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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I was just searching, used the sites search and google but couldn't find the post or posts I know are here somewhere.  How do you all go about fully cleaning your cooling system?  I know I can drain and flush the radiator with a hose, but what's the best, most effective and least damaging way to flush and clean the entire system?  Can you put CLR in the rad?  Or is straight vinegar good enough?  Last question for now, can you run the bike with vinegar in the system?
 

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Well I used straight vinegar in the bike for 1 day max. I ran it to get it to circulate but I have a feeling the thermostat would have to be removed to flush it through completely. I have heard some interesting stories about crystalized coolant blocking passages and building up in the head needing to be removed with picks.



when I drained the tank I filled it up and ran the bike to circulate the new water that I added and then drained a while afterwords. A month later I ended up needing to remove the the fan so I took advantage of removing the drain plugs from the jugs.
 

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2-part Prestone Heavy Duty Cooling System Cleaner P/N AS100 (GM P/N 12346500) ... cost about $6 ... only a dollar or two more than ineffective liquids. Follow the directions exactly & use extra safety precautions (goggles are essential). And replace your radiator cap with a new one of USA manufacture ... Stant is a good choice. Also, GM bulletin #99-06-02-012D is a VERY complete procedure on how to properly flush ... there may be others that more closely address your needs ... just go to your GM dealer service dept & ask ... mine printed it off for free.



It's the cat's meow and it won't take much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So with whatever flush I use the thermostat should be taken out first, correct? Any ideas about how long to run the bike with the cleaner in? And Marshall, that cooling system cleaner is safe, right? As in it won't hurt the mech seal or any of the rubber bits in the cooling system of our bikes?
 

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No, you don't need to remove the thermostat, matter of fact it's best left in so it gets cleaned too.



Serious stuff, might find it at a NAPA but any GM dealer will have it and print off the procedure or you can find it from that TSB #.



Personally if I use it on a car I run plain water through a couple of times afterwards.



Trade secret I guess, GM & Prestone had to come up with it after the original Dexcool problems. Once you start you have to follow through until you're down to the water rinse. It WILL remove every bit of sludge, grime, lime and old congealed antifreeze leaving a 100% clean system.



Any GM dealer will have it by that part #
 

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As already stated, you MUST flush the system afterwards, to remove all the "cleaning product".



Also, the only way to truly clean a radiator is to remove the top and bottom "tanks" and clean all the galleries. The build up of "sludge" sets hard and will not budge with back washing. Even though the water may be coming out clean, the core may still be blocked.



Having said all that, if it ain't overheating, you dont have to !!
 

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Done "by the book" this stuff will get into every nook and cranny and it's obvious why you can't just go buy it off the shelf. GM dealer will sell it to you no problem, just adjust for the volume of your cooling system.



If I recall it's a mix of citric, a bit of oxalic acid and some aluminum protectants, the neutralizer is primarily sodium carbonate with a touch of other alkalis and some corrosion inhibitors. The acid part of the flush eats the heck out of the old lime and antifreeze deposits (including oxidation) down to new metal - reason not to leave it in longer than you need to until you drain it and put in the neutralizer which not only kills the acid but also helps to carry alll the loosened deposits off.



I've seen proof as to what it can do but can't find any pix to show. If you aren't familiar with working with mean nasty stuff I'd recommend gloves and goggles.



AGAIN: As mentioned above I'll flush the heck out of the system several times with tap water afterwards. Yea, sounds like a hassle but it brings you back to almost perfectly new. Not anything you need to do yearly, once is probably enough for 5 or more years.



You should see my inventory of acids -n- stuff at work, I buy citric by 50 lb containers, phosphoric, goood muriatic (cheap hydrochloric) and even have a decent amount of nitric that took fed approval to buy. Sadly I found a local firm that would sell it to me cheaper locally but I had already placed an order with Sigma.



I've got 300 lbs of sulfamic acid powder I have yet to figure out what to do with, be glad to give away half of it if anyone has a need but I doubt shipping would be easy.



I kind of prefer my cirtic and phosphoric, I can safely introduce those into the water systems without worrying about health affects. Careful monitoring with my PH meter. I can safely take a finger full of citric and put it in my mouth, concentrated phosphoric is a different matter but it sure will eat rust if I dilute it.



Best source? http://www.dudadiesel.com
 

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Short of dropping the radiator, how do you get the cap off?? I have the gas tank off and there is not enough clearance to lift the cap off! Nice design.
 

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The spring seems to be the problem. Either you put a flat blade screwdriver in the hole and compress it or loosen the bolts holding the radiator.
 

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Marshall, that stuff sounds great - heaven knows I can physically see the lime or mineral salts or whatever the crud is by looking into the top of the radiator - but what are the odds that the two part Prestone will harm gaskets or other parts? Sounds like the cure could be more harmful than the problem. Am I being concerned over nothing? Is there even a need to do something this drastic if the bike doesn't overheat?
 

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Marshall, that stuff sounds great - heaven knows I can physically see the lime or mineral salts or whatever the crud is by looking into the top of the radiator - but what are the odds that the two part Prestone will harm gaskets or other parts? Sounds like the cure could be more harmful than the problem. Am I being concerned over nothing? Is there even a need to do something this drastic if the bike doesn't overheat?


It's safe for our bikes or anything else provided you follow the strict directions included. The complete GM TSB is halfway down this forum, ignore the home rememdies as they cost more and were not designed with the protectants included in the two part system. Obviously this was written for a GM car, you'll just have to use it as some reading reference but it's really easy.



Drain the system, mix up Part A and run it through until the engine gets hot. Stop the engine, let it sit for a bit then drain and flush that out. Mix up Part B and do the same thing followed by several clean water flushes.



http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c3-tech-performance/2395596-radiator-cleaner-flush.html
 

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It's funny that the post office jeeps had there radiators cleaned with Cascade for the dish washer.Flush out the old water and add in. Used one cup in the cars and the jeeps. I use 1/4 cup in the bike. Drive for two or three day. I have gone a week. Drain, rinse, (for a spot free finish). haha. Well we just put the antifreeze back in. It worked back then, it still does now.

It is not caustic to the system. Just gives it time to break down the minerals. Most of the time the system runs cooler with Cascade in it.

I learnd that from a mechanic in the early eighty's. Just what I learned. Once a year.
 

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It's funny that the post office jeeps had there radiators cleaned with Cascade for the dish washer.Flush out the old water and add in. Used one cup in the cars and the jeeps. I use 1/4 cup in the bike. Drive for two or three day. I have gone a week. Drain, rinse, (for a spot free finish). haha. Well we just put the antifreeze back in. It worked back then, it still does now.

It is not caustic to the system. Just gives it time to break down the minerals. Most of the time the system runs cooler with Cascade in it.

I learnd that from a mechanic in the early eighty's. Just what I learned. Once a year.


NOW, THAT'S A NEW ONE !!!!! Good ol' jeep head thinking!
 

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Be aware that there are two different formulations of Cascade out there. If you're going to use it look for the powder that has a phosphorous in it, some of the powders and the liquid don't have it.



Regardless, why not take advantage of the originl Dexcool (and sealing tabs, but that's another story) goof and spend $6 at any GM dealer for something that will clean out the worst without eating up any of the metal? They had to put stuff into it so it wouldn't attack aluminum or brass, etc because so many of the engines that were affected had aluminum heads and radiators. Yea, it takes a bit of work to use the stuff and I've used all sorts of things over the years but nothing will get even close to the GM stuff.



BTW: I let it expire, but I was an ASE Certified Technician in the past and used it on occasion as a second job. I got an exception for the job experience requirement but I'll tell you that was two rather intense 5 hour nights of testing just to get A1,6,7 & 8. I could recertify, walk into most any dealership and get a job but I'm quite happy having a position now where I can pretty much call my own shots and take care of some of the most complicated equipment you've probably ever seen. I took some pictures a while back of one of my main areas, specifically the one where I'm moving my office to and I'll put them on my website one of these days.



Besides that, I've got to get this electric fan controller and a couple of other designs off to the PC board house. I'm happy with the designs, I just need to do all the PC board layouts, run the autorouter and make the corrections for the things the autorouter and I don't agree with.
 
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