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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
I purchased a 1992 Renault Trafic Campervan T1100 D in January. The radiator was emptied when the cold weather was on the way. I am having trouble re-filling it. I don't have a user manual for the vehicle, but have a manual for a similar age petrol version and have tried to use that as a guide, but they are obviously different systems.

I have read that the radiator system capacity is ~8L. I have only been able to get about 2L or so into the system through the expansion bottle. I can't seem to find another way to get the fluid in. There is no radiator cap that I can find and only one bleeder screw on the top right of the radiator.

Does anyone still have one of these vehicles or know what I am doing wrong here? If the fluid is flowing out with no air bubbles with the bleeder screw removed, Does this mean it is definitely full? I am worried as I have put so little fluid back in the system and am off on a little trip this weekend so need to get it sorted ASAP.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Super fantastic Mod Technical Supremo Nice Guy
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You say you emptied the system ,,, HOW?

Forced out ,, or just loosened a pipe or drain..

Very hard to drain a system,, if you have undone the radiator drain and left it lose then yes it would drain down, to an extent, if expansion cap was left off for the duration..
But would still have half a block of water, plus the heater matrix, will still have fluid in
If its stood now overnight , some air will have come out of the system, if the cap was left off..
Start the engine, allow to idle, slowly accelerate to around 1500 rpm, and hold for a couple of minutes.. allow to idle,, switch the fan inside the van off, but have the temp for interior heating set to high/red
No cap on the expansion bottle at this point... now slowly raise the rpm to 2000 and hold her for a couple of minutes... top up as required, but just to the minimum mark, no more keep doing this for about 10 minutes raising for a couple of minutes the RPM and allow to idle each time
Switch off, leave a couple of minutes, best at this point to go have a brew..
If the fluid has dropped on your return top up.. again to min mark

Now start the van and allow to idle, now raise the revs to 2500 turn the heating/fan on inside and point the vents at the screen, Not at your face, if the van has stood, dust will shoot out of these vents and could hurt your eyes..

Hold at 2500 until you feel heat , once you have heat (hand over top vent)..
Allow to idle,,, switch off replace cap, go have another brew. (as in leave alone.. walk away for 15 minutes ) now come back and take the cap off.. top up to the max
Should be good..



Its being patient when filling a cooling system, as you can not see it apart from the expansion bottle, ..

Rushing will just frustrate you ,, good luck,,.
Camper members will be on later to help if still at a loss..
 

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Ourself2012 explained it all beautifully.

The only thing I could possibly add, is gently holding the radiator coolant tubes to feel them warming up. Keep, an eye on the temp guage. If for no other readon, than to give you something to do while waiting (sort of ‘calming’j.
 

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Technical Supremo, Platinum Member
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I would recommend doing a full coolant change after your trip. It sounds like only the radiator was drained. The block is cast iron and if the coolant is weak and has been sitting idle for a long time without circulating it probably isn't protecting the block to its best and you may have some rust and scale deposits forming.
Its an easy job for a Sunday morning.

ps Don't know if you know but you can unclip your expansion bottle from the holder and hook it to the lip of the bonnet to facilitate filling and to raise the level to help release of air-locks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi ours2012, thanks very much for your detailed reply, I really appreciate it! Sorry my reply has been so slow... I have had problems logging back into the forum and the "forgot your password" function wasn't working for me.

I only emptied by taking off the bottom pipe of the radiator. So it sounds like I definitely didn't drain the whole system.

I followed your instructions (as best as I could because my van doesn't have a tachometer so was just guessing the revs) and it sucked through another couple of litres during this process. I have just got back from my little trip on the weekend... about 250 miles. The level in the expansion bottle came down slightly and I have topped it up as needed. Seems like it is all working fine now! Thanks again!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Renoir White, thanks for the advice! Is there any chance you could explain to me how to do a full coolant change or direct me to a link that might explain it for my van? I had only drained from the bottom of the radiator previously.
 

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Technical Supremo, Platinum Member
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I'm not familiar with your engine but in general all blocks have a drain plug usually located on the side at the rear .... probably a hexagon head of 14mm - 17mm.
I did have trouble locating it on my 1.7 petrol engine but finally found it hidden behind the exhaust manifold and above the starter motor :frown2:
I've only done a partial coolant change by removing the bottom radiator hose too but fortunately my old coolant was 'clean', but this process needs to be repeated at a shorter interval to keep the anti-freeze concentration at the right amount. The only other way you could give it more of a flush is to remove the thermostat and run a garden hose through the aperture so it drains out via the water pump.
 
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