GATES TRAINING: Cooling System Flush: Cleaning Neglected Vehicles FULL Version

GATES TRAINING: Cooling System Flush: Cleaning Neglected Vehicles FULL Version

The cooling system is one of the most
critical elements of engine performance and reliability but is often the most neglected maintenance item for all vehicles on the road today. Owner’s manuals, like this one, recommend flushing the cooling system at least once during the warranty period and regularly afterwards to prevent harmful buildup of
contaminants that can clog radiators and heater cores or damaged water pumps. Despite the recommendation, proper cooling system flushes are not being performed for several reasons: the original equipment warranty period has expired and the end user does not want to pay for the recommended service. Many flushes are performed on the radiator only, but did not include the engine block or heater core leaving most contaminants still in the system. Compounding this problem improper coolant pH levels, the use of tap water rather than distilled water, accidental mixing of different types of coolant, and even a poor understanding of system chemistry by original equipment manufacturers all contribute to unacceptable levels of contamination. The result of this improper maintenance is undetected component wear by the consumer and reduced engine cooling efficiency leading to water pump failure. Here’s a water pump exhibiting the effects of system contamination. Notice the amount of residue around the impeller. Coolant contamination is like sand in the system and will damage water pump seals prematurely voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. This water pump cutaway will show how cooling system neglect can damage the water pump seal. The water pump bearing shaft connects the impeller to the fan clutch through the center of the seal. As you can see the seal is very small but performs a critical task of allowing these parts to spin freely at high rpms, while at the same time keeping coolant from leakingfrom the system. Here is a seal that has been disassembled. To prevent coolant leaks, the back half of the seal must mate perfectly against the front half as it spins. Notice the highly polished surfaces on this new seal. By comparison here is a water pump seal that has been damaged by contaminants in the cooling system. These scratches on the seal face allow coolant to leap past the seal and out of the weep hole potentially damaging the bearings and leading to premature pump failure. Here’s the bottom line: the cooling system needs to be properly maintained with periodic flushing A complete system flush that includes the radiator, heater core, and engine block is critical before changing the water pump. That is especially true if the system has been neglected. Research conducted on water pump warranty returns or water pumps that have been returned to the manufacturer as allegedly defective reveals that less than 8% of shop repair orders include a system flush. That causes failed pumps. Based on this new information the automotive service industry needs to do additional education to understand and communicate the importance of proper cooling system maintenance to both technicians and consumers. Systems that have been neglected for an extended period of time present a special problem for technicians because a routine flush will not remove enough of the contaminants. Additionally many technicians may flush only the radiator using a basic water hose rather than a flush machine or tool. To help technicians thoroughly clean neglected systems, protect water pump warranties, and prevent customer comebacks Gates recommends using a new
PowerClean flush tool with a pulsating feature available as part number 91002 We’ll demonstrate the effectiveness of the new tool on each of the cooling system components in the following video segments Before working on the cooling system make sure the engine is at room temperature. NEVER remove a radiator cap
on a hot engine. Coolant under pressure can geyser from the radiator causing severe burns, so allow the engine to cool first. Also coolants, especially contaminated ones, are poisonous and must be handled according to federal state and local regulations. For that reason we recommend using large tubs to capture any coolant that leaks from the system. Normal flush procedures do not remove
enough contaminants on neglected systems so before demonstrating the power clean
flush tool we’ll flush each component of the system with water from a garden hose since this is the procedure used by a high percentage of technicians We’ll filter the contaminants during each step so you can see how much contamination is removed by the common water hose flush. Then we’ll use the PowerClean flush
tool to demonstrate the amount of contamination and debris that the basic
or routine flush procedure does not remove. First we’ll drain the coolant and
pour it into a clear container to visually check the condition of the
coolant. This vehicle is a 1999 dodge durango with 90,000 miles and has never
had the water pump replaced so we expect to see some contamination. With the coolant drain Kaelyn our tech will open the drain valve and allow water to drain from both ends of the radiator tank. She’ll attach a flexible hose to the lower radiator outlet and place a white sock on the other end. The sock will better show any rust and debris that we flush from the system. Let’s get started
with the garden hose flush Kaelyn will hold the garden hose in the
top of the radiator as we watch for discoloration of the sock. We’ll flush for
two to three minutes but speed up the video so you’ll see the entire process
in just a few seconds. After filtering the water, here is the amount of contamination we flushed out of the radiator. Our process will be the same
with the heater core. In this case we’ve removed the heater control valve and connected the garden hose to the inlet heater hose with a simple adapter. Notice the sock reveals much more contamination in the heater core. The sock will collect the flush water as we again speed up the video. After filtering the water, here is the amount of contamination we flushed out of the heater core. We’re repeating the process with the engine block. Kaelyn has removed the thermostat so there is no restriction and reattached the upper
radiator hose to the thermostat housing. We’ll run the garden hose as before and check the contamination that is flushed from the system through the lower radiator hose. Here’s the contamination left on the paper filter from the engine block after flushing. Now that we flush each component with a standard garden hose we’re ready to connect the PowerClean tool and see the effectiveness of this new procedure for improperly maintained cooling systems. The PowerClean tool uses only water and shop compressed air. It connects to the components with simple hand pressure and adapters. The first step is to attach the
backflow preventer to the hose. This will keep water moving in only one direction. Next connect the water hose and turn on the water supply fully Set your shop air regulator to supply a minimum of 75 psi and a maximum of 200 psi of air pressure and then connect the air hose to the spray nozzle The regulator on the tool is preset at 75 psi which works best with standard water pressure of 60 to 65 psi. Test the pulsation by pointing it in a safe direction away from you and other workers and squeeze the trigger We have a strong pulse. That’s good. We’re ready to connect the tool to the radiator and begin the PowerClean flush. Due to the larger chambers in the radiator,
flooding the radiator first allows for kinetic waves to travel through the water and clear debris more effectively We’ll flood the bottom of the radiator by removing the air connection for a few seconds. With the radiator cap on we’ll reconnect the air and flush from the bottom up first. After a minute or two we’ll finish by flushing the system from the neck down We’ll filter the water as before through
a clean white sock attached to a flexible hose. After flushing for two to three minutes we’ll filter the water through a new paper filter. Our filtered water reveals even more contamination We’ll repeat the process with the heater
core by attaching this whip end with smaller cone to the sprayer and holding
it onto the inlet heater hose. We’ve replaced the sock with a new one on the outlet hose so we’re ready to go. After a few seconds of PowerClean flushing the sock again turns brown indicating that a lot of contamination was trapped in the heater core that the common water hose flush did not remove. Here’s what we captured from filtering the power flush water from the heater core. The process for the engine block is the same. This time we’re connecting the sprayer to the upper radiator hose and collecting the water through the lower radiator hose A new white sock will give us an immediate indication of the amount of contamination left from the earlier garden hose flush. Three minutes later and our sock again shows a lot of contamination and our filtered water has left behind more residue. We need to disconnect the shop area immediately after flushing to keep water from discharging through the backflow preventor. Well we finished our procedure with the PowerClean flush tool and the results are pretty amazing. Here’s what we’ve got. We’ve got the comparisons from the garden hose flush and the PowerClean flush. What we have is the block the
heater core and the radiator Now with the exception of the block the results are dramatic on the other two. Of course with our first initial flush no matter what the procedure the large bulkier flakes are going to be in that flush. But what’s important to remember is this is what’s going to be left over after a normal flush. So as you see inside the block there was still material down inside here it’s very gritty Inside the heater core there was material in here looks like some sort of oxide from copper and that’s very bad for water pump seals. And then over here in the radiator you can feel and see a lot of sand a lot of grit you can see that on the finger. This would definitely shorten the life of any new part you install in this system. These tests prove the common flush procedures are not enough to remove the amount of contaminants present in neglected vehicles With the PowerClean tool technicians now can recommend a more thorough flush procedure to consumers Doing so will increase engine cooling efficiency, protect the life of the water pump, and eliminate unnecessary customer comebacks

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Yes! It certainly sounds like a thorough flush is in order. If you'd like we can tell you where the nearest repair facility is to you that utilizes the PowerClean Flush Tool. Just send us your zip code via email: [email protected]

  2. Thank you for the comment. It’s fine to use hose water for the flush. The distilled water is recommended when adding the 50/50 mix of coolant and water. If there is concern about hose water pooling in the system the tech can turn off the water and blow air through each section to remove more water. We have not seen any correlation between flushing with hose water and continued contamination of the system. Hope that helps!

  3. what is the different between 50/50 no water added coolant and coolant that need to mix with water? my car is 20k miles and my coolant reservoir was kind of low, so i just added some 50/50 no water added coolant to the OEM coolant . the label say it can be mix with any color coolant, i used the peak long life anifreeze and coolant ,is that ok?

  4. Thank you for your comment. As you may know, 50/50 is simply pre-diluted coolant. This makes it easier to fill as it is already mixed with distilled water to the correct proportions. As long as topping off with a non-OE coolant equivalent does not exceed 10-15% of total volume there is a reduced chance of premature contamination leading to water pump failure. It is generally recommended to top off with the OE coolant or equivalent chemistry.

  5. I have a 1998 honda accord that has brown sludge in the Radiator…looks like creamed coffee. The car is not over heating and the AC and Heat work fine…but I know Coolant is not supposed to be brown. So I defenantly want to get my cars cooling system flushed properly. heres my zip code 19140. please point me to a tech that utilizes the Gates flushing system.

  6. Thank you for your interest in Gates! The closest shop using the Gates Powerclean Flush Tool is in Montgomeryville, PA. Here is the information:

    Mall Auto Service
    781 Bethlehem Pike
    Montgomeryville, PA 18956

  7. A second garden hose flush may have produced identical results. How is pulsating water at the first few inches dislodge any more contaminants that are a few feet away in the system. Buy a $3 bottle of Prestone super flush and use your garden hose.

  8. How to treat radiator internal because my car radiator has rust in it and I re-filled coolant water from store twice already but the water color turned to rust color in 3 days. I know that there something wrong inside and some time heater not working properly. Ford made 2000 I believe this car only re-filled just water from previous owner and this car parked for over year without driving. How to treat guide me please.

  9. If your radiator is contaminated with rust we recommend purchasing a new one. Once the new on is installed, flush the entire system using the PowerClean Flush Tool. It sounds like your heater core may be corroded or blocked as well, so have a tech flush the core to see if the issue is resolved. If not, you may need a new one.

    We also recommend determining what the OE spec coolant is and only refill with a 50/50 mix of that and distilled water.

  10. Hi Parish, the nearest one to you would be MB Automotive Incorporated at 1190 South Wolf Rd, Des Plaines. Thank you for your interest!

  11. This video is "misleading" as doing any flush you must drain refill and start engine and bring to operating temp. so that thermostat can open and circulate water through heater core and then you will be cleaning the whole system, do this several times and you will clean the total system. 

  12. You are supposed to start the engine so it will get up in normal operating temperature and the thermostat will open. You didn't do a full flush!!

  13. Looks like yet another quick lube shop gimmick to me. I'm not  impressed with the results. If I'm going to charge a customer I need to see real results. 

  14. Most of the problem with this gimmick is first,not at operating temp,second,sock filter,but we see some kind of diaper material? Third,thought tap water was not sufficient(even under pressure),also have to remember that cooling system contaminants come from cavitation,and that the hoses in the system can become embedded with metals and other sealing materials (head gasket,silicon,etc improperly applied) you'll never get the system clean as long as they are present(replacement)Fourth,flush the system as it should operate,meaning,no pulses or extra undue pressure that wouldn't be as with normal operation. That is unless,you are trying to stress test the system to cause an apparent or future problem.Mechanical systems will fail,lets just do it right to fix them.

  15. Sounds like a infomercial to sell a product. They could have just throw crap in there to make it look like it worked.

  16. this is phony. Notice that the fluid collected was always greenish in color. After that much flushing it would not be green but almost clear. Lots of things can be done while the camera is stopped. Also, the hose are still coated with rust, it's best to close the system, run the engine, get it hoit enough to open the t'stat then drain it again. Then fill with good quality coolent.

  17. Sooo you tell me tap water is bad for a cooling system yet you pour it straight into the engine block/heater core and then don't show how to flush it…

  18. Having worked in a shop for several years, The owner installed a soft water system. The flushes were conducted through the heater core. First we would drain the radiator and add BG flush kit, ran engine with heater on, allowed to cool for about 30-45 minutes, then flush the through heater core hoses. Replaced thermostat and cap. Living in SW US, never had one customer return for overheating. Perhaps cracked radiators, but small pressure test would identify that problem. Always took photos of the crap that came out of the flushes for customers to see. Customers wanted cheaper and chose these "drop and refill" the owner didn't wanted to go that way. Closed business after 35 years in business due to these jiffy lube type businesses. You get what you pay for folks!

  19. I have noticed several comments on here questioning the validity of this video and the use of the tool.  I thought I would offer some commentary on the subject.  This was an actual flush of the vehicle, we could have searched for a more contaminated example but we used a volunteer vehicle from the group.  The sock was used as a filter and we then emptied the contents onto the white cloth and let it dry to see what was available.  The thermostat was removed to allow for a more complete flush.  My rule of service is anytime the cooling system is opened it should receive a new thermostat, it's just good practice.  The recommended use of mineral free water to mix with the glycol is made to prevent future scale and mineral build-up. The flush water is tap water and it was drained before refilling.  I have since used this tool extensively in other applications and have found it works quite well to clean blocked heater cores, radiators, and engine blocks.  It has saved me the trouble of removing  a dash and replacing heater cores.  I have yet to have it cause damage from over pressuring the system.  I think you would have to have a severely damaged component to have this happen.  I have also used the tool to clean sugar contaminated fuel tanks after disposing of the contaminated fuel.  The alternative of simply draining and filling or using a hose is just not good enough to clean the system.  I look forward to making more videos to follow-up to this discussion.  I appreciate everyone watching.

  20. No matter how much you flush the system will never be even close to like new. Even if you use distilled water and flush every 6 months. I don't think it's pumping 75 psi of water either that's just what it takes to run the pulsator .

  21. The most amazing part of this video is that they have a 1999 Durango that's never had the water pump replaced.  I have 70,000 on my '03 and I am on the THIRD water pump.  This is not uncommon from what I've heard.

  22. in my country for most cars water pumps are almost free, they are chines water pumps but its much cheaper that that shit :))

  23. I had my car in a shop for a new thermostat and I also stated I wanted a cooling system flush. When I picked it up, they didn't have it on the work order/receipt and when I asked, they were scratching their head about if they did it or not. One person over the phone (it was past closing time, I should mention) told the lady that he drained and replaced. When I questioned that as being a real "flush" she repeated that he said to her that they weren't "EPA certified". (Huh??) She asked someone else at the shop who walked up and he stated they run water to flush, but it's still more or less questionable whether or not they did it since the man over the phone said he drained and replaced, which is NOT a "flush". At least I didn't pay for what I probably didn't get since they quoted me $45 in person for the flush and it's not on the receipt as being done and it would have been about $50 higher with it vs what the ticket came up to be.

  24. Did anyone notice that the woman in the video was using a garden hose by itself and not using a pistol nozzle the way 99% of people do? The tool itself is also basically just a pistol nozzle.

  25. just wondering why you used a sock on the 'garden hose' flush, and a filter paper for your fancy flush tool? it seem to me that a filter paper would catch lots more dirt, unfair comparison IMO!

  26. #1 did you remove the thermostat to flush block?#2 Every time I do this type of flush, a few months later, I have to change the water pump. (this was on an 81 Toyota p/u)

  27. what if your car has no radiator cap and just a reservoir? start at bottom and then flush the reservoir and that be the way to get to the top of radiator? also where can you get one of these tools at?

  28. I have a 87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. how would I go about flushing that and I also have a minor radiator leak somewhere but im not sure exactly were its coming from.

  29. Water pumps aren't that costly anyways, I have been changing the coolant in my cars myself for years and never had an issue. I only use distilled water and a good quality coolant.

  30. Citric acid flush did a better job on my car. It was recomended by Mercedes Benz. It really cleaned everything. Radiator, heater core and engine block. I couldn't believe all the rust but, it did an amazing job.

  31. Great system, but what if you don't have an air compressor, or can't afford one? Personally, if my system was that contaminated, I'd just install a brand new radiator and water pump, hoses etc., and still use the water hose method untill it was as clean as possible before installing the new components.

  32. God forbid Detroit invent a cooling system that uses a form of synthetic oil instead of water to cool an engine.  Volkswagon=air cooled…  has worked for many years…

  33. this thing has blown out several heater cores at the shop, don't get it… too much pressure for this system that is designed for 15 PSI

  34. Performing this procedure on a truck is easy. I'd like to see you flush a front-wheel drive car, with its overly cramped engine compartment, and no radiator cap – an overflow tank only.

  35. This is a comment from down below:snoopdogie1871- yes the pressure going into the unit is high, but the unit is small. You are then taking that high pressure, with a small size flow, and forcing it into a larger area, thereby decreasing the pressure. Pressure can't even build up inside the heater core since its being use as an open system.

  36. Pulsation works really well for cleaning a lot of stuff..this is common technique in industrial cleaning but recently borrowed by automotive world. It is safer than continuous stream of high pressure water which can damage surface and component…

  37. Its funny how he demonstrates the difference in both flushes… but the second flush still shows lots of green coolant( when it was just flushed thoroughly from tap water) Since he flushed the first time (radiator, heater, and engine) there should be very little visible green coolant left for the second flush… i call BS

  38. I always do a "rolling coolant change" by extracting what's in the expansion tank (around a half gallon) and replacing it with a fresh 50/50 mix once a year. The expansion tank is an active part of the circulated coolant on my 4.6 Ford. Never had rust or a bad heater core and my original 2003 water pump is still kicking. You can cause problems by power flushing. Always use Prestone.

  39. Use a spill proof radiator funnel which is $20 on Amazon – drain the system, plug it back up – fill the system with distilled water then leave some water in the funnel attached to your radiator, turn your vehicle on and wait for the thermostat to open approx. 10-15min, wait for the vehicle to cool down drain and repeat. Once you’re ready for new coolant make sure you leave coolant in the funnel turn vehicle on and wait for system to “burp” itself. After, fill your radiator reservoir and keep an eye on its level whenever the system is cool. Look up “Timmy The Toolman coolant flush” and he goes over all of these steps.

  40. QUESTION; I will do my own flushing at home + change the hoses. I will use flush chemical #1 do I need to remove and change old hoses 1st and do the flushing with new hoses or just keep the old hoses on and do flushing that way. #2 I will use distilled water…how many times do I need to fill up the radiator with distilled water and run the engine ( including heater core) ?

  41. Honda Civic= QUESTION; I will do my own flushing at home + change the hoses. I will use flush chemical #1 do I need to remove and change old hoses 1st and do the flushing with new hoses or just keep the old hoses on and do flushing that way. #2 I will use distilled water…how many times do I need to fill up the radiator with distilled water and run the engine ( including heater core) ?

  42. Do you think it is OK to drain a radiator after the car sitting for 4 months or do I need to start the car up to circulate the coolant in the engine and drain it. After that use flush with distilled water to flush the coolant system……

  43. If you add a flush agent and get the system up to operating temp, then turn the heater on high, while the system runs for about ten minutes, you will effectively clean/flush the entire system. Then you can disconnect the lower hose and get all the crap out of your cooling system. If you remove the thermostat first, that will "open" the system, but it will take much longer for the system to get up to operating temp. Why the three-step process? Seems like make-work!?

  44. Thanks for the great advise. Mediocre Mechanics wont do it. I do it. For classic cars they wont take BS procedures. Diesel Engines have a coolant filter. Gas engines dont and need this. I do it also on all my family and most customers vehicles. Thanks again Gates.

  45. Shameless biased marketing of a "new" tool you need to buy….but actually don't need. It's called not using a trickle of water and using a spray tip and rag and save $100 :-$

  46. Any way to get a similar tool that doesn't cost over $600? Seems about $500 too high. I could build one with ease at the hardware store if I just knew what exactly caused the water to pulse.

  47. I have Gilera runner sp scooter and need a perodic flush for my cooling radiator.after 5000 5844 and cockpit says i need checkup.

    Test on this crap

  49. OMG i relly want to this woman work for my car i will pay Dobbel money …OMG she is soooo hot and sexy HOOOOF like this micanic is the best ever………… i never seen in my live a girl mecanic and i wish to find one like she buotifull to i take my car for her to fix…

  50. Why are you being so critical? Not everyone has mechanical knowledge about the full flushes and expect their mechanics to do right by them! I myself was not aware of the full depth required to properly flush the system as a whole until I started my studies to become a mechanic. Also, nice job on using a garden hose instead of demineralised water that you accuse others of doing 👎🏻

  51. I purchased this tool recently and I am confused on the written instructions which states " install the backnflow preventer to the bib/spigot end of your water supply; not at the gun end of the hose". On this video she attaches the back flow preventer on the gun end. Which instructions are correct?

  52. Who wants to buy a Gates PowerClean Tool? This is an ad and not an instructional video… nutty children, mommy is going to be very upset after she watches this BS.
    Note: You should never use tap water, use distilled water.

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