How to Change the Coolant in a 2004 Ford F150

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The Ford F150 has become an American staple. Large cargo and trailer towing capacity, comfort rivaling luxury sedans, and decent fuel economy all add up to a very desirable vehicle, according to the F150’s sales figures. The coolant in your F150 not only keeps your truck’s engine from over-heating, but will offer freeze protection to well below zero. The coolant must be drained and refilled in your F150’s engine on a regular basis, as the coolant also provides rust protection to your engine’s cooling passages, as well as lubrication to the water pump.

Things You'll Need

  • Drain pan
  • 19-mm wrench
  • 17-mm wrench
  • 2 gallons coolant
  • 2 gallons distilled water
  • Open the hood. Place a drain pan under the drain valve on the passenger’s side of the radiator. Remove the cap on the white plastic coolant recovery tank on top of the engine by twisting it off in a counterclockwise direction. Open the drain valve by twisting it off with a 19-mm wrench in a counterclockwise direction, allowing the coolant to drain into the drain pan.

  • Replace the radiator drain valve and tighten with a 19-mm wrench in a clockwise direction once the radiator has completely drained. Move the drain pan to the rear of the engine and crawl underneath the front of your truck.

  • Locate the engine block coolant drain plugs on each side of the block approximately one inch above the top of the oil pan. Remove the plugs one at a time with a 17-mm wrench turned in a counterclockwise direction. Replace the plug once the coolant has drained and remove the plug on the other side of the engine in the same fashion. Tighten the plugs with a 17-mm wrench in a clockwise direction and remove the drain pan from under the truck.

  • Add a 50/50 mix of ethylene-based low silicate coolant and distilled water to the white plastic coolant recovery tank until the full mark is reached. Twist the cap onto the tank in a clockwise direction until it clicks. Start the engine and let it warm up completely. Let the engine cool off and check the level of coolant in the recovery tank. Remove the cap and add a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water if the level is below the full mark.

  • Repeat the above step as many times as necessary to purge air from the system. The system is fully purged when the coolant level stays at the full mark after the engine has been warmed up. Close the hood when finished.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the cooling system is cool before starting this procedure. Otherwise, you could receive severe burns.
  • Do not pour used coolant down the drain. Use a funnel, pour the used coolant into the empty coolant bottles, and take them to a recycling or recovery center. Make sure to clean up any coolant spills immediately and rinse the area with plenty of water. Coolant is very poisonous to animals or humans if ingested.
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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