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New "Long life antifreeze" OK for a '63 Riv?


Jim Cannon
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I have come across discussions in other old car forums that the new "long life" antifreeze (claims to be good for 10 years) is not safe for our old car cooling systems, that it will eat up soldered joints, gaskets and other bad things. They say we need to stick to the old stuff that has a 2 year to 3 year life.

 

Any truth in this? What do you all know?

 

It appears to have something to do with OAT versus IAT additive in the ethylene glycol solution (and there is also a hybrid HOAT).

 

I suspect that it is all smoke because why would Prestone put out a product that will cause problems in an older car?

 

I contacted the Prestone Consumer hotline twice now to try to understand the situation and they don't return my call.

 

Thanks!

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Well Jim, I had no idea regular Prestone on lasted 2-3 years. I've been screwing up for 40 years. I had same coolant in tractors and off highway equipment now for 20 plus years and have had same coolant in past collector cars for 10-15 years. Never any cooling system issues due to old antifreeze.

Surely regular Prestone will easily last 10 years the way we use and store our cars. When the information is murky clear, I always tend to stick to what has worked for decades.....but that comes from someone who still runs points, conventional oil and don't use Stabil so take it for what its worth! I'm sure someone else will have a more scientific reply.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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I have been using various "new type" (DexCool, etc.) formulas since the 1980s. I change it every 2 years. No trouble here. I don't believe any of it is good for 10 years or even five. The old conventional formulas were supposed to last 2 years.

 

The chemical itself, ethylene glycol. is fine indefinitely, but the additives that keep it from turning acidic and eating your cooling system don't last forever. In my opinion, GM's infamous cooling system rot came from telling people they could leave DexCool antifreeze in for 5 years.

 

I have a strong suspicion that the policy was driven more by federal emission warranty regulations and/or corporate pressure to get the TCO down for fleet use, rather than engineering. On the other hand I suppose engineering could have just screwed up. Nobody's perfect.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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My '91 Reatta came with using the "green" antifreeze and my '00 Eldorado came with using the "orange".  I mention colors because I can't remember the chemical names for each.  I was told many moons ago by a dealership mechanic that the green antifreeze needs to be changed every two to three years along with an additive to treat the core.  I was also told that the orange antifreeze is good for 100K miles...in otherwords leave it alone.  Also, never mix the two.  And if you want to change from using green to using orange in a particular car, flush the system prior and never go back to green once the car now has orange.

 

Did I confuse enough people? 

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3 hours ago, dship said:

My '91 Reatta came with using the "green" antifreeze and my '00 Eldorado came with using the "orange".  I mention colors because I can't remember the chemical names for each. 

 

That was more or less it years ago. Now there are so many different formulas it will make your head spin, and unfortunately there is no standardization of color.

 

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JCWhitney at one time had an anode on the end of a wire which was attached to a round, flat disc that fit between the radiator cap bottom rubber sealing lip & the top neck of the Rad.

I bought a few of them back in the day & change them out every five or so years.  They are depleted some BUT NOT totally eroded away. They AREN'T available any longer for years now. BUT, they do make one that screws into the bottom petcock location in place of the petcock. How well it works or for how long I don't know.  They are cheap enough to try. So NO real wasted money. 

It would take awhile to see IF there are any benefits one way or the other.

Just my thoughts.

 

Tom T.

Edited by telriv (see edit history)
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This is the same principle that is used in your water heater.  There are sacrificial anodes that will be eaten before the tank gets eaten into. (Save your tank now and replace the old anodes.)  Most are made of zinc.  It's hard to find a place in the water jacket for any kind of anode that would not interfere with the flow of the water.  I do not know the TPI for the petcock but here's a chart for anodes for boats running lake water through them for cooling.  Perhaps one of these might fit a nailhead. It's a zinc anode attached to a brass plug.

 

https://www.boatzincs.com/engine-sizes.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA15yNBhDTARIsAGnwe0Upu8PjaK8_KZXyz_juwrvAEq2cozfzNquzEXuEDOTetEBhau23IrgaAoKWEALw_wcB

 

 

 

 

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GM's stop leak pellets long predate DexCool. After about the first year of production or so in the early 80s, Cadillacs with the HT4100 engine (and later derivative engines) had a warning sticker on the core support. It said the warranty would be voided if the stop leak was not replenished at the time of a drain and refill. The part number on the sticker was a package of 6(!) pellets. Apparently the aluminum blocks were porous, and would leak coolant internally, destroying the engine. According to someone I know who worked for GM years ago, those pellets were used even earlier on some GM production lines as general leak prevention.

 

DexCool from GM did not appear until the mid 1990s, although you could get similar formulas in the aftermarket back to the mid 1980s at least. The one I used back then was green in color, not pink/orange. The weird dye color came with GM and their DexCool branding.

 

As for the Prestone green, I would be curious to know which product. To the best of my knowledge, Prestone does not even offer a "traditional" formula and has not for many years. I just looked on their website and could not find a traditional formula in the Prestone brand, although they do still make one in their cheaper "Prime" brand. I suspect you have been using a modern formula for a long time and just don't realize it.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, Bloo said:

Cadillacs with the HT4100 engine (and later derivative engines) had a warning sticker on the core support.

That was my first encounter with the pellets; my father had an '83 Eldorado.  They fixed a small crack in the head on my '04 Silverado (due to a common casting flaw).  I threw a couple of them in each of my 'old' cars last time I changed the coolant (just because)...  Oh, and the active ingredient: Ginger Root!  ;)

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My father n law had a 1982 Eldorado with HT4100 engine and it used 1 gallon of anti freeze per week (no visual leaks) and I put 2 GM pellets in (they came in a six pack) and did not have to add coolant for the next six months, then started the process all over again.

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 The suggested maintenance interval for changing out the coolant by Buick was replace it every two years. the previous owner of my

Riviera of 45 years who was a mechanic at the dealership it was sold at always changed the coolant every two years and I have continued

the practice......this works because my car still has the original non leaking heater core and original radiator that is spotless inside and has never leaked either and never been out of the car.

 

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23 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

 The suggested maintenance interval for changing out the coolant by Buick was replace it every two years. the previous owner of my

Riviera of 45 years who was a mechanic at the dealership it was sold at always changed the coolant every two years and I have continued

the practice......this works because my car still has the original non leaking heater core and original radiator that is spotless inside and has never leaked either and never been out of the car.

 

I agree with your method.  The same has been done with my 1971 Monte Carlo since new.  The heater core is original and the heat will blow you out of the car.  The radiator is original and has never leaked a drop or been removed from the car.

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Over the years of reading automotive magazines there have been many discussion on this subject.   True or not, it is said that antifreeze does not loose its freeze protection over time, it does exhaust the additives.   Those deal with the acids, prevent rust, and have water pump lube.    By adding a can of additive each year that replaces the lost additives.    I don't change antifreeze unless I have a need to drain the radiator, replace hoses etc.  Just add the additive which is getting harder to find in auto parts stores but is easily purchased online. 

I do have a personal experience with the anti-leak additives.   I purchased a '88 GMC pick-up in 1996 that lost coolant.    I purchased a can of Bar's stop leak one day at lunch and when I got back to work read the info on the container.    Then I called Bar's and talked to an "expert" .... one of his claims was that all the new car manufacturers added it to the new cars during build.... this saved them a lot of time fixing minor leaks in the cooling system. 

I did put it in the GMC and it stopped the coolant leaks.... had the vehicle for 3-4 years and never had a problem with the coolant system after installing the Bar's 

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Does anyone remember DuPont Zerex anti freeze?  I remember the commercial that showed them puncturing the can and within a few seconds, it would seal itself.

Great concept but it eventually was pulled off the market.  If I remember correctly, it would clog heater cores and that’s why they stopped selling it.

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2 hours ago, RivNut said:

Any of you heard of the old trick of putting black pepper into the radiator as a temporary fix

.

The only thing I'd heard was back in the 60's of "putting saw dust in the tranny just before you sold it". 

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Buick must have dealt with coolant leaks on a regular basis.  My dad worked at a Buickdealership garage for many years.  On the wall of his home workshop, he screwed the lids to jars to the bottoms of shelves and kept miscellaneous nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc in them. He had a bunch of them, way too many to move when he sold the house.   I have a couple that he never got around to using.  Take a look at them and then compare the odd cap to the Buick cap.  Who knows how many empty jars were tossed after the contents were used.

 

IMG_20211206_110438484.jpg.d12aefc00433dc4c95bd33b5e396d724.jpg

 

IMG_20211206_110501265.jpg.ee893589faa1853d8c180fded17c0a3c.jpg

 

Buick must have had a standing order with Bar's Leaks. Whether dad's shop was dealing with leaks or just lubricating water pumps is a question for which I will never know the answer.

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