How to flush your intercooler system and clean your intercooler pump on a Ford Lightning

It’s good to flush your Ford Lightning’s intercooler (IC) system every once and a while. This is true for any fluid system on your truck. Like all fluid systems trash can collect in them and can cause undefined results if they are ignored. Also, one caveat with these trucks is there is no warning if your IC pump stops working. Once it stops pumping and your intake air gets blistering hot, you will most likely realize very quickly that something very bad just happened. While in my opinion the IC pump should be replaced at least once in your truck’s life, there is a quick preventative measure you can do to help keep it alive longer. Here is a quick maintenance guide that will only take an hour of your time.

What’s Needed:
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Pliers
- 10mm socket with ratchet
- Bucket
- Prestone 50/50 Antifreeze
- Redline Water Wetter
- Distilled Water

1) Under your hood, remove the cap on the IC fluid reservoir. Under your front bumper on the passenger side, there is a drain valve for the IC heat exchanger. Open it  with your pliers and let it drain into your bucket. Once the fluid is done draining, close the valve! You won’t be reusing this fluid. Take note of any debris.

Ford Lighting IC System Drain and Pump

Ford Lighting IC System Drain and Pump

2) Locate your IC pump under your front bumper on the driver’s side. You need to remove the inlet and outlet hose and the power connector. Using your pliers (and some muscle) squeeze the hose clamp on each hose and pull the hose away from the pump.

3) Remove the pump with your socket and ratchet.

Ford Lightning IC Pump

Ford Lightning IC Pump

4) Remove the cap on the end of the IC pump with your Phillips screwdriver and pull it off. Note how the black plastic piece inside is aligned (although it only goes on one way) and pull it out.

5) Over time, the brushes inside the IC pump will wear down and cause the resulting black dust to collect inside your IC pump. This collection of dust is *one* of the culprits that can cause your IC pump to fail. What you want to do is remove as much as this dust as you can. You can do this by tapping (gently but firmly…) the open end of the pump on the concrete. Spend about five minutes doing this, tapping it different ways; because, in my case, when I thought all of of the dust was out, I tapped a different side of the pump and a lot more was released.

Ford Lighting IC Pump Disassembly

Ford Lighting IC Pump Disassembly

Ford Lighting IC Pump Dust

Ford Lighting IC Pump Dust

6) Once you are satisfied that the pump is free from dust, re-assemble the pump, reconnect the hoses to it, reconnect the power connector, and tighten it back down.

7) Using your existing bucket (disposing of the old fluid and washing and drying it of course), pour a half gallon of the Prestone 50/50 and a half gallon of your distilled water into the bucket. This creates a 25% antifreeze and 75% water mix. Add two ounces of Water Wetter to the mix. Water Wetter isn’t required, but it does wonders for heat transfer and “water boiling compensation”. While you may think that your IC fluid should never come close to boiling, you are right, it’s still a nice preventative measure. Slosh your mixture around and then, using a funnel, pour it into your IC fluid reservoir.

Ford Lightning IC Fluid

Ford Lightning IC Fluid

8) You are almost done! Leave the IC fluid reservoir cap off and crank your truck. This will allow any trapped air to escape. Let it run for a minute or so and verify that fluid is being pumped through the reservoir. Replace the cap and close the hood.

You’re all done. Happy maintenance day!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook

4 comments to How to flush your intercooler system and clean your intercooler pump on a Ford Lightning

  • Brian

    This blog was very helpful! thank you for taking the time to put this togather.

  • Justin

    Yeah, this is great! Exactly what I was looking for, thank you.

  • Charles

    I have a milky substance in my intercooler. Should the fluid look this way?

  • I don’t think so. I went back and looked at mine and it doesn’t appear “milky” or “cloudy”. My best guess is that this is some sort of corrosion. Similar to how older engines can start getting rust in the antifreeze and start turning it slightly red. I doubt it will be damaging, however, I would go ahead and flush it to be safe.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>