Ronnie

Do you remember when...

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Do you remember when at the end of each year a ritual took place called "checking antifreeze"?  Reading the discussions here on the forums about cold weather brought back memories of me and my dad going to get the antifreeze checked in his old cars.

 

Nowadays we take for granted that "the coolant" in our cars is up to par and doing it's job of protecting our radiators from freezing when cold weather hits.  When I was a boy everyone took their cars to get the antifreeze checked at the first sign of freezing weather.  I don't know what happened to the antifreeze over the summer?  Maybe it evaporated or maybe it just wore out but it seemed that everyone who owned a car that we knew would worry about having enough antifreeze when winter came. 

 

Checking the antifreeze back in the '60s wasn't something you would do yourself like we can do today with our little testers that have the floating BBs inside. Oh no - you would have to take the car to a "full service gas station" or a garage to get it done. The mechanic who checked it would drag out a big gadget about a foot long that had a squeeze ball on one end of it about the size of a tennis ball and a long hose on the other end.  He would use the squeeze ball to suck antifreeze out of the radiator into a clear glass chamber that would hold about as much antifreeze as a small coke bottle. Inside the glass was what appeared to be a floating stick of some sort that had numbers and letters all the way around it. The mechanic would hold that gadget up and stare at the stick floating in antifreeze for what seemed like an hour, and after some muttering under his breath he would tell you how many "quarts" of antifreeze you needed to keep your car's radiator from freezing.  I can't remember a time that we didn't need a few quarts of antifreeze. Ahh, the good ol' days...

 

The moral of this story is check your antifreeze folks. Radiators can still freeze just like they did in the old days if they don't have enough antifreeze. :)

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Indeed. I check coolant in my cars (that aren't in storage) abput monthly (roughly every other time I gas them up) for proper fill level. I generally change it (along with the t-stat) at 24 month intervals to keep it clean and effective. Check hoses and the like about twice per year, or before any long road trip.

 

Only  had a couple of times where I had major coolant loss, one was a ruptured radiator and another was a section of steel coolant pipe rotted through. I rarely do the "baster" test as the coolant gets changed every 2 years and topped off in between as needed.

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Holy Cow! I remember that it's funny that you mention it, although my dad taught me young about it. He wouldn't take his cars in to get them checked instead I remember having to drain the radiator in cold weather (not freezing yet) and filling it up with fresh fluid. I wasn't sure why we did it until later because for some reason or another we would add distilled water to the radiator over the summer because it would overheat or something making it more diluted.

When I had my 67' Fastback I continued to do the same thing every year for a long time up until 1998 when I sold it (Biggest mistake of my life) :(

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Back in the day, antifreeze used alcohol as the 'antifreeze'. It would often 'boil off' or vaporize over time...then came 'permanent antifreeze using glycol as the 'antifreeze'.

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I remember my dad taking his '48 Dodge and later his '56 Ford Fairlane to what he always called "the filling station" come each fall to have the antifreeze checked.  I have both my Buicks' radiators flushed and new antifreeze added (along w/ new thermostats) every 2 years as recommended to me by a longtime retired Buick dealer mechanic.  Do I need to every 2 years?  Don't really know, but it settles in my mind better. 

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"Coolant" has come a long way .........seems like the car manufactures have more say about the formulation than the coolant manufactures.  Plastic and aluminum in the coolant system has also dictated the formula.

An article I read said that the freeze protection does not change (unless you add water) but the additives deteriorate.  The two main ones are antirust and lube for the water pump.

Because of that article, I add a can of Prestone Antirust and water pump additive every year.   Because of todays systems, I must syphon off enough coolant in the radiator to add the 10-12 oz can of additive.  I then top off the radiator

with that syphoned coolant then pour the remainder into the overflow tank.

Also be aware that antifreeze companies sell the stuff 2 ways.......straight stuff and already cut 50/50.   Do some price checking, the 50/50 is always cheaper but remember, you are only getting a half gallon of antifreeze and a half gallon of

distilled water.   I can buy distilled water for under $1.00 a gallon so I mix my own and save $$.

As noted above, you can buy the tester at almost any auto parts store and for those of you that live in the frozen north....make sure you have good low temp protection.

You can also buy those paper test strips that tell you the acitity of the coolant.......you don't want it to be aciditic

Where I live, we seldom get below freezing in the day time and the cars are in a unheated garage at night that holds some heat, so very low protection is not that important here but everything I read says 50/50 give you the best low temp protection and the best cooling.

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Harry,

I don't replace the thermostat either unless I don't know how old it is (more chance of it sticking with age) or I suspect it's giving problems.

 

Barney,

What you wrote above made me decide to put flushing the radiator on my list of things to do over the winter. I think it's been about five years since I last did it. I might try some of the Prestone Antirust and water pump additive you suggested. I usually only add a little Bar's Leaks to the antifreeze for water pump lubrication but the antirust additive in is a good idea.

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I failed to mention that the anti rust/water pump lube is getting harder to find at auto parts stores.

Last purchase for me was on Ebay and I purchased a case (12 cans) because it was difficult to find and I have 4 cars with liquid cooling......I don't worry about the Corvair

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i had to change my antifreeze about two weeks ago because it wouldn't even move the tester.i installed new upper and lower hoses id bought at rockautos clearout sale.i wanted to change the heater hoses too but couldn't even see them from the top.

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Not sure if this is true or not but will put it out there.

Years ago I was told that if you run a mixture of 70% antifreeze and 30% water it would help in preventing over heating.

Anyone else heard of that ?

 

Cal.

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3 hours ago, 91vert said:

Not sure if this is true or not but will put it out there.

Years ago I was told that if you run a mixture of 70% antifreeze and 30% water it would help in preventing over heating.

Anyone else heard of that ?

 

Cal.

i think its the other way around.waters best for cooling.

 

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just to add to this topic 

another reason the coolant had to be checked in the older cars was that there was no coolant recovery tank and if the coolant expanded and spit out it was gone!

also an important note is to use the correct antifreeze for your year.  

the late model antifreeze sometimes have additives that can attack gaskets in the older engines, GM went through this when they came out with DEXCOOL in 96 it was attacking the gaskets.

i dont know if any of this has changed but advance auto parts and PEAK have antifreeze for the older cars.

TRYING TO KEEP FROM FREEZING IN NY

 

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From what I am seeing at the stores that move a lot of antifreeze........the industry seems to have settled on one blend.

It is harder to find the old stuff, maybe they have found a formula that will work in all engines.

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PEAK lists it on their website as the GREEN antifreeze but on the label it is listed as being for GM cars 1995 and prior

the PEAK part #s are for full strength  PKA0B3  and  for the 50/50 ready to use  RUAB53

amazon has it listed for sale

Barney i think what you may be experiencing is that even our newer collector cars are getting to the point where the replacement parts are not selling well in the stores so they are not being stocked anymore.

i think that means we are getting even older LOL

my local Advance auto part used to carry the PEAK but they have a house brand for older cars 

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My understanding is that one should not mix ethylene glycol (Green) anti-freeze with Dexcool (Pink) anti-freeze as these contain different chemical properties.  When mixed together they could form a gel-like substance that stops coolant flow and consequently engine overheat.  If a mix does occur, drain the system (change thermostat) and fill with Dexcool and distilled water at a 50/50 mix hence forth.

 

An auto with Dexcool only needs to be changed for the first time at 150K miles.  Whereas Green needs to be changed every two years or 25K miles, which ever comes first.

 

Its on the internet....so it must be fact! 

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5 hours ago, Barney Eaton said:

From what I am seeing at the stores that move a lot of antifreeze........the industry seems to have settled on one blend.

It is harder to find the old stuff, maybe they have found a formula that will work in all engines.

the walmart stuff i used says all makes,all models,mixes with any color antifreeze.5 years or 150000 miles.

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On 12/30/2017 at 4:07 PM, handmedownreatta said:

i think its the other way around.waters best for cooling.

 

Well I tried to respond at the appropriate place of this conversation but I couldn't get in, soooo I am trying it here. It is true anti-freeze with water will help prevent overheating ( the boiling point for pure anti-freeze is +388.4 F) also pure anti-freeze will freeze at -10.4 F 70% anti-freeze and 30% water is not a bad combo but 50-50 is better. The reason is 70% anti-freeze will break down faster then 50% will. As long as you maintain -20* you should be good. A little side note.....One good way to tell if your cooling system is plugging up is to run the engine to operating temperature shut the car off and put your hand on the top portion of the fins of the radiator and slowly slide your hand down the radiator to the bottom it should be the same temp from top to bottom if the bottom turn warm flush it. If the bottom turns cold it is plugged. Flushing may help but more often then not a radiator shop will have to flush it out. This can also cause a blown head gasket problem.   

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On ‎12‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 1:34 PM, Barney Eaton said:

I failed to mention that the anti rust/water pump lube is getting harder to find at auto parts stores.

Last purchase for me was on Ebay and I purchased a case (12 cans) because it was difficult to find and I have 4 cars with liquid cooling

 

https://www.carid.com/motor-medic/11-fl-oz-radiator-anti-rust-water-pump-lube-mpn-c1012.html

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