Special Cooling System Service Tools
The engine cooling system is one of the more low-tech systems deployed on modern automobiles. With that said, mechanics and do-it-yourselfers can still benefit from having the right tools for the right job. This article covers four separate tools that require a small investment, but can pay off big when they’re needed. The good news is these reviewed tools can be used on all years, make and models. It’s always nice when you can buy a tool that fits almost everything.
Cooling System Pressure Tester
When an engine cooling system develops a leak it’s often noticed when the vehicle is hot because as the temperature rises pressure increases in the system. Even pin holes can leak profusely under maximum pressures. The main problem with this scenario is now the vehicle is too hot and therefore too dangerous to perform repairs on. Even the bravest mechanics will wait until the car cools to begin repairs.
Waiting for things to cool down is a big time waster and why the coolant tester was invented. Now mechanics can install the tool in place of the radiator cap and use the included hand operated pump to pressurize the system, simulating operational pressures. The tester includes a handy gauge so that you can apply 15 pounds of pressure and see if it holds. If the needle begins to drop you can then search for the leak. After location is identified pressure can be removed and the repairs can begin.
Airlift Cooling System Refiller
Another problem, people run into when they replace parts like water pumps and thermostats is after the service is completed, the system needs to be refilled. If you just pour the antifreeze water mixture into the radiator, there’s a chance you’ll trap air inside. This can cause the coolant to become air bound. This is a term used by mechanics to describe trapped air disturbing the natural flow of coolant. It can cause an overheating condition that’s hard to diagnose on engines that just had repairs. The airlift cooling system refiller works by pulling a vacuum and literally sucking out all the air and applies a negative pressure.
After the system is sucked down, you can check for leaks by turning off the vacuum and monitoring the pressure gauge to see if it starts to creep up. If everything checks okay and you want to refill, the airlift comes with a filler hose that can be inserted into a fresh jug of antifreeze. A manually operated valve allows coolant to refill the system without allowing air to enter, as long as the jug contains fluid. The valve can be closed when the supply runs low and reopened when a new jug is ready. This can refill the entire system in a about two minutes, but you also save time and hassle of bleeding air out, after the engine reaches full operating temperature.
Hose Remover Tool
A hose remover tool is a handheld device that looks somewhat like a large angled pic with a dull point. This thing can pay for itself on the first use. If you’ve ever tried to pull the original rubber hose off an engine with high mileage, you probably know it can be a fight.
Some people will use razor blades to cut the hose. The question is what if the hose is okay and you’re just trying to disconnect from parts that need service. In this situation, it would be nice to reuse the hose. The hooked end with the dull point is inserted between the rubber hose and the metal part it attaches to. You work this around the circumference with a slight wiggle and break the hose loose from whatever it attaches to without damaging the rubber. This device provides a lot of bang for the buck as a generic brand can usually be purchased for around ten dollars. Not only can it prevent damage to rubber hoses, it can also take the danger out because you won’t need razor blades or other unorthodox methods.
Flexible Hose Clamp Pliers
Often when a hose is installed from the factory, it is fastened with a cheap spring-loaded clamp. These clamps are easy for robots to install on the assembly line. In order for mechanics to remove spring clamps you need a special set of pliers to compress the spring efficiently. Those trying to use a set of needle nose or other types of pliers will often find themselves with hand injuries.
The problem is what happens if the factory installed spring clamp is in a bad location. This is where another ingenious special tool can save the day. The flexible hose clamp plier, allows you to fish the release mechanism down inside the engine and operated from a remote squeeze handle. This thing works so well you might be tempted to reinstall the factory spring clamp, but do yourself a favor and install a standard screw clamp when going back together. Reusing factory spring clamps can cause leaks, because they were not designed to be compressed multiple times.
The nice thing about this list of cooling system service tools is the cost of acquisition. The flexible spring clamp pliers are about thirty dollars brand new. A cooling system pressure tester can be found on popular auction sites for less than fifty bucks. The most expensive tool listed is the airlift cooling system re-filler. This thing costs about 100 bucks and is worth every penny. It operates by evacuating the entire empty cooling system and its fun to watch the hoses collapse throughout the engine compartment. Then you just remove the air supply hose and connect the refilling hose and dip it into a bottle of antifreeze and watch the suction refill the system.