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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short, that infamous SMOD happened to my 06 RTL (more than 250k miles).

Have flushed the transmission and it seems driving fine (although I only moved the truck out of and into the garage, no long distance or heavy-duty driving); radiator has been replaced. I thought the residual in my engine block and else where should be little enough so that I could run the engine then drain it out but I was dead WRONG! After filled the cooling system with distilled water and ran engine to the operating temperature, my new radiator was filled with PINK SLUDGE and won't come out from the drain plug. Have tried a jar of radiator flush but did literally nothing to dissolve it.

Here are some pictures:

This is what I saw when I took out the thermostat (broke due to immersion in oil).
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Tread


This what I suck out of the engine (from the large radiator hoses) and the stuff floating on top of water is the "sludge" I'm talking about:
Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive lighting


This is what's left after getting rid of the water:
Orange Ingredient Helmet Automotive lighting Cuisine


This is what I see now through the radiator cap. This also appears in the overflow tank, although there's only a little. It's a freaking nightmare to clean this! You can't just pour it out completely as it's floating over the water so water always come out first (especially if you pour slowly)!

Anybody has any ideas how to dissovle this nightmare into water and flush it out? Should I try some dish soap/baking soda or some other magical products?

Greatly appreciate any help on this!
 

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Premium Member
2021 RTL-E
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401 Posts
Welcome to the club @My06RGL!

I’m sure someone will answer your call for help soon, I just wish you had found this site 150,000-miles ago and replaced that radiator at 100k.

How about your timing belt —does it have 250,000-miles on it too? If so, and if you can get the SMOD cleaned-out, and you’re going to keep this truck (for more than another 30-days), you might want to consider replacing it next. (And by next, I mean by this weekend.) There’s plenty of Timing Belt post here as well — some of them are horror stories too.

I’m sorry for what you’re going through, good luck, and please keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to the club @My06RGL!

I’m sure someone will answer your call for help soon, I just wish you had found this site 150,000-miles ago and replaced that radiator at 100k.

How about your timing belt —does it have 250,000-miles on it too? If so, and if you can get the SMOD cleaned-out, and you’re going to keep this truck (for more than another 30-days), you might want to consider replacing it next. (And by next, I mean by this weekend.) There’s plenty of Timing Belt post here as well — some of them are horror stories too.

I’m sorry for what you’re going through, good luck, and please keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers
The problem is I'm not the OG owner and I bought this truck two years ago at about 250k. I have other cars so didn't drive this much. I probably have put 7~8k miles on it.
I don't know whether the previous owners have changed the timing belt or not. I've opened the timing belt cover and inspected the belt for the front bank and it didn't like gonna fall apart very soon so I didn't have motivation to replace it.

Here's a close-up picture I took:
Light Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Gas Coil

It does have some small cracks on it but overall looks ok. I would be suprised if it's still the OG belt.
Now I finally have some motivation to change it since I probably have to change my water pump (concerning about the rubber seal of it) after cleaning out all the goo inside my cooling system. This would be a good opportunity to change the timing belts altogether.

I'll keep posting because I've been struggling finding any useful posts about flushing cooling system after SMOD. I would like to share my experience and hopefully can help anybody who has this unfortunate issue in the future!
 

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2017 Ridgeline RTS
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212 Posts
I've seen other car repair sites that use Simple Green to flush their radiators/coolant systems. Even their website says it's okay. Not advocating it, but could be an option. Good luck!

 

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You might want to lurk over in the Nissan truck website. The earlier trucks have experienced the same SMOD issues and I remember reading a number of threads about it. Fortunately/unfortunately, I had a 2019 Frontier and it was no longer a problem for that MY. The RL's are so much nicer riding and steering than the Frontier. However, the Frontier being a true 4x4 with a body on frame design was pretty ruggedly built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've seen other car repair sites that use Simple Green to flush their radiators/coolant systems. Even their website says it's okay. Not advocating it, but could be an option. Good luck!

You are the champ!

Tried this and it worked perfectly.

Here are some pictures of the result:

Before the 1st flush with Simple Green:
Automotive tire Blue Motor vehicle Bicycle part Gas


1st flush:
Camera lens Glove Reflex camera Digital camera Lens

The difference is so obvious!

2nd flush:
Automotive tire Camera lens Camera accessory Digital camera Lens


3rd time:
Camera lens Camera accessory Digital camera Automotive tire Reflex camera


You can tell the obvious difference by each time.

And I also took off the upper radiator hose and looked inside. There's no more pink goo sticking on the surface. It now looks like a new hose!
I'll probably use this stuff to clean the whole engine bay and I'm sure it will work perfectly.

Note: I diluted it to 1:3 ratio following the instruction.
 
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