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How do I get oil out of my diesel engine cooling system?

My head gasket has blown, leading to engine oil in my narrowboat's water cooling system, including skin tank. The gasket has been changed, but what's the best way of flushing out the water system, including skin tank?

Asked by: Andrew Schmidt  | 3.12pm, Wednesday 2 May


WW says:

You might find that a flushing compound (such as Holds Rad Flush or similar) might well emusify the oil and water mixure enough for the tank to be drained out. Ideally you would drain the tank out hot, but this is likely to scald you.
You could try draining and flushing the tanks with a mild detergent in small quantities, and associated hoses (using something like Ecover wool detergent) before flushing with more water, and refilling.
An alternative might be to drain the system, flush as best as you can with lots of water from a hosepipe (and remove the skin tank return pipe to collect the waste to dispose of ashore), then refil with normal 40-60% antifreeze solution; with the expectation that after a shorter-than-normal period of time, you will have to do it again to remove any remaining oil.

Mark Langley  | 6.01PM, Wednesday 2 May

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