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Budget build, $149 Coolant vacuum fill cart
Posted to Tool & Equipment Forum on 1/24/2014 44 Replies

Assuming you already have a vacuum fill tool and some adapters, you can build this General overview for around $149.00

Harbor Freight cart $40.00

2.5gal jugs of water ($3 each) $9.00

Stuff from hardware store $100

Okay, so if you don't have a vacuum fill tool or radiator adapters, then add that cost to your build. I recommend a quality vacuum fill tool because I tried a cheap one from Astro Pneumatic and it did not work. However, the pressure test kit from Astro Pneumatic is excellent for this project. It has quick connect adapters that you can incorporate into this build and the cost is pretty low for the amount of adapters you get.

Here's the complete story as to why I built this in the first place, and some pictures and details of the project following that:

When I started this new job at European AutoHaus, I quickly learned that there wasn't a coolant refill machine. All the techs had there own vacuum fill tools, so I went ahead and bought one for myself and a couple adapters. Unfortunately, I bought them from the Snap-on truck and man was the cost starting to add up!

Another problem I discovered was that these vacuum fill tools are messy! Little coolant drips everywhere on the floor, and when you roll the hoses up and put it away coolant drips all over. No matter how much I tried to shake all the coolant out of the hoses, there was still some left over just waiting to drip all over.

I had enough! This is a ridiculous way to do this! I want my coolant machine back!

I thought about buying my own coolant machine. The cheapest one is about $750 and only does one coolant, so you would have to change out the coolant every time you had to switch to a different coolant type. Then, I found one that had three separate coolant containers, but that one was like $3,000!

Time to get creative. Here's a schematic of the basic way to build this type of thing Coolant vacuum fill schematic

*BTW, the schematic is showing the part of the service where coolant is going back into the radiator, in this case green coolant. I'm not going to explain every single detail and step of the operation, because pretty much everyone knows how these tools work, and from there you can figure it out just by looking at the schematic.

I didn't draw the valves of the vacuum fill tool or any other details of the vacuum fill tool. If you've never used one, then you'll have to buy one and read the directions or something.

Okay, now I'll just show the pictures which have some notes and I think it is pretty much self explanatory. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Front view

Top view

Side view

3-way valve

Rear view

Drain bucket


Steven from Washington

Files Referenced:

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