Dirty EGR Cooler Cleaning Technique: Clothes Hanger in Drill

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by fredp123, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. fredp123

    fredp123 Junior Member

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    I cleaned my 2010 Prius' EGR cooler recently after it threw an error code and discovered a timesaving technique. The EGR cooler was past due for a cleaning and was nearly plugged with carbon. I read about others spending hours ramming a metal coat hanger in and out of the opening to scrape the carbon out. I found a better way. Take a standard metal coat hanger and snip off the bottom straight part. Put it in a drill like a drill bit and "drill" out the carbon. If you go slowly and let the hanger do it's thing, it gets a lot of carbon loose quickly. Of course, I discovered this technique after I had it pretty much cleaned out by hand (and hours of soaking). Oh, well.

    TLDR: Use a clothes hanger in a drill to clean your EGR cooler quickly.
    Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 10.07.08 PM.png
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    How many miles were on it?

    I’m inherently leery about that technique, considering what’s at stake. It’s a radiator, and any pinholes, say a separated weld, would toast it.

    How’d you get the picture with the nice edge btw, or is that just something new at PriusChat?
     
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  3. fredp123

    fredp123 Junior Member

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    Mendel. I had about 200k miles on it.

    I think between the flexibility of the hanger and my going slowly with the drill that I didn't damage the cooler.

    That's a screenshot of a QuickTime video. The screenshot gets the point across.
     
  4. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I did something similar with a stainless steel, long, heavy duty, thick needle. Not quite as thick as the clothes hanger, but still required some torque to get through the oily gunk in the passages.

    There is only about 80 percent of the passages available from both ends of the cooler though, due to the angled, offset entry holes on both ends.

    A high pressure water hose attachment, or better yet, a pressure washer will get the rest out after soaking it with drain cleaner and softening it up after with hot water.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  5. Merkey

    Merkey Active Member

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    Is it possible this could be done with a long, narrow brush while the cooler is still on the car? The dislodged
    carbon could be sucked out with a powerful vacuum.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Not really practical. Not sure if it’s even possible, to separate the valve from cooler, in situ.
     
  7. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Any dislodged carbon could also somehow make its way to the intake and into the cylinders, then who knows what will happen? Stuck valves, abrasive carbon grit on the valve stems, etc.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  8. burebista

    burebista Member

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    This guy did it.
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah but…

    it’s funny: he says they were doing 10~15 EGR valve-only swaps a day, for a while. Maybe that slowed down when they realized it wasn’t doing squat: you’ve GOT to clean the whole thing, end-to-end.

    it’s akin to clearing a gutter on a rainy day: miss just one section and the water still doesn’t flow.

    I like slow: fill it with concentrated Oxi-Clean solution, let sit about an hour, rinse and repeat as needed. Five or six sessions thus, it’s like new.
     
    #9 Mendel Leisk, Sep 18, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  10. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    How many minutes quickly? We cleaned 3 coolers in 15 minutes at a meet up with a water pressure hose (y)
     
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  11. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    But you have time on your hands;).

    The pressure washer gets it clean then you can address any potential remainder with whatever each persons OCD desires:).

    But doing it once helps a lot and we all agree on that(y).
     
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  12. tallprius

    tallprius Junior Member

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    I found the coat hanger wire just a little too big and was concerned about piercing something in the cooler. I found some perfect sized smaller and just stiff enough wire at HOME DEPOT ! It is the strong wire used to hold up suspended ceiling ( those of white insulation tiles) cost about $10 bucks. After strong soak job just ram the wire thru all passages using your cordless power drill. It worked great and wire bent if it got jammed in a nook or cranny. I had waited for 195,345 miles to do the job (my mistake).
     
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