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The Merkur Club of America Forums • Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives
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Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:46 am
by DPDISXR4Ti
This topic just came up on FB and I wanted to document it here. Blugg has had success using GM Heavy Duty Cooling System Cleaner #88861344 (or possibly p/n 12346500), but that may not be available any longer. Possibly, it's just this Prestone product (p/n 19286424)...
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Cut & pasted from a Land Rover forum....

GM had a TSB (99-06-02-012D) on flushing a dexcool system (with sludge) using Prestone Heavy Duty Cooling System Cleaner, GM P/N 12346500. However it is not avail anymore. The main ingredient in the cleaner is Oxalic acid (wood bleach) and the neutralizer is Sodium Carbonate (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda).

I found these instructions:

To use:
- Drain and flush the cooling system.
- Fill it back with clean water and add the Wood Bleach.
-Run it for an hour, or longer, and make sure the engine is up to operating temperature.
-Drain the Wood Bleach solution and see what the cooling system now looks like.
-If not yet clean, flush the system and then repeat the treatment.
- When clean, flush the system, replace with clean water and the two ounces of the Washing Soda.
-Run for another hour, drain and flush well. (This neutralizes the oxalic acid in the Wood Bleach)
- Replace with your new anitfreeze solution.

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:34 pm
by my8950
It'll either clean it, or wear a hole in the cooling system somewhere...
I did this in the summer, I got a lot of rust and nasty stuff to the point I gave up.
It was better then when I started, but still not clean water, this was after about 6 tries of flushing the system.
Only once with this stuff, but a few times after with water.

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:35 pm
by eaton53
I had mine power flushed... four times. My guy got every speck of crud out of there, nothing but clean at the end.
Solved all of my cooling system problems, it doesn't get warm anymore.

He did hydrocarbon checks while he was doing it. My gaskets are all confirmed tip-top.

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:28 pm
by zxr250cc
Hi all,

Ford have a coolant system cleanser called VC-1 and it is a five minute type. You can use it in the old antifreeze mix prior to draining and flushing and the refill. I use distilled water for this. I guess all of us do, right?

Cheers

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:12 am
by John Brennan
I have used the pictured product with good results-- and yes, it's distilled water only for the refill, as we have very hard water here in AZ. A jug is like a buck at the store, and it's good to keep one in the garage for top-offs, too.

I have never heard of or used VC-1, but it sounds easier than the Prestone; I wonder if it works as well?

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:33 pm
by thesameguy
Ford VC1 uses tetrasodium EDTA, which is commonly employed for this purpose. It's also in Permatex's 80032 product, which could very well be what VC1 actually is. The Prestone flush instead uses sodium citrate. Tetrasodium EDTA is quite a bit harsher than sodium citrate and should do a better job cleaning. Tetrasodium is generally specified for use with aluminum radiators, I'm not sure what effect (if any) it would have on a stock radiator... because, you know, I'm not a chemist. :)

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:34 pm
by John Brennan
thesameguy wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:33 pm
Ford VC1 uses tetrasodium EDTA, which is commonly employed for this purpose. It's also in Permatex's 80032 product, which could very well be what VC1 actually is. The Prestone flush instead uses sodium citrate. Tetrasodium EDTA is quite a bit harsher than sodium citrate and should do a better job cleaning. Tetrasodium is generally specified for use with aluminum radiators, I'm not sure what effect (if any) it would have on a stock radiator... because, you know, I'm not a chemist. :)
At least tell us you've played one on television, or slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night... :idea:

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:26 pm
by thesameguy
No, but BITOG has taught me to read MSDSs! :D

I don't flush cooling systems often, but I've bought some cars with questionable histories so ended up having to. I used Permatex 80032 based on the recommendation from my local radiator/welder in a pinch shop. :)

https://www.permatex.com/products/clean ... r-cleaner/

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:24 pm
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
It says right on that page not for use in aluminum radiators.

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:38 pm
by thesameguy
That is because that is NOT the right product!

That is 80030, not 80032!

Oops!

80030 uses hydrochloric acid, not tetrasodium EDTA.

Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:56 am
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
Ordered some of this VC-1 stuff. The autozone green is 3 years old and 2 years old on the Merkurs. I'm not expecting to see horrible looking coolant come out, or rust since it was pretty clean before. But can't hurt to use this. I always used tap water, but I like the idea of using distilled water so I think I will do that. Our water is pretty good (not well water) and doesn't make the bathroom shower/sink rusty but there is some lime scale I guess.
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Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:04 pm
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
Ford says this yellow stuff is good for 200,000 miles. I think they are crazy people but newer coolants can last much longer.
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Re: Cooling System Cleaner Alternatives

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:22 pm
by thesameguy
Definitely use distilled. Tap water is full of minerals and whatnot which means the coolant's life will be compromised from the get go. You might turn a 5yr/150k refill into a 1yr refill.