Changing Your Engine
This procedure runs through changing the engine coolant in
your Elan. It is recommended the coolant be changed every two
years (minimum). The original factory coolant is a 40%
concentration of "Shellsafe Plus". The service notes
recommend a 40% antifreeze/water ratio. In cold climates the
maximum concentration recommended is 60%, while in hot climates
the minimum concentration is 25%. The total system refill
capacity is about 5.2 US quarts (or 5 litres for you right-hookers).
Do not change the
coolant unless the engine is cold!
level = 1 out of 5
Cost = about $10
- Distilled Water (a few gallons)
- Antifreeze (minimun 2.5 liters)
- Red Line WaterWetter (optional -- see notes below)
- Coolant system flush agent (optional)
Draining The Old Coolant
- Let the engine cool.
- Turn the heater dial to the hot end (for the entire
- Remove the coolant reservoir cap.
- Now remove the drain plug from the bottom left hand
corner of the radiator (on U.S. cars) or disconnect the bottom
radiator hose (for all cars). You can just reach under the front
bumper to remove this drain plug!!
This is a plastic screw-bolt which is meant to be hand-turned only!
It is slotted so it is not necessary to remove the bolt
completely--although you can if you want. One owner had this drain plug break accidentally--so be careful with it!)
- Dispose of the old coolant properly (look at the old
coolant color and contamination and be happy you are changing it)!
Adding New Coolant
- First carefully replace the drain plug or radiator bottom hose.
- Fill the coolant reservoir with distilled water only,
until up to the cold level indicator mark. (this refill is
done to rinse the remaining old coolant from the engine
that was trapped within) You may add Coolant Flush agent to this
part of the procedure.
- On non-U.S. cars, this slow refill process may be expedited
by removing the bleed plug in the left hand headlamp well
to bleed air from the system, and replacing it when a
steady stream flows out from it.
- Keep track of how much it takes to fill so you will know
how much you are about to use when you add the final
- Now run the engine (with the water-only in the system)
with the reservoir cap off and top up
the coolant reservoir until the level stabilizes or
starts to rise.
- Run the car long enough to get it to normal operating temperature.
This will assure the Thermostat opens and
the coolant circulates out of the engine and the flush goes through the
- Stop the engine and allow it to cool again.
- Now drain this "water flush" out. (Steps 2-6
can be repeated if you wish)
- With the rinse done, you may now add the final coolant
To keep deposits from forming inside the engine coolant
passages, I recommend using ONLY "distilled" water to
mix with the antifreeze. Since last year, on a recommendation by
Seamus, I've added Red Line WaterWetter to the coolant. Yes, I am amazed with the improvement
since then. My car used to run at the lowest tick on the gauge at
normal temperatures--now it runs at the very bottom of the gauge.
Even better, it takes nearly forever for the temperature to come
up to the 3/4 mark, where the accessory cooling fan kicks in,
when sitting in traffic.
Have fun saving money and learning about your
Let me know if I should add anything else.