Cool under pressure

Our tester tries out a new cooling system test kit

Published:  20 September, 2013

Tool: Trident Cooling System Test Kit from J&S Products

Price: £228 ex-VAT*

Tester: John Tinham

The kit is presented in a standard blow-mould case with cut-outs for the parts. It comprises sixteen caps, all of which fit different applications as well as three traditional-style radiator caps. You also get the vacuum pump, a dial-type thermometer and a couple of connectors as well as the obligatory instruction sheet and application table.

Despite having an application table, finding out exactly what cap fits what vehicle is something of a matter of trial and error as the list of vehicles was obviously for another market - it listed all number of weird and wonderful American vehicles but made no reference for contemporary Vauxhalls or Rovers. However, once you have found the right size cap it is relatively easy to find it again as they are colour coded and numbered for ease of use.

To use the kit, you simply find the right test cap and then connect the pump to it through the quick coupling at the hose end. You then pump the system up until the gauge is reading between 10-15 PSI. If the gauge doesn't move for a minute or so then the system is efficient. If the pressure drops and there is a water leak then the problem should be self-explanatory. However, if there is no water leak then you might be looking at a head gasket problem.

As mentioned, finding the right cap took a few attempts but our tester liked the inclusion of a special spanner for removing the caps, lest they get stuck on the expansion tank. If required, you can also use the gauge-style thermometer.

Releasing the pressure is a simple matter of pressing a switch valve on the coupling. This is different and a substantially better design from other (admittedly much older) pressure testing kits we've seen where there has always been the risk of being splashed with droplets of coolant.

With an ex-VAT price of £228 we think that the Trident kit offers respectable value for money. The pump and the caps all seemed to be well-made and if you look after it, the kit should last in your service for many, many years.

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