Hi all, I recently completed the coolant change procedure on my '07 base Vibe after researching it to death. Most of the information you need is out there on GenVibe and youtube, including this excellent video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7WAO2_Ztk4
HOWEVER - there are a few bits and pieces missing, and a few useful tips, that I wanted to include for y'all.
1. What coolant do you have? As we all know the manual is not accurate. Most Vibes are filled with Toyota coolant at the factory, so you need to figure out what's in there before you go refilling it. Hint: if your vibe has never been serviced before, it's probably not DexCool! Take a turkey baster or similar device and remove a small amount of coolant from your radiator (WHEN CAR IS COLD) for inspection. Put it in a clear plastic or glass container so you can see it. If it's Red or Pink, you have the Toyota long life coolant. If it is Orange, you have DexCool. If it is a weird brown color, or green, or sludgy, or what have you, you have who-knows-what and should perform a full flush with distilled water vs a drain and fill.
2. Draining the overflow reservoir the easy way: Leave the radiator cap on. Open the radiator petcock drain. Assuming there are no leaks in your cooling system, the vacuum will cause the fluid from the overflow reservoir to drain back into the radiator first. After the overflow bottle drains completely, THEN open your radiator cap to help speed up the rest of the fluid drain.
3. The pesky engine block drain. It's on the back of the engine. You can jack the car up to get it to it, which is still tricky, (see the previously mentioned video) but you can also reach it by hand from the top of the engine. Standing in the front of the car, reach down behind the back of the engine (AGAIN WHEN CAR IS COLD) slightly to the right of center (towards the driver's side), just below the exhaust manifold's right hand side. You can see the exhaust manifold if you bend over the engine, and you want to reach down just beneath the right edge. For some extra help, use your phone's video camera with flash on and stick it down there while recording. Watch the video and you'll see the drain! You can then reach down with your hand and find it by feel. You'll feel the drain plug and the small spout directly below it. You can use a 10mm socket and extension with a small 3/8" ratchet to open the drain. I found a 3" extension slightly too short.
4. Engine block drain splatter prevention: Buy 4ft of vinyl tubing, 5/16" inner diameter, from your favorite big box hardware store. $0.37 a foot or so, very cheap. Attach this to the engine block drain spout, it will slide on tight enough that it will stay secure on its own. Thread it down over the exhaust manifold and out a hole in the splash shield. Look under the car for the tubing and put your drain bucket under it. This keeps your coolant from going everywhere when you open the block drain.
5. Do you need to drain the block, it's such a pain....? If your car does not have weird mixed coolant, is within the required service interval and the removed coolant appears ok and/or still tests ok, then you can arguably skip the engine block drain. The additional coolant removed from the block drain is small. If you are filling with the same type coolant, you can most likely skip this step without worry, assuming your old coolant and cooling system is still in good condition.
6. Lisle Spill-Free Funnel. Just get it. Seriously. Best $25 you will ever spend and makes the bleeding/burping process so incredibly simple, mess-free and effective. It took me about 15 minutes to bleed the system and I did not have to rebleed it. No problems with air bubbles or overheating. Watch the video I linked to see how it works.
I hope this helps you with your coolant drain and fill!