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Discussion Starter #1
I know I need to flush my coolant, hitherto I have been just filling it up if it ever got low. My Thunderbird has been in my possession for over 20k, and almost 4 years. It's needs to be flushed.

I wanted to know if there is a special procedure for a chemical flush, and how to do it? I have no idea what chemicals I am supposed to be using either.

So far I have 3 gallons distilled water, 2 gallons straight Prestone antifreeze/coolant and I plan to mix these for a 60%coolant 40%distilled water mix (advice on this except 1 gallon of each and measure the last gallon?).

I know I want to do thermostat replacement, radiator cap replacement, and finally coolant reservoir cap replacement. I believe all the hoses are fine as I seem to never loose any coolant (I always topped off in the past if necessary, but I can only remember doing this about 6-8 times maximum, in near 4 years). I am a little afraid, after seeing dex cool rust up into Hershey syrup, that the hoses may be coated with corrosion.

Right now as is, my coolant is filled to max, and I have been accustomed to lately topping up with cheapo 50/50 mix (last time was a long time ago). This keeps my coolant guage below dead center normal while driving. I am just mostly concerned with the age of the coolant in this system than anything else, and would like to ensure there is no rust and junk in it.

Will a garden hose flush as I have been reading in our forums be enough if i spray the hell out of everything the coolant comes in contact with?

P.S. I am still looking at part places for the thermostat, what temp should I get? I know the Duralast (shudder) part is 195 degrees. anything else I should replace while I am doing this?
 

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Well... I flushed my coolant system by draining out all the coolant that would come out through the valve at the base of the radiator, then removing the thermostat entirely and re-installing the housing with o-ring.

I then filled up the system with water and let the engine run for a moment with the heater on and repeated the process (drain and fill with water) several times until what I was draining from the radiator was clear.

Once more I filled up the system with water and drained it, although this time I measured how much I drained so I knew how much water was left in the block so I could get the mixture right. I came within a few ounces of perfect fill level when I filled it back up.

Not exactly a chemical flush but it served my purpose and seems to have worked well. I think there are kits out there that contain fittings and solvents and such, but I've never used any. I put the stock 195 degree thermostat back in until I had the car tuned for a 180 degree t-stat, which is the lowest you should use IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well... I flushed my coolant system by draining out all the coolant that would come out through the valve at the base of the radiator, then removing the thermostat entirely and re-installing the housing with o-ring.
This sounds much easier than what I planned to do. I will wait for opinions of what will clean the insides better I think, but I like this procedure better as it seems like it's something I can darn near do without raising the car even!

I should remove the T-stat, but put everything else back in, in your procedure? I am guessing this is to have it always stuck open so it circulates quickly as long as the heat is on inside the car?

I should not use a 180 T-stat if My vehicle is not tuned for it?

How much does this actually flush? I kinda did not want to mix distilled water, anti freeze, and garden hose water.

This is why I am being so anal about not mixing the chemicals in the coolant system http://www.sancarlosradiator.com/dex-cool_pics.htm

Stupid GM and it's Dex Cool car killing liquid.
 

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Yes, just take out the thermostat and put it all back together. You want to simulate the thermostat being open - that way you can flush out the radiator as well without having to have the coolant be 200 degrees.

You don't need a tune to use a 180 degree thermostat; but if you have one you might get a few extra degrees of timing in the tune due to the cooler temps.

Every part of the engine that coolant fills will be flushed. The reason you need to repeat it (I think I did it 4 or 5 times) is because not all the coolant drains when you drain it from the radiator. You need to continually dilute it by adding more water and draining until the amount of old coolant left in the system is negligible.
 

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To really speed things up and make life easier I installed one of those Prestone Flush and Refill tees on the hose coming from the heater core on the pass. side that goes into the intake manifold. I flushed my system through that tee and through the t-stat housing until the water came out clear. This was done without the radiator hooked up because I was in the middle of replacing it. Don't forget to flush out your coolant resevoir too. The tee also made it easy to fill up the system without worrying about any air bubbles.

I'm sure there was still some water left in the system before I topped everything off. I don't see anyway of making sure none is left over unless you pour several gallons of distilled water through the heater hose and t-stat housing. I didn't think about this when I refilled mine but I don't mind if there was about a gallon of city water left over. I'll be be draining and refilling it again soon enough.

From what I've read that it really isn't a good idea to run a colder t-stat without a tune. The PCM won't turn the fan on at the right moment and I guess that'll not be good even if water is running through the radiator. At least not good when the car isn't moving. Also unless you have advanced your timing I don't see a need for a colder t-stat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
To really speed things up and make life easier I installed one of those Prestone Flush and Refill tees on the hose coming from the heater core on the pass. side that goes into the intake manifold.

I don't see anyway of making sure none is left over unless you pour several gallons of distilled water through the heater hose and t-stat housing...

Also unless you have advanced your timing I don't see a need for a colder t-stat.
I read in the other thread about the prestone flush and refill kit. I am skeptical about cutting a portion of my cooling system hose out to add that in though.

I was actually thinking since the distilled is about 90 cents a gallon of doing that, but I think i am just paranoid from the whole dex cool and it's ease of breaking down if mixed with regular tap water.

I will be sticking with a default 195 degree thermostat than.

Is this the kit? There is also a stand alone T in 3/4 in and 5/8 in at 8 bucks a pop from the zone, this makes the prestone kit look great, but how big is the opening?

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/catalog/accessories/accessoriesShelf.jsp?categoryDisplayName=Performance&fromType=accessories&fromString=search&parentId=8-10&filterByKeyWord=flush&currentPage=1&navValue=100036&categoryNValue=100008&fromWhere=&itemId=36-10&displayName=Flush+and+Fill+Radiator+Kit

I will have to get to a store and see what this flush chemical is all about, says it's for radiator.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/catalog/accessories/accProductDetails.jsp?categoryDisplayName=Chemicals&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=525741_0_0_&productId=525741&sortType=&parentId=17-10&filterByKeyWord=flush&categoryNValue=100017&navValue=101176&fromWhere=&itemId=1176-10&displayName=Radiator+Cleaner+and+Additive&store=3567&skuDisplayName=22+oz.+super+flush&brandName=Prestone

And this

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/catalog/accessories/accProductDetails.jsp?categoryDisplayName=&fromString=&itemIdentifier=525162_0_0_&productId=525162&sortType=&parentId=17-10&filterByKeyWord=&categoryNValue=&navValue=101176&fromWhere=&itemId=1176-10&displayName=Radiator+Cleaner+and+Additive&store=3567&skuDisplayName=33.8+oz.+super+radiator+cleaner&brandName=Prestone


I am afraid that with the Tee I will be cutting #1, and #2 that say there are deposits that need to come out, they will not be able to come out through a small opening, or it will clog the Tee. It's a great thing to have in a properly maintained system, but since I have never flushed the system before, it is not properly maintained. I was hoping someone knew of a chemical cleaner I could run through to do a real thorough cleaning. Haynes told me to refer to the owners manual about a chemical clean, but I don't remember any owners manual talking about something like that. Most likely it would say take it to a Ford mechanic lol.
 

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The tee is very easy to install and won't leak. There is no cause for concern and there is no way you could clog the tee. If your coolant is bad enough to clog the tee you would have clogged the radiator and heater core a long time ago. You would cut the hose right at the top where the hose straitens out before going down into the manifold. This spot is perfect especially when it comes to refilling the system and not having to worry about having an air pocket.

It was very likely that the cooling system of my car had never been worked on before I bought it. The coolant looked like chocolate milk and stained my intake tubing after the radiator sprayed it. I did my flush and refill about 2 months ago and so far there have no problems. I just replaced my thermostat today and the coolant was as green as the day I added it. Seriously, you'll be much happier adding the tee especially if you want to flush the system with distilled water before refilling it.
 

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prestone makes some kind of flush chemical, I have two bottles of it (need two for my size) it has detailed info on the back about flushing with it.

You drain the rad, add the chemical and fill with water, run until its hot with the heater on, drain, and repat with water..... I think, I can't remember exactly, but the chemical was like less than $20 for both bottles. maybe give it a shot and see how it works.
 

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You wanna be really careful with chemical cleaner. Yes, it will break all of the gunk loose BUT, it may just deposit it in the bottom of the radiator. you'd never know it driving around town but take it on the highway and you can watch the temp gauge rise. If you have an infrared temp gun, make sure the temp is hotter at the top of the radiator, and cooler at the bottom. If the flow is restricted, it will be cooler at the top and hotter at the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok I found out a few things. The prestone flush kit has you cut the hose in half than splice it together with one of three sized Tee's and clamp the old hoses to that. I was under the wrong impression that you had to cut a hole into the hose to install this, not cut and splice.

Essentially I understand where this hose is supposed to be installed on our vehicles, but I have to see it with my eyes. The directions show the splice being in a hose in the top compartment of the vehicle, but that's a generic drawing. Ideally you would hook a garden hose into the T fitting, with the provided back flow prevention adapter, and run the engine with the heat on with an attached 'splash tube' (hose will probably work, but they give you a plastic tube about 5 inches long with a bend) to the radiator cap, or top radiator hose (if there is no cap).

This is supposed to make it flush out everything, and you are instructed to keep doing this until it's completely clear. (still looking for a way to dispose of fluid properly) This should clean basic stuff well enough.

If the Tee goes into the lower heater hose near the engine, I am not sure how to get a hose down there.

So for my chemical question there are two fluids I found made by, you guessed it, prestone. One is called super radiator flush. Instructions are pretty much, old fluid should be flushed, drain radiator, fill with entire 22 oz contents and fill with water, run engine for 10 mins with heat turned on full, drain radiator again, fill with water, run engine with heat on again for 10 minutes. Finally drain and refill with 50/50

The other is called super radiator cleaner, by prestone. The instructions for this are different, but similar. Drain/refill system, drain radiator, fill with entire 34 oz of cleaner, and fill with water. Drive for 3-6 hours, can be broken up in several trips over a period of several days. Drain radiator, fill with water, run for 10 minutes with heat on, flush entire system, and refill with 50/50 mix.

......The second one sounds darned thorough, but scares the heck out of me that whatever it dislodges may get caught in the engines cooling system, or stuck in the bottom of the radiator (Ken Horner).... Than again I want it to clean that too lol

If the system will be so easy to flush after I install the Tee and come up with a good idea of how I want to do it, I will probably do the super radiator cleaner, followed by the super radiator flush some time next year.

Anyone try any of the chemicals, or want to poke holes in my steps for how this should be done? I do appreciate the advice everyone.
 

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I bought the one that says to drive around, I haven't used it yet as I'm saving it for when I replace my rad.

However I just thought I should point out, these cars don't have a rad cap on them. just the reservoir cap.
 

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Have used those tees, for years, on all kinds of vehicles they work great. You run the hose and let all the crap flush out the top of the rad.
 

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I don't have a close up pic so just follow the red arrow. If I'm not mistaken I used the biggest tee in the kit. It pretty obvious which one fits after cutting the hose. The back flow prevention adapter must be something new because I had my kit in a box for over 6 years before finally using it and it didn't come with that. Made no difference when I flushed my system. The splash tube is not needed unless you replace the radiator with one that does have a cap.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
I bought the one that says to drive around, I haven't used it yet as I'm saving it for when I replace my rad.

However I just thought I should point out, these cars don't have a rad cap on them. just the reservoir cap.
I thought that, I know the haynes manual says there is a radiator drain plug on the bottom you can open and direct with a 3/8th inch hose, so I was thinking that would be good. As for the reverse flushing, it would have to be done out of the hose connecting the radiator to the reservoir I guess.

P.S. thank you for the picture. I will probably tackle this all next week. I just got my old CEL back about running lean lol. (now both banks)
 

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FWIW, Ford say only to use mild detergent in the cooling system, so I'd be wary of harsh chemical cleaners. I've also heard horror stories of radiator shops using a acid wash and destorying the heater core among other items.

Need to be a 100% aluminum safe chemical.
 

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FWIW, Ford say only to use mild detergent in the cooling system, so I'd be wary of harsh chemical cleaners. I've also heard horror stories of radiator shops using a acid wash and destorying the heater core among other items.

Need to be a 100% aluminum safe chemical.
good to know, I will have to double check the bottle and see if it is aluminum safe... I THINK it might be, but not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
FWIW, Ford say only to use mild detergent in the cooling system, so I'd be wary of harsh chemical cleaners. I've also heard horror stories of radiator shops using a acid wash and destorying the heater core among other items.

Need to be a 100% aluminum safe chemical.
Good to know. Back of the bottles both say "Non-toxic, non-acidic, Prestone "Name Here" is easy to use and safe for all cooling system metals."

I am guessing the contents of both bottle are identical except the 'cleaner' is larger in oz. and has the different instructions. I probably will not be doing long amounts of driving as they instruct, if I do real driving at all with this stuff in there.

I am thinking a normal everyday flush with garden hose using the kit, fill with this stuff and the cleaner, one daily trip back and forth to work maximum (about 1-1.5 hours), letting it cool and flush the system again, than attempt to fill with 40%distilled and 60%antifreeze. I was going to check this by using a tester and adjusting as necessary.

I am now looking at my schedule, and weather, to find the perfect time to do this.
 

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for rad replacement, I wouldn't be worried about stuff getting caked up in the rad itself...... actually might work as a decent filter to hold that stuff so when you do remove the rad, it comes out with the rad.

I still haven't looked at my bottles, but I think it only wants you to drive it until its warm, once with the chemical/water mix and once with just water or something. then flush to rinse out the crap that came out.

if your not replacing your rad, then I wouldn't suggest driving around because It likely will get some junk stuck in the rad.
 
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