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Flushing Flushing your Cooling System
Date Posted: May 23 2001
Author: Joe
Posting Type: Article
Category: H2O and Evap
Page: 1 of 1
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Flushing your Cooling System By: Joe

Flushing and Cleaning out your Cooling System

By: Joe
5/23/00

A Commonly forgotten or overlooked aspect of your cooling system is the maintenance of it.   After countless cycles of your coolant you will get a build up of either Biological matter (Alge), or byproducts of metals breaking down (Al Oxide, Copper Oxide, etc...). Aluminum is not a big problem since its Oxide isn't water soluble. Copper Oxide is water soluble and can deposit in areas.

What makes me Bring this up? I went to go and do a lil mod to my cooling system and found that the coolant flow was a crawl, and there was something blocking the system. Not good.  I saw my temps go up 10 deg and I thought it was just cause summer was here.

My main system is Project Double Header 1. Its a Dual P3-450 @504.  I wanted to take a CPU out for some testing, and also use the block on a different rig. SO I went to take one CPU and cooler out of the loop.  When I yanked the tube off the pump to let it drain all the coolant out, I noticed I was getting about 1 gal per 10min. WAY to slow.

I Finished up with he moving of the lines and the re-config for the single CPU layout, and now needed to press on to clean this system out and test for leaks.

I was originally going to try H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) as a coolant, but that became not practical because of how unstable it was, and how many air bubbles it creates in a system.  It could easily blow a line off if it built up enough pressure.   SO Since I had 1 Gal of the stuff (8 Pint bottles). I thought I will just flush a system with it.  Here are the steps Below:

Flushing and Cleaning your Cooling System

  1. Drain all existing coolant, and take a look at it. Check it for being discolored (green usually means you are oxidizing copper somewhere)
     
  2. Run some normal tap water (cheap) through it to rinse it
     
  3. Take your anti-biological agent ( I am using Hydrogen Peroxide), and put it in the basin you are using.
     
  4. Cycle it in a ONE cycle system.  The first run through will dislodge a good amount of crap.
     
  5. When the basin becomes low.  Trying to keep the sediment that washes out to collect in the bottom of your "exhaust" container, pour the coolant back into the basin and let it cycle through again, repeat that 4 times. you  should collect a good amount of crap in your exhaust can (the non marked milk jug in the picture) DO NOT pour the sediment that collects in the bottom into the basin.
     
  6. Turn off the pump. Let the H2O2 sit in the system and foam up a storm. it will work on cleaning and killing anything that may be still alive in the system.  Let it do that for 30 min.
     
  7. Turn the pump back on and run 2 - 3 more cycles of your h2o2 through it.
     
  8. Now that you have killed and flushed anything that may still be living in the system.  Drain the entire system.
     
  9. clean the basin and all your containers out and dump all the fluids you were using to flush. If you are using H2O2, try and keep your hands out of it, and BE VERY careful not to get it in your eyes.   Wash off the pump and the inside of the pump with distilled water.
     
  10. Fill the basin with distilled water. Set the pump in it with the intake on the pump in the coolant. Have the exhaust line from the system going into one of the extra containers to collect the first few min of coolant.  This will make sure all the H2O2 gets flushed from the system.
     
  11. After the coolant has run through a short while, put the exhaust line into the basin to let it cycle.  At this point do a hard core check of the system for any air pockets, or leaks.  You can also add your "Water Wetter" or anti corrosion agents.
     
  12. Once you are all set, follow the "Bleeding Your Cooling system" steps and seal it up.

The Crap I flushed out

The Flow on my system was MUCH improved. I was getting 1 gal per 3 min now. A massive improvement. I was running my system for 4 months without messing with it so a lot of stuff grew in it.  And I am using Iso Alcohol in the coolant.

Check for leaks... Cause I did, and I found one... a nasty one.

What's wrong with this picture?? Hmm.. Don't normally see Ribbon wires crying, so I think we got some coolant problems.  You cant see it (cause I didn't snap a Pic o fit before I cleaned it up), but there was a puddle in the bottom of the case.  (REASON TO NOT have your machine plugged in while doing stuff like this)

 

The Culprit

Some of the moving that was done must of disturbed the seal that the hose had.  So I clamped it down more... and .. it gushed. Its not fun to have water running all over when you have a nice Matrox G400MAX acting as a rain gutter. 

As Usual RTV Sealant saves the day.  Since the tube doesn't fit well I just gooped it up with some RTV and used 2 Zip ties instead of the steel hose clamp. Its all good now it seems.

That's it for cleaning your cooling system.  I would recommend do maintenance like change the coolant or atleast draining it and getting any gunk out of it once every 2 months.  You should inspect your cooling system atleast once every 2 weeks for any signs of leaks.

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