North American Turbocoupe Organization

Vinegar flush!
Badbean Offline
My radiator is need of a good flushing as it has deposits on the inside channels that restrict it from flowing as well as I think it should. While it doesn't overheat, it does tend to run hot and I'd like to clean out those deposits. I read somewhere you can use white vinegar to do this by emptying the radiaotr, pouring in a gallon of vinegar, then add the remaining with water, run the engine till warm and then let it sit over night. Next day empty and flush it out and refill with coolant/water etc. I can get a gallon or so of vinegar cheap at the dollar store. I am thinking about giving it a shot as I have tried off the shelf flushes and they didn't seem to do so great. This is another item I'd like to get off my "to do list."

Anyone tried this method and if so how did it work?
Lord please help me to become the person my dog thinks I am.

4cammer72 Offline
Posting Freak
i cant say ive ever douche'd my car... let us know how it works out.....
88tc (sold) but keeping an eye out.

Pete D Offline
Never tried it in the radiator but white vinegar can do lots of things. I like vinegar and water to clean glass
Pete Dunham


lonstar7 Offline
Posting Freak
The white vinegar is basically weak acetic acid. It's good for dissolving calcium and calcium salts build up. It can corrode some types of metal, I wouldn't leave it in there too long. I would flush all the antifreeze out with fresh water before putting the vinegar in to avoid some sort of chemical reaction with the antifreeze.

1988 Black/Red TC, 5 Speed, 92,400miles (on 4/14/2012). KYB Shocks And Struts, 140MPH Speedo, CHE Rear Control Arms, Otherwise Stock.

2005 Volkswagon Golf GLS 1.9L TDI Turbo Diesel, 5 Speed Manual, InMotion Stage II Chip Tuning

1998 Dodge Ram 2500 4X4, 5.9L Cummings Turbo Diesel, 5 Speed Manual

1988 Firebird Formula 350, 350ci Tuned Port Injection, 700R4 Auto

copermn Offline
Junior Member
I don't know how I'd feel about vinegar in the engine and all. Sounds kinda dangerous to me. I agree with lonstar7 on this. Heck if possible and you have the money maybe just get a new radiator? An even better one at that.

gtrag94 Offline
AutoZone has one for standard cooling for $85.99 and one for HD cooling for $159.99. Both say one row, but the standard one says plastic tank. I have the cheaper one and have had it for almost a year. It's been totally fine for my stock Tbird. It's also a lifetime warranty. They are the same part numbers for 86's and 88's. Fit like OEM. Made install a 10 min. job.
1986 TC 5-spd (Red/Red cloth)
K&N Cone on VAM; front suspension by KYB, Moog, Energy Suspension.

RDOG Offline
Posting Freak
That sound like some old school backyard myth stuff. save up and do it right. Almost sound like putting pepper in the radiator to clog a a leak. I watched my dad do that when I was a kid. Didnt seal the leak, but it sure smelled like good eatingSmile
1986 Turbo Coupe. Boport StageIII head, Boport 2.1, Performance Techniques 50 trim hybird, StageII.63, stinger 3" exhaust, Phenolic spacer, Boglog header,NPR FMIC intercooler setup, kirban fpr, bigrmotorsports fuel rail, diablo water meth kit, CAI, remote mount TFI, CHE rear adj control arms, MAC girdle, 8.8 rear disc, aluminum drive shaft, H&R lowerings springs Tbird Turbo Specific, y MAS!!

Jeff K Online
If the rad isnt totally bad, there are lots of heavy duty cleaners available specifically designed to help clean out the rad around for a few $$. Many contain muriatic (spelling??) acid, which will work much better than acetic acid (vinigar).
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized

Protouring442 Offline
Radiator corrosion is a hard corrosion that occurs for the same reason the terminals on your battery corrode. The coolant becomes acidic, and the whole system turns into a great big battery. Fortunately, the radiator is the "terminal" that corrodes and not the block.

Nonetheless, I have never found any product that actually removes this corrosion, short of having the radiator "rodded out"; a procedure where they ram metal rods down the tubes.

Shiny Side Up!
Wait, where does this go?

Badbean Offline
Well I put the gallon of vinegar in there with some automatic dish washing detergent (cascade) and the rest with water and ran it till everything opened up was good and circulated. Then I let it sit overnight. Drained it this morning and it looks like it did a pretty good job dissolving those deposits and such. Much much better then it was. After a couple flushes with water and such I put in the coolant and then water and I think I will be good to go. I'll let you guys know if it has improved my engine temp running on the hot side and is running at a cooler temp now. Time will tell!
Lord please help me to become the person my dog thinks I am.

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