replace worn hoses or failing water pumps and/or seals. Change out the radiator cap and thermostat is cheap insurance. Then refill the system with your favorite coolant mix.

11 year old jeep…I would PLAN on changing ALL the coolant hoses and thermostat. If it’s showing 100K-150K miles, you might as well change the water pump too…Just Do It! You are supposed to capture the old coolant and recycle it…The easiest, quickest way to drain the system is to remove the lower hose from the radiator…You can install a “Flushing T” in a heater hose then you can use a garden hose to flush the system quickly and purge the air out when you refill it…

Thanks, but I am a complete novice. How do I identify where to drain the radiator from. The manual provides very little advice and I don’t want to spend $50 on an instruction manual.

A Haynes manual can be found at the library for free. It is worth buying one to work on your Jeep.

A lot of good free info on the web such as : http://www.ehow.com/how_4894576_drain-radiator-jeep-cherokee.html

There’s also a Cherokee owner’s club forum that has a lot of info http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f2/radiator-drain-plug-21984/

A lot of advice here is based on the assumption that the coolant has never been changed. I would think that someone has changed the coolant periodically in the past. One thing to look for is the color of the coolant now. If it is brown, then it is way overdue. If it is just cloudy but green, yellow or orange, then it is past due but not as bad as brown.

If it is a transparent color, that is, not cloudy, then it is in pretty good shape and the cooling system has been cared for in the past.

I would only drain out the old coolant, put the plugs back in and refill with a longlife, universal coolant. While flushing it out with plane water usually won’t hurt anything, I don’t see a benefit. If you have hard water, then really don’t flush. And certainly, do NOT use any chemical flush products.

Check the condition of all your hoses. It would be a shame to loose all that coolant to a split or hole in a hose. If these are the original hoses, they could be near the end of their life. Don’t forget the heater hoses. If you see where oil has dripped onto a hose, then definitely replace that hose. Oil causes the rubber to get soft.

If you think you can handle it, you might want to consider replacing the thermostat as well. Also a new radiator cap would be in order too.

I appreciate the advice, but since I am a novice. It would be cool if someone could be more descriptive about where I can find the drain plug and what tools I should use to remove it. Maybe a link to a diagram or photo that shows me what I have in my Jeep. Thanks.

This is an inline 6 and it is most likely a brass plug that threads into the side of your block and there may be one on each side. Go look in shop manual (at the library if you have to, or online as if you were going to buy parts-they have schematics).

These are nice easy engines to work on.

Lower right side of the radiator, pointing toward the rear of the vehicle. It should look like a plastic wing nut sticking out of a short housing with a tube pointed downward from that housing. You can attach a longer tube to the one there so that you can drain all the coolant into a container and not get it on the ground.

Coolant is very toxic. About an ounce can be fatal to adults if ingested. It has a sweet taste which attracts pets, especially dogs and children so be sure to keep both away from it.

Good info here:


Good for you Jeepowner! It can be intimidating to do repairs and maintenance when you have no experience. Each successive job will increase your confidence. Eventually, you’ll be able to “figure things out” when you are trying something new. You can get some help from people at your parts store if you are a loyal customer and cultivate a relationship with someone who seems friendly. Combine that with help from a manual, a friend, this forum, and maybe even your regular mechanic, and you’ll be able to handle a lot more than you might have thought today while searching for that radiator drain plug. Just be sure to use jack stands when working under a car that you’ve jacked up.

One additional hint. When draining,make sure car or truck is either on level ground or lower at radiator. When adding, level or higher. A floor jack can minimize air bubbles. Ethyl glycol based antifreeze is extremely toxic to mammals but it is biodegradable. Don’t worry too much about spilling it on the ground. Just don’t allow it to pool anywhere and water down with a hose to allow it to leach into ground where it will easily be degraded by bacteria.

“The manual provides very little advice and I don’t want to spend $50 on an instruction manual.”

If you want to work on your own truck, invest in a shop manual. A factory shop manual is best, but a Haynes or Chiltons will do a nice job for most of the DIY stuff. It is just as important as a good set of tools. The wealth of information can save you headaches and possible damage to the truck. It is worth it just for the various torque specifications, as well as step-by-step instructions for very many maintenance and repair tasks. Even the Haynes manual has trouble-shooting guides to help you figure out problems.

One of the first things I do when I acquire a new-to-me vehicle is get a shop manual. Even if I don’t need to use it right away, just having the vehicle means I will need it someday.

That $50 may be the best money you’ve ever spent. I bought a computer CD shop manual (PDF) or my vehicle for about $8. Best $8 I’ve spent. I also bought a Haynes, Haynes isn’t as good.

Search Ebay.