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Old 06-27-2016, 05:21 PM   #1
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Vinegar Engine Flush

I've heard vinegar is a great alternative to Salt-Away for flushing salt build-up and scale from your engine cooling system. I plan to let my inboards suck in about two gallons of undiluted vinegar and soak over night. Does anyone which type vinegar is best, white, red, apple cider?
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:01 PM   #2
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You cant beat a nice cabernet
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:03 PM   #3
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Vinegar is a very mild acid and won't dissolve much scale. You would be better off doing the same (but not overnight) with Barnacle Buster or Rydlyme diluted 50/50.


But if your engine has a sea water cooled after cooler then first disassemble it, clean both sides (the acid won't touch the air side) reassemble with lots of grease and new o-rings. Then pressure test it. A leaking air cooler will destroy your engine with acid getting into the intake.


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Old 06-27-2016, 06:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, I was wondering how strong the vinegar would perform against hard scale but I'm a bit nervous about the stronger chemicals breaking down non metallic parts i.e. the rubber impeller. I guess a shorter soak would be OK but then it limits the "working" time against the crud.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cooper View Post
Yeah, I was wondering how strong the vinegar would perform against hard scale but I'm a bit nervous about the stronger chemicals breaking down non metallic parts i.e. the rubber impeller. I guess a shorter soak would be OK but then it limits the "working" time against the crud.
Do it before you would be changing the impeller anyway. I replaced mine on my sailboat yearly, but that was probably overkill.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:27 PM   #6
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good point...I have 200 hours on the impellers
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:20 PM   #7
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White vinegar works great on cast iron rust. I cleaned some old MCCK Onan heads that were solid packed with rust. The vinegar over a weeks time ate up 95% of the rust. I did help for me to flush with hose and a screwdriver to scrape the inner surfaces of as much loose rust as possible. Also loosened corroded stuck impellers so they could be removed. That took 3 days.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:08 AM   #8
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White Vinegar has some great uses:
If your engine room smells like diesel leave an open plastic bowl of WV and the smell is gone.
Toilet hoses under floor smelling up the cabin? Open bowl of WV.
Got some black mold in hard to reach places? Open bowl of WV.
I found a five inch sharks tooth off Venice, FL that had a pink growth all over it. To clean it off without damage to the sharks tooth.......WV.
Don't leave home without out it, unless you enjoy a smelly boat. 😜Click image for larger version

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Old 06-28-2016, 11:52 AM   #9
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Pesky weeds between stones, driveway cracks, WV beats roundup hands down
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:11 PM   #10
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you don't say what metals are in your engine or why you want to do anything. Acids are not good for any aluminum parts.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:57 PM   #11
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Or better yet - Remove the HXs and clean by hand and or ultrasonic. Then pressure test. Throw away the transmission HXers if they are more than 10 years old.

Vinegar is for salad and pickles. But then again on your HXers, if you are not a serious cruiser wait until the temperatures start rising before you take action, you may be good for awhile. But do pull the AC now and clean it out right as DM suggests.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:20 PM   #12
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Vinegar does an excellent job of PREVENTING sea water mineral buildup in sanitation systems (flush a cupful down the toilet once a week followed by quart of clean FRESH water in 45-60 minutes to rinse it out)...but that's hardly practical in an engine. Vinegar is NOT a good choice to remove mineral build up in anything because takes forever and has to be replaced every few hours to work at all...it's more trouble than it's worth.

Check out Trac Ecological Products Trac Ecological Marine Products (click on "products" in the menu bar) They have a complete line of excellent products, at least one of which is what you need and safe on metal. All are enviro friendly so can go into the water without harm.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:41 PM   #13
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Drinking a cup of vinegar per week keeps me clean inside. Not so sure about the motor.

White vinegar also works well to wipe galvanizing with prior to painting.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:41 PM   #14
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Barnacle Buster is a god coice. IT works well and has little chance of damaging anything. As Peggie Hall suggests, try Trac Ecological. The products are expensive, but it is the choice of many professionals. Its what I used in my boatyard on a wide variety of engine cooling systems.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:31 PM   #15
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Amazon carries most of their products...check prices there.
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:42 PM   #16
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White vinegar works just fine in my HE - but you have to leave it soaking for a week or so. I've done this every 2 years for the last 12. Last time I removed the end cap for a look and the bundle was spotless. Much cheaper than Barnacle Buster or any other branded solution and you don't need to flush it out. Just open the sea-cock and start the engine!

It doesn't seem to harm the impeller, which lasts a very long time. I changed it 600 hrs ago and the old one looked like new (after 500 hrs) and is now a spare.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:12 PM   #17
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Went on,-line and purchased barnacle buster from Defender @ $76.00, including shipping. At the end of the day, I believe it will work better with less time involvement and will not damage impeller, hoses, etc. Comes at a cost but a 10-15 minute soak and flush vs. 24-48 soak sold me.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:21 PM   #18
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If it's not too late to cancel your order, I just found it on Amazon for $38/gal.

Y'all really need to learn how to shop outside the marine retailer market! Not everything is a bargain, but enough is that it's worth the effort to ferret it out.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:38 PM   #19
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is the $38/gal the concentrate bottle? I saw that price on Defender too but it was already a pre-mixture. The full strength concentrate mixes with 4 gallons of water, making a 5 gallon mixture.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:21 PM   #20
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is the $38/gal the concentrate bottle?.
D'd if I know...I just suggested a POSSIBLE source for it. It's YOUR job to check it out and determine whether it's the right version for your needs! Geeeeze....!!
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