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Discussion Starter #1
Need some advice from the more mechanically savvy owners on this one - I had a plugged up radiator over a year ago on a hot summer ride and overheated my Trail. Left it cool down and limped it back to the trailer. Only rode it one time last year due to covid, so its been sitting for over a year with only 1 ride since my overheat issue. That last ride, I was closely monitoring the temps, and we rode for a few hours before it got hot again. I ended up doing something I should not have and used some creek water to fill the radiator to get it back to the trailer but I neglected to flush it after that.

Finally got it into the shop at work where I had the bearings/bushings replaced by a co-worker who is a mechanic. I wanted to completely flush the radiator and lines with distilled water and replace it with Engine Ice, but he was unsure how to properly flush the system. I'm fairly certain there are three drain locations, but rather than risk doing it wrong, I thought I'd consult with the experts.

Clearly, the creek water has probably caused some issues in my cooling system, so would it be best to take it to a shop and have the radiator properly flushed, or can this be done by my shade tree mechanic ? I would really like to use the Engine Ice seeing as how I already purchased it. Would it just be easier to replace the antifreeze with clean A/F and make sure I have no air bubbles in the lines ?? Your advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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I would do it myself because it’s going to take some time, and must shops aren’t going to go through the flushing and draining that is going to be required to try to get the crap out. That said I would start by just draining everything and refilling and draining and refilling with hose water until it comes out ”clean”. I then would get a commercially sold antifreeze flush and put it in the whole system and let it percolate and then flush and fill as many times as it took to come out clean again. Then raise the front of the machine 6” to 12” and fill with your choice of antifreeze solution, I just keep filling slowly, starting and let run for a few seconds every once in awhile, then when you think you’ve got it full crack the bleeder screw on top of engine on passenger side and put some more antifreeze solution in radiator until you get a steady stream out the bleeder. Now start engine and let run with the radiator cap off for a minute or until it starts pucking antifreeze, install cap, keep engine running and crack the bleeder every once in awhile. Let engine run while cracking the bleeder a few times until cooling fan cycles a few times, top antifreeze off in radiator and overfill jug. Take it for a rip and shut off for 15 or so minutes,top off antifreeze take for another rip and park elevated, crack bleeder to make sure no air pockets and you should be good to go after topping off antifreeze again. Green antifreeze is a 70%antifreeze to 30% water mixture in these machines from the factory for your info.
 

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Sak kitty's description of taking time to elevate, fill, bleed, cycle and repeat is time consuming yet extremely important. My Trail ran hot on a ride and it ended up being air that had accumulated in the line. When I got it back home I went through the procedure described above, less the clean out flush and have never had another issue with overheating. I do keep a much closer check on the fluid level and keep the coolant temp on the lower screen on my gauge. Just take your time and it will remove any remnants of air in the system when you do fill it back up. I actually used a funnel that fit tight just inside of the radiator fill and taped it down to make a seal. Then with the engine running briefly, I just kept a small amount of antifreeze in the funnel to keep any additional air from entering the system.
 
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BTW, I filled with Arctic Cat Antifreeze.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the detailed instructions !! I am terrible at PM, so I trust my guy to do all the work on my ride. This past year he has done my bushings and bearings, so the ball joints and radiator are next on the list. I got 4 years out of my Cat without doing much of anything to it (just topped 2k miles), so I honestly couldn't ask for any more out of it.
 

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I question the reason it's overheating??
You say rad is plugged, can't imagine the reason the inside would ever get plugged, the outside fins is another matter!!
I thought my rad core was clean till I got right in and looked from the rear, 50% were pretty much plugged.
Try running a garden hose with medium pressure thru it from behind & watch to see how much dust & mud will flush out of it.
 
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