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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-28-1999, 01:42 AM
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Radiator Chemistry?

1988 Pathfinder SE V6 4x4 MT.

I neglected the radiator flush a bit too long and I have a lot of "plaque" deposits cloging up the slots inside the radiator.
I've flushed it a few times and ran 3 bottles of super flush but no go, they won't budge.

Two questions:

1)What process do radiator shops use to clean this type of build up?

2) Does anyone know what kind of chemistry is going on here? (Any super flush home brew techniques??)

Any help would be appreciated,

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-28-1999, 08:04 PM
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Re: Radiator Chemistry?

#2 first. Calcium and magnesium carbonate precipitate on a rise in water temperature. (the crusty deposits you can see are the precipitating salts). These become aparent when tap water is used in your radiator, since this water is "hard" with calcium and magnesium. To help elliminate this problem from happening in the future, simply use distilled bottled water from a water shop or just plain old rain water that has been collected in a wood or plastic barrel. I've used this type of water in my 93 king 4x4 since new and the cooling tubes still shine of copper. As for a home remedy; two suggested remedys that will produce equal results. Try running simple vinegar and distilled/rain water mix in your system. Or, "CLR" and distilled/rain water, (calcium,lime,rust remover). It is available at your local hardware store. Mix the water/vinegar mix @ 3:1. OR Mix the water/CLR mix @ 5:1. Run either of these mixtures through your system for approx 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure your themostat opens so that the whole solution cirulates throughout. DRAIN, CIRCULATE and FLUSH with rain water. DRAIN, CIRCULATE and FLUSH with more fresh rain water. DRAIN, CIRCULATE and FLUSH with rain water one last time. It is imperative that no vinegar or CLR is left behind anywhere in the system. Hope this helps. Depending on how bad the clogging is' this may or may not help.. Rad shops can't always remove all deposits if left for too long. After youv'e added your new water/antifreeze mix be sure to add a bottle of "antifreeze and water pump conditioner". Available at your local Nissan parts dept. Also remember to move your cabin heat control to "full heat" for this whole procedure, for this will also help flush your heater core!!!! #1 Rad shops use a strong acid to dissolve the deposits. THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK!!! good luck.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-28-1999, 08:31 PM
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Re: Radiator Chemistry?


I think I'll give the CLR a shot. I'll have to rig up some rain/distilled water container. It's unfortunate that the garden hose (and thus tap water) is just so darn convienient. It takes a long time to bleed all the air from the system when I fill from the top. But rain water shouldn't be hard to come by, I live in Seattle.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-29-1999, 06:14 PM
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Re: Radiator Chemistry?

Two concerns that were brought to my attention:

1) The effect of distilled water on freezing and boiling points. How do you adjust? 60% ethylene glycol? (I don't live in Alaska but my truck does see 0 F at least once a year.)
2) Isn't CLR rather harsh on aluminum? Maybe just rinse the @#!& out of it?

Just wondering?

post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-01-1999, 09:52 PM
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Re: Radiator Chemistry?

1) Distilled water or rain water has absolutely no effect on boiling/ freezing points. Mix it as if it were good old tap/well water.
2) CLR is harsh on any metal if left for too long. The key is to rinse it three times with fresh water. Water being the universal solvent that it is, will neutralize the effects of the mild acid that CLR contains. (phosphoric acid to be exact). The acid used in rad shops is consideralably stronger an acid than CLR.

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