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Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: August 28, 2020 06:05PM

I'm not talking about externally cleaning, but internally. About 6 months ago when I disassembled my engine I filled the cooler with paint thinner and then sealed the two openings. I figured this would be a head start for when I flushed it out with Acetone. I elected to initially use paint thinner as it had a low evaporation rate for a solvent and I wasn't sure when I would get back to it.

While the inside still looked damp most of the thinner had evaporated. Anyway, I have now filled the cooler with acetone, shaken it vigorously (when partially full) held it (full) on the edge of my vibrating tumbler to stimulated debris removal and it still dumps out like rich, black coffee every one of the six times I've done this.

This is a below budget build so I'm not looking to replace it. I'm just looking for a more productive means of cleaning it..., or this is a decent method and to just keep going.

One last option (I did this with my push rods) was to use and electric fuel pump and pump solvent through it. Anyone had success doing that?

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: August 28, 2020 09:11PM

Carb cleaner? And let it sit over night?

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: Brizo ()
Date: August 28, 2020 09:49PM

It sounds like what your doing is working, so just keep it up until the solvent comes out clean. Once you start breaking sludge and debris loose, you cant stop until its all out or it will end up in the bearings later.

Dan Brizendine, Circle City Corvairs
'64 8door Greenbrier 140 PG. "In beautiful Wanamaker Indiana...with one stop light and 5 pizza shops"

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: August 28, 2020 11:51PM

I use a ultrasonic cleaner with industrial simple green, it heats the solution and it works great to clean them internally.







1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: dryenko ()
Date: August 29, 2020 04:18AM

What Dave said.
I had to discard a folded fin one that would never come clean.
I wasn't going to take a chance.
You shouldn't either.
The oil cooler is AFTER the oil filter in the oil delivery circuitry to the bearings.

Bob C aka Dryenko
Dobson, NC 27017

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: August 29, 2020 09:54AM

Well, I have the cooler on the "Heart/Lung" machine this morning. I'm pumping it thru with "Oil Eater." I'm in no rush. BTW, I have a rudimentary filter on the pump intake. Somewhere buried in boxes is my son's larger ultrasonic cleaner, mine is too small. Is there no danger of damaging anything bonding the cooler together (like solder). I learned the hard way with engine bearings and an Ultra Sonic Cleaner.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/29/2020 09:55AM by wittsend.

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: davemotohead ()
Date: August 29, 2020 10:03AM

wittsend Wrote:
I learned the hard way with engine bearings and an Ultra Sonic Cleaner.
-----------------------------------------
HUH? I tried everything and the Ultrasonic cleaner was the Best way to get them clean, I filled them with Carb cleaner, Gas, Acetone, paint thinner ECT until no more crud came out, put them in the ultrasonic cleaner and was amazed how much more crud came out, IMO the Ultrasonic is the best.







1960 4dr sedan caveman car
1961 Rampside (Chetside)
1962 Rampside (Barnside)
1962 Short Rampside (Shortside)
1962 Monza 700 Wagon
1963 Monza 900 coup (General Nader)

-----------------------------------
Rust Free Lancaster Ca

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: BobV66Vair ()
Date: August 29, 2020 11:01AM

Dave, can you share the ultrasonic cleaner you use? Sounds larger than the HF model.

Bob Vinnacombe
Sandy, Oregon
1965 Corsa 140 stock
1966 Monza Soon to be race car
1968 Monza Parts for now

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: gnvair ()
Date: August 29, 2020 11:25AM

Ultrasonic cleaning is what they use for air craft coolers. I used the Ultrasonic Cleaning Corporation to do several Corvair oil coolers. They charged (back in 2016) $4@ for cleaning and an additional $15 for pressure testing; which I HIGHLY recommend since many of these coolers develop pin holes from external corrosion.

Lee J

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: August 29, 2020 11:49AM

davemotohead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> wittsend Wrote:
> I learned the hard way with engine bearings and an Ultra Sonic Cleaner.
> -----------------------------------------
> HUH? I tried everything and the Ultrasonic cleaner was the Best way to get them clean, I filled them with Carb cleaner, Gas, Acetone, paint thinner ECT until no more crud came out, put them in the ultrasonic cleaner and was amazed how much more crud came out, IMO the Ultrasonic is the best.

I had put main bearings in my ultrasonic cleaner (not too long either...), maybe 5 minutes. The end result was that there were a lot of small cavities in the bearings. I reported my results and was told that the soft Babbitt on the bearing does not hold up to the ultra sonic process. Here is the link [corvaircenter.com] . Scroll down to you see the image with Plasti-Gage and the discussion starts there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/29/2020 11:57AM by wittsend.

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: August 29, 2020 12:27PM

After a few flushes with mineral spirits in my parts cleaner, I clean my oil coolers further with multiple soaking/flushing steps using Oil Eater and a 30 liter ultrasonic cleaner. I sometimes vacuum test them but pressure testing is easy enough most times.

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5



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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: vairmech ()
Date: August 29, 2020 05:25PM

I use my parts washer to flush much like the picture above. Only I put the outlet into one side and let it flush through, after an overnight flush I change the direction of flow and let it flow the other way for a while. When I am satisfied I empty the cooler then I use a gas can (yes, with gasoline) and I seal the spout to an opening of the cooler and flush the cooler with gasoline. I empty the cooler and I repeat on the other opening. After I empty the cooler again I then take my air nozzle and blow out the cooler, again both directions. That generally cleanes anything that will come out. I have had coolers that were totally plugged, guess what? I tossed them!

Ken Hand
Handy Car Care
248 613 8586

Vairmech@aol.com

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: August 29, 2020 06:22PM

This cooler flows fine even from the beginning. But after 5 Acetone flushes and 5 full strength Oil Eater flushes it is still coming out dark coffee colored. Right now I'm back to Acetone for an overnight soak.

I wonder how clean some folks actually get the cooler. I'd pump through the Oil Eater maybe 30 minutes, drain, rinse under garden hose pressure,then purge the lines and pump with clean water. Everything would be flowing clean and you would thing it all clean. But, I'd put new Oil Eater in and within a 30 seconds the Oil Eater would be coffee color again.

I'm half incline to wonder if some organic stain fighter would eventually free everything through enzyme action. I just read on a post where some guy recommended Soilove that is available at the 99 Cent store. The wife has a few bottles..., I'm sure she will never miss one. grinning smiley

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: August 29, 2020 06:33PM


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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: Wagon Master ()
Date: September 08, 2020 09:47AM

What does everyone pressure test their cleaned oil coolers to? 60, 80, 100 PSI?

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: September 08, 2020 07:19PM

I can't answer the specific pressure question. However, as of my roughly 20th filling/flushing I have found when filled with solvent, and left in the sun, considerable pressure builds up. The Dollars Store hemorrhoid applicator caps fit perfectly into the openings. (Ahhh..., don't ask, thankfully it isn't chronic)

Anyway, one time the pressure built so much the tight fitting cap popped out and landed a number of feet away. There have been numerous times when the cap is removed the fluid will shoot out as high as 3 feet.

I'm probably two continuous weeks into attempting to clean out the cooler. Initially I was using Acetone. I switched to Soilove (stain remover). Both seemed to turn a dark coffee color in a number of hours but I'd typically leave them in 12 hours on average. At this point I've switch to Toluene and lacquer thinner just to try something different.

For a period of time I tried my ultra sonic cleaner. My son HAD a larger one but (adult) kids being what they are ... . Anyway I created a larger housing for mine on the top and used a plastic bag to to contain the additional fluid. It seemed to clean the external but I'm suspect as to how effective it is internally. I just think the volume and distance are too much.

When I was using the Soilove I created a narrow wand with a small side hole hooked to the garden hose in an attempt to "jet spray" the internals but it seemed to do little good. To that end every flush I've done after soaking comes out clean. But let more solvent/cleaner sit for a few hours and it is dark coffee all over again. So, I'm wondering just how clean many actually get their coolers??? I'm 20+ fillings and it is still dark coffee colored.

Anyway, I'm in this for the long haul. The solvents were free from the cities toxic drop-off Reuse Store. And this is a s-l-o-w build so there is no rush. If you are looking for a fast turn around this is not the path for you.

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: September 09, 2020 05:20AM

I had my 600W ultrasonic unit heated up last weekend (120F bath temp) so I put in a few extra 12 and 8 row coolers to be cleaned. Seems no matter how many times I run them through a soak and shake I still see one or two little bits come out if I flush them again. I've got to the point where the solvent is barely turning brown after a good soak so they are certainly well ahead of where I started. I seem to get more debris loose using Simple Green or Oil Eater but I know those can attack aluminum so they don't get left to soak overnight. For that, I use mineral spirits in the parts washer.

I thought about the spray head on a wand like you show but decided the passages are too congested and that the spray stream only reaches a small part of the internal passages.

After every soak and shake I flush with water which out of my hose is about 70 PSI. I do that back and forth on each port several times.

After that, I blast some compressed air through it with a clean rag on the output to look for solids. I call it clean when I can barely detect any browning in the watery mist coming out.

I have one more cleaning test I'm going to try on two of the coolers that I have deemed already "clean". I'll let you know if anything comes of that.

To the earlier question, I don't pressure test over 60 PSI.

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5






Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2020 05:22AM by azdave.

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: wittsend ()
Date: September 09, 2020 10:39AM

Thanks for the encouragement. The past few refills have been more tinged than solid in color. ... I'm getting there.

It probably doesn't help that this car came from Michigan to California in 1973 and was promptly parked. I received it in 1995 and I initially got the engine started (20 minutes max) to evaluate it. It then sat (again) from 1995 to 2020 when I attempted to clean the cooler. So we are talking 47 years of sitting with a short run through of oil near the mid point.

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: joelsplace ()
Date: September 09, 2020 01:01PM

I'll bet they cool a lot better when they are clean.
Don't give up!

Joel
Northlake, TX
5 Ultravans, 114 Corvairs and counting...

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Re: Clean Out the Oil Cooler (Internal)
Posted by: mood ()
Date: September 11, 2020 04:50PM

I've also been soaking and flushing my folded fin for the past several months. I had some old "Brush cleaner" solvent which was great for dissolving the dirt. That old brush cleaner had methylene chloride (paint stripper) along with the ingredients in currently available brush cleaner solvent (methanol, toluene, acetone, xylene). Apparently it's made less poisonous now and also doesn't work as well. For continuous flushing I used motor flush which didn't dissolve much, then just mineral spirits. The inside looks shiny and clean now, but I can only see a small part. I think I should still go for some ultrasonic cleaning before I use it.

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