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How to: 10 Steps To A Clean Cooling System

BrooklynBay

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Draining coolant doesn't loosen up all of the rust, and dirt in the system. It is recommended to do a system flush. Here is the procedure:
1. Attach a flush tee in one of your heater core hoses.
2. Open your radiator drain cock valve, and drain your coolant. Close the valve when you are finished.
3. Attach a garden hose, and remove the radiator cap.
4. Flush with water until the water coming out is clear.
5. Add some cooling system cleaner, like the one from Prestone. Put back on your radiator cap, and flush tee cap. Run the engine until it is hot. Keep your heater on throughout this entire procedure.
6. Drain your cooling system, and reconnect the garden hose. Flush your system again until you get clear water coming out.
7. Drain your radiator. Add some coolant, water, and anti rust. Prestone also makes anti rust.
8. Run your engine with the radiator cap off, and check the coolant level in the radiator. You will see the level drop when you start the engine. Add a little water if necessary to obtain the proper mixture. Put the cap back on.
9. Run your engine for a few minutes, and check to see if you have heat coming out of the interior vents.
10. Wait until your engine has cooled down to open the radiator cap. Check your coolant level once more, and the level in your overflow tank. As a extra precaution (optional) you could use a radiator pressure tester like the one made by Stant to check for any leaks. It is best to do this at the end, and not the beginning. If there is some area that was sealed from leakage because of a sludge build up, it will be more noticeable at the end.
 
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BrooklynBay

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Antifreeze mixture percentage chart:
art_protection_chart.jpg
 
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BrooklynBay

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BrooklynBay

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This is a cooling system leak tester that enables you to apply pressure to your cooling system to test for leaks:
12270Tester.jpg

Some vehicles need special radiator adapters. The piece that is connected to the tester fits most domestic vehicles.
 
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BrooklynBay

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gjw02

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Excellent posting. When inserting the "TEE" in the system, does it matter which hose the "TEE" is placed?
 
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BrooklynBay

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I think they recommend putting the tee into the line with the flow going into the heater core. This way, your water flow is going in the same direction as the coolant flow from the water pump. You don't want to force pressure against the flow of the water pump.
 
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BrooklynBay

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This is what Prestone states in their FAQ section:
Q. How do I flush my cooling system, and install a fresh fill?
A. Using a chemical flush prior to the fresh fill of antifreeze/coolant is an effective way to remove deposits from the cooling system. Prestone® offers several flushes that are designed for everything from routine maintenance to lime or rust scale. All of these cleaners are compatible with the cooling system components of any vehicle. We recommend the following: Use Prestone® Super Flush for routine maintenance. Use Prestone® Super Radiator Cleaner to remove corrosion, and lime scale. If the directions on each of these cleaners are followed correctly, the end result will be an empty radiator with mostly water in the engine block, and heater core. At this point, use a mix of 50% to 70% Prestone® Antifreeze/Coolant, and water. This is easily accomplished if you know the capacity of the cooling system. Example: If the owner's manual of your vehicle indicates that the capacity of the cooling system is 8 quarts, then you need to install 4 quarts of pure antifreeze. Note: Once the desired amount of concentrated antifreeze/coolant has been installed, the cooling system must be topped off with water to ensure a complete fill. Prestone® offers a Flush N' Fill Kit for backflushing the cooling system. This kit fits some cars, and most light trucks. This backflush will remove more deposits than the chemical cleaner alone. If you are able to access the inlet heater hose on your vehicle, we recommend that you use one of the cleaners, and then backflush the system.
 
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BrooklynBay

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This was in the Peak antifreeze's Q & A section on their website:

A. Why is it important to mix antifreeze with water?
Antifreeze contains chemicals that protect your engine against rust and corrosion, as well as freeze-up and boil over protection. Water is required to activate the chemicals in the inhibitor package. Furthermore, adding water to antifreeze actually increases the freeze-up and boil over protection provided. For example, a mix of 40% antifreeze and 60% water provides freeze-up protection down to -10°F and boil over protection up to 259°F. In comparison, a mix of 70% antifreeze and 30% water provides freeze-up protection down to -62°F and boil over protection up to 270°F. However, we do not recommend adding more than 70% antifreeze. This would limit the corrosion and freeze up protection and heat transfer capabilities of the antifreeze.

B. Can I mix ordinary tap water with antifreeze?
Yes, tap water is commonly used for mixing with antifreeze, however, deionized water or distilled water is preferred. Do not use water softened with salts to mix with antifreeze.

C. Why does my vehicle owner’s manual recommend a phosphate free antifreeze?
Some European car manufacturers recommend that phosphate free antifreeze be used in their vehicles. The reason is that the water in Europe has an extremely high mineral content. If you mixed an antifreeze containing phosphates, which are part of the corrosion inhibitor package, with the water they have in Europe, the phosphates in the antifreeze may “drop out” and form deposits in your cooling system that can lead to corrosion. However, this is not a major concern in North America, since our water is lower in mineral content, or softer, than European water.If you are interested in a phosphate-free antifreeze, Old World Industries offers PEAK® Global LifeTime™ Antifreeze and SIERRA®, the Safer Antifreeze.

D. What makes SIERRA Antifreeze safer?
SIERRA Antifreeze is a premium quality, propylene glycol (PG) based antifreeze that provides engine protection comparable to that provided by premium conventional ethylene glycol (EG) based coolants.

However, because of its PG formulation, SIERRA Antifreeze is less toxic than conventional EG based antifreeze and, therefore, safer to pets, people and wildlife in cases of spills, leaks, boil-over, or careless disposal.

E. Can I mix SIERRA Antifreeze with an ethylene glycol based antifreeze?
SIERRA Antifreeze is compatible with ethylene glycol based (EG) antifreeze. If they are accidentally mixed, no damage to the cooling system will occur. However, due to the toxicity of the EG antifreeze, mixing antifreeze will eliminate the safety advantages of SIERRA Antifreeze.
 
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Greaser Tony

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Hell, at work we just drain it and refill it and send the customer on their way... All for $80 :D
 
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GJarrett

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Just a thought; today's aluminum radiators react to minerals and corrode more quickly with tap water. I always use distilled water in the antifreeze mix when filling my radiator. I don't know exactly how much it helps but I do know that the aftermarket radiator I installed last year requires me to use distilled water in order for them to honor their warranty.
 
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BrooklynBay

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This link has a test between Water Wetter, and distilled water, and distilled water by itself: http://www.water-cooling.com/articles/waterwetter/waterwetter.php. It explains that by using water wetter, it prevented corrosion, unlike distilled water by itself which has no anti corrosive capabilities. The website for Water Wetter is: Dead Link Removed.
Here's a link with an online demo video: Dead Link Removed
 
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PedroDaGr8

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Science

Once again the friendly neighborhood chemisty to clarify on some things. First off, anything that you mix with water will lower its freezing point and raise its boiling point, the only limit is solubility of the solute(additive) in the solvent(water). Example besides antifreeze, salt, it melts ice on the roads down to a certain temperature (solubility maximum) and is used in high altitudes to raise the boiling point.
On the other hand for antifreeze, someone clarify for me if this is an issue for cars, I know from water cooling in computers, that antifreeze mixtures have a lower thermal conductivity than water. Pure water has a thermal conductivity of 0.6W/(m*K). While 50% PG Antifreeze/50% water solution has a thermal conductivity of 0.34 and a 50% EG soluntion has a therm. cond. of 0.38. Thermal conductivity is simply a measure of amount of heat removed at a given temperature in a given amount of time. This means that if you had pure water running through your radiator, it would remove the most heat the most efficently, though you would have problems with overheating and freezing in the winter due to the relatively close melting and boiling points. So you should only add as much antifreeze as is necessary for your region to compentsate for hot summers and cold winters. Anymore and you reduce the efficience of your cooling system, more than likely raising the equilibrium temperature of the engine atleast a few degrees. This is important in water cooling processors, where a 10degree diff can be the difference between running hot and a dead CPU.

By the way, if my posts like this posting scientific info annoy people please let me know and I will stop doing it, or if you have questions ask as well.

Edit: Forgot to site my info TC of the EG and PG solutions came from http://www.lyondell.com/html/products/markets/coolants/technical_information/
and TC for pure water came from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_conductivity
 
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BrooklynBay

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Thanks for posting this information. This is the idea behind the water wetter that was mentioned in post # 13. The company claims that pure water will run cooler than a mixture of water/antifreeze, just as you had mentioned. The problem is that water by itself is corrosive. The water/water wetter mixture is supposed to reduce the temperature a little more than water by itself because of the themal characteristics of the two combined. It won't be able to prevent it from freezing since it is not an antifreeze.
 
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PedroDaGr8

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Water Wetter is actually quite interesting, I was reading a pdf found here http://www.redlineoil.com/whitePaper/9.pdf it lowers temps by decreasing surface tension of water. This is important becaues hot metal vaporizes the water at the metal water interface. Since water has a higher surface tension the bubbles are harder to replace so less liquid to metal contact so less heat transfer, water wetter increase liquid to metal contact by reducing surface tension hince smaller bubbles therfore better thermal transfer. It also provides needed corrosion resistance (though so does antifreeze), corrosion occurs via galvanic current through the water (think the old potato battery with the two different metal plates.

Edit: it actually decreases thermal conductivity of the water, but the increase is offset by the increased efficiency of the metal/coolent boundry
 
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BrooklynBay

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On a home water heater, there is an anode rod which helps prevent corrosion. Since it is a different type of metal, the corrosion will build up around the anode, and not as much around the walls of the tank. When dissimilar metals come in contact with one another, corrosion will start to accumulate. I guess if there would be a way of grounding the tank, maybe there would be less corrosion? The piping in the house is usually grounded, but in this case there is no electrical charge being transferred, so it shouldn't make a difference. I know that there is an electrical device that some vehicles have for preventing corrosion. I saw it in another thread. It is some sort of high voltage generator that provides intermittent charges to the vehicle. Somebody in Hawaii said that he had it.
 
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PedroDaGr8

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BrooklynBay said:
On a home water heater, there is an anode rod which helps prevent corrosion. Since it is a different type of metal, the corrosion will build up around the anode, and not as much around the walls of the tank. When dissimilar metals come in contact with one another, corrosion will start to accumulate. I guess if there would be a way of grounding the tank, maybe there would be less corrosion? The piping in the house is usually grounded, but in this case there is no electrical charge being transferred, so it shouldn't make a difference. I know that there is an electrical device that some vehicles have for preventing corrosion. I saw it in another thread. It is some sort of high voltage generator that provides intermittent charges to the vehicle. Somebody in Hawaii said that he had it.

The reaction is what we in chemistry call a redox reaction, if you can oxidize one metal while reducing another and the difference in the energies of the two results in it being favorable(it essentially always is because if it is unfavorable one way oxidizing one metal then just the reverse reaction happens oxidizes the other) then the system will start to corrode. The electric systems work by trying to prevent one of the reactions from happening hince not allowing the system to be favorable. It is very common also to have sacrificial anodes, ships use a big block of zinc welded to them to keep sea water from eatting the metal.

Edit: Interesting, according to the galvanic tables, iron and aluminum, don't need corrosion protection from galvanic corrosion. Instead aluminum needs protection from acidic corrosion, and this stuff acts as a buffer I guess to keep the pH higher (in the basic range of ~9.5). As found from the white paper here Dead Link Removed and the galvanic corrosion info here http://www.engineersedge.com/galvanic_capatability.htm
 
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PedroDaGr8

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SHould I write all this up in a more detailed manner in a new thread instead of threadjacking this one? In the new one I would work on the thermal conductivity for a wide range of EG/H2O and PG/H2O sol'ns and go into a full explanation including delving into the water wetter information. What do you think? I personally think that it would help some people to understand why more is NOT always better with antifreeze etc.
 
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BrooklynBay

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You could compile all of this information, add comparison charts, graphs, and company information into a thread about thermal conductivity of water, coolant, and other mixtures. You could send it into the Technician Corner section (same as this thread). Drew will have to review it before letting it post, but it shouldn't be a problem. I have some things that I would like to add, and ask questions about, but I'll wait for your thread.
 
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PedroDaGr8

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Ok, I'l ltry and start on it tonight, today is going to be taken up by finally trying to install the power seat in my explorer (which isn't wired for power seats).
 
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