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Old 04-28-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
Nlbloch
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Default Radiator cleaning

I have read numerous posts about cleaning the radiator with vinegar. Why not use a commercial radiator flush such as made by Peak? Is this a cost issue, performance question or is Peak to harsh for an old radiator?

If rush is the primary culprit, how about using CLR?
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
Rock Hornbuckle
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

If I need something stronger than vinegar, I will take the radiator to a radiator shop and have it proffessionally flushed and then pressure tested for leaks. The cost the last time for me was $50. Be sure to use a reputable shop that won't try to con you into a new one when yours is still good.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
ursus
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

Note that the Model A does not have a pressurized cooling system! By the time that radiator shop has pressure tested your radiator it may well have a lot of leaks that weren't there before. Then they will sell you on a recoring job for several hundred bucks and install the top an bottom tanks incorrectly so the radiator shell doesn't fit right, etc. etc.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

It tried to clean mine with CLR and it didn't do much for it. Ended up I had it boiled out at a radiator shop for $65.00.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

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Originally Posted by sidhartha View Post
It tried to clean mine with CLR and it didn't do much for it. Ended up I had it boiled out at a radiator shop for $65.00.
Yes, Sid, CLR is grossly overated! For greasy coating, I used TSP, (tri sodium phosphate) & it did well and it didn't FOAM!
Chief mentioned the use of Vinegar in the "OLD" days for rust & calcium deposits & kerosene for greasy deposits. Bill W.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nlbloch View Post
I have read numerous posts about cleaning the radiator with vinegar. Why not use a commercial radiator flush such as made by Peak? Is this a cost issue, performance question or is Peak to harsh for an old radiator?

If rush is the primary culprit, how about using CLR?
I tried a couple of those commercial radiator flush products, and they didn't help. For only about $7 for 3 gallons of pure white vinegar, and running it for 30 days did the trick for me. It sure got rid of a lot of rust.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

I'm convinced. Will try vinegar and post my results.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

Nlbloch ....................
The EPA has put such restrictions on commercial radiator cleaners, that it is practacaly useless now. It is not your father's radiator cleaner.
Vinegar is not harmful to the environment either. It works great. Just run it for a couple weeks, or so. You wil be amazed at what flushes out.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

Anyone know of any places near Green Bay, WI that will boil out a radiator?
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

You can buy lye crystals at a good hardware store. That is the same thing radiator shops use.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursus View Post
Note that the Model A does not have a pressurized cooling system! By the time that radiator shop has pressure tested your radiator it may well have a lot of leaks that weren't there before. Then they will sell you on a recoring job for several hundred bucks and install the top an bottom tanks incorrectly so the radiator shell doesn't fit right, etc. etc.
I agree, most shops might do just that.

I have had mine pressure tested to 15 .lbs with no leaks. But, the shop is owned by a long time friend of over 40 years. I know the A was designed without a pressurized cooling system, but that doesn't mean you must keep it that way. Water boils at a higher temperature under pressure, therefor making the cooling sytem more efficient.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

I built the two PCV adapters in "The Restorer" a few months back.

They do push a lot of rust and gunk backwards through both the block and the radiator after a 1 week vinegar run. I didn't have the guts to try the kerosene.

Running full distilled and some Water Wetter for corrosion protection, the Rexaco certainly shows a few degrees cooler running, but we haven't gotten to August yet...
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

I used Borax, block the inlet and outlet, hot water and a box of Borax, fill the rad and put the cap on, 24 hrs latter, run hot water through to flush out rad. Worked great for me!
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: Radiator cleaning

You father's radiator cleaner contained oxalic acid and sodium bicarbinate. It came in a 2 part container. The oxalic acid was used to clean the radiator and the sodium bicarbonate was used to neutralize the ocalic acid after the flush. Sodium bicarbonate is baking soda which can be found at most grocery stores. Oxalic acid can be found a most hardware / home improvement stores, it is used to bleach wood decks.

The procedure was:

Drain radiator
Fill radiator with water and about 1/2 - 1 cup oxalic acid, be careful with acid
Start engine and run until normal operating temperature is achieved
Idle or drive around for 1/2 to 1 hour
Drain radiator
Flush with water
Fill radiator with water and 1/2 cup of sodium bicarbonate
Start engine and run until water is well mixed
Drain radiator
Flush radiator
Fill radiator with coolant.

WARNING Oxalic acid is a mild acid but it can still harm skin and eyes. WEAR rubber gloves and eye protection when using oxalic acid.


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