Do I Need a Vacuum Coolant Refill Tool? - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Do I Need a Vacuum Coolant Refill Tool?

Victim: 2007 Xterra 4x4 SE
Project: Koya Radiator replacement

Hey..I have the radiator and hoses coming in today and will be doing a preemptive radiator replacement on Sunday.

Do Xterras have an issue with getting bubbles out of the coolant? The FSM calls for a vacuum coolant refill tool.

I know some vehicles are prone to having this issue.

All the vehicles I've worked on over the last 40 years generally burp out their bubbles and I've never had a problem.

Is the tool mandatory for this engine or just a nice to have?

Thanks for any and all comments!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 06:51 PM
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You don't need to do a vacuum refill, you can do it without any special tools really. However, I'd recommend the funnel that attaches to the radiator filler neck, it will help keep from spilling coolant. Basically park on a sloped surface, with the the front of the truck higher up on the slope. If you don't have slope, use stands or ramps to lift the front of the truck. Top off both the radiator and overflow, start the truck to get it up to operating temps, run the heater on full blast when it reaches full operating temp, and finally, once the t-stat opens, slowly squeeze the bottom radiator hose to help burp coolant through the system. Be careful when squeezing the bottom hose because you can come close to the fan if you're not paying attention. Really, you don't even necessarily need to squeeze the bottom hose, the system will burp itself, but squeezing the hose helps to expedite the process.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 06:51 PM
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I'd say no, if you follow this thread.
how-bleed-air-coolant-line-2009-2011-xterras
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 11:51 PM
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When I did the timing chains and water pump I did not have an issue with air. Basically as RikRong stated but didnt need to touch any hoses.
Was no different than any vehicle I'd replaced coolant in before.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:48 AM
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Changed the radiator preemptively also on my 08 a couple years ago. The test drive showed no heat coming out so went to a steep hill in the neighborhood, pointed the nose uphill, put it in neutral, blipped the gas a few times and HEAT!

Also, don’t try to lift the radiator straight up (like every other vehicle). Tip the top of the radiator toward the engine when lifting it.

Last edited by whatnext; 06-20-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 09:26 AM
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after having done it due to horrible overheating with my VK after doing the swap, I highly recommend getting a vacuum kit to refill the coolant system. I got mine of Amazon for $70 - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BW39HJS. If you do go this route, you pull the vacuum from the overflow container, NOT from the radiator. Also make sure that the radiator doe NOT have a pressure-relief cap and the overflow tank HAS the pressure-relief cap.

it's the only real way to truly get all air out of the system. When I had the VQ, I've burped my system with a no-fill funnel & still had overheating issues while wheeling. Looking back on it, I wish I knew about vacuum kits back then.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:54 AM
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I didn't need one when I replaced mine with the Koyo, it helps to lift the front of the truck up some. I just filled the tank & rad to the top, started it up, put the heat on high and filled it from the radiator until that began to overflow. Put the cap back on and refilled the tank until the level was steady.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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I always like to close out a thread with what I did, what happened and such...

Went with the no-spill fill kit... Lisle has 2 of them...the white one comes with more adapters/tubes...

Appreciate the input...do believe it would go much more quickly with the vacuum kit but after I put it on the ramps...it belched out bubbles for about 10 minutes and then the heater started throwing out flames. Drove it around and all it cool....literally...

Koya radiator is in and fits without any issue (though a few struggles).

One item of note...I went with AC Delco upper and lower hoses as I could get them delivered same day. They are about 1/16" thicker and I had a heck of a time getting the spring hose clamps over them when they were on their respective fittings. The engine-side one for the lower hose never made it and I had to resort to a worm-gear clamp that I had.

The extra rubber is welcome...but if you choose to use that brand, be ready in case you need one size larger clamps.

Thanks for the comments.. and on to the next project!
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