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#616137 - 01/24/06 12:41 AM household radiator flushing compounds
1977c10phxdriver Offline

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 338
Loc: Phoenix Arizona
Was wondering if anyone has successfully used things like vinegar, CLR or pool acid to clean the deposits from the radiator tubes. My wifes '86 Caprice is showing lots of deposits around the ends of the tubes. As far as I know, the radiator is the original and never been out.


#616138 - 01/24/06 02:40 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Master ACiD Offline

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 2364
Loc: sebring, florida
i wouldnt do pool acid. that stuff reacts very badly with things like aluminum.

i do however, sucessfully run CLR type product in the cooling system, with straight water for as long as it takes to clean everything out. visually inspect the system before doing this by pulling off a few radiator hoses and looking down the colant passages. usually around 24 hours. think i used about a quart of clr.
after a while, pull the hoses again and have a second look to see if everything is to youre liking.

#616139 - 01/24/06 02:57 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
1977c10phxdriver Offline

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 338
Loc: Phoenix Arizona
Thanks, think i'll pick up some CLR next shopping trip.

The reason I asked about the pool acid was I used it once to clean the big pads in my Master Cool cooler. Loaded up a gallon in a 33 gallon trash can, filled with water and put each section in and let sit for about 20 minutes. Did a great job removing all the calcium and crap from the pads. Set of pads runs about a hundred bucks! LOL


#616140 - 01/24/06 06:12 PM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
The Dummy Offline

Registered: 07/23/03
Posts: 39
Loc: Texas
Radiator shops use a lye mixture in a hot tank heated to around 180 degrees to clean metal radiators. I don't know what they use to clean plastic ones. I have cleaned many metal radiators by putting a can of grocery store lye into a cold radiator and then, running the car around town for a few miles to allow cleaning. After cool down, flush well with water. If you like, follow with a flush of vinegar water to neutralize the lye. Depending on the radiator's condition, cleaning with any solution may open small leaks around the headers and tubes so a dose of Bars Leak or AlumiSeal or Gold Seal added to the coolant solution may prevent these from occurring. Be very careful when working with lye. It can burn your skin bad enough to get your attention in a big way.



[ January 25, 2006, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: The Dummy ]

#616141 - 02/18/06 04:53 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Ken2 Offline

Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 6372
Loc: Washington St.
Heavy duty cooling system cleanser is an oxalic acid product plus a separate neutralizer. The acid part might have passivators included...I don't know. I've heard of folks using white vinegar, but haven't tried it. In any case, rinse, rinse, and rinse.


#616142 - 02/18/06 12:06 PM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Big Jim Offline

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 1571
Loc: Thousand Oaks, CA
Years ago, washing soda was a common radiator flush compound. Baking soda was also used, but not as common.

#616143 - 02/24/06 08:56 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Crashbox Offline

Registered: 06/10/05
Posts: 1378
Loc: Lynden, Washington
I've used oxalic acid in the past with my iron block/brass radiator vehicles. Seemed to work quite well, too. Still have a few pounds of the stuff. I've heard citric acid also being used. Just make sure to neutralize it good with some trisodium phosphate or other alkali with decent neutralizing capacity.

Now with my '95 Civic, I think I'll just drain/refill the radiator every year or so to keep it in shape. Anti-freeze IMO is cheap, even when using gen-u-ine Honda antifreeze which it always gets.

#616144 - 02/25/06 08:03 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Kestas Offline

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 11482
Loc: The Motor City
FYI, I sometimes have to clean light rust from a fracture surface for scanning electron microscopy. The accepted practise among my colleagues is to ultrasonically clean the part in a 10% oxalic acid aqueous solution. This removes the rust, but barely attacks the healthy metal surface underneath. I believe the same principle applies for cleaning cooling systems.

#616145 - 02/25/06 10:36 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
oil pan 4 Offline

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 257
Loc: Hampton, VA
Yup they did/do use baking soda to clean out cooling systems.
When ever I do mine I allways flush more then once like 2 or 3 times and use different flushes for each one.
I figure different cleaners clean out junk.

#616146 - 03/04/06 04:37 PM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
kc8adu Offline

Registered: 08/02/05
Posts: 564
Loc: dayton oh
i got a free van that had a extreemly nasty looking cooling system despite having a new radiator.
when i pulled the stat i caught a whiff of atf.
the cooler failed in the old one and pumped atf into the system.i flushed with tide then with dawn.
the dawn worked best.did several fill add dawn and drive a few miles cycles before the flush stopped looking like mud.

#616147 - 03/05/06 08:34 AM Re: household radiator flushing compounds
Kestas Offline

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 11482
Loc: The Motor City
Dawn is known among my colleagues in the lab as being one of the best degreasing soaps. WhHat Dawn advertises in their commercials is actually true.