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Old 09-04-2020, 06:13 PM   #1
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Coolant flush

Hi all -

One item that came my inspector found when going over our coach before purchase was that the coolant fluid needed replacing.

Suggest flushing this system with water that meets specifications and install new recommended coolant; Aluminum is at a SEVERE level, aluminum can bind with silicate and fall out of solution; Aluminum sources may be corrosion or erosion of the radiator, heat exchanger, oil cooler, charge air cooler, thermostat, and/or residual from a previous issue. The glycol level is too low for freeze point and boil point protection. This may be due to improper top off or dilution. Is unit type specified correctly? Please advise; The nitrite level is low which may be due to precipitation from over treatment with inhibitor, an air leak, over extending service, or mixing coolant formulations. Resample at half interval.

I've called a few shops locally, they all want $400-$500 for the flush and new coolant.

Does anyone have instructions for doing this myself? I've found -one- article, but it's instructions aren't clear.

-Red
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Old 09-04-2020, 06:29 PM   #2
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The manual states that less than 80% of coolant can be recovered with the engine remaining in the frame.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:59 AM   #3
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Coolant flush

What I have done in the past, get a ton of distilled water from Walmart. Drain the coolant and get out as much as you can. Refill with distilled water and run motor until hot (you can add flush to this first fill if you want). Drain and refill again with distilled water. Run until hot and drain. Do this several times with only distilled water until the drained water is nearly clear. Then after final drain, put in half of the cooling system capacity of straight coolant and top off with distilled water. This will provide the required 50/50 mix.

Biggest issue is disposal of the used coolant and flush water.
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:09 AM   #4
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Thank you, Vettenuts!

Do you need to let the engine cool before draining each time, so you're not dealing with boiling water?
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:44 AM   #5
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Thank you, Vettenuts!

Do you need to let the engine cool before draining each time, so you're not dealing with boiling water?
Come on...did you really need to ask that?
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thank you, Vettenuts!



Do you need to let the engine cool before draining each time, so you're not dealing with boiling water?


Yes, it can be a little warm but you need to make sure no pressure and not scalding hot. Since it will only be idling, you can leave the cap off but be prepared for a little outflow.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:46 PM   #7
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Come on...did you really need to ask that?
Honestly, having never done this in 40 years of driving, yes. Sure, it's a stupid question, but for all I know there's some way of doing it that avoids it having boiling water spray all over me.
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Old 09-06-2020, 02:08 PM   #8
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The only question that's stupid is the one not asked. Being a professor at a college I encourage students to ask and never feel stupid.
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:32 AM   #9
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I do about the same as what Vettenuts described but the first flush I use tap water followed by two with distilled and the refill with distilled mixed with coolant recommended for my engine model year.

An added step to consider is replacing the thermostat and o-ring while the engine is drained. Easy $20 preventative maintenance item. To help speed the fill, circulate and drain process I remove the thermostat after the initial drain and install the new one before the final refill.

Also set the HVAC controls to high heat so the heater core valve opens and you flush it also. You should get warm air during the circulate which tells you the valve is open.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:46 AM   #10
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Another method if you don't want to deal with the flush and refill is to unscrew the drain from the bottom of the radiator. Drain and fill with 50/50. Then the next time you change oil, do it again, repeat.

My rig gets a full synthetic engine and generator oil/filter change every 6k miles. At that time, the rad gets drained and refilled, as does the trans fluid in the pan. It's really inexpensive insurance and keeps the fluids fresh. I've done this on my cars/suv's for years, though i go 10k mile intervals in those.

-J
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vettenuts View Post
What I have done in the past, get a ton of distilled water from Walmart. Drain the coolant and get out as much as you can. Refill with distilled water and run motor until hot (you can add flush to this first fill if you want). Drain and refill again with distilled water. Run until hot and drain. Do this several times with only distilled water until the drained water is nearly clear. Then after final drain, put in half of the cooling system capacity of straight coolant and top off with distilled water. This will provide the required 50/50 mix.

Biggest issue is disposal of the used coolant and flush water.
I have the W20 chassis with the 8.1 Chevy, I read elsewhere in the forum not to try and use the drain in the radiator or risk destroying it and replacing with a new one. So that leaves the draining process to the removing and replacing the lower hose as the only means to drain fluids. Very labor intensive or am I missing something? Thanks
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:24 PM   #12
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BEST method:


Engine cold: Open heater valve so heater core is included in process. Drain. -- either lower radiator hose or other low point drain.


With hose/drain off/open use tap water to flush until clear.



Replace hose/close drain. Fill with tap water.



Run engine until thermostat is open long enough to fully circulate water.



Turn off engine and let it cool.


Drain. Repeat until what you drain is clear. Yes, if really "mucky" use a coolant system cleaner according to directions.


The final rinse is with distilled water.


Drain and fill 1/2 of cooling system capacity with coolant CONCENTRATE. Top off with distilled water.


Check and top off a couple of times, as there are usually a few air pockets.


NOT COMPLICATED OR TECHNICAL. Just time consuming to do correctly.


On my DP, takes most of the day, but total work time is probably under 2 hours. Lots of "cooling down" time. Usually have a list of other projects to do during cool down time.
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Old 09-07-2020, 03:27 PM   #13
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I have the W20 chassis with the 8.1 Chevy, I read elsewhere in the forum not to try and use the drain in the radiator or risk destroying it and replacing with a new one. So that leaves the draining process to the removing and replacing the lower hose as the only means to drain fluids. Very labor intensive or am I missing something? Thanks


My Workhorse didnít have a radiator drain. It was pull the hose and take a bath
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Old 09-07-2020, 04:44 PM   #14
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My Workhorse didnít have a radiator drain. It was pull the hose and take a bath

Try doing that with a 22 gallon diesel pusher cooling system!


Said another way-- do NOT wear your best outfit!


BUT, most of a day of your 'low stress" labor in a "Goodwill outfit" WILL, repeat WILL get you a much better job than paying a shop (or is that a shope') who will likely flat rate the job.


ONE OTHER THING: ON SOME COOLING SYSTEMS YOU NEED TO "BLEED" THE AIR FROM THE THERMOSTAT HOUSING, AS HOT "AIR" WILL NOT OPEN THE THERMOSTAT. Sorry, not "edit feature here, so could not put that in my post above.
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