AVS619

Anti-freeze Question

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I have antique cars dating from 1902 (Oldsmobile) to 1936 (Cord) some with water pumps and some thermosyphon. Time to do some spring coolant changes but I was told that I should not use green anti-freeze but the orange type. Until now I have not heard of orange anti-freeze and it is not easy to find around here. What is the difference between the green and orange types and which is better for these early automobiles? Anyone have experience with orange anti-freeze?  

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I use orange. Everybody is going to tell you to use green.

 

Orange is GM DexCool or similar. (actually there are several types today, and color doesn't necessarily tell you, but someone who says "orange" probably means DexCool.

 

I have been using DexCool and similar "Phosphate Free" coolants in almost every car since the mid 80s. In the 80s, it was about the same color of green as the old fashioned kind of coolant, and the term "DexCool" had not yet been coined. I have yet to observe a problem. Allegedly it rots things. I have surprisingly little radiator, heater core, and other cooling system trouble in cars I have owned for a long time.

 

I like it because when a little gets spilled, or comes out the overflow, it leaves a white powdery trail instead of a green gooey mess.

 

Ignore the lifespan rating on the label and change it a lot. No car should have the same coolant for 5 years.

 

There are a lot of old threads on the site about coolant. If you have trouble with foaming, you may have to make some special considerations. This is easier If you live in an area where it doesn't freeze. I am sure other posters will be along soon with more advice.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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There are three technologies of antifreeze: organic acid technology (OAT), hybrid OAT (HOAT) and traditional ethylene glycol. They all work very well. OAT gives the best anti-corrosion protection because it is designed to work in pressurized systems in modern engines with magnesium and aluminium alloys, which are right at the top of the galvanic series. They are the most costly, too and many say we don't need these in our systems with iron, brass, copper and solder in our systems. As has been said, colour is not a reliable indicator of the type of anti-freeze. RTFL! (read the flamin' label)

 

You will also get a load of tripe that OAT and perhaps HOAT attack seals in our old engines. This arises from a problem with dexcool in some Chevrolets in the '80s. It doesn't affect them.

 

So use whatever you like at 50-50 ratio with water. It will do the job without harming anything, as long as you change it at two or three year intervals. The anti-corrosion additives are used up somewhat over that time and begin to break down into acids and so on.

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There was some discussion on this point and it came out that antifreeze does not work well in thermosyphon systems. It does not absorb and transfer heat as well as plain water, that may be the reason.

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5 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

There was some discussion on this point and it came out that antifreeze does not work well in thermosyphon systems. It does not absorb and transfer heat as well as plain water, that may be the reason.

Wasn't that discussion about non-water coolants? Anti-freeze does raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point and slightly reduce the specific heat of the coolant, but not that much.

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Here is the facts on antifreeze on what to use and not use. I have posted this before. I also have some pic. of rad cores I got from Don Graham a very experienced third generation rad guy. Pictures  showed the solder being eaten away from the core causing leaks. I will see if I can find and post  them.

Antifreeze.jpeg

Antifreeze1.jpeg

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It is interesting that this paragraph contains unsubstantiated claims that are untrue:

antifreeze.jpg.5eb2b2fe21292413facf94e8a8a341b1.jpg 

Penrite, for example, says of its long life antifreeze " 8 Year 500,000 KM Red Coolant provides extended long-term protection against rust and corrosion for all materials used in the engine and in the cooling system construction. It protects cast iron, aluminium, copper and solder alloys as well as the hoses, seals and plastics. It is especially effective in all aluminium engines that are under load or used in extreme hot and cold climates. " This is a SiOAT anti-freeze.

 

In addition, I don't have coolant around my cam bearings and nor do you. Note it also is safe with hoses, seals and plastics - silicon is not excluded. In fact there are no exclusions.

 

The claim about silicon may arise from a test done by Cummins a number of years ago. They claimed OAT was degrading the silicon seals (around liners?) after 80,000 to 100,000 miles. There was also the case of DexCool vs GM in the '80s - see the Wikipedia article about anti-freeze.

 

We have discussed this here before where I have challenged these broad, general, unsubstantiated claims. Show me the evidence, not someone writing in a forum or journal. In looking this up, I found the same claims in articles about anti-freeze for Model A (word for word!) and other vehicles.

 

This is what I wrote in a previous posting:

The ONLY evidence I have been able to find about Organic Acid Technology (OAT) and Hybrid OAT (HOAT) causing problems was with coolants containing 2-EHA as an anti-corrosive agent. Unfortunately this chemical is also a plasticiser and has an affinity for nylon 6,6 and silicon rubber. It apparently damaged intake manifold gaskets in some GM models and some Rolls Royce engines.

 

My conclusion is there is no problem with almost any antifreeze-anticorrosive additive in our old engines because we have no nylon or silicon rubber as they were built. If you have used modern seals including silicon rubber or nylon, then a bit more investigation is necessary. Modern engines are much more difficult to protect than old because they include aluminium (top of the galvanic scale) and magnesium (above Al and zinc at the top of the galvanic series) so the inhibitors are pretty good.

 

I asked the Penrite Tech. Rep about it. The advice is to not mix OAT with HOAT or IAT antifreezes, particularly silicate-free OAT antifreezes. Mixing anti-corrosion packages can lead to loss of corrosion protection. He didn't mention the problem with attacking gaskets etc..

 

Basically, he said we don't need the recent OAT antifreeze and recommended their 7-year AFAB (anti-freeze anti-boil), a HOAT product. The basis of it is Glysantin from BASF.

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

 I also have some pic. of rad cores I got from Don Graham a very experienced third generation rad guy. Pictures  showed the solder being eaten away from the core causing leaks. I will see if I can find and post  them.

Yes, and he knows the full history of coolant use in those radiators? They used OAT or something, less than 3 years old, since the radiator was new? It is pure conjecture in my opinion, that the last coolant used caused the problem. For how long was it used with no corrosion protection in the past?

 

I have my own story. I recently changed the coolant in my 1930 Dodge Brothers, with new anti-freeze. It is now boiling backwards through the radiator. Using the logic above, it is caused by the change in coolant. No. It is caused by a gradually developing problem I am still hunting down. Blocked radiator for a start, thermostat not opening for second. Next is to clean out the block.

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I for one do not have a lot of faith what  product manufacturers claim about their products. They want to make sales so they are not going to bash their own product in todays business. Even when it comes to food for instance where they state blueberry's on the package and in the ingredient but there are no real blueberry's in the product what so ever. Or the serial with how many scoops of raisins. In Canada a Trent University with a credited lab is being sued by Subway Sandwich. Why?  For stating there is not the sufficient amount of DNA to call their chicken sub chicken. This is all food we eat and I feel like I am being lied to so how can you fully trust a manufacturer of engine additives. I will not get into the litigation between GM warranties and Shell oil a few years ago that I believe cost Shell dearly. But they still claim their oil is an exceptional  product and it probably is but who knows.

 I am old school and hate change I guess. So for now I will stay with the old school proven product and not have to be concerned of future reliability.  

 Disclaimer : I am not a health food nut as I just read the news. But I am an old car nut! 

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)

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Is lead being eaten in the rad core an old problem or is it something new as I have never heard of this issue before. I have not been repairing rads for the past 50 years so I can not honestly say.   

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)

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40 minutes ago, Joe in Canada said:

how can you fully trust a manufacturer of engine additives

Agreed. One must do one's research. If enough independent organisations say something without saying anything to raise suspicion, then it is probably believable. I am more inclined to believe technical people than most forum posters who do little research. Hence I try to look behind claims of one thing or another, as you might have noticed. It pays to be skeptical!

 

Speaking of your Subway chicken story, in the early to mid '90s I flew from Wellington to Queenstown (and back!) a few times for work. The airline served a meal with a compressed white "meat" included. It had no real texture or flavour other than a vague sort of meat flavour. A number of us from the design office took this trip a few times and not one of us could work out what this stuff was. I suppose it purported to be either chicken or pork, but hu noze?

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Antifreeze left in too long runs out of its additives, and turns acidic.

 

Years ago, many drivers could not be convinced to ever change coolant unless it looked really rusty or something. These were the same people who had a lot of radiator failures, rusted out freeze plugs, heater core failures, and so on. You could recognize a car like this because the coolant would be trying to eat it's way to the outside. There would be corrosion, usually white, slowly coming out from under every hose, the thermostat gasket, and so on. The radiator would usually be seeping around the tubes. There was no modern coolant yet to blame.

 

From my point of view, the recommendation to leave it in 5 years is the problem. I still use "modern" coolant, much to the horror of some of my car guy friends. I change it often. I have only been doing it 30 years.

 

We really should get back to the OP's question, as this is getting a bit off-topic. The newest car he mentioned was a 1936 Cord. As I recall, there are some folks on here who don't think you can even get away with using antifreze in cars with open cooling systems and packing-style water pumps, due to foaming.  My 1936 Pontiac doesn't seem to care, but my 1913 Studebaker had to go back to water. That is extremely inconvenient because it freezes here. I have to drain it every time, or risk forgetting.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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38 minutes ago, Bloo said:

using antifreze in cars with open cooling systems and packing-style water pumps, due to foaming.

Haven't heard of that one. Foam would imply air entrained into the fluid. That doesn't sound like a coolant problem.

 

Blown head gasket?  A problem in the water pump, such as a leak on the suction side of the water pump or cavitation around the impeller?

 

No problem with 1930 Dodge Brothers; no pressure, packed gland on pump, impeller fits fairly well against the body of the pump.

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No blown head gasket in the Studebaker.... No head.....

 

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"It is said" (meaning that I do not have a scientific reference to cite) that ethylene glycol (EG) coolant is prone to foam in unpressurized systems, especially at speed.  My experience, admittedly anecdotal, affirms that.  When I acquired my 1934 Pierce 12 years ago with 50%EG and drove it 600 miles to a Pierce-Arrow Society annual meet, I found myself adding 5-6 quarts of coolant every 100-150 miles despite no leaks.  The recored radiator and rebuilt water pump had less than 500 miles on them.  Given the San Francisco area climate, I don't need anti-freeze and for 12 years have run distilled water and Pencool coolant additive for anti-corrosion and anti-cavitation.  For that same amount of time, I top off coolant with about one quart every 500 miles.  Same results with my 1930. 

 

Does anyone have access to the RROC (Rolls-Royce Owners' Club) long article or series of articles from a few years ago on types of antifreeze and their (un)suitability for early, unpressurized systems?  I recall only that the gist was a suggestion to use the least amount of EG antifreeze for necessary freeze protection, but a full dose of separate anti-corrosion/anti-cavitation/water pump lube additives, and to keep those additives refreshed.

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Bloo, thanks for posting that link.  We're all saying what we did six months ago, so it must all be true!  Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra used to say.....

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7 hours ago, Grimy said:

"It is said" (meaning that I do not have a scientific reference to cite) that ethylene glycol (EG) coolant is prone to foam in unpressurized systems, especially at speed.  My experience, admittedly anecdotal, affirms that.  When I acquired my 1934 Pierce 12 years ago with 50%EG and drove it 600 miles to a Pierce-Arrow Society annual meet, I found myself adding 5-6 quarts of coolant every 100-150 miles despite no leaks.  The recored radiator and rebuilt water pump had less than 500 miles on them.  Given the San Francisco area climate, I don't need anti-freeze and for 12 years have run distilled water and Pencool coolant additive for anti-corrosion and anti-cavitation.  For that same amount of time, I top off coolant with about one quart every 500 miles.  Same results with my 1930. 

 

Does anyone have access to the RROC (Rolls-Royce Owners' Club) long article or series of articles from a few years ago on types of antifreeze and their (un)suitability for early, unpressurized systems?  I recall only that the gist was a suggestion to use the least amount of EG antifreeze for necessary freeze protection, but a full dose of separate anti-corrosion/anti-cavitation/water pump lube additives, and to keep those additives refreshed.

You mean like the one in #6 ?

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3 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

You mean like the one in #6 ?

Yes, sorry, Joe and others. Was working from small careen, saw it was ACD material and didn't pursue enough to see it incorporated the RROC article.

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I just discovered this thread and need to add my 2 bit experience.

We have a 1937 Packard Super Eight.  Several years ago it started foaming when I would drive 45mph for 5 minutes.

It NEVER overheated.

I tried all suggestions of

a, pouring some anti-foaming chemical into the radiator

b, buy a kit that can detect if combustion gasses are getting into the cooling system.

c, change coolant solutions.

I tried the first two with no success.

Finally, I decided to just go back to basics.

I brought the car into my shop, removed the water jacket and cleaned all the rust off the cylinders.  ThenI removed the upper radiator hose and filed all the rust stalactites and stalagmites off the top fitting to the radiator, and the adapter to the head.

I put it all back together....and now I drive at any speed I want ...for as long as I want....with NO foaming.

 

Ihope this method will also help other collectors out there who are frustrated with foaming.

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I may be dating myself here but back in the 60's I used to use some sort of "alcohol" for anti freeze in my Model "A" that was sold by the quart can at gas stations. Don't remember if it was methanol or glycerol based or neither. I know that it was good to at least 30 below because I used it in the Utica NY area - the "A" was my daily driver in college.

 

Can anyone shed some light on what it was and what the disadvantages of using it today would be.

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2 minutes ago, vermontboy said:

I may be dating myself here but back in the 60's I used to use some sort of "alcohol" for anti freeze in my Model "A" that was sold by the quart can at gas stations. Don't remember if it was methanol or glycerol based or neither. I know that it was good to at least 30 below because I used it in the Utica NY area - the "A" was my daily driver in college.

 

Can anyone shed some light on what it was and what the disadvantages of using it today would be.

 

Does it even exist anymore? If not, there's surely a reason. The manual for my 1929 Cadillac says to use some kind of dealer-supplied alcohol in the coolant to help with freeze protection, but why would I try to reinvent that particular wheel? I am running Evans Coolant in my '29 Cadillac with no ill effects and it's good to like -100 degrees and doesn't boil until +350 or thereabouts. I never have to think about it again. For my other cars, I try to use the old-style non-OAT ethylene glycol but to be honest, I've never seen any damage from using modern coolants, regardless of what their specification is. I'm inclined to agree with the posters above who suggest that any anti-freeze should be OK in an antique car--it's surely better than what they had when they were new and if it's not hurting today's engines, it sure won't hurt these old ones. This is another subject, like oil, where everyone has an opinion and none is 100% or 100% wrong. Use what makes you feel confident that you're protected because the important thing is keeping the block from freezing. 

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4 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

because the important thing is keeping the block from freezing. 

I use 50-50 antifreeze in a temperate climate where we rarely get down to 0 oC. It is 95% for corrosion protection. The other 5% is the chance I may go somewhere that gets frosts. It is very difficult to find an anti-corrosion additive on the shelves here (well, I haven't found any) so I just use anti-freeze. I buy concentrate from my local Farmlands store in a 5 litre bottle (almost enough for one fill)

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The difficulty with alcohol as antifreeze is that it boils off.  That is the reason Pontiac went to a cross flow radiator in 1928/29.  The rad would be filled to just above the inlet hose and the space in the top half of the rad would collect and condense the evaporated alcohol.  It would run down the right side to the rad outlet and remix with the rest of the coolant.

I always run antifreeze as a 50/50 mix with tap water.  Change it every two or three years.  Have not had to add coolant between changes for years.

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