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Unread 04-02-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
congerz83
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EFFECTIVE coolant flush alternatives...

I want to go over a topic covered often, but with a different twist.

I've got the infamous brown sludge in my radiator and I am going to flush the entire system this weekend.

I plan to drain from the block. (Already purchased the 8mm square socket).

I want the deepest clean possible. I'm reading about other substances than the "flush" that are better for... well... flushing.

Has anyone had experience with...

1) Cascade dish-washing powder..

2) Dawn dish-detergent...

3) Baking soda...

4) Vinegar...

I want the system to be spotless.

What are your favorite, most effective methods for cleaning a cooling system?

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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:01 PM   #2
jm8881
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I've never heard of using any of those for flushing your cooling system. I'm not sure if any of those would hurt the different materials of the cooling system (copper, aluminum, iron, plastic) but the only thing I can think of is the fact that it's very difficult to completely remove anything you put into the cooling system. Would a little left over baking soda or cascade do anything? Probably not but they make cooling system flushes that are guaranteed not to harm anything.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
jnicewan
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I've used cascade for general cleaning, dish soap if it was from blown head gasket or trans cooler (oil residue), CLR for scale deposits and rust. Also lemon juice or citric acid powder can help for rust.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 12:12 AM   #4
Uniblurb
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Instead of adding vinegar + baking soda to your cooling system you might as well fill the radiator with diet coke, throw a handful of Mentos in, screw the cap on quick and run like heck!

Seriously the only 2 on your list I've seen mentioned is Dawn for cleaning out the overflow tank and Cascade powder mixed with hot water as a flush. I wouldn't put a high suds dish washing liquid like Dawn in the closed cooling system. I've also heard of using CLR, like jnicewan mentioned, but don't leave it in very long since it's supposed to start eating aluminum.

Just curious why you wouldn't use a commercial coolant system flush for cleaning out the system? I've always used a 10-min fast flush like from NAPA or Prestone but not sure how clean the entire system gets. It seems to work well but since I flush my system every 2-3 years it isn't gunked up with rust that bad. I've heard this Thoro Flush is some good stuff but really strong and follow the directions. Kind of pricey though.

http://www.irontite.com/store/index....&products_id=4

If you're going to try and remove the block drain plug(s) you better start hosing down the plug area with PB now. Even when I replaced all my freeze-out plugs on my 96 4.0, when I had the intake/manifold off, a Chrysler mechanic made me so leery about possible stripping the threads out of the block after 16 years of never being removed I never did remove it. Good luck.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 05:28 AM   #5
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.....and I tried and couldn't budge it. That puppy is in there.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
congerz83
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You guys have me re-thinking the drain-plug... Anyway, I drained from the radiator today and what came out was ORANGE and not very brown. Closest thing to describe it to would be buffalo sauce.

Before anyone asks, I have never put DEXCOOL in it.

I filled it up again with just straight water, let it heat, and dropped it again. I'm gonna repeat this process tomorrow (when I have more time) until it gets a clear as it gets. Then I plan to run the Prestone flush.

There is a LOT of residue caked to the filler neck on the radiator, it's really tough and I worry that if this stuff is whats coating the radiator (of course it is) Prestone won't be strong enough. At that point I'll use CLR.

With a dry radiator, how much coolant sits in the block?
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Unread 04-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #7
zjosh93
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Old school flushes were oxalic acid, you can still get it online. Not the flush, just the powdered acid. It's probably the best thing for cleaning rust off of cast iron BUT it is very aggressive and you must nuetralize it when you are done and rinse well. Personally, considering how hard it is to replace the heater core I'd stick with the newer safer parts store products. Aluminum can dissolve pretty quickly in acids given the right conditions.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 12:39 PM   #8
baldygo
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iv been wanting to do this for awhile
just found this even tho it says xj im sure nothin will change

http://www.xjtalk.com/showthread.php?t=5936
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Unread 04-03-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
jm8881
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldygo View Post
iv been wanting to do this for awhile
just found this even tho it says xj im sure nothin will change

http://www.xjtalk.com/showthread.php?t=5936
So he just pumped everything in his cooling system onto the driveway? I wouldn't do that if I were you. Will anything happen? Probably not but should the wrong person see what you're doing and you'll get hit with some pretty hefty fines.
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Unread 04-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #10
baldygo
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ya thats some people, but im sure a bucket for the first couple gallons would work for the rest of us haha
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Unread 04-04-2013, 04:56 AM   #11
Uniblurb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by congerz83 View Post
You guys have me re-thinking the drain-plug... Anyway, I drained from the radiator today and what came out was ORANGE and not very brown. Closest thing to describe it to would be buffalo sauce.

Before anyone asks, I have never put DEXCOOL in it.

I filled it up again with just straight water, let it heat, and dropped it again. I'm gonna repeat this process tomorrow (when I have more time) until it gets a clear as it gets. Then I plan to run the Prestone flush.

There is a LOT of residue caked to the filler neck on the radiator, it's really tough and I worry that if this stuff is whats coating the radiator (of course it is) Prestone won't be strong enough. At that point I'll use CLR.

With a dry radiator, how much coolant sits in the block?
Yeah, that drain plug has to be almost welded in with rust/corrosion and don't think I'd mess with it.

I've seen coolant/flushes come out real orange and believe that's just the rust in the system rather than an additive. Sounds like you're doing it right by flushing w/water 1st and then go with a fast flush or CLR. If I'm not waiting for the block to cool down all the way before I run another batch of water through it I'll add hot water with a garden watering jug so I don't shock the block/system with real cold water.

If you have that much rust in the rad so it's caked in around the inside of the filler neck I'm surprised it hasn't been running hot or overheating. I just replaced my OE rad last year on my 96 4.0 when it developed a leak near the top seam. Even still had the Chrysler sticker on the plastic side and surprised it lasted 16 years.

Not sure how much liquid is retained in the block, heater core, hoses, etc, but don't believe it matters since you're flushing it. The FSM only gives refill capacities rather than complete cooling system capacity. Refill for the 4.0 w/standard cooling system is 9.3qts (8.8L) and for the 4.0 heavy duty cooling system it's 10qts (9.5L). HD cooling system is indicated with a trans cooler in front of the radiator which comes with the tow group.

Hopefully you have your heater set to high when flushing the system so it goes through the heater core. Also helps to back flush the core and disconnect your hoses at the front/right of the valve cover rather than possibly damaging the soft copper tubes coming out of the firewall. When I replaced my AC evaporator I also replaced the heater core and while I was trying to be careful I could not get the hoses off of the core w/o bending or half-crimping these soft copper tubes. Didn't matter since was replacing the core anyhow.

When you finally add the coolant to the system buy the pure anti-freeze concentrate. Then buy a gal of distilled water (no minerals/calcium) and mix it 50/50. I use Prestone and mix it in another empty gal jug then mark them 50/50 so I know it's pre-mixed. Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jm8881 View Post
So he just pumped everything in his cooling system onto the driveway? I wouldn't do that if I were you. Will anything happen? Probably not but should the wrong person see what you're doing and you'll get hit with some pretty hefty fines.
Agree, that video is a pretty poor example of disposing of the coolant or a flushing additive! Wouldn't doubt any type of acidic flush/with rust could stain concrete for a while too. Big time fines if going down a storm sewer drain.

It's interesting the Fed/State EPA's recommend pouring used anti-freeze down your drain/toilet and to dispose of it. This is only for residents on a municipal sewage system, not for septic-type systems, and the antifreeze is supposed to be watered down enough where it won't harm anything. Imagine you're supposed to do the same with an used acidic flush additive since know of no other place which will take it to dispose of.
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-Stalling ZJ? 12 things to check before replacing a sensor; the Dirty Dozen
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Unread 09-16-2013, 05:43 AM   #12
congerz83
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5 months later, I open my radiator cap to find that the sludge has returned. But it's not very oily. It's more dry. Almost like brownie mix... I pulled my dipstick, and found perfectly clean oil.

In march the guy who did my transmission noticed a small leak at the water pump. Could this be causing the return of the sludge?

I spend DAYS flusing out the system in april! Even pulled the block plug. Trust me, it was "clean and green"

Your thoughts?
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Unread 09-16-2013, 06:10 AM   #13
newfieZJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uniblurb View Post
Instead of adding vinegar + baking soda to your cooling system you might as well fill the radiator with diet coke, throw a handful of Mentos in, screw the cap on quick and run like heck!


Nothing like a good chuckle to start the day
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Unread 09-16-2013, 06:40 AM   #14
BIGBADWOLF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by congerz83 View Post

In march the guy who did my transmission noticed a small leak at the water pump. Could this be causing the return of the sludge?

I spend DAYS flusing out the system in april! Even pulled the block plug. Trust me, it was "clean and green"

Your thoughts?
Possibly. What type of coolant were you running? OAT(and HOAT to a lesser degree) do not tolerate air being sucked into the system when motor cools down.
The brown is rust. The old silicate (IAT) coolants were much more effective in insulating the iron with a coat of silicate. The OAT stuff takes time for it to coat the metal. If your system already has ANY rust in the OAT/HOAT will quickly turn brown again. IF you have a leak this chemical reaction will be intensified. Rust=oxidation, oxidation=break-down of organic coolants.

Cascade & thorough flush is an effective way of cleaning the system, followed by acid then a neutralizer. If you want a short cut you can skip the acid & neutralizer and just use conventional IAT antifreeze
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Unread 09-16-2013, 08:08 AM   #15
congerz83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGBADWOLF View Post
What type of coolant were you running?

Just AutoZone brand that I mixed with distilled water.
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