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View Full Version : Flushing/Degunking a cooling system.



Tragic00
02-12-2011, 12:45 AM
Hello all. I got a '95 s10 (4.3L 4wd) that was recently passed on to me. The truck run great for the mileage (213k) but I noticed when checking the fluids the other evening the antifreeze looked horrid. From what I could tell from the looks is either a) head gasket leaking (though the oil is fine) or b) a mix match of antifreeze.

How could I go about flushing all this garbage out of it? I've heard there was solvents out there you could run through it to help clean everything out, but never heard of what they are or where to get them.

I was also told by someone to look into the Prestone Universal Flush 'n Fill kit [ THIS LINK ].

A little idea of what I am dealing with:
The coolant looks a brownish color, as well as tan colored lumps of what looks almost like play doe. The reservoir tank also looks heavily coated in it as well (was empty when I received it). I am assuming there is some blockage as well due to the temp rising and dropping at times while driving. Also the heater seems to have a mind of it's own, it blows out "warm" (not hot in anyway) air out, then seems to cold to a chilly breeze.

Anyone have any insight on this?

Thanks in advance!

IBTLover
02-12-2011, 12:47 AM
Those would be the Radiator Flush in the Coolant isle.

Rich B
02-12-2011, 12:50 AM
That brown stuff could be remains from someone putting radiator stop leak in some time in the distant past.

Bars Leak is brown pellets in a brown fluid.

pressnic38
02-12-2011, 01:07 AM
Is it chunks or is it a liquid?

plugitin
02-12-2011, 01:12 AM
id say just change the fluid...if it was summer you could just run water in there for a bit and then switch back to anti freeze.

-01limited-
02-12-2011, 01:25 AM
Be careful. someone mixed the orange and green coolant in one of my old vehicles, made gel balls and clogged my heater core and also caused my water pump to fail.

plugitin
02-12-2011, 01:27 AM
Be careful. someone mixed the orange and green coolant in one of my old vehicles, made gel balls and clogged my heater core and also caused my water pump to fail.

you mean the mud looking stuff? Dex-cool?

plugitin
02-12-2011, 01:28 AM
and btw, even if the oil is fine, your hg could still be bad...

CHEMMINS
02-12-2011, 01:44 AM
Yes never mix dex-cool with standard glycol antifreeze.

Dex-cool is bad if your system is not set up for it. Stick with glycol based antifreeze.

Tragic00
02-12-2011, 01:49 AM
Is it chunks or is it a liquid?

It's chunks.

plugitin
02-12-2011, 01:54 AM
Yes never mix dex-cool with standard glycol antifreeze.

Dex-cool is bad if your system is not set up for it. Stick with glycol based antifreeze.

well, i know this...

and dex cool is bad, period.

-01limited-
02-12-2011, 02:09 AM
you mean the mud looking stuff? Dex-cool?


Yes never mix dex-cool with standard glycol antifreeze.

Dex-cool is bad if your system is not set up for it. Stick with glycol based antifreeze.


well, i know this...

and dex cool is bad, period.

idk what it was but after I got the vehicle, 2 moths later it had already ruined my whole cooling system, heater core, radiator and water pump.

06goat
02-12-2011, 02:21 AM
My guess is that it is original coolant, sometimes it can turn that ****** color, lumpy, just from being that old. Seent it. Just change it with 50 50 until summer like above said.

audioatg
02-12-2011, 02:48 PM
Its a GM, It came with the Dex cool in it already. The gunky look is what happens to it over time. No services done to it.

Do this. Open anything and everything you can. Hoses, radiator, Pop the thermostat out housing as well off. And just flush flush flush with a hose of water. Until you get all that crap out. Then replace all hoses. ALL hoses. If its that junked up they will need to be replaced. After that. Add water to it with the coolant flush stuff you can get any place. And run that through there for a good time. Then drain all of that. Replace it with green coolant.


You wanna get all the Dex cool out before switching it to the green coolant.

Tragic00
02-12-2011, 09:00 PM
and btw, even if the oil is fine, your hg could still be bad...


I do know this (exhaust side). We pressure tested it, the only point we got it to leak was @ 18psi and it was only a slight leak around the water pump mounting. Once I get this all cleared out I will be taking it off, cleaning and resealing it.


Its a GM, It came with the Dex cool in it already. The gunky look is what happens to it over time. No services done to it.

Do this. Open anything and everything you can. Hoses, radiator, Pop the thermostat out housing as well off. And just flush flush flush with a hose of water. Until you get all that crap out. Then replace all hoses. ALL hoses. If its that junked up they will need to be replaced. After that. Add water to it with the coolant flush stuff you can get any place. And run that through there for a good time. Then drain all of that. Replace it with green coolant.


You wanna get all the Dex cool out before switching it to the green coolant.

Did the '95's come with Dex Cool?

audioatg
02-13-2011, 11:41 AM
I do know this (exhaust side). We pressure tested it, the only point we got it to leak was @ 18psi and it was only a slight leak around the water pump mounting. Once I get this all cleared out I will be taking it off, cleaning and resealing it.



Did the '95's come with Dex Cool?

Year 95 might not have come with dex cool. I could look it up tomorrow at work. Is it a 4 or 6 cylinder.

Regardless, Do what I said to flush the stuff out. It works and needs to be done.

What you have is some one mixed different coolants. And now that mixture is eating away at your internals. Soon it will eat away at everything.

So get offline and get out there, and start working.

CougarGuy
02-13-2011, 03:36 PM
Alot've people have the common misconception of Dex-Cool gunking up, but its GMs fault for putting Sealant Tabs in the vehicles from the factory...Dex-Cool itself isn't a bad fluid! its GMs idea for solving all coolant related leaks from the factory...nontheless, id do numerous drain and fills, probably run it with some baking soda and cook clean, go to the dealer and grab a bottle of BG Cooling System cleaning or check out BGProd.com

Your headgasket is more than likely fine, i wouldnt even be worried about it. it may take numerous drain and fills to fix this, but it can be fixed without replacing all hoses and stuff. when you flush the system and remove all remnants of the sealant tabs, you very well may find the water pump leak get worse, and you may find your Lower Intake gasket go from seeping to leaking quicker than expected...you can always go to the Dealer and get Sealant Pellets, throw 4-6 in, it will last another 16 years!

Steve-O
3 year Gm Bumper-to-Bumper tech
current Independant shop Bumper-to-Bumper Tech

While you may not agree with me, my plan WILL work, and cost the least! obviously resealing everything using care and the proper methods to fix factory BS and cheaper Gaskets and seals is the preferred way!

pr-festiva
02-13-2011, 04:08 PM
the radiator in the festiva had what looked like brown water and globs of paste in it,, turns out the mechanic had put stop leak in it when all i asked him to do was look for a leak. killed the radiator and heater core and i had to take the whole cooling system apart and clean it.works good now but the heater core is still shot:(

Tragic00
02-13-2011, 09:23 PM
Year 95 might not have come with dex cool. I could look it up tomorrow at work. Is it a 4 or 6 cylinder.

Regardless, Do what I said to flush the stuff out. It works and needs to be done.

What you have is some one mixed different coolants. And now that mixture is eating away at your internals. Soon it will eat away at everything.

So get offline and get out there, and start working.


It's a 4.3L V6 (Vortex). I will be flushing it out once I can get some temperatures above freezing, which is looking to be Wednesday or Thursday. I have assumed it was a mixture of different coolants. I stopped by AutoZone and picked up some flush solutions, new thermostat.

audioatg
02-16-2011, 08:13 AM
Alot've people have the common misconception of Dex-Cool gunking up, but its GMs fault for putting Sealant Tabs in the vehicles from the factory...Dex-Cool itself isn't a bad fluid! its GMs idea for solving all coolant related leaks from the factory...nontheless, id do numerous drain and fills, probably run it with some baking soda and cook clean, go to the dealer and grab a bottle of BG Cooling System cleaning or check out BGProd.com

Your headgasket is more than likely fine, i wouldnt even be worried about it. it may take numerous drain and fills to fix this, but it can be fixed without replacing all hoses and stuff. when you flush the system and remove all remnants of the sealant tabs, you very well may find the water pump leak get worse, and you may find your Lower Intake gasket go from seeping to leaking quicker than expected...you can always go to the Dealer and get Sealant Pellets, throw 4-6 in, it will last another 16 years!

Steve-O
3 year Gm Bumper-to-Bumper tech
current Independant shop Bumper-to-Bumper Tech

While you may not agree with me, my plan WILL work, and cost the least! obviously resealing everything using care and the proper methods to fix factory BS and cheaper Gaskets and seals is the preferred way!


I never heard of GM doing this. Do you have any write up saying they did. FROM GM too not from an out side source. I see that you a GM tech for only three years. You might have not been around for the K motor upper intake recall things. When they first wanted us to install the crushed up tablets of coolant sealer for the uper intake leak at the throttle body area. Then they changed it to replacing the three bolts at the throttle body. And thank you for saying the same thing I said to do. lol. That was funny.


Blah blah blah tech for this many years
Blah blah tech for this many years.