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  #1  
Old 11-06-2007, 10:04 PM
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Question citrus flush causes all this hard white chalk in my cooling system?

good evening,

i am replacing my coolant pump that failed in the midst of a citrus flush. most concerning to me is that the pump is covered in white chalky deposits. the monovalve was also clogged with this stuff. just caked on.

its not citric acid powder - it must be a precipitate or byproduct of the citric flush.

anyone experience this? or is this normal and what the flush is cleaning out?

i put in food grade pure citric acid, and followed the same steps as posted here a while back. im perplexed.

many thanks,
dd

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'85 300D, 'Lance',250k, ... winter beater (100k on franken-Frybrid 3 Valve Kit)
'82 300D, 'Tex', 228k body / 170k engine ... summer car
'83 300TD Cali Wagon 210k, wife's car
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2007, 01:15 AM
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This info is kind of disturbing. Not a normal condition I hope.....
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2007, 01:35 AM
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Sounds like you used too much citrus or you didn't get the engine hot enough.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:59 AM
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForcedInduction View Post
Sounds like you used too much citrus or you didn't get the engine hot enough.
Ok so this isn't normal to the people who have done a citrus flush.

I used exactly 2 lbs of food grade citric acid I got from a local homebrewing supplier. I got the car up to its normal 87 C on the highway. After about 20 miles I lost heat (monovalve plugged up with this stuff) and when I started the car the next morning the waterpump was weeping so it needed to be replaced. When i dumped out the acid from the block/radiator it's milky colored with a solid powder suspended in it. When I took out the waterpump it was caked with the stuff, and same with the monovalve.

As I said, I followed all the flush steps as outlined in the archives and done successfully by others.

Im just hoping someone can shed some light on what the hell is going on and how I can fix it. It's getting cold here and I need to get antifreeze in this thing. As said Im still perplexed...
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'85 300D, 'Lance',250k, ... winter beater (100k on franken-Frybrid 3 Valve Kit)
'82 300D, 'Tex', 228k body / 170k engine ... summer car
'83 300TD Cali Wagon 210k, wife's car
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2007, 09:31 AM
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Not sure if this is part of your problem at all, but did you deoil the system before doing the citric acid flush? Manual is very specific in saying that you must deoil before using the citric acid whether there is evidence of oil in the coolant or not.
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2007, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokoloff View Post
Not sure if this is part of your problem at all, but did you deoil the system before doing the citric acid flush? Manual is very specific in saying that you must deoil before using the citric acid whether there is evidence of oil in the coolant or not.
Good point - but Yes. I ran through half a cup of powdered tide (as described here) which I dissolved in water and then dumped in. Maybe I should have used liquid, or more of it.

I am going to do some experiments with the citric powder I have left to see if I can make it turn into the same stuff on a lab bench by adding oil or heating it or something.
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'85 300D, 'Lance',250k, ... winter beater (100k on franken-Frybrid 3 Valve Kit)
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'83 300TD Cali Wagon 210k, wife's car
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2007, 12:51 PM
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Is it possible that food grade citric acid has food in it? Some kind of relatively inert material that carries the citric better or makes it easier to manufacture or distribute?

Ken300D
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2007, 02:15 PM
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There's been past threads on a white residue left all over an engine when a coolant hose breaks. Apparently, there's some dissolved solid in the coolant that causes it. Perhaps your car had a coating of undissolved whatever it is, which the citric acid is breaking loose.

The magnesium dip tube/annode in my house water heater is going through a corrosion breakdown event right now, and we're getting all sorts of white grit (sand-like to fluffy) in the hot water. It sounds similar to what you are describing. I don't recall any of the flush DIY pages I've read ever mentioning leaving the acid in for prolonged periods.. could it be the engine internally corroding from the acid?

Gotta find the time to replace that dip tube one of these weekends.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2007, 02:23 PM
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Last year, when my coolant overflow tank started leaking, I got a sort of white chalky, milky film all over everything, and it wouldn't flush cleanly, unless I scrubbed it. I mean, regular water pressure alone wasn't enough to wash it off.
It dried, and then in order to remove it, I can take a wash cloth and just plain water, and rub it off, and it will come off.
A couple of months ago, when I drained my radiator, ran some water from the outside hose through the upper radiator hose (a lame attempt to flush the system), and some of the coolant dripped on engine parts, it too left this white residue, which, although easily cleaned by the method I described above, still made me question just what I have running through my coolant system. I drained all I could, replaced the coolant recovery tank, then added some Water Wetter and Orange antifreeze, but I am considering to do a Citric acid flush when it comes Spring time.
I did one years ago, to my 1979 240D, purchasing the citric acid crystals from the Mercedes Benz dealer, but with all of the posts about citric acid eating away at the water pump, causing leaks, etc., I'm kind of worried about using it, and perhaps my Orange coolant and Water Wetter is enough.
What do you all think - is the risk of things going wrong worth flushing with the Citric acid crystals? By the way, when I purchased this 1983 300D 7 years ago, I installed a brand new radiator, as it got a little too hot for my liking, and the car had set for ~ 2 years before I purchased it. I have never had a problem overheating, and don't really want to mess up a good thing by doing the Citric acid flush. What do you all think?
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2007, 04:24 PM
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chalk

dd--

i had this exact condition on both of my cars which i was flushing this summer/fall. steps i followed were:

1) drain coolant (mine were both green)
2) wash twice with water
3) flush (with about a ~25 mile drive, at the minimum) with degreaser--i used 16 oz shout
4) wash twice with water
5) load the 1 Kg citric acid, predissolved in hot water, and run for >50 miles (in the case of the wagon, ~60 miles, in the case of the sedan, ~200 miles); the wagon clogged badly with this white chalky stuff, which i thought might be "scale," but i don't know what scale looks like. (on the wagon, the thermostat lower hose sprung a huge leak due to the pressure with the clog.)
6) wash the wagon with ~10 water washes to get chalk out; the sedan was probably washed ~20 times--this is with running the engine between washes
7) fill with 50/50 deionized water and zerex antifreeze

it's been about two-three months since the flushing was complete, and i haven't had any problems since; i was impressed by how shiny the radiator inside was on the wagon, but on the sedan it's visibly corroded--i didn't check either before the flush, unfortunately...

i also had to bypass the servos on both cars; for the wagon, i did this after the zerex fill and so some chalk remained around these hoses, which were badly kinked... i'm planning another flush next spring.

anyway, you're not alone with the chalk...
-noah
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:30 PM
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RFDillon, I hope it was the gold Zerex-G05 you are using, not the Deathcool orange/high mileage type....
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nscarr View Post
dd--

i had this exact condition on both of my cars which i was flushing this summer/fall. steps i followed were:

1) drain coolant (mine were both green)
2) wash twice with water
3) flush (with about a ~25 mile drive, at the minimum) with degreaser--i used 16 oz shout
4) wash twice with water
5) load the 1 Kg citric acid, predissolved in hot water, and run for >50 miles (in the case of the wagon, ~60 miles, in the case of the sedan, ~200 miles); the wagon clogged badly with this white chalky stuff, which i thought might be "scale," but i don't know what scale looks like. (on the wagon, the thermostat lower hose sprung a huge leak due to the pressure with the clog.)
6) wash the wagon with ~10 water washes to get chalk out; the sedan was probably washed ~20 times--this is with running the engine between washes
7) fill with 50/50 deionized water and zerex antifreeze

it's been about two-three months since the flushing was complete, and i haven't had any problems since; i was impressed by how shiny the radiator inside was on the wagon, but on the sedan it's visibly corroded--i didn't check either before the flush, unfortunately...

i also had to bypass the servos on both cars; for the wagon, i did this after the zerex fill and so some chalk remained around these hoses, which were badly kinked... i'm planning another flush next spring.

anyway, you're not alone with the chalk...
-noah
Yes! Im not alone!

Question - what kind of citric acid powder did you use and did you ever verify that it wasn't the problem?

Did you have your t-stat in during these washes, or did you take it out?

Did you get a LOT of this crap? Its good to hear it CAN be washed out, even if it takes 20 washes. I find it hard to believe this was sitting in my cooling system previous to the flush. If it was, holy cow...

dd
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'85 300D, 'Lance',250k, ... winter beater (100k on franken-Frybrid 3 Valve Kit)
'82 300D, 'Tex', 228k body / 170k engine ... summer car
'83 300TD Cali Wagon 210k, wife's car

Last edited by dieseldan44; 11-07-2007 at 05:51 PM.
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:48 AM
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Time to de-chalk this thing

Im going to start de chalking this thing tonight...in the cold NE night. Sweet!

If I take the thermostat out and drive around, would I be able to get it up to 80C like the FSM suggests for when doing a flush? Or would I never climb past 40 or 50?
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'85 300D, 'Lance',250k, ... winter beater (100k on franken-Frybrid 3 Valve Kit)
'82 300D, 'Tex', 228k body / 170k engine ... summer car
'83 300TD Cali Wagon 210k, wife's car
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2007, 11:59 AM
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With stat out you probably won't be able to maintain normal engine temps. Cover the radiator with cardboard but keep an eye on the temp gauge so you don't overheat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldan44 View Post
Im going to start de chalking this thing tonight...in the cold NE night. Sweet!

If I take the thermostat out and drive around, would I be able to get it up to 80C like the FSM suggests for when doing a flush? Or would I never climb past 40 or 50?
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  #15  
Old 11-08-2007, 12:06 PM
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Wink

Folks, another question. I don't really want to mess with removing the engine plug and draining the coolant from there, as I have heard of them popping out unexpectedly afterward and then you have a REAL problem. So, I guess the technique (on the 1983 300D) would be to remove the thermostat, then could I just flush water through the upper radiator hose, open the drain on the radiator, or remove the lower radiator hose, and perform the various flushes and rinses that way? I believe that this engine doesn't have a coolant bleed screw, so just as long as I attempted to fill the upper radiator hose to the best of my ability, and loosened the cap on my coolant recovery tank, would this work?
Thanks again for your help and advice!

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