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    Thread: Service at Audi... CLR in coolant reservoir?

    1. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 10:09 AM #1
      I purchased a used 2005 A4 back in January and noticed upon driving it off the lot that there was no heat. Audi took it back and said they'd flush the heater core. Picked up the car a few days later... heat was good to go. The car has mostly sat in my garage but is now, a few months later, becoming my daily. I popped the hood the other day and noticed the "coolant" was low... also noticed it was clear rather than pink like G12 should be. Long story short, took the car back in to the dealership today and the tech, who seemed seasoned and nice enough, came out and said "its not G12, its the CLR we used to flush the heater core." He then acted like all that needed to be done to bring the "coolant" up to a normal level was to just add water. Has anyone ever heard of a dealership intentionally running f**king CLR instead of G12. To me it seems like someone missed the step of flushing the CLR after the heater core flush was done and adding G12 back to it. And knowing the corrosive nature CLR, it seems to me like it could do damage running through anything other than the heater core not to mention left in the core for a prolonged period of time... which it was.

      Anybody have any thoughts here?
      Last edited by zhford; 05-15-2019 at 10:16 AM.

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    3. Member BlackMiata's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 10:51 AM #2
      I'm read of folks recommending use of CLR to remove rust and scale buildup in car cooling systems, but given the restrictions by Audi, I am quite surprised the dealer would go that route. As you noted someone didn't finish the job the first time. Since there is a finite amount of CLR in the system, once its consumed converting the rust and scale its not going to do much damage IMHO, however others may have different opinion. My concern would be with the water pump seals.

    4. This is me, 👇. Chillin’ like a bike villain! Metallitubby's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 10:56 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by zhford View Post
      Has anyone ever heard of a dealership intentionally running f**king CLR
      Honda has a service bulletin for flushing cooling systems that specifically calls for CLR to remedy the exact concern you listed.
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

    5. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:00 AM #4
      I can absolutely see running CLR through the heater core to flush it. What I can't wrap my head around is not flushing the CLR after and refilling it with the G12/Water mixture and instead having a customer leave the shop with CLR instead of proper coolant.

    6. This is me, 👇. Chillin’ like a bike villain! Metallitubby's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:06 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by zhford View Post
      I can absolutely see running CLR through the heater core to flush it. What I can't wrap my head around is not flushing the CLR after and refilling it with the G12/Water mixture and instead having a customer leave the shop with CLR instead of proper coolant.
      Like the previous poster stated; That's just poor workmanship.
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

    7. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:13 AM #6
      I'm curious how the service manager will choose to handle the situation because there really is no way of knowing what, if any, damage has been done. For all I know there may not be any issue at all or the CLR could have chewed up anything it came into contact with... Seals, hoses, aluminum piping, water pump, rad, etc... Its one thing for a shop to downplay it on a 14 year old A4, but I have to wonder how would they would be acting had this happened on a $100k+ Audi or Porsche?

    8. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:37 AM #7
      Wait.. a 2005 B6.. at a dealer? You mean 2015?

    9. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:48 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Wait.. a 2005 B6.. at a dealer? You mean 2015?
      Not quite sure what you are saying/asking. I bought the car from the dealership in January as a used car. The car had no heat so the dealer offered to flush the core.

    10. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:50 AM #9
      Damn. Learn something new every day

    11. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:56 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by zhford View Post
      Not quite sure what you are saying/asking. I bought the car from the dealership in January as a used car. The car had no heat so the dealer offered to flush the core.
      Yeah, that is what I'm asking. An Audi dealer sold a 2005 B6 on their used car lot?

    12. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 11:58 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Yeah, that is what I'm asking. An Audi dealer sold a 2005 B6 on their used car lot?
      Correct. It was a one owner, garage kept, trade in with 83k miles in extremely good condition. I couldn't pass it up.

    13. Member 7GIRLS3CUPS's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 12:00 PM #12
      Damn you guys like to overreact. If any of you were or are actual VW/ Audi technicians you'd be familiar with CLR in the coolant to postpone the inevitable heater core replacement. In my own personal B5.5 Passat and C5 Allroad I run CLR every year for about 3 months before pulling the lower radiator hose and refilling with actual coolant. In the shop I run and clients come in with low/ no heat heat I give them the option of CLR treatment before jumping directly into the heater core, 7/10 times it will delay the needed replacement by a few years. Pulling the heater hoses off and using a hose to back flush the core is also a good plan of attack too, plus those are easy to get to (you can loop the inlet and outlet and leave CLR to soak in there too).
      "For the sake of making this easier, let's just agree that I know everything and am correct."

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    14. Member zhford's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 12:07 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by 7GIRLS3CUPS View Post
      Damn you guys like to overreact. If any of you were or are actual VW/ Audi technicians you'd be familiar with CLR in the coolant to postpone the inevitable heater core replacement. In my own personal B5.5 Passat and C5 Allroad I run CLR every year for about 3 months before pulling the lower radiator hose and refilling with actual coolant. In the shop I run and clients come in with low/ no heat heat I give them the option of CLR treatment before jumping directly into the heater core, 7/10 times it will delay the needed replacement by a few years. Pulling the heater hoses off and using a hose to back flush the core is also a good plan of attack too, plus those are easy to get to (you can loop the inlet and outlet and leave CLR to soak in there too).
      Okay, this is is great info. I did a bit of research years ago when I was about to flush the heater core on my B5. I thought the standard practice was to flush the heater core with CLR at the inlet/outlet pipes but not to run it through the rest of the engine. So its standard practice to flush with CLR and leave it in as a substitute for coolant in a customer car?

    15. Member 7GIRLS3CUPS's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 12:10 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by zhford View Post
      So its standard practice to flush with CLR and leave it in as a substitute for coolant in a customer car?
      When you bring a 14 year old car to the dealer, yes. Because f**k it.

      Like I said, I run in my cars for up to 90 days before a drain and fill.
      "For the sake of making this easier, let's just agree that I know everything and am correct."

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    16. Member vwtoys's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 03:55 PM #15
      Is that flush a straight CLR solution or 50/50 mixed with water?

    17. Member turbo_nine's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 04:20 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by zhford View Post
      Not quite sure what you are saying/asking. I bought the car from the dealership in January as a used car. The car had no heat so the dealer offered to flush the core.
      Because it was under warranty still? That'd be one of the cheapest possible solutions, and I am sure they considered the book time for actually replacing the heater core before offering that.
      call it potatography

    18. Member BlackMiata's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 06:53 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by vwtoys View Post
      Is that flush a straight CLR solution or 50/50 mixed with water?
      Curious as well. I get very little heat in the 2001 GTI, quite sure the heater core needs replacing, but last time I was quoted it was over $1100. If CLR can make an improvement I'd give it a try. On the other hand I'm seen some information that the heater core plugging is due to deterioration of plastic in the heater core lines, if so CLR won't do a thing.

    19. Member 7GIRLS3CUPS's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 07:27 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by vwtoys View Post
      Is that flush a straight CLR solution or 50/50 mixed with water?
      I use my Airlift with vacuum hose at the bottom of the reservoir to extract the coolant put a vacuum on the system, then with the refill line in a gallon of CLR release the vacuum until it stops, top up with coolant to specified level and carry on driving as normal. Then 2-3 months later pull the lower radiator hose, make big mess, use Airlift again to vacuum refill with new coolant. I keep both cars on the same schedule with the CLR going in in late September. Each car has had this done for the past 4 years for preventative purposes.
      "For the sake of making this easier, let's just agree that I know everything and am correct."

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    20. Senior Member Jettavr666's Avatar
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      05-16-2019 04:26 PM #19
      My old B5 passat had heater core issues, and back flushing the heater core with hot water and CLR fixed it right up. I ran it through using a drill pump and a silicone heating pad in a bucket to keep it hot. VAG products have little channels in the heater core to slow the flow down and increase heat and they are very susceptible to getting clogged. You can just CLR the whole cooling system, but that usually just clogs the passages even more which is why back flushing is the better option. All you do is disconnect the heater core hoses, and put the CLR mix or whatever you are using in the heater core outlet.

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      05-16-2019 07:03 PM #20
      The heater core alone is supposed to be flushed with CLR then flushed with water and filled with coolant/water and bled. That only works sometimes.

      On B6s the part can be had for less than $100 and labour is not bad, it's worth it to just replace it

    22. Senior Member Jettavr666's Avatar
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      05-16-2019 07:24 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by sp_golf View Post
      The heater core alone is supposed to be flushed with CLR then flushed with water and filled with coolant/water and bled. That only works sometimes.

      On B6s the part can be had for less than $100 and labour is not bad, it's worth it to just replace it
      IIRC the dash has to be removed to change it so yes the labor would not be great.

    23. Member sp_golf's Avatar
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      05-17-2019 09:57 AM #22
      No, the accelerator pedal comes out and it slides out

    24. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      05-17-2019 10:07 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettavr666 View Post
      IIRC the dash has to be removed to change it so yes the labor would not be great.
      Last time I was quoted a repair of this nature it was $40 for the heater core, but total cost of $900 because of the labor cost to take the whole dash apart and put it together again during the replacement.

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