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Old 04-25-2019, 08:49 AM   #1
1930deluxe
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Default Cleaning Cooling System

How much white vinegar do you add to the cooling system to clean it out? How long should a person leave it in before flushing the system?
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

I had a lot of rust/scale, left it in for days at a time and running the truck on a few trips each day. If you have the original design Water pump it will flush out the grease in the packing nut, and you can end up with a mess of rusty hot vinegar all over your engine bay, and may leak through your hood vents, hard on the paint.


If you use vinegar you may want to install an upper hose coolant filter, check clean often. Vinegar will loosen rust flakes and a lot of rust that can clog your radiator


Always backflush with filter out first, then if desired flush. Goal is keep from plugging up the radiator.


I used straight vinegar, others recommend 50/50 with water.


When done you need to do a final treatment of water/baking soda, run your A with it in, and backflush. Vinegar is acidic, and continues to work even if flushed/back flushed with water. Water/baking soda neutralizes it.


If you were to use rust911,thermocure, or evaporust - they "dissolve" the rust. No flakes or large particles. It is safe on all metals, not acidic like vinegar. No need for a water/baking soda treatment. A detergent treatment (like Water/Dawn , or water/Arm and Hammer Washing Soda) should 1st be performed, Rust911/etc. will not remove grease oil, and will block the Rust911/etc. from working.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

A friend of mine just used thermocure in a 4.0 Jeep engine and said he only had it in 10 minutes before one of the hoses let go and he lost it. BUT he showed me before and after pictures and the difference is incredible. The water jacket looks almost new.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

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Originally Posted by 30 Closed Cab PU View Post

I used straight vinegar, others recommend 50/50 with water.
Vinegar sold in the USA is 5 or 6% strength, it's very mild to begin with. Makes no sense to mix 50/50 with water.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

After flushing my cooling system I filled it with RUST 911. I drover the car a few miles and let it sit for a day. Upon draining it I got chunks of rust and the water had turned black. Refilled with RUST 911 and drove the car some more and let sit for a day again. Drained and the water was now gray and no more chunks. Repeated the procedure again and this time the water drained clear. The inside of the radiator was clean. I pulled the water inlet and outlet and inspected the water passages. They were clean, bare metal gray in color. I flushed the system and filled it with Evans Waterless Coolant. My thought is no water, No rust.
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

Here's what I do.
If the cooling system has had a soluble oil in it at any stage, it will first be necessary to remove the oily film it will have left so that the vinegar can do its work.
I use a tablet from the dishwasher for that. It cleans well and doesn't foam up like most other detergents.
Then, I use 4 litres (about a US gallon) of vinegar topped up with water and run the engine till warm to get an even distribution of vinegar and water throughout the system. Neat vinagar won't do any harm. You may use the car as normal while the vinegars is in there, in fact, I believe it is good to do so. I leave it in for about a month, depending on how bad the rust is. When draining the fesulting soup, be careful - it will stain anything. Drain, flush a couple of times and refilll with your usual coolant and you're done.
If the car runs at what you think is too hot, back flush the radiator. It may have some rubbish in it from the process.
You'll be amazed at what comes out.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

The radiator and head has been cleaned when I had it apart. Sounds like the Rust 911 would be a better way to go since it dissolves the rust?
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

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Originally Posted by 1930deluxe View Post
The radiator and head has been cleaned when I had it apart. Sounds like the Rust 911 would be a better way to go since it dissolves the rust?


Either will do the job. Less chance of paint damage if you spring a leak with rust911, thermocure or evaporust, also do not have the added baking soda/water treatment.

One of the previous posters had rust flakes. I guess if I was running the rust 911/etc. again, I would install an upper hose filter to be on the safe side, and remove the filter when back flushing. After back flushing reinstall the filter and check occasionally. The Gano filter has a clear version that can be visually checked without removal. There are other filter choices/methods.

White vinegar is cheaper than the others. Walmart has is for 1-2$ a gallon.

For the others check your local big box stores, tractor/farm supply places, auto parts stores. I bought thermocure off amazon, delivery was free since I was purchasing some other things at the same time and met the minimum limit for free shipping.


The choice is yours. Opinions may vary.

Last edited by 30 Closed Cab PU; 04-26-2019 at 09:58 AM. Reason: lots of typos
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning Cooling System

I first flushed mine. Then when I had the head off, I jacked up the rear of the car and got everything dead level. Disconnected the radiator and pugged the inlet. Filled the block with 100% vinegar and let it sit for two weeks. Two weeks is long enough to clean about anything, try it on an old log chain. then flush real well, put it back together, and add coolant. Works well for me.......
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