Well, misfortune has fell upon me the other week when my coolant took a turn for the worse after over a year of running continuously in the system. Looks like the dirty water you would see flowing out a drain pipe near a sewer. Let’s go over a few things I did to tackle this.
I’ve been using Mayhem’s Gigabyte Orange with a few more drops of Mayhem’s red dye in Patience for awhile now and its been great. Looked good and most importantly the temps were good as well. No problems. However, there’s no such thing as a water cooled system that never needs maintenance after a year or so unless its running the cheap AIO coolers which any enthusiast would scream to the heavens about how those are not real water cooling. They are right for the most part but let’s not get into that here.
About a month ago, it dawned on me that it was time to do a little annual maintenance on Patience, my system, but I got lazy then eventually forgot it all together. A big mistake as my laziness then is what brought us to this point now. The coolant turned an ugly color as the dye started to separate from the coolant itself, settling in different areas of the rig after holding strong for so long.
With that being said, I had limited time and funds to correct the problem. Lucky me, it didn’t take much of either to solve it. 🙂
We’re gonna need a few things:
Tubing – Unless you’re using Rigid/Acrylic tubing, you need to change it every time you change the coolant in your system
Coolant – Of course, the whole point of this is to keep the coolant fresh in the system and in this case, the freshness has long passed. We need new coolant BADLY!
Distilled Water – Yes, distilled water can take the place of special, fancy coolant if you wish with the added silver coil and a few drops of biocide but I digress that just like technology has evolved in your car to keep from putting distilled water in your radiator, so has water cooling for computers. We’re gonna use the distilled water to help us clean the rads but actual coolant will be running in the system when we’re done to ensure they’re no problems in the long run.
Vinegar – Vinegar is good cleaning agent for your water cool fittings and radiators when used with CAUTION and sparingly. I say with caution cause in actuality, if you leave vinegar in your radiator it will start eat the copper inside and pretty much ruin the radiator so we used a little mixed with distilled water to help clean the parts but we then use straight to distilled to get any remaining vinegar out of the parts.
Step 1: Tear Down
In order to properly clean the rads and fittings, I had to pull the system almost completely apart. Pretty much, the only parts left in the case was the motherboard and cpu. Once I got all the parts out, I was ready to clean them.
Step 2: Cleaning
To clean the fittings I put them all inside a bowl with a mixture of vinegar and distilled water (mostly water, little bit of vinegar) and let them soak for a few hours. After that, I poured out the mixture and filled the bowl with distilled water and let that soak over night.
While the fittings were taking a bath, I tended to the rads. After taking a vacuum hose to them to get rid of most of the dust, I took them outside and filled them with pipe water then proceeded to give myself an aggressive workout of shaking the rads for a minute or two, draining, filling, then shaking some more. I did this for about 10min on each rad filling them with distilled water and a little vinegar towards (only once), then filling with straight distilled water, shaking, draining (twice) to finish it off. Needless to say, I was tired as hell by the time I was done.
The motherboard, video card, and cpu blocks we’re not separated and cleaned like more serious PC water coolers would have done. I simply removed the video blocks and cpu blocks then cleaned the outside with alcohol. I then changed the thermal grease (TIM if you will) since I had the opportunity to do so with system apart. The actual flushing of the blocks didn’t come till I put everything back together and flushed the system with SysPrep twice, a Primochill treatment that comes with each packaging of their tubing. Following the instructions on the box good enough.
Now for the fun part, I only needed to put one rad back in cause I was going to use the AlphaCool Monsta rad in Project Rad Xtreme anyways. There was no point in putting it in again since it was overkill for the system anyways. I swapped the DangerDen (RIP) reservoir for a Bitspower 150 res that I ordered with intention of using it in Project Rad Xtreme as well but when it arrived, I found it too small for the case but it fits Patience perfectly, not to mention, with a huge amount of different board sizes, and areas for fan hub mounts pre-built into the case, I didn’t need to drill anything and could screw it right in.
What took the longest, of course, was tubing up. I use 7/16in tubing with 1/2in barbs so needless to say its a real tight fit and a real pain to get the hose onto each barb. After about an hour plus of cussing and taking a break, I finally got the job done.
Take a look at the vid for a more visual but far less detailed walk-through!