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Best way to clean out a radiator while still in the car?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RacerRick, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. RacerRick
    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Posts:
    2,742
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    RacerRick Member

    Anyone have any good ways to clean out a partially plugged radiator without removing it from the car?

    My 49' is overheating on the highway suddenly. It was fine for a week, and then suddenly on the way to Mokan it started overheating.

    Its running a little rich, timing is set to 36 degree total on the 262ci v6, and its using a V8 rad from a 74' Dodge dart, and an electric fan. I thought the thermostat went bad, so I removed the guts from it and its just acting as a restrictor. There are no leaks.

    The water looks like rusty mud now, and I think its all from the block. I have flushed out the block with a garden hose now, but I think the crap has partially plugged the raditor.

    I am thinking or trying a gallon of white vinegar in the cooling system for 15 minutes then draining. Anyone have any other solutions?
  2. usedall9
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Posts:
    431
    Location:
    San Pedro, Ca

    usedall9 Member

    My local radiator shop hot tanked mine in about an Hour. I know thats not what you asked, but I figured I let you know. I thought they would have it for several days(it had a small leak also). And I did'nt want my car of the road that long since I drive it daily. But I was wrong. They had it back to me in a couple hours. and it was like $40.00. Call around...You might be supprised?
  3. Redneck Smooth
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Posts:
    1,344
    Location:
    Cincinnati

    Redneck Smooth Member

    I've heard reverse flushing it gets a lot of crud out, but I don't really know jack about it. Someone enlighten us, I'm also gonna flush my rad/block this week when I replace a leaking water pump...
  4. Flatman
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Posts:
    1,975
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

    Flatman Member

    If you can block of the lower spouts, fill it with CLR and let it sit for a few days (probably should leave the cap off) That should take care of any rust, calcium scale, etc... If you can believe the commercials:rolleyes:

    Flatman
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  5. orange crush
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Posts:
    296
    Location:
    lincoln R.I.

    orange crush
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Prestone makes a heavy duty flush you might give it a try its worked fine for me.
  6. Ole don
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Posts:
    2,807
    Location:
    Southern Illinois half way between Benton and DuQ

    Ole don
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Drain all the coolant, and fill with 100 % vinigar. Drive about an hour, drain and flush.
  7. safariknut
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2001
    Posts:
    5,052
    Location:
    902 River Acres Drive Tecumseh MI 49286

    safariknut Member

    I made an,"on the road" radiator repair once but the radiator had already been pulled.You might be able to do this in the car but I would take it out.
    Where I was(upstate New York)wouldn't flush out the radiator due to EPA regs so I bought a gallon of Liquid Plum-r at the local hardware store,poured it in after sealing the openings and filled it nearly full with water.Let it set for about 3 hours(rotating it 90 degrees every 20 minutes),reverse flushed it with a garden hose several times and re-installed it in the car.Worked for almost a year before it started overheating again.This time I had it re-cored.
    When you're 300 miles from home,you improvise.
  8. Speed King
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Posts:
    218
    Location:
    Omaha

    Speed King Member

    I've had them flushed at radiator shops with good results. A couple of the suggestions here sound good also.
  9. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
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    13,436
    Location:
    Garage

    Von Rigg Fink Member

    citric acid works wonders on copper radiators
  10. Road Runner
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Posts:
    1,031
    Location:
    CA Mountain Desert

    Road Runner Member

    Your hardware store has 1 gal. concrete cleaner containing diluted muriatic acid.
    You can use it straight from the container and leave it in the radiator over night.
    You will not believe the amount of sediment and scale build-up it removes on clogged radiators.

    Pure muriatic acid would attack the soft metals, so be careful.

    If done right, it leaves the treated metal shiney like new.

    Vinegar or citric acids are OK, but they are not very strong acids, taking forever to work. Unless you get highly concentrated pure citric acid.
    LCR is just too expensive compared to concrete cleaner.

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