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So today I finally got around to replacing the coolant in my 2003 Baja. Last time it was changed was 11 years ago. I was ill at the time and had the dealership do it. I've been meaning to do this for awhile but knew it was a messy job and kept putting it off. The coolant was "good" meaning the freezing/boiling point was OK and it was not rusty or dirty looking.


For those who plan on doing this you will find/need:


1) Engine drain plug is next to the oil filter, bottom of engine block. You will need a 14 mm Allen head socket. I got mine from AutoZone for about $8.00.

2) A Phillips head screwdriver to drain the radiator. I could not get enough torque on the screw so I used one of those 90 degree ratchet type screwdrivers with bits so I could push up on it as I turned. This thing has come in handy many times at removing stubborn screws.

3) 1 gallon of antifreeze + water

4) I used a bottle of that Subaru stop leak stuff they recommend. 

5) 5/8" flush tee mounted in the "upper" heater hose


I bought one of these funnels years ago and it has come in handy. Especially useful when you have an engine that you need to bleed the cooling system.




It seemed to have taken the engine forever to heat up. But eventually the fans kicked on. 


So where this is going? I couldn't find the drain screw on the radiator until I removed the splash shield to locate it. This may not have even been necessary.


The felt pads that are attached to the splash shields were pretty much rotten. And the star fasteners were rusty. I just pulled them off they were in bad shape. Since this material looks like the same type of insulation used on the underside of engine hoods, is it there to prevent the splash shield from melting?


I know this sounds petty. Just curious.




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Yeah it's just heat insulation. Throw the whole belly pan away. Get a Primitive Racing skid plate. It will do the same job and actually protect stuff.



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The felt is for heat and noise abatement.


My personal theory is that it's also a bit of a "pig mat"  meaning it soaks up oil and other leaks.


Takes about 6 years or 60,000 miles to get one filled up soaked full of oil dripping, but customer doesn't see it failing on the driveway so the leaks go unoticed unti the car is out of warranty.

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Gloyale, I can promise you that isn't the case.  An oil-soaked mat that close to the exhaust is an extreme fire risk and NHTSA would never allow that (I work hand-in-hand with both NHTSA and the warranty department for an OEM).  The fact that oil drips onto it is coincidence.

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