Sentra SE-R Coolant Change
You will have to change coolant at sometime in the life of
your car, whether required by the periodic maintenance schedule, hose
replacement, or a major component repair.The mighty SR20DE is a strong,
sophisticated, aluminum power plant, so use care and common
This procedure requires less than two hours can be
performed alone. It was done on a 1992 Sentra SE-R, and likely applies to all
North American versions of the SR20DE-powered Sentra and 200SX produced since
the 1991 model year. If in doubt, check with your dealer and the factory service
manual. Optimum results are allegedly achieved by strictly following
the factory service manual, but the method here has given me excellent results.
Tools and supplies: anti-freeze; distilled water;
ratchet; sockets in 10mm and 14mm sizes; extensions in various sizes; small and
large Phillips screwdrivers; large drain pan; funnel; Loctite PST sealant
View the photos
- Allow the car to cool for few hours or overnight.
- Move the car outside. Otherwise, be prepared to catch a
lot of water in some large drain pans.
- Move the heater control to full hot.
- Remove the right front splash shield using a ratchet,
10mm socket, and Phillips screwdriver.
- Place a large pan under the radiator drain plug and
engine block drain plug.
- Remove the radiator cap, then remove the rear bleeder
cap and radiator drain plug using a Phillips screwdriver. Coolant will
- Remove the front bleeder plug using a ratchet,
extension, and 10mm socket.
- Remove the engine block plug using a ratchet,
extension, and 14mm socket. More coolant will drain.
- Move the drain pain out from beneath the car.
- Flush the radiator for about 30 seconds by running
water from a garden hose through the radiator filler.
- Temporarily install the radiator drain plug and engine
block drain plug until finger tight.
- Flush the engine block for 30 seconds by running water
from garden hose through the radiator filler, allowing water to spill from
the front bleeder.
- Temporarily install the front bleeder plug until finger
- Flush the heater plumbing for about 30 seconds minute
by running water from garden hose through the radiator filler, allowing
water to spill from the rear bleeder.
- Once again remove the radiator drain plug, engine block
drain plug, and front bleeder plug. Allow all fluid to drain.
- Remove the coolant reservoir, drain it into the pan,
If coolant has been drained to allow
replacement or repair of a cooling system component, stop now. Perform the
required work, then continue below.
- Install the radiator drain plug.
- Apply Loctite PST sealant to the engine block plug and
- With the front and rear bleeders still open and the
heater control to full hot, fill the radiator and coolant reservoir with a
mix of your favorite anti-freeze and distilled water (between 50/50 and
70/30 anti-freeze to distilled water is typical) until some spills from the
- Install the front bleeder plug.
- Fill the radiator with more coolant until some spills
from the rear bleeder.
- Install the rear bleeder cap and radiator cap.
- Start the engine. Listen for strange noises, check for
leaks, and keep an eye on the temperature gauge to avoid overheating.
- After the radiator fan begins to run, allow the engine
to run a few more minutes, then shut down.
- Allow the engine to cool for an hour, then remove the
rear bleeder cap and radiator cap.
- Fill the coolant reservoir if necessary, and fill the
radiator until fluid spills from the rear bleeder.
- Install the rear bleeder cap and radiator cap. At this
point, the cooling system should be sufficiently purged of air. With the
engine running, you should feel hot air from the heater and hear no noises
from the heater core. Note: the reservoir usually completes the last
little bit of this job for you, so check the coolant level routinely after
each drive over the next few days.
- Close the hood, lower the car, and go for a drive!
Watch the temperature gauge, listen for strange noises, and check for leaks
Rick's SE-Rious Procedures
Original material is the creation of Rick
Zotz, 1999, 1998, 1997, and has been contributed to SE-R.net.