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#3365936 - 05/08/14 07:36 PM Algae? In the radiator?
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
Long story short - I have a 2004 F350 with the 6.0 Powerstroke. I have two mechanics fighting over what is wrong with it. There is an unknown substance in the radiator. The cap is a bit milky, like oil, but not frothy. It smells like a petroleum product, but neither I, nor my mechanic can tell you what. Not motor oil, and not diesel fuel. It's kind of a yellow/brown color but if you look at it in the right light it looks green! Does not look like Ford or Chevy coolant.

One of the mechanics claims this is algae. In the radiator? Is that possible? I've never heard of that before. Any other guesses as to what this could be?

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#3365943 - 05/08/14 07:40 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 4842
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Diesel fuel? Have they done a combustion test on the coolant yet? When my '04 E-350 6.0 had a blown HG the coolant got a little funky-and diesel fuel can be green. Premium Gold coolant turns brown with age, only if somebody put the wrong coolant in, could it be green.
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#3365945 - 05/08/14 07:44 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
actionstan Offline


Registered: 05/22/13
Posts: 488
Loc: Ohio
Not sure if serious on the Algae.. Algae requires light to live, as well 95f or higher would kill it, much higher than coolant gets. My guess is oil or gas.


Edited by actionstan (05/08/14 07:46 PM)
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#3365958 - 05/08/14 07:56 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
yonyon Offline


Registered: 03/06/12
Posts: 3492
Loc: NJ, USA
The yellow/brown/green thing might be from mixing different coolants that use different dyes.

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#3365971 - 05/08/14 08:05 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: bullwinkle]
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
Originally Posted By: bullwinkle
Diesel fuel? Have they done a combustion test on the coolant yet?

No, they haven't. Doesn't smell like diesel fuel to me, or my mechanic.

There's actually a long list of stuff one mechanic is trying to say they did, but they didn't. He also claimed it was algae, which I laughed at. He said it like it's just some common thing that happens.

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#3365982 - 05/08/14 08:17 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 9136
Loc: Barberton,Ohio
start by googling the engine and the usual issues with it.

see if any match up to your issues.
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#3365999 - 05/08/14 08:31 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Rand]
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
Originally Posted By: Rand
start by googling the engine and the usual issues with it.

see if any match up to your issues.


I have, it's not related to anything I can find. My mechanic specializes in the Powerstroke 6.0 also, he doesn't have any guesses.

Interestingly, these engines are known for plugging their oil cooler all the time. Mine seems to function perfectly with this garbage in it. Algae, or oil, should plug it up.

I guess what it is exactly doesn't really matter, as long as we are in agreement there is no such thing as radiator algae.

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#3366029 - 05/08/14 08:53 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 12842
Loc: apple valley, ca
send a sample out to be tested.
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#3366475 - 05/09/14 09:57 AM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: actionstan]
01_celica_gt Offline


Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 1363
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: actionstan
Not sure if serious on the Algae.. Algae requires light to live, as well 95f or higher would kill it, much higher than coolant gets. My guess is oil or gas.


+1, lol you have a very educated mechanic, where did he get his degree?
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#3366530 - 05/09/14 11:02 AM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
ac_tc Offline


Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 589
Loc: sweden
Sounds like it has radiator clean, waterpump lube, water wetter
or some other snake additive in it and then maybe some mix between
colours also.
If the engine runs ok.
Flush it with water a couple of times and fill it with the correct antifreeze.
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#3366813 - 05/09/14 03:08 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: 01_celica_gt]
Number21 Offline


Registered: 10/23/13
Posts: 230
Loc: OR
Originally Posted By: 01_celica_gt
+1, lol you have a very educated mechanic, where did he get his degree?


He said it like it's just a thing that happens all the time. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some radiator algae I've never heard of before I call [censored] on this idiot. He was supposed to have done about $6,000 work to my engine, which as it turns out, has not been done!

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#3366867 - 05/09/14 04:07 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 7619
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Sounds like he did not do whatever he did properly with the 6.0. Ford is very adamant that you MUST use their VC9 or equivalent iron cleaner after performing major repairs on the 6.0L diesel.

I had 2 friends just have head gaskets replaced on theirs. One did it through my work and had the truck back in a week and a half and it is running strong. The other had it done at another shop and it took that shop 18 weeks to get it done, never ran right, and is back at their shop with coolant dripping out the exhaust under load.
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#3366961 - 05/09/14 05:37 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 4842
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
I would add that Premium Gold coolant isn't a good idea in the 6.0-I would switch to a Cat approved ELC or similar, such as Final Charge, the PG will eventually plug the oil cooler.
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#3366969 - 05/09/14 05:43 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: bullwinkle]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 7619
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted By: bullwinkle
I would add that Premium Gold coolant isn't a good idea in the 6.0-I would switch to a Cat approved ELC or similar, such as Final Charge, the PG will eventually plug the oil cooler.


We tow the party line here and use the Ford Gold on customer vehicles. However we have had more than a few customers request we use the Cat coolant and install a Sinister coolant filter.
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#3367176 - 05/09/14 10:01 PM Re: Algae? In the radiator? [Re: Number21]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 7569
Loc: Florida
If the head gasket leaks slowly, you would need block test fluid and tool to detect a leak. Here is one in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ0vA1qXT5E
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