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73 280SE 4.5, 71 300SEL, 03 BMW Z4, 72 Fiat 850, 80 Triumph TR7, 85 Porsche 911
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2,280 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, this is a true story - my dad used to drain his entire cooling system and replace the juice with white vinegar. He'd run the car for 5 mins, drain it, refill with water, run for five again, and replace it all with 50-50 antifreeze and water.

Apparently, this removed any deposits or buildup internal to the engine cooling journals.

Thoughts?
 

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'72 250C, '74 280C, '85 500SEL, '81 300CD.
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1,041 Posts
Yup, it works. Essentially the same thing as a citric acid flush. It's probably a lot more environmentally friendly as well.

Corrosion from water is alkaline, the vinegar is acidic. The deposits are lifted into solution and then drained out. Won't work on really hardcore crud but as a maintenance item it'll work fine.

Standard treatment for evaporative coolers here in the desert Southwest. Once a month or so we pour in a cup or two of vinegar to loosen the built up deposits and allow the water tubes to flow freely.
 

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1959 220S cabriolet, 1983 240D original owner, 1999 E300 turbo diesel, 1988 560SL, 2003 SLK320
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The correct procedure before using an acid like citric acid to descale the cooling system is to use something like Liquid Tide to deoil the system first. Service manual says to deoil the system first even if there is no evidence of oil in the system.
 
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