Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

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ARCHINSTL
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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.
►►► EDIT in 2017: See below on followup!

Left-click to enlarge.
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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.
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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.
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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

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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
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

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

Thanks Jim Crazy!

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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.

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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by The Professor » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:30 am

ARCHINSTL wrote:
Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:00 pm
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.
What was your method for doing this (in-car, I assume)?

Pop off the inlet/outlet hoses, then blow out the coolant and refill with vinegar for an hour?
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1987 Subaru RX 3-door, x2
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by ARCHINSTL » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:39 am

Yup - removing the heater core was too daunting for me!
I figured I would face that if the core started leaking, which it has not.
Tom M.
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"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."
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by The Professor » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:21 am

Did you do anything besides warming the vinegar and simply filling the heater core, allowing it to sit for an hour? Any sort of agitation, etc.?

Our Snow-pocalypse has finally passed, but the two weeks of unseasonably cold weather did highlight the fact my heater only puts out meager heat. Tested all vents with an infrared thermometer: 84 degrees of heat on average, 94 degrees if she's feeling extra toasty!
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon & Turbo-Traction hardtop
1987 Subaru RX 3-door, x2
1987 Subaru RX Type-RA 3-door
1987 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon
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2002 Subaru WRX sedan
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by splatterdog » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:54 am

The Professor wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:21 am
Did you do anything besides warming the vinegar and simply filling the heater core, allowing it to sit for an hour? Any sort of agitation, etc.?

Our Snow-pocalypse has finally passed, but the two weeks of unseasonably cold weather did highlight the fact my heater only puts out meager heat. Tested all vents with an infrared thermometer: 84 degrees of heat on average, 94 degrees if she's feeling extra toasty!
Gates 91002 flush gun is THE tool for heat. Not cheap though. Only had one core out of dozens not show good to great improvement(jeep liberty of course). Current T4 took two chemical and flush gun attacks, but has the best heat of all my T4's. Anything over about -5 and I can turn the blower off and get by with highway driven airflow after the interior gets up to temp. Sealing air leaks was just as important..

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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by The Professor » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:28 am

Yikes, that guy IS expensive, holy cow! I'll ask around and see if I can track something like that down...
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon & Turbo-Traction hardtop
1987 Subaru RX 3-door, x2
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by splatterdog » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:12 pm

I got the cheaper plastic "viper" brand on clearance from oreilly's for about a couple hundo. But, I would pay full price for the metal Gates gun the moment the plastic one ever broke. Uses Hecat technology- http://hecatinc.com/

It was also the only thing I could get to remove a huge mouse nest inside of a fully plugged snowmobile muffler. Watch out for that discharge!

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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by jimcrazy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:40 pm

no heater core flush,, just replaced the foam on the heater box flaps
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Re: Vinegar Method Of Cleaning Radiator & HOTTER HEAT ◄

Post by Petros » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:56 pm

don't worry about the acid eating through the core, if it was that thin and corroded you would have had to replace it soon anyway. stop leak would do for an interm leak stop, but if the core was that thin you would have had to prelace it anyway.

I have one of those pulse guns you can borrow if you want, required air compressor and a water supply to operate. I got it on close out sale, but it has well paid for itself. Saved the cost in replacement heater cores and radiators on our fleet of old cars over the years.

you can either swing by some work-on-the car weekend and you can use it, or you may borrow it and return it when you are done. I only need it about once a year.
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