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Old 24-12-2016, 10:27   #1
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Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

Is it a good idea to flush a diesel engine (specifically a Perkins 4-108) with distilled vinegar, and then let it stay in the engine and heat exchanger overnight, and then flush it out normally with fresh water?

Purpose of doing this is to clean out any salt deposits in the heat exchanger and elsewhere, left from the raw sea water normally run through the engine.

Good idea... bad idea?
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Old 24-12-2016, 10:35   #2
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

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Originally Posted by BozSail View Post
..................
...............................................

Purpose of doing this is to clean out any salt deposits in the heat exchanger and elsewhere, left from the raw sea water normally run through the engine.

Good idea... bad idea?
Maybe I'm missing something, here, but if you have a HX the raw water (i.e., salt water) does not run through the engine.

At all.
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Old 24-12-2016, 10:38   #3
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

It's probably not necessary for a fresh water cooled engine. Unlike a raw saltwater cooled engine the heat exchanger does not usually get hot enough to cause salt to precipitate. Raw water cooled engines with the proper thermostat shouldn't get hot enough either but hot spots in the cooling channels can be a problem. I clean my heat exchangers every two years and have never had a problem with deposits. I often find tubes clogged by bits of debris, but not anything that would be dissolved by vinegar. I would just open up the heat exchanger and clean the debris out of the tubes. I use a soft brass welding rod.
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Old 24-12-2016, 15:05   #4
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BozSail View Post
Is it a good idea to flush a diesel engine (specifically a Perkins 4-108) with distilled vinegar, and then let it stay in the engine and heat exchanger overnight, and then flush it out normally with fresh water?

Purpose of doing this is to clean out any salt deposits in the heat exchanger and elsewhere, left from the raw sea water normally run through the engine.

Good idea... bad idea?
If you really think you need to clean salt deposits out of your engine cooling passages or heat exchanger, there are commercial products designed to do this. "Salt Away" is one that I used with a raw water cooled trailered boat.

I doubt vinegar is going to do anything. Salt Away is available at marine stores.
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Old 24-12-2016, 18:51   #5
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

A gallon of muriatic acid and 10 minutes is about all you need.
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Old 25-12-2016, 08:26   #6
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

Hi BozSail

I do flush my 2GM20 with vinegar when water flow out of the exhaust becomes less than usual.
Had overheating warning come once before.
The vinegar does help but have to redo every 4-6 month. Will try the muriatic acid next time as suggested by Boadbot.
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Old 25-12-2016, 08:46   #7
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

Careful in newer Yanmars withAluminium coated heat exchangers. Muriatic acid will eat through in minutes as will lots of other stuff. Yanmar in approves Bright Bay Hammerhead Descaler period
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Old 25-12-2016, 08:51   #8
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

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Careful in newer Yanmars withAluminium coated heat exchangers. Muriatic acid will eat through in minutes as will lots of other stuff. Yanmar in approves Bright Bay Hammerhead Descaler period
Thank's for the warning, my 2GM20 is +25 years old.
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:01   #9
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

don't forget to flush the system with baking soda and water to neutralize the muriatic acid.
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:15   #10
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

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Thank's for the warning, my 2GM20 is +25 years old.
There's nothing aluminum in the 2GM cooling system so you can flush with pretty much anything. When flushing with stronger products, the key thing is to do it quickly and not leave the product during in there for long periods.
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:44   #11
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

As Ron Widman says - use Salt Away - we use it with great results and it has resurrected outboard engines as well. Well worth the money.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BozSail View Post
Is it a good idea to flush a diesel engine (specifically a Perkins 4-108) with distilled vinegar, and then let it stay in the engine and heat exchanger overnight, and then flush it out normally with fresh water?

Purpose of doing this is to clean out any salt deposits in the heat exchanger and elsewhere, left from the raw sea water normally run through the engine.

Good idea... bad idea?
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:47   #12
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

Haven't tried it yet, but a biodegradable product called Rydlyme came highly recommended to me. Claims will not harm metals. Not sure about the easiest way to get it into our marine h/e's, or whether removal may be required. Probably not a bad thing to put on the maint. list every 500-1000 hrs. but not sure it's all that necessary.

http://www.apexengineeringproducts.com
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Old 25-12-2016, 10:21   #13
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

The problem with Rydlyme and all the other environmentally friendly flushing products is that you generally have to find a way to circulate them while warming the fluid. Not easy...
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Old 25-12-2016, 10:44   #14
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

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The problem with Rydlyme and all the other environmentally friendly flushing products is that you generally have to find a way to circulate them while warming the fluid. Not easy...
Just took a quick look at their website and yes, that's what they specify. While attending a marine diesel class, we were presented with a cup full of Rydlyme with a shell at the bottom slowly being eaten away . . . . Maybe just marketing? I was hoping it would be effective to just draw it into my r/w system from the intake, let it sit for 24 hrs., and then flush it out. But maybe not.

A better bet may be the careful insertion of a .22 cal. brass brush attached to a long brass or plastic rifle cleaning rod.
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Old 25-12-2016, 10:45   #15
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Re: Flushing Diesel with Distilled Vinegar?

As someone already commented if you have a heat exchanger your engine is not passing any saltwater except for the water pump connected to it.

40 years ago when I was an auto mechanic the common wisdom was anything strong enough to clean chemical deposits out of the cooling passages of an engine would destroy all your engine gaskets. Vinegar is pretty weak.

We just bead blasted alloy heads because the corrosive that they used on the cast iron blocks allegedly would start dissolving the heads.

Assuming the vinegar does work you also run the risk of anything that becomes loose getting stuck somewhere else.

I did find an article on using Phosphoric acid (H3PO4) on a heat exchanger in the WoodenBoat Forum but use at your own risk:
heat exchanger cleaning
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