Rust in coolant

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On a routine coolant change, I noticed that the radiator is spewing out a lot of rust. I filled and drained the coolant a couple of times, but there still seems to be a lot of it.
The rust wasn't there during the last coolant change. What could have caused it? Is it a bad sign?
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did you use OEM coolant? Premix? or tap water?
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Now you know where your 10 mm combination wrench went missing :-)
Cheap coolant diluted with tap water sounds like the cause.
'Curly'
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What kind of car are you talking about. A 67 Bug doesn't use coolant...
Earle

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Very sharp, Earle :) But I was asking about a 94 Civic 1.5 liter.
Curly, yes indeed, it was filled with cheap "Whiz" coolant (and distilled water). But I was nervous because I read a post that said that rust is a classic sign of past overheating. AFAIK this car has never overheated on me, the temp needle never event went up halfway. So it's definitely the Whiz, and not overheating?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

--------------------------------------- In some countries, it's considered impolite to even mention that you put Whiz in your cooling system . :-(
I'm repulsed ! !
'Curly'
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

If it is in fact rust you see and not simply discoloration, you have a giant problem with your engine. However...
If you switch colors of antifreeze and do not make certain every trace of the old stuff is flushed out, the new stuff will be contaminated and may look a rusty brown.
Did you remove the block drain and flush the entire system until the water ran clear before refilling?
Is the rusty fluid clear or cloudy?
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I don't know where you read this, but there isn't that much iron in a Civic engine, not where the coolant can get to it. Maybe the cylinder walls, but if they are rusted up you have serious problems.
I would flush the system. Use the owner's manual instructions, if you still have it. Fill it with Honda Genuine Coolant. It only takes a gallon of pre-mix, and there are too many different types of coolant out there, to take chances.
Earle

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Are new sleeves readily available?
JT
Earle Horton wrote:

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No, and they're not water jacket sleeves either. That's why the "rust in the radiator from overheating" story doesn't make sense.
Earle

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I don't think it's rust. I think it's discolored coolant.
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calls for it, and you won't be sorry. It used to be you could leave the coolant in there for the life of the car, but those days are long gone. More and more non-ferrous metals are being used every year, and the coolant formulation changes all the time to make the tree-huggers happy. Some of them, according to a chemist I know, are downright incompatible.
Earle
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Ab-so-lootely! OEM all the way, baby. I like OEM (can you tell?).

Earle, you never could do that. In fact, newer antifreeze formulations offer longer life than ever before.
The change interval used to be two years. Now you can go as long as five years (under the right conditions!).
The myth of permanent antifreeze was the source of many a corroded block in the old days.
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...

tell? One thing I am sure of, is that aluminum cannot take the sort of abuse that cast iron and brass can.
Earle
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Ethylene glycol (and even the ancient propylene and alcohol mixes) turned corrosive in and of themselves far faster then than now, tap water or distilled.
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wrecker. I have the original coolant in my eleven year old Jeep, which I drive every day. One of these days I will get around to changing it. The heater core is the first to go, if you wait too long. The Civic gets better treatment, because the engine block is aluminum and the cooling system takes less than a gallon to refill. I changed it after seven years. Funny thing, the original coolant was green, and the new stuff is blue.
If I believed what people in newsgroups tell me, I would be changing the oil at 3,000 miles without fail and the coolant every two years. There are more fun things to do.
Earle
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TeG, I'd like to think it's discolored coolant too, but would discolored coolant leave a deposit when it dries? I took a "sample" and looked at it carefully. There seems to be an orange-brownish powder, which leads me to believe that whatever it is, it's not simply coolant.
I also tested the radiator, block etc with a magnet, and you're right, none of them were magnetic.
I flushed the coolant four times, as thoroughly as I can, but when I refilled for the fifth time, there was *still* some "rusty" powder that's visible in the radiator. For flushing, should I use a "coolant flush" product, instead of plain water?
Also, the coolant seems to be leaking out somehow; I have to refill the reservoir every 50 miles or so, which didn't happen before this "rust" problem. But there's no leak as far as I can see. Will check more thoroughly and post back..
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

use the magnet on the powder to see if the particles are magnetic. if they are, it's definitely rust and you need to consider what could be the cause. if it's a static source like a freeze plug, it's unusual to have particles float about the system. the only non-static thing i can think of is the coolant pump impeller or the pump bearing, in which case you need to deal with it asap before it jams and breaks your timing belt.

possibly, but generally they're caustic soda - not good news for aluminum blocks. if you use one, make sure it's the type that comes with a follow-up neutralizer, and follow instructions.

a bad pump bearing could be leaking coolant as well as introducing rust. suggest further investigation asap.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

In addition to what jim beam says, there is also the possibility it's old silica. Silica from cheap silicated coolant can precipitate out, especially if it's very old, or has been used at a too-high concentration.
This would explain your inability to flush it out. It's probably sifted down to the bottom of the water jacket and has piled up there, as well asd in the bottom of the rad.
The best way to flush the block is to remove the block drain and close the rad drain. Now stick a garden hose in the rad filler neck, and feed a high volume of water through it until the water runs clear out the block drain. You can do the same thing with the rad, but you'll need to disconnect the lower rad hose so the water can exit quickly.
There is an additional, more ominous possibility: it's old Bars Leak. A previous owner may have had a leak somewhere, and filled the system up with Bars Leak in the hopes of stopping it up long enough to unload the car onto somebody else. Used cars are a minefield.
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Well, I tried using the magnet on the particles (very good idea BTW), and the good news is: It's not rust. So it's probably old coolant (silicates?), and it's coating the inside of the rad, the hoses etc.
I tried TeG's "flush" procedure, and finally the next refill was all clear. But I know that there's still a lot of the stuff on the inside surfaces; any way I can clean that up?
Thanks!
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