Ford F-150: How to Flush Your Radiator

Flushing your coolant takes less than 60 minutes and anyone can do it. We show you the materials needed, cost, and steps with pictures!

By Justin Banner - October 30, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

It is recommended that you flush your Ford F-150's radiator system once a year. The benefits of having your radiator flushed include: removing rust, lubricating the water pump, removing contamination, inspecting the cooling system, and protecting the radiator from future rust.

Materials Needed

  • Large capacity drain pan
  • Funnel
  • Motorcraft Gold coolant
  • Distilled water

Step 1 - Remove the coolant from the system

Just before draining the system, give your radiator hoses a once over, and if you see any damage or the hoses are corroded, replace them before you do your flush.

Locate the drain valve on the bottom of the radiator, open it up, and drain the system in a drain pan.

Figure 1. Flush the radiator.

Step 2 - Refill with distilled water

Once the coolant is drained and you have closed the valve, refill the coolant system with distilled water. If you wish to use a chemical cleaner along with the distilled water, mix it with water while re-filling the radiator.

Start the truck up to get it to operating temperature. Be sure your heater is on full as well to allow the water or water/flush to pass through the heater core. Once it is warmed up, turn it off and allow it to cool before draining the water from the radiator. If you used a flush, you'll do this procedure again but only with distilled water.

Figure 2. Refill with distilled water.

Step 3 - Refill with 50/50 coolant mixture

Now that the straight water flush is done and drained from the system, you'll want to add your 50/50 mixture of distilled water and Motorcraft Gold coolant to your F-150. Add enough to fill to the "Full" line on the degass bottle.

Start the truck up again after installing the cap on the bottle. Allow it to warm up again, but watch the coolant level as it bleeds air from the system. Once the level stabilizes, take the truck for a drive to the parts store to dispose of the used coolant you now have.

When you get back home, check the coolant level and add as needed. Normally, you'd have to bleed the system with the radiator cap open. However, on a pressurized system that comes on modern F-150s, the degass bottle will bleed the system out by itself. However, you still need to keep an eye on coolant levels after this.

Figure 3. Refill.

Featured Video: How to Flush Your Radiator

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