There is alot of discussion about doing a Restore/Restore Plus cooling system cleaning flush and then switching to ELC type coolant...such as Caterpillar ELC, Rotella ELC, Fleetguard Optimax...etc.
I like the theory behind the switch and wish these engines would have simply been filled with the stuff from the factory. It might have eliminated alot of issues with the 6.0L Powerstroke application. Which raises another question...were VT365's filled with ELC from International? Surely...they didn't use Ford Premium Gold. All the recent International DT's and MaxForce's we've had at work had red ELC...so I'm assuming the VT's did too but I've never looked at a new one.
International filled the VT365 with Fleetrie ELC from the factory.
My thoughts that if the system contains silicate gel...the flush will break it loose. And...the flushing step with plain water could make it even worse. Remember...silicate gel loves to absorb water and not much else. Which is why we find silicate gel packs in our new shoe boxes or anything else where moisture can cause problems during storage. Thats what it does best. So the silicate gel problem could be made worse with plain water coming into contact with it. The Restore step is supposed to dislodge and break the gel apart for flushing out. But I'm not sure it dissolves the gel into "liquid". In fact I'm not sure too many things besides strong acids will dissolve it. The restore (not plus) step is an alkaline step.
The coolant is already 50% water, so the silicate gel would have plenty of H2o to absorb long before you flush it out. Will a chemical dissolve the goo? I can't answer that. I will say that when I flushed my system out, I got a good amount of casting sand out and a little green slime but not very much. I flushed and flushed and flushed until the distilled water I used was as clean as the water I put in in the first place. There is one place I disagree with the flush everyone uses here. I use distilled and distilled water only. Never tap. My opinion (and likely not a popular one) is don't put something in there that contains the minerals that you do not want in your cooling system to begin with. Some think that saving $50 to buy the distilled water is worth the risk, I don't.
In turn this stuff becomes lodged in the oil cooler and fouls it forever making a concerning situation a disaster. If you have plans to replace the oil cooler thats all OK....sort of. What about the rest of the gel thats in the system somewhere else that doesn't get flushed out? And what about the radiator and heater core? Do they get fouled?
This is where the gamble will either pay off, or your in a world of self-inflicted hurt. If you get to the flushing before the oil cooler is so plugged up that it isn't flowing effectively (or the act of the flush itself will make it that way) then your probably going to be OK. If you didn't, your up the creek.
Maybe we should revise the directions of the flushing to remove the oil cooler, stuff the water hose into the water jacket, pull the radiator hoses and block drains out and REALLY flush it out. But that will still leave the radiator and the heater core. Nothing is going to get it all, but you have to decide which is best for your particular set of circumstances.
If you install a new cooler, filter kit and really do a great job of flushing and cleaning...does the filter (such as Sinister's kit) stop leftover particles from fouling yet another new cooler? Its supposedly bypass and not full flow...which kinda makes me think the coolant filter is only good for some fraction of whats swirling around at first. I guess ultimately it will catch everything over time...but whatever doesn't get filtered right up front after the flush will certainly find its way in the old or new oil cooler. Thats my concern.
It will filter out the gunk that breaks free (or gets created) later, BUT it is a bypass style filtering system. The junk might get caught up in the oil cooler or EGR cooler first. Theory is that the filter will catch the particulate when it is small enough to pass through the oil/EGR cooler passages and prevents it from growing into a larger mass circulating in the system.
I know Ford Premium Gold isn't the best choice...but hear me out. What if a person just drains and refills the system with new Ford Gold and runs it like that a while. Then perhaps does it again within a few months. Is there any possibility the new dose or charge of Ford Gold will "re-dissolve" the silicate gel (if there even is any) or somehow make it go back to being in suspension?
Heres another area where my opinion will rub some the wrong way.
The Ford Gold isn't a bad coolant IF
it is properly maintained
. That is continually checking the additive package and flushing/refilling frequently.
Obviously there has to be something in OEM coolant to make the silicate dissolve and remain "liquified" or there would be a big problem on day one. Or maybe I'm way off base. I'm not a chemist...but did take three chemistry classes in engineering school. Which was enough to make me ask questions nowadays. I'd surely flunk a chemistry test if I took one now.
It's just a thought I had...one that might allow the system to return to a half way normal state...then be better situated to have a flush performed on it later.
Or is once the gel formed...its basically impossible to make it dissolve? Perhaps I could call my best friend from college...who's degree is in chemical engineering. He might toy with the idea for me. Problem is there are so many unknowns in the exact makeup of the OEM coolant...and what exactly is going on in there...he might not be able to accurately come up with an answer. He's not a car person...so he's limited to just the facts available.
I really wish that a chemist somewhere would get involved in this whole debacle. It would be nice to have verifiable facts instead of conjecture. The answer to what the goo is and how to attack it would be priceless. There are plenty of clogged oil coolers kicking around this site. Maybe we should all chip in and "get 'er done?" Who knows even how much something like that would cost? You'd think those "ambulance chasers" that filed the class-action lawsuit would pony up for part of it.
I'm just trying to come up with something that a person...who with an otherwise OK running truck (good EOT and ECT differences) can do...without causing a problem all of a sudden and making it a costly mistake that takes months to resolve totally.
This is how I feel about the whole flush/not flush topic.
Not everyone bought these trucks new, so for those people (myself included) it is a more difficult decision.
If the coolant in your truck was not maintained for years, flush it. Flush it again, then flush some more until you get what comes out is as clean as what you put it in there. Then cross your fingers and pray.
If, somewhere along the line, someone put tap water in your coolant, (and did not maintain the coolant) you will have mineral build up/scale. That is tougher to get out of there than the silicate goo. That stuff will plug up your oil cooler just as much, and if theres alot of it in the block, you could be flushing until the end of time to get it out.
What I would do in this instance may not be what others would chose to do. I would toss the vc-9 (or whatever restore product is its equivalent) in there, and flush it, back flush like you have seen in other threads, then flush, back flush. Keep going until you get noting out. Lets face the fact that this may take you a whole weekend to accomplish (maybe more), and flies in the face of "never put tap water in." After this your looking forward to the distilled flushing until you can dilute the tap water in the system to whatever level your comfortable with.
Now, if you think the coolant was semi-properly maintained, and you have had something apart on the engine so that you could see into a coolant passage, and it did not look rust covered or had a film of brownish gray slime on it, then you might get better results, but there are never any guarantee that your new oil cooler won't get clogged. There never will be.
I hear that the VT365 has EGR cooler failures as much as the Ford 6.0 does, and since International used the Fleetrite ELC, that alone did not solve the whole problem, so ELC by itself is not a clear solution. I think it is better than the Ford Gold, but only time will tell...... This chapter is not not finished, I don't know if it ever will be.