Removing rust from Radiator? - Ford Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010 Thread Starter
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Removing rust from Radiator?

What is the best method for removing rust from a radiator, without just buying a new radiator????what do yall use/have used for flushing rust from the radiator??

Thanks
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010
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I've had some success with flushing out the radiator and engine with a garden hose shoved into the upper radiator hose and removing the thermostat from the engine and turning the hose on all the way to reverse flush your coolant system. Wrap some rags around the hose to seal it to the hose.

After that, I've run water and a radiator flush chemical through the engine and driven it for a while to get it all the way up to temp, drain it out then do the garden hose trick again. After that refill the system with 50/50 water antifreeze. It isn't perfect but it'll get most of the gunk out of there for a minimal amount of money.

Some radiator shops will flush out your radiator too, but that won't get the gunk out of your engine.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010
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If its the old brass radiator your better off replacing it.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010 Thread Starter
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Would CLR work good?
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-07-2010
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What ever you use, you need to back flush it. Try a commercial prep. They aren't the same as they used to be but it can't hurt.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010
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Look on the Horsepower TV website, I think they said to put in vinegar and water, let it sit and drain. They had a rust tool sitting in the same to show how well it worked.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010
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Citric acid. That is the Mercedes factory method and it works better than anything else I have ever tried.

I mentioned it here.

http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forum...e-product.html

This is using the same stuff on a hood hinge.

http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forum...od-hinges.html

First clean the radiator with soap of some kind to remove oil. I de-oiled it using a cup of dry dishwasher powder dissolved hot water and added to the radiator. M-B says to use a fancier chemical but its not really needed. Flush to clear water. Then for a Mustang 289 radiator use 2 pounds of the dry, white, citric acid powder. Run the engine 10 minutes or so after its up to temperature with the citric acid solution inside. You will be amazed at all the junk you will then flush out. Its not an agressive acid so no neutralizer is needed, just flush the system clean.

Many of the commercial radiator flushes use citric acid but in such small amounts that they are nearly useless. This is about 100x more useful and at the same time won't eat a hole in your radiator unless you leave it in there all week.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010
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my name is also daniel lol and im having possibly the same problem. I removed the hose from the radiator to the engine, and found rust in the seal. not sure if it goes all the way through though.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010
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ascorbic acid works good as well, vitamin c you can get it in bulk at a pool supply store

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Here's what I use. Two big bottles of RealLemon Juice and water. Drive for a day don't forget to turn the heater on to clean the heater core, then drain.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010 Thread Starter
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So citric acid or lemon juice work best?
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Lemon juice works because it has citric acid in it, but not nearly as much as using straight citric acid. If lemonaide was the best thing to use then Mercedes would have said so. Lemon juice is only about 5% citric acid and the best concentration for cleaning is 10%. Even if you completely fill the radiator with lemon juice it will only be half strength of what you REALLY want. If its not very dirty then Real Lemon would be OK probably even better than most of the stuff sold in the auto stores. But if you've got some known rust and/or scale to get rid of you need bigger guns.

Use the info in the thread links I gave above to locate some REAL citric acid and it will work a lot better and cheaper. I think 2 gallons of lemon juice costs more than a pound of citric acid. Ascorbic acid isn't nearly as effective and I don't know where to buy it by the pound even if it were.

I use this place because I can drive down and pick up a 5 pound bucket of the stuff for $18. That will do 2 1/2 engines worth of cleaning. Its also good for nuts, bolts or anything else that gets rusty. I think AHL will ship if you can't find it anywhere else. You can get it at the local Mercedes dealer but its about $30 for enough to flush ONE radiator.

AHL - Products - pH Testers and Supplies

On that page they describe it as a gardening supply: Citric Acid - Powder used to lower pH of water or nutrient solution. I maybe wouldn't ask them what their customers grow with this stuff.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010 Thread Starter
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so does the citric acid just clean the rust off or does it neutalize it too?
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I don't understand your question. It dissolves the rust leaving clean metal. The rust and scale are flushed out of the system. If its not in the system who cares what form the rust now has? If you don't quite get it completely clean then your antifreeze has rust inhibitors to take care of what's left. There were and always will be tiny amounts of rust in the system which is why antifreeze needs to be changed regularly so more rust doesn't form.

If you leave the citric acid in the system way too long it will start to dissolve the good meal, that happens with any acid. But that takes quite a bit longer (several hours near boiling) with citric acid than most of the others which is what makes it easier to use.
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Wow, I'd never thought of citric acid. I'll do that next time. The auto parts store radiator flush, really only gave me limited success and I think it only removed the really loose rust, not much more than a good reverse flush removes.
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