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Vinegar engine coolant flush?

Dprocks100

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So the po of my truck really neglected the coolant system on my 1991 2.3L ranger. It has rust in the coolant still after 5 intense coolant changes, and I have replaced all the hoses, water pump (old ones fins rusted compleatly off) and thermostat last year when I did the last coolant change. It cleared up for a while but still turned a bit rusty, so I was like big deal and drove it. Im replacing my heater core, pump under warranty cuz I can and thermostat again this year and really want to fix this for good before putting in my new heater core. from my searches I've read that I might be able to use the following things:

CLR
Vinegar
Flush kit/fluid
Magnet in the reservoir??? (not real sure on that one)
Just water from hose and clean it out real good multiple times

Does anyone have experience on which is best for my situation? Im leaning toward running water and vinegar mix in it for a few days and flushing it out real good. I just dont want to damage my seals and other engine components with anything stronger.

I know to use distilled water in the end with a 50/50 mix and have always done that since I owned it. Im pretty sure the po did not. Im just kinda tired of people looking in my coolant at shops and trying to get me to spend money for them to fix it.
 


XLTsplash

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I used a flush tee in the heater hose to flush my Rangers cooling system out good. The I went with a 50/50 mix using distilled water. I've also added Wix cooling system additive, It's also sold at Napa Auto parts under the name Napa Kool # 4058. A pint of this stuff will get your coolant better balanced and protected.
 

kimcrwbr1

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I had thwe same issue with my 2.8. What I ended up doing was pull the water pump and radiator hoses and thermostat housing and use high pressure water to rinse the block out good. The coolant doesnt flow fast enough to with the water pump to loosen the crap that settles in the low spots in the block. Backflush the radiator both ways a couple times same with the heater core and spray high pressure water in the holes on the engine until only clear water comes out. My theory is rust makes baby rust, it has been three years now and still looks like new coolant in the radiator.
 

RonD

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I would also check for electrolysis in the cooling system caused by bad grounds, this promotes quick rusting.

Cold engine
Set volt meter at lowest DC volt setting
Put Black probe of meter on Battery Neg
Remove rad cap
Put Red probe in the coolant, don't let it touch the sides

You want to see under 0.30 volts in all tests

Now start engine, check voltage
Run RPMs up to 2,000 and check voltage
If possible turn on all electrics one at a time and watch voltage, if you see a spike that device has a poor ground.

Now reverse polarity, put red probe on Battery Positive and put Black probe into coolant, repeat tests.
 

veefer800canuck

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I have used the vinegar method before.

Drain and flush all coolant out with water, drain again.

Fill with vinegar and run the truck on the road for about an hour.

Drain vinegar, flush flush flush flush flush flush and flush again with water.

Drain and refill with coolant.
 

Mazda

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I would just replace the radiator with a new one if you are going to do the heater core and pump again. If its the original it's been in there 23 years. I know it's a added expense but I think well worth it. I would also blast the block with high pressure water to clean out the block and flush with vinegar like others have stated.
 

tomw

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I would bet on the water jacket around the cylinders having a thick layer of rust colored sludge. You may be able to dislodge it by squirting water in through the water pump impeller hole. I would try squirting on one side for a while hoping to make the sludge circle and come out on the other, then do the reverse.
A flushing tee installed into the heater core hoses will force the water to flow in the opposite direction from normal and can dislodge more than letting multiple changes of water can as the only agitation is the water pump in its normal direction.
tom

added: Vinegar is a very mild acid, to filling the system with vinegar is an attempt to use acid to dislodge 'stuff'. You can use a two-part flush such as the Prestone product, where you put in a pretty strong cleaner, run and then soak for a while, drain, and refill adding a neutralizer. Followed by drain and refill with coolant.
I'd think it would work better than vinegar, FWIW.
 
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Dprocks100

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Thanks for your replies guys! Works been busy the last week so I finally getting back to finishing it last night. Based on your guys input, I installed a T-fitting in my heater hoses ($4 for the kit!) to use a garden hose and flush it out. I also ran half a gallon of vinegar, rest water, last night for an hour, drained, put new water/vinegar in, ran to temp and let it sit overnight. I will be draining it later tonight.

I checked for electrolysis and that's not my problem (thankfully). Im pretty sure that its just from the po. I would bet that it was just plain water used in it when I bought it.

With the pressure washing the engine out, do I have to worry about my seals and such? I wouldn't want to make my problem worse my damaging a seals haha.

And radiators, I will eventually be swapping to a 4.0L or 302 (few years down the road) so I don't really want to spend the money on a new 2.3 radiator. If I bought a new 4.0 radiator, could I use it? My bro has a 3.0 and the hoses are on opposite ends than mine, so the 4.0 is probably the same way, but not too hard to fix. Any major mechanical problems with using a 4.0 radiator on my 2.3?
 

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