what's a good coolant pressure tester? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old December 19th, 2014, 10:25 AM
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Question what's a good coolant pressure tester?

I want to get a pressure tester for my fleet, but I'm not looking for professional quality costing north of $100. I see a wide variety of prices and brands if I search on ebay or amazon, and reviews of the harbor freight "Pitsburgh" brand kits are not very good.

I'm completely open to a good used kit that I can use on Rovers (TDI and V8). Any mid-range brand kits with a good reputation to not explode on first use?
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  #2  
Old December 19th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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I rented one from autozone and never took it back .... lost my deposit ... but it was cheaper than buying it .... works great ... can't recall the brand.
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #3  
Old December 19th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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good to know. and they had an adapter for land rover/bmw?
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  #4  
Old December 19th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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You can build one for about 20.00 from a cheap gauge and a brass T and a few fittings . I put mine in line on one of the 3/8 lines and monitor them in different driving conditions if I suspect a problem .
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  #5  
Old December 19th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlander View Post
good to know. and they had an adapter for land rover/bmw?
it has a couple of adapters in the box .... it doesn't need an adapter for the land rover.
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #6  
Old December 19th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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I'd skip the pressure tester and go right to the vacuum tester/filler. Once you vacuum fill a cooling system you will wonder why you ever struggled through fill/burp/topoff, topoff/burp, repeat, repeat, repeat

There are decent ones available for about 120 bucks and there is a ton more utility built in versus just a pressure tester. In my days working on these things to pay the bills, I reached for the vacuum tool 10 times for every one time I did the pressure tester.
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Old December 19th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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This is what I have

http://www.ebay.com/itm/STANT-COOLIN...-/271713786873
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #8  
Old December 19th, 2014, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leastonce View Post

does that have the correct adapter?

------ Follow up post added December 19th, 2014 02:49 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by transientmechanic View Post
I'd skip the pressure tester and go right to the vacuum tester/filler. Once you vacuum fill a cooling system you will wonder why you ever struggled through fill/burp/topoff, topoff/burp, repeat, repeat, repeat

There are decent ones available for about 120 bucks and there is a ton more utility built in versus just a pressure tester. In my days working on these things to pay the bills, I reached for the vacuum tool 10 times for every one time I did the pressure tester.

I'm intrigued. Can you provide a link to one you recommend so I can learn more? I have no idea how one would vacuum fill a cooling system
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Old December 19th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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I have a Snap On branded one, that is a re-badged Air Lift:


It uses shop air, run through a venturi, to pull a vacuum on the entire cooling system. It will collapse all the hoses and get to a full 29" or so of vacuum. Shut the valve off, let it sit for a bit to check for leaks. I know some will say that a leak under vacuum is not the same as under pressure, but in my hands on experience this was very accurate in determining if there was any leak in the system.

From the venturi assembly there is another hose that you drop into a bucket or other container of fresh, pre-mixed coolant. Turn the fill valve, and the cooling system fills itself by drawing coolant in.

No air bubbles, no burping, just set the level in the expansion tank afterwards (may have to extract a small amount of coolant) and go.

Available for $107 here:
http://www.tooltopia.com/uview-55000...kWQaAuOB8P8HAQ
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Old December 19th, 2014, 03:26 PM
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mark kellgren
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Mark dont you already have one?

-Jeff
That's not mine baby! I swear! (BTW Kellgren is a swedish name)

------ Follow up post added December 19th, 2014 03:29 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by transientmechanic View Post
I have a Snap On branded one, that is a re-badged Air Lift:


It uses shop air, run through a venturi, to pull a vacuum on the entire cooling system. It will collapse all the hoses and get to a full 29" or so of vacuum. Shut the valve off, let it sit for a bit to check for leaks. I know some will say that a leak under vacuum is not the same as under pressure, but in my hands on experience this was very accurate in determining if there was any leak in the system.

From the venturi assembly there is another hose that you drop into a bucket or other container of fresh, pre-mixed coolant. Turn the fill valve, and the cooling system fills itself by drawing coolant in.

No air bubbles, no burping, just set the level in the expansion tank afterwards (may have to extract a small amount of coolant) and go.

Available for $107 here:
http://www.tooltopia.com/uview-55000...kWQaAuOB8P8HAQ

nice. I don't have shop air, but I did see there are hand pump DIY versions out there.

So this vacuum test is a sufficient way to determine leaks to include head gasket then?

the one thing I do like about the pressure tester is that if there are leaks on external seals, you can see them weeping when under pressure. won't see that with vacuum. I do understand the efficiency of the vacuum tool though.
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  #11  
Old December 19th, 2014, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlander View Post
So this vacuum test is a sufficient way to determine leaks to include head gasket then?
Well, that depends. Headgaskets can be tricky and oftentimes a pressure tester will not isolate a headgasket failure either.

There are cases where the pressure tester could be more useful - you hit the nail on the head about being able to visibly track down a leak.
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