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Old 05-22-2011, 11:03 AM
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Still...cooling system flush questions/concerns

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.

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.

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?

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 everthing 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.

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?

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'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.
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.
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Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
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.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:20 PM
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I'm getting ready to do a flush on my system tomorrow. I think I've got everything I need, but I'm still a bit nervous.

The previous owner had the EGR system delete done about 40,000 miles ago along with the head gaskets, etc so the Ford coolant is long gone. I'm not sure what is in it now, although I spoke with the PO and he mentioned it was whatever green stuff River City Diesel put in when they did they other work.

I have got the Restore, VC-9, Zerex ELC and a new coolant filter ready and waiting - I hope to do the flush tomorrow, although I'll need to grab like 30+ gallons of distilled water first!

When I went to the Cummins truck service center to get the Restore, he mentioned that the International dealer/service place (RIGHT across the street), buys Restore from the Cummins dealer to do all of their coolant flushes. I also asked about the Restore+ (same as VC-9) and they said that they haven't have any real reason to use it in their cooling systems.... dunno why, but got me thinking.... I keep reading that the VC-9/R+ may not be best to use as it may dislodge large clogs of rust and other stuff that'll get stuck in the oil cooler....

Who knows. Aren't we all risking everything everyday anyway, just driving 6.0s?? I love mine, BTW.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:25 PM
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I for one am totally with you on the distilled ONLY in all steps. I can get it for $1 a gallon by the case load at the grocery store or those big 5 gallon jugs at the local water softener sales place. If you all could see the hardness of the tap water in my neighborhood...its just awful. I think it clogs up the passages in plants and kills them.

If International has as many cooler failures...who knows then. I suppose the extreme heat from the exhaust does the job...but the lack of coolant supply really speeds that up maybe. Perhaps a BPD improved cooler is the only thing worth having afterall...WITH the ELC coolant (for various other reasons besides EGR/OIL cooler problems).

My fears on something that will dissolve the silicate gel is that whatever that might be...it may only be good if the cooler is off the truck and you're flushing it alone. Chemicals that might liquify the gel could very well destroy everything aluminum or otherwise in its path. Again it would take an expert to make those calls.

There just HAS to be a way to remove the cooler and reverse flush them out. Heck...I'd try a few gallons of CLR (or whatever) and hook up a cheap electric pump to circulate it all night. Then cut it in half to see what damage had been done (if any) to the cooler metal itself. Maybe there is a way. I'm going to check with my Ford dealer and see if they will give me a few clogged coolers. They had about 6 of them sitting there that wouldn't allow hardly anything to go thru them with a garden hose specially connected to the fitting.

Flushing is surely a gamble at best and I just don't want people thinking its a fail proof method to better motoring.

Maybe I'll get flamed for this...but perhaps the better method would be to do several flushes of plain distilled water and then convert to ELC. The Restore seems better suited to diesels with big ole passages for things to get out once broken apart. This Powerstroke is a very unique animal. Just cause the Restore bottle says "diesel"...doesn't mean this diesel. Maybe.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil View Post
Maybe I'll get flamed for this...but perhaps the better method would be to do several flushes of plain distilled water and then convert to ELC. The Restore seems better suited to diesels with big ole passages for things to get out once broken apart. This Powerstroke is a very unique animal. Just cause the Restore bottle says "diesel"...doesn't mean this diesel. Maybe.
I'm curious as well; although, as stated before, from the reading I've done, it seems the R+/VC-9 is to blame for this issue, not so much the plain ol' Restore. I could be wrong, though.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by neil View Post
My fears on something that will dissolve the silicate gel is that whatever that might be...it may only be good if the cooler is off the truck and you're flushing it alone. Chemicals that might liquify the gel could very well destroy everything aluminum or otherwise in its path. Again it would take an expert to make those calls.

Flushing is surely a gamble at best and I just don't want people thinking its a fail proof method to better motoring.

Maybe I'll get flamed for this...but perhaps the better method would be to do several flushes of plain distilled water and then convert to ELC. The Restore seems better suited to diesels with big ole passages for things to get out once broken apart. This Powerstroke is a very unique animal. Just cause the Restore bottle says "diesel"...doesn't mean this diesel. Maybe.
I think Fleetguard says only 3 hours with the Restore or Plus in the system. Do they think longer than that could cause damage? Who know.

As for flushing with distilled only, I did that. Then flushed with store bought stuff from Autozone, and it loosened some stuff up. Then flushed with water until clean. The I used the restore and made sure I got it nice and hot. I was amazed at the crap that came out. Then rinsed until clear, then used the Restore Plus. Again, tons of crap came out. It took me two days of flushing to clear it all out. I don't think distilled only will do enough to clear up the passages at all.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by neil View Post
There just HAS to be a way to remove the cooler and reverse flush them out. Heck...I'd try a few gallons of CLR (or whatever) and hook up a cheap electric pump to circulate it all night. Then cut it in half to see what damage had been done (if any) to the cooler metal itself. Maybe there is a way. I'm going to check with my Ford dealer and see if they will give me a few clogged coolers. They had about 6 of them sitting there that wouldn't allow hardly anything to go thru them with a garden hose specially connected to the fitting.
Heres the rub with that. The brown/grayish crap hardens as it dries. So, you would need to get a "fresh out of the truck" oil cooler. Not likely to happen unless you were standing right there as it came out or you remove one yourself. If it is left to dry, that would skew the results. You would have to keep the coolant passages wet from "cradle to grave" to test any theory effectively.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:07 PM
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When I replaced my oil cooler the second time last year, I filled the cooling system with G-05. It was after that when the big push to ELC came about so I decided to leave the G-05 in for 1 year then flush and replace with ELC. Well, this past weekend I did just that. While I see the benefit of a complete distilled flush, I felt that it was more beneficial to get a complete flush of the heater core, radiator and oil cooler which would be impracticable with bottled water.

It's beginning to be found that the oil coolers can be reverse flushed to some level of success but it takes pressurized water and a lot of it. Using my hose (with an RV filter installed) I likely dumped 300 gallons of water through the system completely reverse flushing the oil cooler, heater core and radiator. Then I used the restore and VC-9 (both of which came out pretty clean). Before the flush and switch I was running 10 degree differences and after I am down to around 7 - 8 which is right about where I was with the new cooler last year.

After the complete flush with the hose, I did go through 25 gallons of distilled which brings my total (filtered) tap vs distilled / antifreeze to a very reasonable level. Oil temps are recovering as they did last year and I'm happy again. I am planning on opening up my last coolant filter to see what was in there, but other things come first. So bottom line for me is that I think that flushing completely outweighs the complete distilled only, unless of course you get distilled in bulk and can run it under pressure.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:18 PM
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I went to walmart last weekend to buy my distilled water for the upcoming flush I plan on doing. It was 83 cents a gallon, so I think at that price it is quite silly to not use it when flushing. Gives you peace of mind at a minimum.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nylyon View Post
When I replaced my oil cooler the second time last year, I filled the cooling system with G-05. It was after that when the big push to ELC came about so I decided to leave the G-05 in for 1 year then flush and replace with ELC. Well, this past weekend I did just that. While I see the benefit of a complete distilled flush, I felt that it was more beneficial to get a complete flush of the heater core, radiator and oil cooler which would be impracticable with bottled water.

It's beginning to be found that the oil coolers can be reverse flushed to some level of success but it takes pressurized water and a lot of it. Using my hose (with an RV filter installed) I likely dumped 300 gallons of water through the system completely reverse flushing the oil cooler, heater core and radiator. Then I used the restore and VC-9 (both of which came out pretty clean). Before the flush and switch I was running 10 degree differences and after I am down to around 7 - 8 which is right about where I was with the new cooler last year.

After the complete flush with the hose, I did go through 25 gallons of distilled which brings my total (filtered) tap vs distilled / antifreeze to a very reasonable level. Oil temps are recovering as they did last year and I'm happy again. I am planning on opening up my last coolant filter to see what was in there, but other things come first. So bottom line for me is that I think that flushing completely outweighs the complete distilled only, unless of course you get distilled in bulk and can run it under pressure.

where did you hook your hose up to, to back flush? Did you have the motor off and the drain on the radiator open to just let it flush? Im really curious about the backflush idea. I think thats what im going to do also. I have a newer oil cooler in my truck and I see 9-10F Delta currently.
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