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How to Bleed Air From a 3.4 L Alero

by Tom Price

Before the gradual shrinking in size of automobiles, bleeding the air out of the cooling system used to be an easy thing to do. All one had to do was run the engine until it got to operating temperature and carefully release the radiator cap. At that point, it was just a matter of physics. Since water finds its own level, and the coolant level inside the engine was below that of the radiator, the air would just naturally bleed out. With today's cars, the 3.4 L engine in the Oldsmobile Alero included, the engine coolant level is above the top of the radiator making things, while fairly simple, a bit more complicated.

Unscrew the bleeder valves on the thermostat housing and the water pump bypass pipe by turning them counterclockwise with an adjustable wrench.

Start the engine and allow it to reach operating temperature. Set the heater control at its highest setting.

Close the bleeder valves by turning in clockwise with the adjustable wrench when a solid flow of coolant runs out of the valves.

Fill the overflow reservoir with the correct blend of antifreeze solution for the climate the vehicle operates in, completing the bleeding of the 3.4 L Alero engine.

Tips

  • Engine RPMs may need to be increased in order to get the coolant flowing through the cooling system.
  • If air keeps getting into the cooling system, inspect the O-ring on the water pump bypass pipe and replace if necessary.

Warning

  • Do not open the radiator cap on engines with coolant reservoirs. Injury could result since the coolant in the radiator could reach temperatures more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Items you will need

About the Author

Tom Price began writing in 1989 after earning his master's degree in English at the University of Notre Dame. He has served in positions ranging from features writer to the managing editor of the "Daily Herald." Before college, Price was a GM factory trained tech and owner/operator/truck-driving instructor. He is also a private pilot as well as a lifelong expert boater and woodworker.

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