DIY Coolant System Pressure/Leak Tester




Introduction: DIY Coolant System Pressure/Leak Tester

About: I am a fun, loving father of 3 who like's to build and make.

I made this tool because I had a leak in my cooling system. I went to Advanced Discount Auto parts to use their tool "Loan" program to find out that they charge $212.69 to "loan a coolant system tester. (They refund it when you return the tool) but since it is a Wednesday and not a pay week I didn't have the funds to give them. I needed to find the leak before I started sinking money into my Jeep, so I had to construct my own. With extra PVC parts I had and $12.46 cents worth of tire repair and heater hose.

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Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Needed Tools and Parts

You will need;

1 - long valve stem

1 - short length of 1/2 inch heater hose

1 - mini tire gauge (ideally one with a pressure relief valve)

3 - 1/2 inch CPVC couplers

2 - 2.5 inch lengths of 1/2 inch CPVC tubing

1 - 1/2 inch CPVC tee

1 - 3/4 inch CPVC tee

1 - 1.5+ inch hose clamp

3 - 1 inch hose clamps

1 rubber foot from a crutch

CPVC cleaner and glue

hacksaw or pipe cutter

flat-head screw driver

Step 2: Step 2: Drill the Crutch Foot

I discovered, after about an hour of searching junk boxes and drawers in my shop that an old crutch, (that my nephew Alex left here on his summer vaca) has a rubber tip that fit the opening perfectly.

I pulled the tip off of the crutch and drilled out the center. This one had a metal washer in it so I left it and drilled the hole the same diameter as the one in the washer.

Step 3: Step 3: Trim the Valve Stem

Cut the bottom off the stem at the lip which will be right at the bottom of the metal valve inside. I used my band saw and just worked around the base a little at a time to maintain a good tight fit in the coupler. Force it through the coupler so the capped end comes out the other side.

Now clean and glue one of the 2.5 inch lengths of 1/2 inch CPVC tubes into the same end and press it in as tight as you can and hold it tight for a minute. (this is a good beer break, while your holding it)

Step 4: Step 4: Insert a 1/2 Inch Coupler in the Crutch Foot

To insure a good fit I cleaned and applied some CPVC glue and then tightened the 1.5 inch hose clamp

Step 5: Step 5: Insert a 2.5 Inch Piece of 1/2 Inch CPVC

insert one of the 2.5 inch pieces of 1/2 inch CPVC clean and glue your joint

Step 6: Step 6: Cut the 3/4 Inch Tee in Half

I used my band saw and cut it long ways.

Place the cut tee on you crutch foot. I did it this way but I would recommend turning it over because my c-clamps hade a hard time reaching in the end.

Step 7: Step 7: Install the 1/2 Inch Tee

Clean and glue the 1/2 inch tee. Now you see the 3/4 inch tee is a swivel

Step 8: Step 8: Insert the Pressure Valve

clean and glue in the valve assembly

Step 9: Step 9: Attach the 1/2 Inch Heater Hose

To attach the 1/2 heater hose to the other piece of 1/2 inch CPVC tube I had to boil a cup of water and dip the end of the hose in it to make it softer. While it is soaking use your sand paper to rough up the outer walls of the CPVC tube in order to create some grip for the hose.

Now clean and apply some glue and attach the hose.

Hose clamp it and move on.

Step 10: Step 10: Apply Some Glue and Two 1/2 Inch Hose Clamps

I put glue on to create a seal with 2 hose clamps I think it will be alright

Step 11: Step 11: Put It in and See How It Fits

I put it in and gave it a quick pump. It held without clamps while I used the bicycle pump.

Step 12: Step 12: Clamp It On

To prevent loss of pressure place two small c-clamps on either side or one big c-clamp to hold it in place.

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    3 Discussions


    4 years ago

    could you have gotten a replacement cap and done this same thing?


    Reply 2 years ago

    What good would a new cap have done? I need the schrader valve to introduce pressure. It worked and that's what mattered I guess


    Reply 8 months ago

    Using the cap as the connector drilling through the top instead of using the boot and pvc, is what I think he meant.