FluidXchange Extractor/Injector Coolant Service Tool

FluidXchange Extractor-Injector Coolant Service Tool

The FXC Extractor/Injector System offers both environmental protection and increased productivity, two of the highest priorities for service centers.

Background

In heavy truck maintenance and repair, service centers often need to drain cooling systems before they begin engine work. That means letting the engine cool down, opening the cooling system at the top to release the vacuum, removing a drain plug at the bottom to allow coolant to flow, and collecting the coolant in a low, large open drain container. After work is finished, the drain plug is replaced and the cooling system is filled from above.

Almost every maintenance or repair job on water pumps, thermostats, heater cores, sensors, radiators or hose will require draining and refilling some or all of the cooling system. This has been standard practice for decades in fleet and dealer heavy-duty service centers. While the process is simple, it involves open-air operations constrained by temperature and gravity. Technicians can be exposed to hot ethylene glycol, which is also subject to regulatory compliance rules for management and disposal. And time spent waiting for an engine to cool down, and for coolant to flow, is time taken away from more productive and profitable tasks.

Challenge

Open container coolant handling has been a common practice for so long that few people have considered it a problem to be solved. Gravity always works, and manual open drain containers are simple to use. But as labor expenses increased, and the consequences of spills became clear, two forward looking companies recognized the opportunity to create an innovative new tool.

To help service centers increase productivity and reduce human and environmental exposure to coolant, Eaton teamed up with Dunn & Bybee Tool Company of Sparta, Tennessee. Eaton has a century of innovation in products and services for heavy trucks; Dunn & Bybee Tool Company offers tooling, engineering, CNC and automation expertise that makes it an ideal partner for new product development.

Solution

Engineering and maintenance practices recommended by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), part of the American Trucking Association, help improve consistency and compatibility across different makes, models and years of heavy duty trucks. Fleets, OEMs and component suppliers voluntarily adopt these practices to stay current in a dynamic industry.

One suggested practice from TMC recommended adopting a standard quickconnect fitting for engine coolant handling. This recommendation, known as RP 353, was published in 2004. Engineers based initial designs on the ISO 16028 specification, which was already being used successfully in the Eaton FLOCS™ Fast Lube Oil Change System to minimize spill and contamination risks.

To focus on product development, Dunn & Bybee Tool Company established a separate business unit called FluidXchange. Working with Eaton to assess national and global markets and leverage existing distribution channels, FluidXchange created the FXC Coolant Extractor/Injector System for use by fleet and dealer heavy duty service centers.

Results

The compact, portable FXC Coolant Extractor/ Injector System uses Eatonquick-connect couplings and fittings. It features an easy-to-operate vacuum and pressure control manifold, uses compressed air as its power source, and has no mechanical parts to maintain. One 18.5 gallon tool can serve several service bays and trucks can be retrofitted with quick-connect fittings at relatively low cost.

As those savings add up, more and more heavy duty service centers are recommending quickconnect fittings for the fleets they serve. Doug Graves, President of FluidXchange, understands that some fleet owners and manufacturers are reluctant to invest in specialized shop tools. “But when I ask them how much they spend on regulatory compliance, clean-up, replacement coolant and unproductive labor,” he said, “they see the value pretty quickly.”

Because the FXC Coolant Extractor/Injector System offers both environmental protection and increased productivity, Graves said, it fulfills two of the highest priorities for service centers. Eaton and FluidXchange are now talking with major truck OEM technical resources at leading heavy truck manufacturers, promoting the Eaton FD12 style quickconnect fitting as standard equipment on their newest vehicles.

“In this industry, you have to keep moving,” said Doug Graves. “When it comes to engine or cooling system repair work, manual open drain containers are just too slow and messy.”



For a 10–15 gallon cooling system, extraction and injection take about six minutes on average. Based on results of a case study, FluidXchange projects the following outcomes for repairs that require coolant system draining and refilling:

FLEET SERVICE CENTERS, PER MONTH:

LABOR TIME SAVED HOURLY RATE NUMBER OF REPAIRS  
0.75 HOUR× $50×10=$375
COOLANT SAVED COST PER GALLON NUMBER OF REPAIRS  
2 GALLONS×$12×10=$240

TOTAL WARRANTY REPAIR SAVINGS PER YEAR: $7,380



DEALER SERVICE CENTERS, PER MONTH:

LABOR TIME SAVED HOURLY RATE NUMBER OF REPAIRS  
0.75 HOUR×$90×25=$1,688
COOLANT SAVED COST PER GALLON NUMBER OF REPAIRS  
2 GALLONS×$12×25=$600

TOTAL WARRANTY REPAIR SAVINGS PER YEAR: $27,450