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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

Kinda a newb with water cooling as I completed my first custom loop last month. I noticed in the Monoblock has build up in the fins (I apologize, phone camera is not great to produce a good quality picture), white in color. The rest of the loop itself looks fine, it just seems to be built up there. The CPU temperatures are also high as a result which I believe this to be the reason.

Being that I'm new at this like I previously mentioned, I just wanted to inquire how to go about getting it cleaned out. Should I drain the loop and use some sorta of cleaning kit and run that through it for a duration of time (If those even exist)? Should I drain the loop and take the monoblock out to disassemble and clean it with a toothbrush, and if so what liquids/items should I use to clean it with this method?

Thanks in advance, thought building the loop woulda been the difficult part but guess it'll be the maintenance lol

For reference, I'm using the EKWB Monoblock for the X570 Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, EKWB GPU Block for the EVGA FTW3 3080, 2 Corsair 360 Radiators and corsair Pump/Res combo, with EKWB QUantum Torque STC Fittings and EKWB ZMT Black Rubber Tubing. The Fluid is Corsair Clear XL5.
2514099
 

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Robotic Chemist
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Should I drain the loop and take the monoblock out to disassemble and clean it with a toothbrush, and if so what liquids/items should I use to clean it with this method?
This is the way forward. Trying to dissolve this junk is usually a bad idea, it is very slow even if it is soluble and whatever is dissolving it can also hurt other things in the loop (nickel).

Just hot water and soap with a toothbrush is usually great, if you need more than that something has gone very wrong. Just make sure to rinse very very well, it is amazing how even tiny amounts of soap left on the block can cause problems in the loop. Also, a quick rinse with distilled water to get rid of any tap water is a good idea, especially if you have hard water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is the way forward. Trying to dissolve this junk is usually a bad idea, it is very slow even if it is soluble and whatever is dissolving it can also hurt other things in the loop (nickel).

Just hot water and soap with a toothbrush is usually great, if you need more than that something has gone very wrong. Just make sure to rinse very very well, it is amazing how even tiny amounts of soap left on the block can cause problems in the loop. Also, a quick rinse with distilled water to get rid of any tap water is a good idea, especially if you have hard water.
Thanks for the reply! Would hot distilled water and soap be an option to avoid using tap, it is it just better to use tap water with soap with this method (obviously with a thorough distilled water rinse after)?

To add to what @Asmodian said, I would leave it alone until your flow rate is impacted. By the way, did you rinse your radiators before assembling the loop?

If the issue persists after cleaning the monoblock with a toothbrush, here is how you clean the radiators.
(2) How to Clean your Copper Brass radiator for liquid cooling, 2 methods of cleaning - YouTube
I did thoroughly clean the radiators with a mixture of Distilled water and distilled white vinegar until particles ceased to come out which were black in coloration. At first I was worried I didn't clean it enough (even though I did this for two hours until no more particles were coming out) but then I remembered it was black that came out of the rads. This was the method I used.
 

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Shooting down fallacies
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I did thoroughly clean the radiators with a mixture of Distilled water and distilled white vinegar until particles ceased to come out which were black in coloration. At first I was worried I didn't clean it enough (even though I did this for two hours until no more particles were coming out) but then I remembered it was black that came out of the rads.
Ok, seemingly crazy question, but did you clean the ZMT? Some batches are absolutely filthy, and I have had issues with particles that looked exactly the same caused by dirty ZMT. I cleaned the remaining ZMT I had with a little dish detergent in distilled using a bottle brush and rinsing thoroughly and didn't have the issue again. Then I switched to Tygon A-60-G and never had the issue, didn't have to deal with ZMT's issues with being out of spec and will never look back.
 

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Thanks for the reply! Would hot distilled water and soap be an option to avoid using tap, it is it just better to use tap water with soap with this method (obviously with a thorough distilled water rinse after)?
Distilled water would be great, it works better with soap than tap water, but you need to use huge amounts (especially for the rinse) and a quick rinse with distilled water afterwards is just as good (for loop health) as using distilled water the entire time.

I did thoroughly clean the radiators with a mixture of Distilled water and distilled white vinegar until particles ceased to come out which were black in coloration. At first I was worried I didn't clean it enough (even though I did this for two hours until no more particles were coming out) but then I remembered it was black that came out of the rads.
Did you rinse the vinegar out really really well? I don't like the vinegar technique myself, it is too hard to rinse and even a tiny amount left can cause that kind of issue (and damage any nickel in the loop in the process).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, seemingly crazy question, but did you clean the ZMT? Some batches are absolutely filthy, and I have had issues with particles that looked exactly the same caused by dirty ZMT. I cleaned the remaining ZMT I had with a little dish detergent in distilled using a bottle brush and rinsing thoroughly and didn't have the issue again. Then I switched to Tygon A-60-G and never had the issue, didn't have to deal with ZMT's issues with being out of spec and will never look back.
I actually did not. I guess that's something I'm also going to have to do. Fuuuuuuuuuuun lol.

Distilled water would be great, it works better with soap than tap water, but you need to use huge amounts (especially for the rinse) and a quick rinse with distilled water afterwards is just as good (for loop health) as using distilled water the entire time.



Did you rinse the vinegar out really really well? I don't like the vinegar technique myself, it is too hard to rinse and even a tiny amount left can cause that kind of issue (and damage any nickel in the loop in the process).
I would like to say that is the case. I basically gave about an hour for the Distilled Water/Vinegar mixture, then an hour for the Distilled Water rinse to clean out the radiator. I'm starting to consider one day just re-cleaning everything from the sound of things. I mean at this point it can't hurt.
 

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Yeah, one loop full of distilled water isn't enough to get rid of all the vinegar. :(

You need a lot more water to dilute away the vinegar. I would flush everything with gallons of hot/warm tap water, then a final light rinse with distilled water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, one loop full of distilled water isn't enough to get rid of all the vinegar. :(

You need a lot more water to dilute away the vinegar. I would flush everything with gallons of hot/warm tap water, then a final light rinse with distilled water.
My method for the radiator cleaning was after I did the vinegar/distilled water mixture was to only use distilled water, fill it up a bit and shake it up to get through it, drain the distilled water out then repeat the process several times over the course of the hour. So I'm thinking my process for this is going to be as follows:

  • Drain the loop and disassemble it.
  • Disassemble the CPU Monoblock, clean it with the tap water/soap/toothbrush method, rinse thoroughly
  • Rinse the tubing/fittings/radiators with hot distilled water.

And after that, should I just refill with a new batch of Corsair Clear Fluid, or just a full loop of warm Distilled Water flow through the whole loop and drain it prior to refilling?
 

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WaterCooler
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ZMT - I call that "Zero" (with air and actual quotes) Maintenance Tubing. Stuff is filthy and the only tubing I hear people saying you have to take to the kitchen and scrub the inside with a damn brush.

So its usually a good idea to run something like a Mayhems Blitz Part 1 and Part 2 kit for new loops to clean everything just so you know for the future.

Honestly once you manually clean out the gunk from your blocks, and I highly recommend you check the GPU too if its blocked, and clean the tubing itself, I'd run a Blitz Part 2 at the very least for the specified time, flush, and then refill with your Corsair clear coolant (variant of Mayhems X1).

And I'd opt for Watercool EPDM tubing or The Tygon A-60-G mentioned earlier as alternatives to ZMT in the future.
 
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ZMT - I call that "Zero" (with air and actual quotes) Maintenance Tubing. Stuff is filthy.

So its usually a good idea to run something like a Mayhems Blitz Part 1 and Part 2 kit for new loops to clean everything. Not sure even that is good enough for ZMT though. I'd opt for Watercool EPDM tubing or The Tygon A-60-G mentioned earlier as alternatives in the future.
Building my fist loop and went with the Watercool EPDM tubing; would you say that tubing should be flushed as well?
 

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Building my fist loop and went with the Watercool EPDM tubing; would you say that tubing should be flushed as well?
I always recommend at least flushing a new system, or better yet running a Blitz kit. But you shouldn't need to scrub it or anything crazy like that like you would with ZMT.
 

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My method for the radiator cleaning was after I did the vinegar/distilled water mixture was to only use distilled water, fill it up a bit and shake it up to get through it, drain the distilled water out then repeat the process several times over the course of the hour.
Ah, that is good. I thought you were simply filling and flushing the full loop. Doing that 5 times would likely be OK. :)

And after that, should I just refill with a new batch of Corsair Clear Fluid, or just a full loop of warm Distilled Water flow through the whole loop and drain it prior to refilling?
The more flushing the better but if you already rinsed everything with warm distilled water I would not bother filling and draining the full loop myself... live dangerously. ;)

Keep the coolant fresh, maybe do the first flush and refill after only a few months, but then the coolant should last a year or more.

And I'd opt for Watercool EPDM tubing or The Tygon A-60-G mentioned earlier as alternatives to ZMT in the future.
I completely agree, I like A-60-G myself (I haven't used Watercool EPDM), but the issue with ZMT is small chunks of burnt tubing getting stuck in the block and clogging it, not corrosion. While the issue with dirty radiators and things like vinegar or Blitz left in the loop is more dangerous and destructive; corrosion. Clogging the block hurts performance but it is usually easy to clean and restore full performance, while corrosion can destroy everything if left unchecked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Understood. Thank you all for your help! Guess I got a big project this weekend.
 

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Understood. Thank you all for your help! Guess I got a big project this weekend.
Welcome to watercooling. ;)

It's fun, but expensive and most projects usually hit some snags along the way. But the end result is always worth the effort in my opinion.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Welcome to watercooling. ;)

It's fun, but expensive and most projects usually hit some snags along the way. But the end result is always worth the effort in my opinion.
Honestly, I wanted to do a custom loop for years. I'm not frustrated about it. Yeah it's annoying but what isn't when you're doing it as a hobby for the first time?

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Definitely got some goop up in there. The only way to effectively clean it is to pull it apart and scrub it out with a toothbrush. Not a fan of Monoblocks in the first place.

As for loop prep prior to installation the rads are ALWAYS in need of cleaning no matter how much the manufacturer says they are flushed at the factory, probably used the toilet water to flush it. There are a million different ways but my tried and true method for cleaning a rad is flip it on its back with the ports facing up and fill it with.......COCA COLA....and leave it in the sink over night. You will wake up to all kinds of green goop that bubbled out. Then flush the crap out of it with HOT tap water. After fill 3/4 of the way with distilled and slosh it around and dump it a few times. You can then look inside the port and see clean shiny copper ( or brass if they use brass end caps ) prep is the most important part.

I always recommend and inline filter to catch anything that may come about to keep it from getting up in your blocks. Also a flowmeter so you can see if your flow has decreased signifying a blockage in the filer or block or rads. If you have a filter thats where it will usually occur. Saw mine drop in half in about 24 hours and pulled the filter screen and it was all full of crap from a new block that was also supposed to be squeaky clean. The way I know it was the block is that was the only thing that got changed.
 

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Little bit of a tangent here, but by using PETG hardline this has never been a problem again. I guess there are just far less particles to leech into the solution.
 

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Little bit of a tangent here, but by using PETG hardline this has never been a problem again. I guess there are just far less particles to leech into the solution.
Tygon A-60-G has also been completely maintenance free for me. It never leaches anything or adds particles either. ZMT can be dirty to start, and many of the clear options leach gunk, but the good soft tubing is as good as PETG.

I respect hardline but I am way to lazy to do it myself. I change things way too often. :)
 

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I respect hardline but I am way to lazy to do it myself. I change things way too often. :)
Just buy extra tubing. I’ve made multiple changes and still haven’t depleted the the 4 sticks a meter long in a big tube. I often find that some of the tubes I’ve bent with 90s and offsets can be reused with a little trim here and there. I’ve actually done this a lot.
 
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