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Corrosion or just bio growth?

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sporktar

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
a month or so ago i noticed some greenish buildup in my reservoir. I flushed my loop 2 or 3 times, and added more biocide assuming it was organic growth but i didn't have time to do a full breakdown and cleaning until now.

I pulled apart my waterblocks and did a toothbrush scrub with white vinegar. The contaminant seems to be more of a teal than a green, and none of my components felt slimy leading me to believe that my issue may be corrosion related. I have no mixed metals in my loop that i know of (see buildlog in signature for full parts list). The only explanation I can think of is left over gunk from my res (i didn't flush it when i got it, yes i know that's a gigantic no-no but it slipped my mind).


I know there was some material left in the radiator as i found a sliver of metal caught in my cpu heatsink.
2016-04-03_061606.jpg

2016-04-03_061619.jpg

2016-04-03_175557.jpg

I think one of those metal shavings also took a chunk out of my pump :c
2016-04-03_182642.jpg
GPU waterblock before vinegar cleaning
2016-04-03_172722.jpg
GPU waterblock after cleaning. This is what concerns me. I cannot get all of the discoloration off of the block, and it apears to eaten away at some small parts of the block. Mostly in the crevices. (sorry for photo quality, my phone doesn't seem to like macro shots)
2016-04-03_174437.jpg

Do you guys think this is bio growth, or corrosion? If it's corrosion, what's it from? I'm currently pumping my radiator with a 80/20 mix of white vinegar and water to kill off any bio growth, and attempt to flush out any remaining particles i can't reach.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Wasn't able to find what blocks you are using... I must have missed it in your log.
Is that GPU block an EK nickle plated one?
 
OP
sporktar

sporktar

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Wasn't able to find what blocks you are using... I must have missed it in your log.
Is that GPU block an EK nickle plated one?
yes it is.

Coolant used: Distilled water with PT nuke biocide. It's possible i didn't add enough in initially, i may have misjudged the capacity of my loop. it's at least a quarter gallon of coolant with that radiator.

Quick update, definitely should have flushed my radiator before my build. Already found 5 or so metal shavings sitting at the bottom of my res after about 2 hours of running just the radiator and pump/res. Lesson learned...
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Should be using Nuke PHN these days. It's the newer, better version.
You use four drops per liter of water for Nuke PHN, so you'll need four or five drops.

Go do the radiator dance. Now.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
The nickle might have begun flaking off the GPU block too.
I know there are a few thread on the web about EK's nickle plating and corrosion.

+1 to the rad dance. Shake it!!
 

t1nm4n

Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2005
Location
Texas
some of that looks like growth and some of it looks like corrosion. They both probably came from not doing the rad dance right, this I know cause I just found the same thing in my loop when I did a complete tear-down. I have EK bocks all around my system, none of them looked bad when I opened them up, other than the nickel wasn't the best on the fins of the cpu block, but since it's copper and the rest of the system is either copper brass or nickel, I figured it ok.

This time I shook them 480 UT60 Alphacool rads till my arms hurt, just hot soapy water for me, not a fan of putting acid in radiators. I would really inspect your tubing though. I found residue on the inside of my hardline, which was a pain to get clean, but easier than bending new stuff. With distilled being so cheap, get a lot of it and run soapy water in your loop, be careful, it does add considerable pressure and can foam out the fill line if your not watching. This will make sure that it reaches everywhere you've touched and handled will get clean again, then rinse several times with all that distilled water, and if a lil anti-bacterial soap residue is left over, doubt it will hurt anything, if nothing else it will act as a water lubricant to let water flow easier.

I would suggest Dawn dish soap, it seemed to be the best stuff to use to clean grease and gunk from my RC cars when I was into that years ago, nothing else seemed to get everything as clean and oil free.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
Yup, should always clean out the new gear prior to installations or you'll looking at complications down the road. It took me almost 15 good shakes till my arms almost fell off on each of 3 rads to make sure it was pouring out pristine clean. Regardless, as you said OP, lesson learned.

The GPU blocks, can't tell but its possible, the debris left in the loop was racing around and scratching those edges of the block as you also stated that the pump looked a bit scratched as well and if you add the CPU in the mix, knowing you didn't have the funky gunky liquids, it looks to me as the debris being the culprit here for the time being unless something else comes up.
 
OP
sporktar

sporktar

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Should be using Nuke PHN these days. It's the newer, better version.
You use four drops per liter of water for Nuke PHN, so you'll need four or five drops.

Go do the radiator dance. Now.
My first attempts at doing the rad dance were fairly unsuccessful. Due to the sheer size, and design of the rad i didn't feel like i was making much progress so i set up a siphon leading from a 1 gallon jug through the loop to a black bucket. After siphoning 15 or so gallons of hot water (pausing a few times a gallon to blow and suck on the end line to shake away any bits that may be stuck) i got to a point where I couldn't find any reflective chunks in the bucket. I then did another gallon of tap water followed by a gallon of distilled to rinse out most of the tap minerals/chemicals. It seems my initial vinegar flush and the time the loop was run as normal took care of all the large chunks, this flush only resulted in very small (fraction of a mm) brass colored flakes. I'm hopeful that there will be no more material running through the loop, i have disassembled and cleaned both waterblocks and the reservoir.

Do you have any experience with the bottles of water treatment liquid that comes with primochill tubing? I have 2 unopened vials, but i always assumed PT nuke was supreme. It probably doesn't help that i was only adding 7-12 drops to my entire loop. not nearly enough compared to what you're putting in.


The nickle might have begun flaking off the GPU block too.
I know there are a few thread on the web about EK's nickle plating and corrosion.

+1 to the rad dance. Shake it!!
Is that a common issue? it seems to be the component with the most damage, i spent a little bit over an hour scrubbing it with q-tips and paper towels soaked in white vinegar, and i can definitely see some copper bits showing through the nickel plating.

some of that looks like growth and some of it looks like corrosion. They both probably came from not doing the rad dance right...
...This will make sure that it reaches everywhere you've touched and handled will get clean again, then rinse several times with all that distilled water, and if a lil anti-bacterial soap residue is left over, doubt it will hurt anything
I'm more confident that there was some bacterial growth after disassembling my reservoir. The film i wiped off the waterline area definitely seemed more like an algae-like substance than a mineral deposit, very slimy.
Running dish soap water is an interesting idea for a final clean when i get the loop back together. Does anyone else have experience doing this? I've added a drop or two to help break up air bubbles during filling/bleeding but never anything more than that.


The GPU blocks, can't tell but its possible, the debris left in the loop was racing around and scratching those edges of the block as you also stated that the pump looked a bit scratched as well and if you add the CPU in the mix, knowing you didn't have the funky gunky liquids, it looks to me as the debris being the culprit here for the time being unless something else comes up.
I have a hard time believing my coolant was moving fast enough to cause damage to the gpu block, though there were some scuff marks on one side of my cpu block...

2016-04-03_180315.jpg

I assumed it was from the machining process, but it could be argued that debris caused it. For 90% of the time my D5 was running at 2 out of 5, so it wasn't pushing too hard. Who knows though.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
The CPU block looks a lot better. Just make sure you stop getting any pieces out from the radiator(s). I went from big pieces to small ones till it completely stopped. I probably did 5 more flushes after that just to be sure on each rad.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
The fluid included with Primochill tubing isn't a biocide. Get Nuke PHN and do it right.
 

Soulcatcher668

Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
With regards to the cleaner that came with the primochill.
I ran that cleaner while doing my leak test. 48 hours of just the loop running. I drained it and refilled with distilled and silver coil only.
No issues to this date. As far as I can see, the stuff works very well.

I did wash all components with tap water and then distilled rinse (fresh for every component).

As everyone here will tell you. Prep is everything. Clean it and then clean it again. 6 hours now will save you days of head ache down the road.