tech: radiator flush - still have rust

Joined
May 25, 2005
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Hello everyone.
This site has been very helpful and I thank everyone for their insight.
Oh and the Birf DVD is simply great!

so here is the story....
I have a 97 lx450 with 120k. I have owned since 72k. I have developed rust in the radiator. Seems like it has gotten worse since the PHH blew last year. (laugh/moan here). Anyway I have done 3 rad flushes since then and the rust just keeps coming up and depositing on the top of the rad cap and the overflow tank. I know I am opening up a big plug for not doing the flush correctly, but really i have been flushing pretty good. (hey, I even flushed through the phh once!) I have been draining the block and the rad, filling via prestone tee, running engine, flushing, draining, refilling, etc, till I have hot clear water coming out everywhere - block, rad top, rad petcock. My current plan is to just keep cleaning the rad cap (the rust is like a sticky residue) and cleaning out the overflow resevoir. I am also considering putting in a dreaded radiator cleaning additive. I understand this is not recommended by most, but I want to get this rust out. I know someone may advise pro cleaning - anybody know how much they charge for professional cleaning. Any and all advice and/or wisecracks are appreciated....
thanks, Troy in Oregon
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
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Dixie co. Florida
Rust? As in a grey sludge/flakey material that looks similar to but not quite aluminum corrosion? If so you have a common problem with 1FZ's

it has almost been decided that the gray sludge and the less often seen but probably present sand are remainders of the casting the block.

Both Rich and Instigator have had luck knocking down the amount of grey sludge with Coolant Bypass filters, I have one in a box in the garage, need to get to it,

Stuff Rich captured with his filter.

Bypass filter install


deep discussion about gray sludge


or do you have actual red iron oxide rust in the top of your radiator? (uncommon)
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
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yup, if the home flush doesn't do it, a pro pressure cleaning should, IIRC some earlier thread.

Welcome to the forum, btw!
 

lowtops

 
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Feb 24, 2005
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Troy,
I have a 92 Chevy 1-ton van for work. It also has rust (actual red iron oxide) in the radiator. Evidently the PO ran to much water in the rad. and not enough coolant. In my case the rust is coming from the block. I have been told that cleaning will not do much good. Basically the engine needs to torn down and the block need to be hot tanked. I plan on getting a crate motor.
I have replaced the rad. once and the water pump has to be replaced about once a year (yes you read that correctly). This has been going on now for four years. So there is life after rust. I have been through the back to back coolant flushes with no positive results. I would ask around about the pro cleaning, it's gonna be cheaper than any other option and might extend the life of some expensive parts.
BTW, my van has 270K miles and has not been rebuilt. Not bad for a Chevy.
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
2
Hi,
thanks for the info so far.
Here is the pics of the accumulation on the rad cap and fill tank.
This is after a 300mi weekend trip. I flushed the fill tank out and
it had sediment in the bottom. Whatever this sticky slucge is, it
is boiling to the top. thanks for any and all comments/observations.
I have not put any cleaner in the system.... yet
thanks,
Troy in Oregon
rad1.JPG
rad2.JPG
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2003
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Dixie co. Florida
ewww, that is defiantly is not the typical gray sludge, have you or if you know the previous owner ever used dexcool or its type in that rig? Looks similar to the stuff that the S-10 & S-10 blazers got when Gm switched over.

What did it have for coolant when you bought the rig? did it ever have plain water in it at any time?

Oh BTW like me you need to start thinking about a new throttle cable, I have been thinking about lubing and recovering mine as it still works OK but is ugly and un protected from the elements.
 

e9999

You want to do what...?
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Joined
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ugly crap!
get some surfactant in there and clean away...!
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
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Coquitlam, BC
Anyone know the ending to this story? I have the same thing in mine :/
Looks like Bars Stop Leak... That crap was in my brothers skylines system, the only way I got it out of the overflow bottle was rocks and mineral spirits... To eat it out of the block and rad you prob should just take it somewhere to get hot tanked.
 

bajaphile

Boojum Hugger
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Had to deal with an FJ40 cooling system like this. Rust so bad that the block drain wouldn't drain anything, I had to pick at it with a hammer and punch.

Removed thermostat, Ran a ton of prestone coolant system cleaner for a few days. Warmed it up, let it sit, next day, repeat, repeat. Drained again. Insert garden hose to top of radiator and open block drain for a while... Fill up with water, run til warm a few times. Drain, repeat several more times... Basically it got rid of 90% of the rust buildup and was fine.

Its best to take the thermostat out, and just go to town. ;)

Be safe to go ahead and buy a new radiator though. They aren't easy to clean at home. Of course you could take it to a shop for cleaning too.
 

scotia

 
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Feb 14, 2007
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Whatever it is, throw an inline coolant filter on the upper rad hose. I installed a Tefba filter on my GMC PU when the dexcool cool went south. Plugged up the entire system which meant all new parts that were in the coolant system including the heater core. The filter comes with two screens. Run the coarse then switch to the fine. I have left the fine in there for 3 plus years now and it is still grabbing stuff. I would suggest getting a new rad, then put in the filter or one of another brand.

http://www.tefba.com

http://www.v12performance.com/Tefba.html
 
Last edited:

scottryana

 
 
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Looking at the pic you wouldn't really change it. You would pull the cap, suck out the junk, pull the screen clean with air, reassemble and you're on the road. Really not a bad idea.
 

scotia

 
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I leave it in the system all the time. Check it every so often. Been running the large screen. It is a well made product as are most things from Aussie land. It was well worth the investment on my old PU.
 

bugsnbikes

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Muriatic acid flush.......nastynstuff but will do the job . I hooked up a cheap 12v water pump and hose between bucket and block and flush 3gallons thru the block on my 40. Did the same to the radiator separately. Trick is to put in a valved hose on the block drain plug end so you can fill the block and let the muratic acid eat stuff up for 5min before flushing. Wear goggles-gloves-and do on a windy day so u can avoid fumes by standing upwind.
 
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