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Unread 01-09-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
SkeeterV
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Easiest Radiator Flush - Right?

I've been doing a good amount of research on radiator flushes over the past few weeks and found a quite a few different methods to get it done. I plan on doing the job this weekend, I've come up with some interesting conclusions that I'd like to run past you all.

1) You DON'T need to buy a flush kit (the T fitting)
2) You DON'T need to always wait for the engine to be completely cooled off before proceeding after each step

How?...Leave the radiator cap off...it seems like there should be no problem as long as you remove the cap initially when the engine is completely cooled off.

My plan:
Drain/Recycle the coolant, remove the tstat & reassemble, fill up completely with a garden hose and start the engine with the cap off. Place a garden hose in the radiator at a decent flow rate and open the radiator petcock and let it cycle the progressively cleaner water through the engine. Maybe cycle some aluminum safe degreaser through too.

My concerns:
Dirty water will not flow out of the petcock fast enough, I start the engine and water explodes out of the open cap, or I cause some damage to the system.

If the cap off idea is OK, I may be able to solve the lack of flow issue by allowing dirty water to escape by disconnecting the heater core return line and have it flow out there.

I've got some seriously dirty coolant, a barely working heater, a garden hose, and an open weekend.

PLEASE let me know your thoughts! THANKS!

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Unread 01-09-2012, 07:39 PM   #2
Line58
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Forgive me if I'm just ignorant, but isn't running tap water (with all of its dissolved solids) through your cooling system generally frowned upon?
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Unread 01-09-2012, 07:47 PM   #3
SkeeterV
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you know, I considered that. I will usually air on safe side but considering what has been running around in there for the last few months (years!) 30 mins of tap water is not a huge concern of mine. I plan on using a premix 50/50 to refill. My area also has relatively clean water in terms of dissolved solids.

Thanks for the input though!
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Unread 01-09-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
chris142
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Don't use 50/50 to refill it unless you remove the block drain. There's about a gallon of water left and adding 50/50 to it won't be enough antifreeze.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
J03_TJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris142 View Post
Don't use 50/50 to refill it unless you remove the block drain. There's about a gallon of water left and adding 50/50 to it won't be enough antifreeze.
That's about a gallon of tap water right? If flushing with a hose that is.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
SkeeterV
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Good point, I'll pull the plug and temp sensor before the refill. But are we talking PROBLEMS running the engine with radiator cap off?
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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
JPNinPA
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What Chris said.

No you do not need a flush kit.
No You do not need to wait for the engine to cool if you never replaced the radiator cap. Though with a really dirty fluid as you mention you may want to run some superflush with the system closed for 20 min. Then flush. With this you will need to let it cool down. Also with it that dirty remove the heater hoses from the engine side while cold and using the garden hose force water through in both directions until you see clean water and it flows through easily.
No do not worry about tap water if you have a really blocked system you will be cleaning out more than depositing. However when you fill it back up use distilled.
No Do not worry about running without a cap or about some water coming out the top of the radiator while you flush. In fact you could remove the top radiator hose to let it flow easier and exchange fluid quicker.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:34 PM   #8
SkeeterV
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GOOD DEAL! I think Super Flush is the right move, it is truly nasty in there, the radiator cap has brown cRust growing on it so I can only imagine what the rest of the system's internals looks like...
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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:48 PM   #9
cj847
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When I did mine the first time after buying it:

-Drain
-Disconnect upper and lower radiator hose and remove the radiator (not necessary unless it's really sick, but if you have time it's only 4 bolts). Fill with CLR and water for 30 minutes then flush back and forth.
-Remove housing and thermostat.
-Disconnect heater hoses at the water pump. Flush both directions and maybe put some CLR in there for 1/2 hour or so.
-Put water hose down thermostat hole and flush full blast til clear water come out the lower radiator hose.
-Replace thermostat and radiator cap (there're like $5 each, don't screw around-replace).
-Reconnect everything, fill with coolant. Note: there is still some water in the block at this point.

About 3 months later you'll probably find your radiator failing at the joint, but sh__ happens.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
JPNinPA
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DO NOT use CLR to flush a radiator. This is likely why it ended up leaking. It is on the side of the bottle Do not use on Aluminum Copper or Brass. These are three components your radiator and sensors are made of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cj847 View Post
When I did mine the first time after buying it:

-Drain
-Disconnect upper and lower radiator hose and remove the radiator (not necessary unless it's really sick, but if you have time it's only 4 bolts). Fill with CLR and water for 30 minutes then flush back and forth.
-Remove housing and thermostat.
-Disconnect heater hoses at the water pump. Flush both directions and maybe put some CLR in there for 1/2 hour or so.
-Put water hose down thermostat hole and flush full blast til clear water come out the lower radiator hose.
-Replace thermostat and radiator cap (there're like $5 each, don't screw around-replace).
-Reconnect everything, fill with coolant. Note: there is still some water in the block at this point.

About 3 months later you'll probably find your radiator failing at the joint, but sh__ happens.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 06:23 PM   #11
SkeeterV
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In lieu of CLR, why not use Rustex (which is diluted Phosphoric Acid) or a similar product and run that through the engine with water for a bit? Then flush the entire system.

I did a quick search though the forum and online, and didn't come up with much. The stuff seems fairly harmless AND did an amazing job cleaning up my frame rust. I do not believe it will eat away at the other metals present.

Anyone have any experience putting it in an engine?
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Unread 01-11-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
JPNinPA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkeeterV View Post
In lieu of CLR, why not use Rustex (which is diluted Phosphoric Acid) or a similar product and run that through the engine with water for a bit? Then flush the entire system.

I did a quick search though the forum and online, and didn't come up with much. The stuff seems fairly harmless AND did an amazing job cleaning up my frame rust. I do not believe it will eat away at the other metals present.

Anyone have any experience putting it in an engine?
STOP - First RUSTEX According to the MSDS material data safety sheet is a mixture Hydrofluoric acid and water. You do not want to mess with this acid.
Rust-Ex is the phosphoric acid solution.

The Phosphoric acid will convert the rust into another form but it will not clean it all out. It may make it harder to remove from inside the system. Also When acid react with other substances it usually gives off heat. This may not be desirable depending on what or where in the system the reaction takes place.

Simply put: Do not use acids in your system.

Water flushing is what you need. Lots of water flushing the system.
The superflush is a salt based fluid that will react with the rust loosening it and breaking it apart.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 10:33 PM   #13
SkeeterV
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JPNinPA - Loud and clear, for this first time I will be using only superflush and water....but in a few months down the road, if the rust begins to return, I may give the RUSTEX more than just half a thought. Thanks for the advice!

You are also correct in that the brand name "rustex" is used by several different rust related chemicals. Hydrofluoric acid is present in a carpet cleaner by the same name. I was referring to "Krud Kutter - RUSTEX" here is the link for the material safety date sheet.

http://www.krudkutter.com/images/msd...0converter.pdf

Basically, when the phosphoric acid contacts the ferric oxide (rust) it converts it to ferric phosphate which creates a "barrier" between the oxidizing whatever and the bare iron engine block, reducing further oxidation. The heat generated by the reaction is extremely minimal (if any at all), so I can't imagine a running cooling system would have any trouble coping with it.

I was just surprised to see so much about CLR and so little about RUSTEX. Especially since RUSTEX (Phosphoric Acid) doesn't appear to be corrosive to metals or rubber.
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Unread 01-11-2012, 11:05 PM   #14
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I am suprised they use HF (Hydroflouric acid) in carpet cleaner. I imagine the concentration is so low it won't harm you?
I work in a lab that has HF on hand and it's mandatory that I have a safety kit at home just in case I were to get any on myself and it went unnoticed, which happens with HF. That is how dangerous HF is, compared with Nitric, Acetic, Phosphoric, Hydrochloric, etc.

Also, don't use the petcock, after 10 yrs it'll probably just break off. Undo the lower rad hose for draining.
Good luck.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 06:31 PM   #15
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I know this is an old thread, but I've been researching this and I have read that a 10% citric acid to water solution ran in the cooling system for a week does a really good job. I have heard some people say that CLR is corrosive to brass and copper. My only concern with citric acid is what it would do to rubber and the water pump seal (not sure what the seals are made out of, but I have replaced similar seals on my hot tub pumps). Has anybody ever used this method? Did it work well?
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