So I got my truck about 3 weeks ago and put a coolant filter in first thing. I have about 500 miles and I already see red stuff trapped, so its either rust or sand and Im betting I have about 500 miles more and Ill have to take out the filter and clean it. So my question while doing my flush can I used deionized water instead of distilled? This water is from our well and it is filtered then reverse osmosised. Also I hear I can use Simple Green, do I use this instead of vc9 stuff? My plan is to drain the coolant in the radiator and maybe the drivers side block. Drive around a few days drain and refill. Do this about 2 or 3x then refill with coolant.
That red stuff is likely rust scale. Nobody can claim what substance is responsible for clogging most oil coolers. Some say silicate goo, some say rust scale, and some say it is a combination of the two. I am unaware of any testing to determine exactly what the substance is. If someone has had testing completed, please post up your findings and what lab tested it. That info would spread like wildfire throughout all the Ford diesel related forums.
NEVER EVER, under any circumstances, fill your cooling system with any type of water (or chemical) and "drive it for a few days." If you think you have rust scale now, you haven't seen nothing yet, as they say. There is a definite procedure you have to follow to clean the cooling system. Leaving the chemicals in too long or leaving the cooling system filled with any form of water will cause damage or a condition that you are trying to correct by doing this flush in the first place.
Look up a member of this forum by the screen name of PGreenSVT. He has a very good flushing procedure in his signature line that he wrote.
There is also a link in my signature line that outlines not only a flush, but a "how to" backflush your oil cooler. The document was written for those that, for one reason or another, did not flush their cooling system effectively enough and their new oil cooler has become plugged as well. The reverse flush will NOT work on an oil cooler that has become plugged over an extended period of time.
Your coolant choices are: (in NO particular order)
Ford Gold. If you go this route, testing the nitrite level frequently would be required. All the talk of "silicate goo" and "slime"???? That is all caused by lack of proper maintenance of the coolant. Had everybody been made aware of what maintenance this coolant requires, and followed it, there wouldn't be the huge issue that we see today. Test the nitrite level every 15,000 miles. The level should be 800ppm or slightly more. Below 800ppm, purchase the additive for this coolant at the dealership and add to the cooling system as needed. If the nitrite level is below 300ppm, you must flush the cooling system using the VC-9 product (or equivalent), then refill with the Ford Gold.
CAT EC-1 rated ELC coolant: The most popular and is close to a maintenance free coolant. This coolant can be run for two years, no nitrite testing required. The manufacturers claim that this type of coolant is a "million mile" coolant. Unless you are a full time over-the-road trucker running your engine 18 hours a day, I wouldn't push my luck. Two years is good enough.
The propylene glycol "waterless" coolant: LINK
This coolant requires a conversion take place. Basically you need to find a way to get ALL the water out of your engine to use it. This is the biggest drawback, IMHO.