How to Flush Out a Ford Truck Radiator

by Francis Walsh

Ford has a history with the do-it-yourself mechanic who completes service work on their own trucks at home. Flushing a radiator on a ford truck is one of the jobs that can be completed in the garage by anyone who has hand tools. It is because of this that many Ford truck owners flush their own radiators. It is easy to save a lot of money on maintenance that the professionals charge top dollar for, and flushing a Ford truck radiator is one of the easy tasks you can do yourself.


Lift the front of the Ford truck with a floor jack until it is high enough off the ground to place a jack stand under each side to support the truck's weight. A jack stand should be placed under each frame rail, far enough forward to support the front of the truck while the rear of the truck is still on the ground. Remove the floor jack from its lifting position.


Open the radiator drain plug at the bottom of the radiator with a wrench or pliers. Place a length of 3/8-inch diameter hose on the end of the drain plug, and put the other end of the hose into a drainage pan. Open the fill cap of the radiator to let the fluid drain out of the tank and into the drainage pan through the hose. Drain all the fluid out of the radiator.


Move a drainage pan under the engine to drain the coolant out of the engine block using the engine block drainage ports located on each side of the engine block an inch or two above the oil pan. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts until the fluid begins to drain, and allow the fluid to continue draining until finished. Secure the engine block drainage ports back in place after all the fluid has drained.


Disconnect the upper radiator hose from the radiator using a wrench or screwdriver to loosen the hose clamp. Pull the hose off the radiator's hose neck, and place the hose end away from the opening. Fill the radiator with distilled water. With the radiator drainage port open, continue to fill the radiator with distilled water until the water runs clear out the bottom of the radiator and until is spills out of the hose neck at the top of the radiator clear and clean. Stop filling with distilled water and allow the radiator to drain.


Attach the upper radiator hose to the radiator hose neck. Tighten the hose end onto the radiator using a wrench or screwdriver to secure it in place to the radiator. Close the radiator drainage port at the bottom of the radiator. Fill the radiator with new coolant until it reaches the "Max" level reading in the radiator.


Start the truck and run it until it hits the operating temperature that opens the thermostat. You can tell this happens when the upper radiator hose becomes hot because of fluid being passed from the radiator to the engine. After the radiator has filled the engine with fluid, refill the radiator with the right coolant until the levels are in between the "Min" and "Max" markers. Replace the radiator pressure cap. Lower the truck back to the ground.

Items you will need

About the Author

Francis Walsh has been working as a freelance writer since 2003. He has contributed to websites such as Shave, Autogeek and Torque & Chromeas, as well as provided content for private clients. Walsh has worked as a performance part-packer and classic car show promoter, now serving as crew chief for Nitrousfitz Racing.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera T.A.C., Nitrofitz Parts