Does fresh coolant clean like oil/atf?

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1,209
Location
CA
Just a quick question... trying to get all the fluids into shape in my focus and just did a drain/fill of the coolant. I noticed that there were some spots in the reservoir that "stuff" had settled. I took the tank out and got those spots clean, but just wondering if new coolant will clean like new oil/atf will ??
 
Messages
609
Location
New Jersey
I think that the question really is "how dirty is the cooling system." In general, I think that a dirty system should be rinsed until clean, or flushed at the service statiion (although flushing cooling systems can cause problems." If the dirt is minor, then you can leave things where they are. Otherwise, why not change the coolant in, say, 10k miles. Coolant keeps things clean, but is not really analogous to trans fluid or motor oil.
 
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1,724
Location
Cocoa, FL
Are you talking about black/brown "spots" in the radiator over-flow tank? If so, no, the new coolant will likely not "clean" those areas.....as the coolant (particularly in the reserve/reservoir tank...) is not in "constant motion" as say, oil would be, inside the ENGINE......no it will not "clean the radiator overflow bottle... I heard one of the best solutions is to use liquid automatic dishwasher soap.....ya know the "low sudsing" stuff....heard somewhere (probably here....?) that it works......BUT, will require you taking the tank back off of the vehicle...... If it's "really" bad, probably wouldn't hurt to just find an "aftermarket" tank, and replace it though smile I was considering this for my Aries, cause over the years, mine has gotten quite dingy, and actually found a small leak in it last coolant change, which I sealed up with some WaterWeld lol..... OOOpppps...perhaps I was reading the post wrong....lol. If you are asking if the new coolant will "clean" the complete cooling system, I don't think so....I don't believe there is any "detergency" to antifreeze/coolant......though now, I _HAVE_ heard of people running various "chemicals" through their cooling systems/radiator..... 1) Prestone or other various over the counter "cooling system flush" 2) White Distilled Vinegar....yes, the same stuff we use to clean out our wash machines, coffee makers, tea pots, makes sense, it gets my coffee/tea pots clean of lime/scale/etc....probably would work pretty good in the cooling system.....? 3) Lemonade Kool-Aid, sans. sugar! LOL....supposidely the "citric acid" (Vitamin C?) in the Kool-Aid makes for a good lime/scale remover......BUT, I personally don't think I would trust this mixture in MY cooling system! 4) CLR - yes, the popular "Calcium Lime Rust" cleaner found in the Hardware/Laundry department.....I've heard of people using a quart of that, rest water, in their cooling system to "clean up".....again, I don't know if I would "trust" this......CLR seems like it's too "stout" for the radiator usage....but eh, I've heard people done it.... My favorite, seems to be #1 - the Prestone Cooling System Flush, I'd leave it in the radiator for a good week or so, drive the vehicle as normal, to and from work, errands, etc....then drain it, and refill with your preferred coolant/antifreeze %... Though, our northern friends are nearing their cold months! I would not recommend doing this procedure into the winter months, as you could risk the engine/radiator freezing solid with the straight water/Flush solution in there........so watch the forecast!
 
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Messages
1,392
Location
Charlotte, NC
I have never tried it, but I've always heard that "Purple Stuff" will clean a cooling system better than anything else. Me personally, I just set up an afternoon with a few bottles of cooling system treatment and have at it.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,293
Location
New Jersey
If it is due to pH or chemical stabilization on surfaces, that is one thing. Solubility of junk is another. Active cleaning due to additives Im not sure.
 
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2,500
Location
Dallas, Texas
This is something I have thought about also. Detergents within coolants. I haven't been able to find any material. However, I did clean up my little sister's 2001 Ford Taurus coolant systems. Lots of drain and fills with filtered water, we have a water softener at my house and a reverse osmosis system at the kitchen sink. I drained and filled it and took it on a test drive with the heater on full blast and the windows down. I think I did this 3 times before the water/coolant mix coming out of the petcock was starting to clear up. Then I added Prestone flush and more water and did the fill/test drive/ drain process 3-4 more times. It was still kind of gross by the time I stopped and just refilled it with the proper concentration of antifreeze. However, it was more than an automotive repair shop would of done and it was much MUCH cleaner than when I began the process. I have read up on using dish washer detergent and other non bubbling cleaners. The problem you run into is getting them 100% out. Removing block drains and all that jazz is really tough to do on a lot of cars. And the folks that have tutorials online seem to have diesel's and use the vacuum method to remove all air from the system as to make 100% sure not to have suds build up and also to burp the system ensuring 100% capacity of coolant. Which is kind of over my head without those tools. I think I would rather do the 6-8 drain and fills I did on my sister's car than worry about all that. But that is just me.
 
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36,528
Location
ME
Dave, soft water is salty water. Get that out of there! What you get in your coolant depends a lot on what you use for water; Chris142 has posted pictures of scaly radiators because of the desert water they suffer. If you know you have lime, acid will get that out, and it doesn't matter if it's vinegar or the acetic acid stuff Prestone packages as a flush. Purple power is IIRC a strong base which is good for getting oil out of stuff, but IDK if you have oil IN there. I may have mentioned auto dish detergent for the surge tank; it's good to get that clear enough that you can see coolant through the side (maybe with help of a flashlight) like you can a new car. If you aren't overheating or having issues like poor heat from a clogged heater core, and aren't too overdue on coolant change interval, I would just drain and fill. If you have an iron block engine and get lots of rust out your first drain, I would fill with pure water, drive that around for a day, drain that, repeat for a week, then fill the rad with 100% coolant, assuming the rad capacity is half the total. (look it up.)
 

MysticGold04

Thread starter
Messages
1,209
Location
CA
Well, there were definately deposits in the reserve tank. There was a build up of chalky like stuff in the bottom, and some brown deposits on the side, but I rinsed it really well with water and got all if not most of it out. Then I refilled with clean coolant.
 
Messages
2,500
Location
Dallas, Texas
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Dave, soft water is salty water. Get that out of there!
Uh oh. I forgot that the filter is self cleaning with a salt flush! Although I just googled it and it is a tiny amount of salt compared to what you ingest with french fries, it probably would lead to some extra corrosion. I don't feel too bad as most of the time I fill my empty gallon jugs with the Osmosis filter in the kitchen (when the wife is out). And that I have done several drain and fills on both my cars I have serviced recently and refilled with the Pre-Mixed 50/50 Prestone. Ever since blowing through a heater core I have become paranoid and do a drain and fill about once a year, if not 18 months. A gallon of the premixed stuff only runs 8 bucks, it is really cheap paranoia.
 
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10,912
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Originally Posted By: SuperDave456
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Dave, soft water is salty water. Get that out of there!
Uh oh. I forgot that the filter is self cleaning with a salt flush! Although I just googled it and it is a tiny amount of salt compared to what you ingest with french fries, it probably would lead to some extra corrosion. I don't feel too bad as most of the time I fill my empty gallon jugs with the Osmosis filter in the kitchen (when the wife is out). And that I have done several drain and fills on both my cars I have serviced recently and refilled with the Pre-Mixed 50/50 Prestone. Ever since blowing through a heater core I have become paranoid and do a drain and fill about once a year, if not 18 months. A gallon of the premixed stuff only runs 8 bucks, it is really cheap paranoia.
Or just do what I do and pick up some $1 gallons of distilled water from WM and drop that in. Just did the '06 Ram Cummins this past weekend, aside from a little silicate in the tank, the radiator and drains all ran clear, went back with Premium Gold G-05 and WM distilled.
 
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