Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Here's some good repair guides for your Tercel :) Look here for help first!
Post Reply
User avatar
ARCHINSTL
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 6053
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:52 pm
My tercel:: Goldie is a 1986 SR5 attualmente con Weber/also owned the first T4WD in STL in late '82
Location: Kirkwood, a 'burb of St. Louis

Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by ARCHINSTL » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:25 am

When I had the radiator out for easier access for the water pump installation, I took the opportunity to do the “vinegar method” of cleaning it. The radiator did not appear heavily deposited when inspected through the fill hole, and the AF has always appeared quite clear, but it seemed logical to do this while it was out of the car. This AF refill would be the third since I got Goldie 9 years ago. I don't know how old the radiator is.
I used a gallon of regular white vinegar, cold from the jug. The radiator was laid flat for the soaking.
1. Mixture 50/50 with distilled water, in for an hour, then flushed with tap water from hose.
2. Straight vinegar, also in for an hour, then flushed again.
3. Repeat #2.
4. Filled with distilled water and let sit for another couple of hours, then drained and installed in car.
5. No sign of leaks anywhere.

See the attached photos - I saved the deposits for the photos. There were more deposits that were extremely fine - perhaps 1/4 teaspoon.
I was pretty pleased with this and will do it again and also with the heater core when I do the timing belt this Fall.
Tom M.
►►► EDIT in 2016: It probably makes no difference, but my radiator is not OE with the plastic top; mine is all metal, two-row, with a brass (copper?) top and is apparently a replacement by a PO.

Left-click to enlarge.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
T4WD augury?
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit.
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
Mark Twain

User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 9662
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator

Post by Petros » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:47 pm

I may have to do this with mine. I used vinigar in the heater core for a hour last fall, helped greatly but it needs some more soak time (you do not even have to remove the heater core to do this).

Now on long up hill runs at low speed on hot days my temp climbs until I turn on the heater. so looks like my radiator needs a good flush.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

User avatar
ARCHINSTL
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 6053
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:52 pm
My tercel:: Goldie is a 1986 SR5 attualmente con Weber/also owned the first T4WD in STL in late '82
Location: Kirkwood, a 'burb of St. Louis

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by ARCHINSTL » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:00 pm

As outlined in the OP, I vinegared the radiator back in 2014.
When installing the new pump and timing belt this past June, I again vinegared the radiator (no chunks this time, just milky fluid-YAY!).
When I replaced the 3 heater hoses (a PITA on several of them!), I also vinegared the heater core.
Warmed the vinegar and let it sit in the core for about an hour, all the while expecting drips on the carpet from perforation.
Success, but was almost kinda disappointed that nothing beyond just some "dust" was present in the recovered vinegar.
Followed up with a garden hose flush and then a distilled water flush before installing the new hoses and the proper AF/distilled water mix.
Frankly, after noting that not much was in the vinegared drainings from the core, I was not expecting much of an improvement in heater output.
BOY, but I was pleasantly surprised!
The heater output now is nothing short of amazing!
I've not put a remote reading on it, as my Ryobi laser remote gun has been acting up, but believe me, the heat is MUCH improved!
I would recommend all do this the next time you renew the AF or pump or belt, even if the ancient heater hoses are not replaced.
Really!
Tom M.
T4WD augury?
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit.
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
Mark Twain

North of 64
Top Notch Member
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:04 pm
My tercel:: "Bones" & "The Gray" both 87 SR5 4WD
Location: Dawson City, Yukon

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by North of 64 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:00 pm

Hello Tercelers. It's been awhile since I've posted or even looked at the forum. Probably because my previous 87 and 88 went to my son, who thrashed them both and I've been driving a 98 RAV4 for the last couple of years.

But now I'm back in the Yukon and the little blue Tercel that Petros road tripped from Nebraska for me has been pulled out of storage and needs to be ready for this Yukon winter. It's ready except that there are two heat issues. Issue 1:,there isn't much heat even for these mild -13c temps.

So I read with interest Toms post and Petros response on the vinegar treatment. Here is my questions: can I drain the Antifree and fill the rad with vinegar WITHOUT removing the rad and just let it sit for a couple of hours, then rinse, drain, refill, drain and do a final flush with distilled water before replacing with the correct ratio of AF/H2O?
Petros and I replaced the original rad with one from pickn pull but it's never been winter driven really. So I expect it will benefit from the vinegar cleanse.

I also wonder if the "door" that pulls hot air from the engine is not fully opening and that might be part of the low heat issue. FYI the thermostat has been changed twice and it's not the culprit and a new blower motor was installed two years ago.

Second heat issue is the lever to select defrost, floor, etc binds a bit when approaching the full defrost position and there is very little air that exits the centre defrost position, decent on drivers side defrost, marginal on passenger side defrost but barely a breath from the centre position. Makes me suspect the pathway might be obstructed by mouse nest? Or ? But dont know what needs removing to access and clear that pathway. If there is a previous post that points the way please post that link. again thanks for the help. Elizabeth

jimcrazy
Top Notch Member
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:33 pm
My tercel:: 1985 4wd 1986fwd 1983 4wd

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by jimcrazy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:23 pm

i just did the heater box door on mine last weekend,,the bottom doors foam seal was fine but the top door was rotted off,glued a new piece of foam on seals up good and lots of heat
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

North of 64
Top Notch Member
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:04 pm
My tercel:: "Bones" & "The Gray" both 87 SR5 4WD
Location: Dawson City, Yukon

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by North of 64 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:37 am

Thanks Jim Crazy!

User avatar
xirdneh
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 1676
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:38 am
My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
Location: seabeck, washington, USA

Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by xirdneh » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:58 pm

did you check the heat control valve on pass. side firewall to make sure cable is set to open it all the way.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.

Post Reply