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Old 07-28-2010, 11:49 AM   #1
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

There have been posts on cleaning radiaors using a liquid soap. I did a search, but can't find the posts that mentioned the brand name of the liquid soaps recommended.

My original radiator has a thin coating of slim. I can see it on the neck, plate, and tops of the tubes, and it also settles over the drain cock. I'm sure it's a combination of old grease and rust. I was going to remove the radiator this winter and remove at least one tank to rod it out, but this liquid soap might be enough to clean it for cooler running.

What's the best liquid soap that won't harm the radiator or copper head gasket? Thanks
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:54 AM   #2
Dave in Boise
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I have used simple green and purple power.. Both mild as far as interactions with copper and brass, etc, but very good degreasers. 1-2 cups added to water only in the radiator, and run it up to operating temp for a while (might foam), and while hot and running, remove the bottom petcock over the lawn and run a stream of water from your garden hose at the same rate it is flowing out.. After about 5-7 minutes you will see clear water flowing and you should be able to look into your radiator and see a difference. Allow to fully drain and refill with your favorite anitfreeze/distilled water/ water-wetter etc
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
Steve Miller
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

How about using one of those radiator flushes? Too harsh?
Thanks
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I've posted this before but, as it came from a vetern radiator rebuilder, I'll restate. Use two cups or so of liquid dishwasher detergent and clear water. Run it for a week or a hundred miles -- it won't hurt. Then drain it and pour it down a fence post -- no harmful stuff to make AlGore get his panties in a bunch. I did it a couple times and the "clear" water came out black the first time ... gray the second.
Oh, and the radiator guy said to backflush, as the oily stuff from greasing the water pump floats on water and deposits at the top -- not the bottom -- of the tubes and in the filler neck.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:45 PM   #5
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Years ago we used to use Calgon.. I'm not sure if its even made anymore and its been so long I'm not sure I remembered how to spell it..
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Like Patrick, I also have used Calgon with very good results. I added a cup to the radiator once I had removed the anti freeze. Drove the car normally for a day and flushed it out. After several "wash" cycles, the brass on the inside of the upper tank was quite clean. The solution will foam a bit and smells great but it does work. It does take several cycles of flushing to get the stuff out of the system. Gar Williams
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
Bruce Adams
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I used OIL EATER from COSTCO which rinsed the grease out very well. Its also great to spray on the firewall or parts to clean and can be rinsed off whith a hose.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Electrosol dishwashing detergent has worked very well for me.
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I used Cascade Dishwashing Gel in my radaitor - 'bout a week ago. 1/2 Cup in radiator with 2 1/2 gals water in it. Covered part of the radiator to get it up to 200 degrees. Ran it on highway at 40-45 mph for about 1/2 hour. Drained out a whole bunch of dark brown looking junk. Repeated the process an drained out some weak tea looking water. Inside of radiator is now clean as whistle. Truck (28 pickup) has a 160 degree thermostat in it. It normally runs at 160 so tho get it to run around 200 I had to do some experimenting with the size of the cover in front of the radiator. Ken
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:43 PM   #10
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

With regard to the draining...

Do people just open the petcock ?

Marc
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

the quickest way is to remove the bottom rad hose from the rad
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:14 PM   #12
Keith True
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

The Mack garage here used Cascade for years when they replaced blown out oil coolers.They would give it a couple of cycles,and then refill with anti-freeze.With some customers,(the mechanical minded ones) they would run a cycle of Cascade through it,then load it up with water and Cascade again.They would tell you to dump it out after a day or so of running.In the Model A I have used Lestoil.I dumped in the whole bottle.Then I forgot about it,and every time I took out the car I would leave a smell of Lestoil behind me.I did drain it after a couple of weeks,and the inside of the cooling system was spotless.It seemed to break the grease down enough so it just looked like dirty water.That engine had no rust,but a film of grease on every square inch of cooling system.The radiator came back to life too.Before if you put a hose in the top more water came out the top than out the lower outlet with the hose off.Works fine now.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I have done a lot of Mercedes headgaskets for oil in the coolant, the Mercedes cleaner looks just like cascade dishwasher granules ---most liquid soaps make bubbles,foam, but dishwasher soap is to clean in very hot water, not make bubbles
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Looking at the posts for kitchen cleaners, got me wondering how a few tablespoons of TSP would work. Run it awhile, neutralize it with baking soda. Anyone tried that? Thoughts?
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt in NJ View Post
I have done a lot of Mercedes headgaskets for oil in the coolant, the Mercedes cleaner looks just like cascade dishwasher granules ---most liquid soaps make bubbles,foam, but dishwasher soap is to clean in very hot water, not make bubbles
interesting kurt i did not know mercedes had a cleaner like that.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:44 AM   #16
Ray A from PA
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I use Simple Green works good, smells great, 2 cups run at least 1/2 hr. then flush.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:00 AM   #17
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I used Cascade dishwashing liquid with good results. Unfortunately, the radiator started weeping at the upper seam as soon as I refilled it. Apparently it cleaned the cooling system so well that it disolved the stop-leak that was installed by a previous owner. Just something to consider.

John
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:23 AM   #18
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Run your car with straight vinegar for about a week, or a hundred miles. It is a mild acid which will CLEAN ! It won't bother Al Gore either. You can nuetralize it with baking soda. Then, if you have the radiator off, you can force a pressure washer in and really get it clean !
MIKE
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:27 PM   #19
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Guys on the EV8 board swear by this. Vinegar, and it's inexpensive.
Paul in CT
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:49 PM   #20
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1931 flamingo View Post
Guys on the EV8 board swear by this. Vinegar, and it's inexpensive.
Paul in CT
Will vinegar remove a thin grease layer?
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:09 PM   #21
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I know this thread is old but I was wondering how it worked? I to have a thin greasy layer that I'm wanting gone.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:34 PM   #22
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Before I started the 30 day vinegar treatment I used a cup of Cascade to disolve any grease in the cooling system. Between the Cascade and 30 day vinegar rust removal I should be good for another 83 years on my original radiator.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:40 PM   #23
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Sounds good
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:28 PM   #24
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Quote:
Originally Posted by PC/SR View Post
Looking at the posts for kitchen cleaners, got me wondering how a few tablespoons of TSP would work. Run it awhile, neutralize it with baking soda. Anyone tried that? Thoughts?
I used TSP (trisodium phosphate), about 1 cup, did well for grease. Read NOTHING about neutralizing it. Commonly used as a washdown before painting walls & woodwork. It etches the surface for better paint adhesion. Mixed thick, like pancake batter, it is a good, though not fast, paint stripper. (No toxic fumes) Bill W.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:56 PM   #25
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

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Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
Will vinegar remove a thin grease layer?
I understand that vinegar and old newspaper (?) does a great job on greasy windows.
Terry
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:00 PM   #26
Tom Wesenberg
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

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I understand that vinegar and old newspaper (?) does a great job on greasy windows.
Terry
BTW, if anyone read my vinegar treatment thread, you will see that I learned vinegar DOES remove grease.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:01 PM   #27
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wesenberg View Post
BTW, if anyone read my vinegar treatment thread, you will see that I learned vinegar DOES remove grease.
Sorry, Tom, Tom, I MISSED that it removed GREASE. Chief has talked about vinegar, but I just thought it was for rust & calcium like deposits.
We also used newspaper for cleaning coal oil lamp chimneys. We picked up the skinny weekly newspaper in town & they would give us a STACK of the last week's unsold papers, we were PO' FOLKS!! Either we couldn't afford paper towels, or maybe they hadn't been invented yet. My home area didn't have 'lectricity 'til 1954!! But Ol' Bill wuz loooong gone, waaay before that!! Bill W.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:10 PM   #28
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Using newspapers to clean kerosene lamp chimneys was a trick my father (born 1920) taught me.

Works well today on my old lamps.

Marc
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:33 PM   #29
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Tom, I believe that the original recommendation that you are looking for was Lestoil.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:45 AM   #30
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

The following is from Roger Kauffman's Technical Questions column in the January-February 2009 Model "A" News, although I've noticed it in several other issues over the years and even as a stand-alone tip:

You will need 2 rolls of paper towels, 1 trash bag (for discarded soiled paper towels) and 1 small bottle of Lestoil or Pine-Sol (not Lysol, as Roger pointed out in another column). With only clean water in the cooling system, warm up the Model A and add 4 ounces of Lestoil or Pine-Sol to the radiator. Drive the Model A 10-15 miles, stop, remove the radiator cap and - with a paper towel - wipe all the grease that has collected on the bottom of the radiator neck and underside of the top tank until it is clean.

Drive another 10-15 miles and repeat the same process. After 4-5 stops/cleanings, the grease wiped out of the radiator should be considerably less or non-existent. When you think you have all of the grease cleaned out, go one more time, driving 20-25 miles.

When completed, the inside of your radiator should look like a new penny. You may want to slide a one-floot long piece of rubber hose on the overfow tube to vent anything that may come out of it and prevent it from getting on the engine or chassis. Sometimes greasy bubbles will come out of the overflow tube, and the forward motion of the car can cause them to make a mess.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #31
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I've also used Cascade dishwasher gel, in cooling systems of newer stuffer and it really strips out the oily deposits. There's little or no foaming because of the sodium hydroxide base...the same as oven cleaner. Anybody who's witnessed the grease cutting power of oven cleaner (especially inside a grungy old engine block) they will see it even cuts through baked on oil varnish, and it rinses with plain water.
Once the oily film has been completely stripped...only then can you effectively go after the rust & corrosion with an acid such as vinegar.

Optional reading > I've also found Cascade is a super good stripper for the initial scrub down of a very grungy car. I've bought many vehicles at big city auctions, some white cars that looks gray with fallout and oxidized paint, and would scrub them down using cascade in a bucket of the hottest tap water and a long handled bristle brush. It strips everything...glass, moldings, green slime growing in door jambs and black mold from the drip rails. Rinse off with plain water and everything including the paint is almost shiny....ready for sand and paint, or touch up, polish & wax.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #32
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Craig,
I've had great success also, with TSP, to clean REALLY grungy cars. Bill W.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:21 PM   #33
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

Real TSP is hard to find. TSP is tri-sodium-phosphate.

The active ingredient in Lestol was kerosene. It will burn.

Marc
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:00 AM   #34
Richard Wilson
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I knew a very old man that swore by 20 Mule Team Borax laundry detergent to clean car radiators. It comes from the grocery store and is a powder. Since the 1920's, he had used it in Model T's, A's and even cars from the 80's and never had a radiator problem. He claimed it would remove grease and rust and did not foam (suds) up.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:21 AM   #35
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Default Re: Liquid Soap to Clean Radiator??

I would be careful of what might eat the paint off your car if your driving around with caustic chemicals. If you remove the radiator I've found Lye (draino) and backflowing works very well
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