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Author Topic: Radiator cleaning: using citric acid, etc.  (Read 24977 times)
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IanR
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« on: August 27, 2011, 05:11:49 AM »

Guys

A bit more detail on where I am at with my Cletrac.

I have had the steering bands relined, the injection pump and injectors checked (this was interesting as they don't see old stuff like this much these days), replaced the primary cloth bag fuel filter with a modern cartridge filter, and replaced the bellows type air pre-cleaner with a modern cyclone pre-cleaner.  I have a Britstand blade and also a 3 yard Britstand scoop.  The leather buckets in the blade rams were shot so I had new ones machined on a CNC lathe using some sort of modern synthetic material.  I also had to replace the hydraulic hoses to the left hand blade ram as one of the was perished to the extent it burst and sprayed me and the tractor with oil.  Fortunately the oil wasn't yet hot enough to burn me.

My issues are primarily engine overheating, a leaking radiator and the general state of the track rollers and sprockets.

I particularly remember my old man having trouble starting the Cletrac and we don't live in a particulalry cold climate area.  In fact we could be considered as sub-tropical with only a few frosts each winter.  I remember seeing the big plug on the inlet manifiold removed and a rag on a wire dipped in diesel and lit to hold against the plug hole while it cranked.    Anyhow I don't have trouble starting now although I do usually use a squirt of aerostart aerosol.  While this sounds great I wonder if in fact my timing is a bit out such that while it starts easily and runs smoothly it could be lacking power and overheating.  However there is no significant black smoke from the exhaust.

My first strategy is to address the state of the cooling system starting with the fan belt tension and then flushing the radiator and block.  I've already tried the usual commercial radiator flush chemical but I'm not sure I've achieved enought yet.  I'm thinking of being a bit more aggressive and using caustic soda followed by hydrochloric acid (with inhibitor added so only the rust and not the iron gets eaten).  Any comments on this?

If I have to I will take the top tank off and run each core with a soft wire followed by a reverse flush.

Enough for the moment with more to follow later on the tracks.  Comments and suggestions most welcome.

IanR
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 05:46:38 PM »

hey mate welcome! did you happen to get the engines off a fella in gin gin qld? i was going to buy his stuff if he didnt find a buyer.. couldnt live to see it going to the scrap metal place! im from Bundaberg myself Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 08:30:52 PM »

 Hi Joshua , My mate up here ended up buying the engines ETC  from the guy in bundy .

Ian , The guys on the cat forum swear by citric acid ,for desolving rust . One of my forum friends  had the steering clutches on an RD6 rusted and stuck badly .He used citric acid  which eats away the rust ,but not the steel . Steering clutch now works fine . I will get some more info from him .
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 09:53:57 PM »

Ianoz

Thanks again for your tip on citric acid.  I was nervous about using hydrochloric undiluted.

Quite a few years ago I bought a set of tracks from Don Lederhose at Inverell but I recall him being sick at the time and also saying he had sent a lot of cletrac stuff to Simsmetal for scrap.  I remember him also saying he had bought Cletrac stuff from someone in Bundaberg.  My spare dozers and engines cam from Chinchilla/Miles area.

I hate the thought of what could be good stuff going for scrap.  I've even contemplated advertising for Cletrac bits on the basis I would take it for nothing or at worst scrap steel price.

IanR
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 12:25:11 AM »

I will ask about the amount to use . I do rememver him saying that it does not work as well in cold weather .He also said it needed to be circluating .He had a small pump .. Mike is a member here so , i will see if i can get him to post  about the method he uses .
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IanR
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 09:02:31 PM »

Ianoz

I'm kicking myself again for not remembering that everything known to man is on the Internet.  I looked up citric acid radiator flushing and was overwhelmed with the number of good hits.  In particular there were a lot related to Mercedes Benz engines and several mentions of Benz selling Citric Acid for this purpose.  I even have a part number!

It looks like a 10% solution although I've also seen on US sites 2 pounds in 2 gallons or 3-5 pounds in 10-15 gallons.  One site said to use the solution as coolant for a week while others talk about flushing after getting the engine hot.

The issue with both strong alkaline and acid radiator cleaners can be its detrimental effect on aluminium.  However citric acid at the recommended concentration does not affect aluminium, steel (other than rust) or copper. In any case there is no aluminium inmy cooling system as the top pipe from the engine to the radiator is now fabricated steel.  I think it was originally aluminium and I'm also thinking that the thermostat disappeared when the aluminium one was removed.

Where do you get citric acid?  - it is a well known food aditive and apparently you can get it in Woolworths and Coles but it won't be economical for the quantity required.  It is also sold by home brew shops but at $3 per 100 grams!  Butchery supply places in Brisbane do not sell it (Lesnies and Vadals).

Will keep looking and then report after I've used it.

IanR

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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 05:08:27 AM »

Hi Ian , I will ask Mike where he buys his .I am sure the quanitys he uses he must have found a bulk supplier at a reasonable price .Ian .
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 06:40:23 PM »

Hi Ian , I was expecting the penny to have dropped and a reply here waiting for me . He said he googled citric acid suppliers . and got a 25 kilo bag for 180 bucks .On ebay there are a lot of different suppliers .Quick look said 4.8kilos for about 30 bucks ,buy now price with 20 bucks delivery .. For future reference for cleaning up parts.Mike said he puts hot /warm water in 2 gallon bucket adds citric acid to the water . he works on a cup full to 50 litres  if bigger container  a kilo of acid to 400 litres of water .He uses a fish tank pump to curculate the solution . Said presssurewash parts first , then remove and pressure wash  every couple of days . Don't leave machined surfaces in for weeks at a time a machined parts will etch if left in too long . Their other tip was wash parts at the end and spray with phosphoric acid  to prevent surface rust forming . How that helps .Big thanks to the ACME forum brains trust .
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Blake Malkamaki
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 10:19:20 PM »

You guys might want to start a new thread on cleaning parts with citric acid rather than posting in the introduction section. I might suggest that you may want to try electrolysis to remove rust rather than just the acid. I've not tried it myself, but I've been told it works great.

Blake
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 05:13:26 AM »

Blake

I was thinking the same thing but can't see immediately how to create a new thread.  I was wondering if I should/could start a thread on my whole restoration project - it would be initially about my overheating issue then move on to undercarriage etc.  Or should I do as you seem to be suggesting and start a new thread for each topic, the first being citric acid cleaning?

I will search your site a bit more to learn how to post photos and videos as well as I am an avid photograper and carry a small digital camera on my belt while on the farm.  I'll also try not to ask questions that have already been asked and answered satisfactorly.

IanR
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 07:55:27 AM »

Hi Ian , Chose the forum you want to start the thread in . For Citric Acid , Myself i would probably use  for all cletrac model one .On the top of the coleum there is a row of info boxes .Click on new topic .Give it a title ,then do you post .click on to post it and your in business  Smiley.When you do a post ,at  the bottom of the page is a Manage Attachments box  Or Additional Options ,Click on it . Follow though the promps . My photos are stored in "My Pictures " in my computer ,  Go to your photos,Click on  the one you want  click on open ,which takes you back with the code of the photo to manage attachments . I think it attaches Automaticly  click on Attach more ,and keep adding photos . I think there is a limit of three or four photos . but it tells you when the limit is reached .Click on post and its done . >If you smart enugh to be able to use Photobucket or imageshack , post them though there ..Ian
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Blake Malkamaki
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2011, 11:37:37 PM »

I did it for you Ian.

Blake

Blake

I was thinking the same thing but can't see immediately how to create a new thread.  I was wondering if I should/could start a thread on my whole restoration project - it would be initially about my overheating issue then move on to undercarriage etc.  Or should I do as you seem to be suggesting and start a new thread for each topic, the first being citric acid cleaning?

I will search your site a bit more to learn how to post photos and videos as well as I am an avid photograper and carry a small digital camera on my belt while on the farm.  I'll also try not to ask questions that have already been asked and answered satisfactorly.

IanR
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 07:04:18 AM by Blake Malkamaki » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 06:30:36 AM »

Blake,

Thanks for doing this for me.

In preparation for acid flushing as well as further trouble shooting my overheating problem I've done some plumbing as follows:

Installed a 2 inch gate valve in the top radiator hose, a tap at the firewall end of the water return manifold (because I didn't have room at the radiator end next to the gate valve), and a tee with ball valve and cam lock fitting in the bottom radiator hose.

By turning the top gate valve off and connecting a water pipe from a pressure pump off the shed tank I can backflush the radiator as well as rapidly drain the block and radiator.  Doing the back flush showed a good flow of water and only a little gunk which leads me to conclude that the radiator is not as clogged as I thought.  Midn you I've already used 3 lots of commercial radiator cleaner in the last 2 days.  Draining the radiator and block was also rapid which further confirms my conclusion about the radiator not being or no longer as clogged as first thought.

My next test was to open the tap on the water return manifold while keeping the gate valve closed and pumping water in via the bottom tap.  This also produced a good flow which suggests the block is not badly clogged either.  I then turned the water supply off, kept the top gate valve closed and the manifold tap open and started the engine expecting to see a significantly stronger flow that demonstrates the water pump is working.  I did NOT see this and am now wondering whether I have a water pump problem.

The water pump seems ok in that the shaft turns and it doesn't leak.  However I now wonder if the impeller is turning.  This observation also remined me that when I look into the top of the radiator when I first start the engine I don't see water agitation or movement that I expect.  Initially I thought that this was because the thermostat was still closed but I have now discounted this as I believe the thermostat was removed when the fabricated steel water return manifold was installed in lieu of the original aluminium one.

I have a spare water pump and I'm contemplating installing it.  Any comments on my trouble shooting approach or conclusions most welcome.

I've ordered 5 kg of citric acid but won't now be able to do this for about 4 weeks as I'm off farm either in Brisbane or on a 10 day driving holiday in Victoria.

Ian
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 06:40:25 AM »

Blake

I tried to put some photos of my plumbing up but I get a message that says the upload folder is full.  Am I doing something wrong?  I tried a single photos aboy 44Kb in size.

Ian
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 07:07:31 AM »

No, it's not you Ian. I need to make some changes to the settings and clean out some of the pictures. Won't have time today though.

Blake

Blake

I tried to put some photos of my plumbing up but I get a message that says the upload folder is full.  Am I doing something wrong?  I tried a single photos aboy 44Kb in size.

Ian
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