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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A little background: 2008 Honda Ridgeline. In late February (Northern VA climate), I decided to flush my coolant. I started by purchasing Blue Devil Radiator FLUSH (I have triple checked this is what I used -- only used about 1/3, the bottle is still in garage). The bottle says for a full clean, put some in and run engine for a few hours. It also warns not to use below freezing. I wasn't sure if we would drop below freezing so I called Blue Devil and asked if I could pour in with coolant. They said yes. Ok, great. I pour in about 6 oz and drive around for a week. Then corona hits and this job completely falls off my radar. Fast forward a couple months... yes months, to end of May.
I notice this on the front of my car:

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Bird sh*t?... no
Was it bird sh*t, I thought. Crazy angle, but whatever. Kept driving until one night in June and my fans are blasting even after I turn off the car. Weird, that's never happened before. I know fans can continue to run, so I don't worry about it.
Finally, father's day weekend. My family gives me some me time. I know! I'm finally going to do my coolant. Great! And then I open the hood.
What. the. hell. happened.

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Spray paint? WTF?!
So I traced the spray to the radiator. It is a powdery white spray on nearly everything.

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It got everywhere
I can wipe it with my finger.

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White powder residue
I open the radiator cap and I don't see any fluid. There's just this white soapy gunk. I spread it on my hand. It is best described as a bar of soap consistency.

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Bar of soap radiator cap
I stuck my camera through the grill to try and find the origin.

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Camera through front of car

So the question is. What happened and what do I do now? Replace the radiator seems obvious, but what about the rest of the cooling system? What caused this reaction? Can I still use Blue Devil or a similar radiator flush to flush the rest of the system if it has this gunk circulating?

Quick note about Blue Devil: I emailed them and they said this was not caused by their product. They said people have left it in for weeks and it's fine. Like I said, this was not a head gasket or sealant mixture, it is a flush. Blue devil said the radiator flush has no ability to coagulate.
 

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Well. That's different!

Of course they'll say it wasn't caused by their product - they don't want to face the liability. :)

With that said, it seems logical to me that the Blue Devil flush reacted with the coolant and formed a corrosive substance that ate through your radiator (and hopefully nothing else) and coagulated.

Their website specially states:

"Do I have to drain the cooling system prior to adding BlueDevil Radiator Flush?
Yes. As the instructions state, you should drain the cooling system and refill it with water before adding BlueDevil.
"

At minimum, you might get by with a new radiator, a proper flush, and refill.

However, you may have clogged small passages that a flush won't dislodge resulting in hot spots leading to engine failure.

At worst, you may need a new engine and heater core.

If you sued them, they'd win because they'd deny that they told you over the phone that it would be okay to add this to your coolant.

By the way, how did you add the product to your cooling system? You shouldn't have been able to pour it directly into the radiator unless it was already low on coolant which is a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well. That's different!

Of course they'll say it wasn't caused by their product - they don't want to face the liability. :)

With that said, it seems logical to me that the Blue Devil flush reacted with the coolant and formed a corrosive substance that ate through your radiator (and hopefully nothing else) and coagulated.

Their website specially states:

"Do I have to drain the cooling system prior to adding BlueDevil Radiator Flush?
Yes. As the instructions state, you should drain the cooling system and refill it with water before adding BlueDevil.
"

At minimum, you might get by with a new radiator, a proper flush, and refill.

However, you may have clogged small passages that a flush won't dislodge resulting in hot spots leading to engine failure.

At worst, you may need a new engine and heater core.

If you sued them, they'd win because they'd deny that they told you over the phone that it would be okay to add this to your coolant.

By the way, how did you add the product to your cooling system? You shouldn't have been able to pour it directly into the radiator unless it was already low on coolant which is a problem.
I used a transfer pump in the top of the radiator to take out a few ounces so this would fit. I realize, this is almost entirely on me for leaving it in so long, but it would be nice if someone at BlueDevil would say, ya that happens if you leave it in for X days/weeks/months. At least own up to the chemistry of the product. Although, I have thought maybe this is not their product reacting solely with my coolant. Perhaps I have fluid mixing elsewhere? Or gases from failed head gasket?

Also, while the instructions say to mix with water, I was reading their "How to Flush a Radiator" page (https://gobdp.com/blog/flush-radiator/) and came across this: So they do advise people they can mix with coolant.

403624
 

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Looks to me that it ate through a older radiator. Pop a new radiator in and do a few flushes with distilled water only over a week or so and keep fingers crossed.
 

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So many deviations from the manufacturer's default recommendations / instructions (mixing, temperature, time in place) :rolleyes:

Add-up all those deviations in one instance and still suggest "The [Blue] Devil made me do it" (or said it's all OK) :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

And then hint at blaming a radiator flush when there's other potential problems with the vehicle (head gasket leak??)o_O

I'm sorry, but IMO it has to be said forthrightly that this is totally on user error / negligence / poor judgment. Maybe 'brutal' but IMO that's the fact of the situation.

Folks, IF you INSIST on using 'DIY patent cures in a bottle' (which I personally never recommend) you had best follow the instructions to the letter. IMO that's the lesson to be learned here. As far as radiators specifically, IME if you follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations for coolant type, distilled water if not using a pre-mix coolant, and its replacement interval you'll never need to use any potentially damaging chemical flush in your vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Add-up all those deviations in one instance and still suggest "The [Blue] Devil made me do it" (or said it's all OK) :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
Ya, they didn't make me... they said it was ok.

And then hint at blaming a radiator flush when there's other potential problems with the vehicle (head gasket leak??)o_O
Not sure if there are other problems, I was merely trying to say I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE WHITE CRAP IS and if it is not their product, then what chemical reaction could be occurring to give that compound.

I'm sorry, but IMO it has to be said forthrightly that this is totally on user error / negligence / poor judgment. Maybe 'brutal' but IMO that's the fact of the situation.
I take responsibility, what I'm here to ask is if anyone has ever seen it and then what a recommended fix would be.

Thanks for being so helpful.
 

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Not sure if there are other problems, I was merely trying to say I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE WHITE CRAP IS and if it is not their product, then what chemical reaction could be occurring to give that compound.

I take responsibility, what I'm here to ask is if anyone has ever seen it and then what a recommended fix would be.
I've been poking around under the hoods of automobiles for over four decades and I've never seen anything like this. I'm intrigued by it, but not enough to attempt to recreate it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've been poking around under the hoods of automobiles for over four decades and I've never seen anything like this. I'm intrigued by it, but not enough to attempt to recreate it. ;)
Ya, I had local mechanic take a look and he said the only time he has ever seen anything similar is when people mix Orange (dex-cool) coolant and green coolant. I promise all I have is Honda coolant straight from dealer. Which leads me to believe Blue Devil just doesn't know this is what happens to their product when left in for an extended period of time.
 

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I take responsibility, what I'm here to ask is if anyone has ever seen it and then what a recommended fix would be.
This is hard to tell as the calcification or whatever those white solids are, could be anywhere in the coolant passages, heater core and thermostat. They could even be coating the water temperature sensors.

  • First, I would drain whatever fluid you have left in the system and if possible, use distilled water to flush the remnants out.
  • Then open the thermostat housing, inspect the thermostat and change it out (along with its gasket).
  • I would also remove the water temperature sensor and check to see if any deposits are found. If noticed, change that as well.
  • Check other small hoses, like the one for the Throttle body, etc, to see if any of the white stuff is still around. Hopefully none
  • Fill it back with Honda Blue coolant and monitor coolant temp everyday for a month.
Def a lesson learned on this one this time. Next time, just a regular system drain /and flush with distilled water, would be more than sufficient.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This is hard to tell as the calcification or whatever those white solids are, could be anywhere in the coolant passages, heater core and thermostat. They could even be coating the water temperature sensors.

  • First, I would drain whatever fluid you have left in the system and if possible, use distilled water to flush the remnants out.
  • Then open the thermostat housing, inspect the thermostat and change it out (along with its gasket).
  • I would also remove the water temperature sensor and check to see if any deposits are found. If noticed, change that as well.
  • Check other small hoses, like the one for the Throttle body, etc, to see if any of the white stuff is still around. Hopefully none
  • Fill it back with Honda Blue coolant and monitor coolant temp everyday for a month.
Def a lesson learned on this one this time. Next time, just a regular system drain /and flush with distilled water, would be more than sufficient.
You don't think there's a hole that would require the radiator to be replaced?

Also, where is the hose for the throttle body? I have done some work on the car but still learning my way around. TIA
 

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You don't think there's a hole that would require the radiator to be replaced?

Also, where is the hose for the throttle body? I have done some work on the car but still learning my way around. TIA
I would absolutely change the radiator and the radiator cap. I would also dump whatever is in the overflow can.

The coolant hose on the throttle body is on the bottom and there are two of them. (Image below is closed 90-deg clockwise and for illustration only).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would absolutely change the radiator and the radiator cap. I would also dump whatever is in the overflow can.
Just checking since the steps you outlined didn't include radiator replacement. I suppose that's a given.
 
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