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Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator - What type and when


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auto parts addict
New User

Mar 6, 2009, 9:59 AM

Post #1 of 15 (11607 views)
Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator - What type and when Sign In

If you have no reservoir, here's how to check the coolant level (after you get the radiator cap off) and add liquid, if necessary:

  1. Look down the hole in the top of the radiator; you should be able to see the liquid an inch or so below the place where the cap screwed on. If the liquid is below the fins in the radiator, or you can't see it at all, the level is too low.
  2. If the level is too low, pour a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant down the radiator hole until it covers the fins or reaches an inch or so below the cap.
Warning!!!

  • Coolant is usually red, green, blue, or yellow. If it looks colorless, looks rusty, or has things floating around it, flush your coolant system and add new coolant.
  • If the coolant has a sludgy, oily surface, immediately take the car to your mechanic to check for internal head gasket leakage.
  • Coolant is very toxic and cannot be disposed of except at special depots set up for this purpose. Call your local toxic waste management agency to find out where you may take coolant for disposal.
  • While you're messing around the with your cooling system, feel the radiator hoses, too. (They're the big hoses that go into the top and come out of the bottom of the radiator.) If they're leaking, cracked, bulgy, or squishy, they should be replaced.


Source: (link removed)Repair by Deanna Sclar


(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on May 14, 2009, 11:19 PM)


SantaRosaMechanic
User

May 13, 2009, 2:04 AM

Post #2 of 15 (11487 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

thanks for the info sir. besides what you have said, is there a specific time period to change engine coolants?
and what coolant would you suggest to use? thanks! have a nice day!.
\


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2009, 7:47 AM

Post #3 of 15 (11481 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

According to the coolant manufacturers, your normal green coolants and red in the Toyotas is a 2 year coolant and should be changed at those intervals. DexCool and other silicate free coolants sold now claim 5 year intervals. I would be a little careful with the Dexcool though. If it has air introduced to it in the system, that drastically reduces the life of it.

If the long life coolant gets contaminated with even a small amount of regular coolant, then it all becomes a 2 year coolant.



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Tom Greenleaf
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May 14, 2009, 8:24 AM

Post #4 of 15 (11477 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

Just want to add and it's highly opinionated: I won't use DexCool (brand named product) again in anything except to Winterize a summer cottage or somethine else.

Use the best now clear or green EG and do change it no matter what the claims are is my suggestion. It's not going to lose freeze protection but with assorted metals now widely used the corrosion protection is more important than ever!

T



Hammer Time
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May 14, 2009, 8:39 AM

Post #5 of 15 (11471 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

Dexcool only has a problem when used in a car with a leak that aerates it. It will sludge over time in that situation.



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Loren Champlain Sr
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May 14, 2009, 2:53 PM

Post #6 of 15 (11466 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

Thought I had it saved, but there was a class action suit against Dex-Cool. I agree with Tom, I wouldn't put in my lawnmower.
Loren
SW Washington


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2009, 3:06 PM

Post #7 of 15 (11463 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

Anybody can sue anybody. That doesn't make them right. Nobody has won anything yet. Have you read the TSBs and factory info on it? There really isn't any difference except the color between Dexcool and all the other extended life coolants that are on the market today. If there is air in the system along with the coolant, it will sludge up.


Here's one that refers to the problem


A/C - Cooling System Overheating/Heater Blows Cold
File In Section: 06 - Engine/Propulsion System
Bulletin No.: 99-06-02-012D
Date: April, 2002
TECHNICAL Subject:
Rust in Cooling System, Heater Inoperative, Blows Cold Air, Engine Overheats (Flush Cooling System) Models:
1996-2000 Chevrolet and GMC S/T Models (Blazer, Jimmy, Sonoma, S10 Pickup)
1998-2000 GMC Envoy
1996-2000 Oldsmobile Bravada
with 4.3L V6 Engine (VINs W, X - RPOs L35, LF6)
This bulletin is being revised to include additional model years. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 99-06-02-012C (Section 06 - Engine/Propulsion System).
Condition
Some customers may comment that the heater is inoperative, blows cold air, engine may exhibit an overheat condition or the coolant reservoir has rust in it.
Cause
Vehicles equipped with DEX-COOL(R) coolant, which may have been operated for extended periods of time with a low coolant level, usually in excess of 32,000 km (20,000 mi), may be susceptible to the formation of a rust-like material in the cooling system.
Correction
Flush the cooling system using the repair procedures that follow.
Parts and equipment required/suggested for this correction are listed below. ^ 1 each *Prestone(R) Flush and Fill kit # AF-KITP U.S. (# 00050 in Canada). This kit can be obtained from your local parts supplier and can be used on all vehicles repaired under this procedure. Save it after performing the repair, as it is reusable. ^ 1 each *Prestone(R) Heavy Duty Cooling System Cleaner, GM P/N 12346500 - 1 per vehicle. This cleaner is in powder form and contains a neutralizer. Do not substitute other cleaners. The diluted cleaners that are available in liquid form are not recommended for this repair. ^ 5.7 L (6 qt) of 100% (non-diluted) DEX-COOL(R) coolant (GM Spec 6277M). ^ 1 each new thermostat, GM P/N 12563335. ^ 2 each new radiator cap, GM P/N 15075565. 1 each *Prestone(R) yellow funnel. This funnel can also be obtained from your local parts supplier. It fits snugly into the radiator opening for an easy fill and is reusable.
* We believe this source and their products to be reliable. There may be additional manufacturers of such products. General Motors does not endorse, indicate any preference for or assume any responsibility for the products from this firm or for any such items which may be available from other sources. Important: Verify the fuel level in the fuel tank. The fuel level should be above 1/4 tank before this procedure is started.
As a precaution, verify the oil level in the crankcase. Add the amount required to bring the oil level into the normal range.
It is recommended the vehicle be placed in a position so that the following are available: ^ A sanitary sewer - not a storm drain, etc. ^ A monoxivent system (if the outside temperature is less than 10°C (50°F)). ^ Hot running water Notice: Due to the complexity of these procedures, the following repair steps must be strictly adhered to in order to achieve the intended results. Any deviation or substitution may result in sub-standard cleaning/flushing results or system damage.
Diagnostic Procedure 1. Install the Scan Tool. This will allow monitoring of the coolant temperature throughout the procedure. Caution: As long as there is pressure in the cooling system, the temperature can be considerably higher than the boiling temperature of the solution in the radiator without causing the solution to boil. Removal of the radiator cap while the engine is hot and pressure is high will cause the solution to boil instantaneously - possibly with explosive force - spewing the solution over the engine, fenders and the person removing the cap. Under some conditions, the engine coolant is combustible. Important: ^ The installation of a NEW radiator cap at the beginning of this procedure and the second new cap at the end of the repair procedure is necessary in order for the correct pressure to be achieved and for the repair to be completed successfully. ^ The radiator cap is NOT a good indicator of the general condition of the cooling system. Typically the underside of the radiator cap will exhibit a greater amount of contamination than the rest of the system. It is important to evaluate the condition of the cooling system by checking the following before beginning the repair procedure: 2. Remove the radiator cap. Install a new radiator cap, GM P/N 15075565. A properly operating radiator cap is essential for this procedure to work properly. Be sure to wipe off all radiator cap sealing surfaces prior to installation. 3. Start the engine. 4. Using a flashlight or lead light, look into the radiator. From the right side of the vehicle, peer into the radiator toward the left side of the vehicle. Observe the top three rows (or tubes) of the radiator. (It may be necessary to drain off some of the coolant to see the top three rows of the radiator).
If it appears the coolant is able to flow through the third row down from the top, the vehicle should be repaired using Procedure A. If it appears the coolant is NOT able to flow through the third row down from the top, then the vehicle should be repaired using Procedure B. 5. Stop the engine.



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Loren Champlain Sr
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May 14, 2009, 3:15 PM

Post #8 of 15 (11455 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

>>If there is air in the system along with the coolant, it will sludge up. << It sure will. I've never seen green anti-freeze do that. It's only GM's that were seeing with the corroded quick-disconnects and intake gaskets leaking due to the Dex-Cool. 'splain that, Lucy.Wink
Loren
SW Washington


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2009, 3:35 PM

Post #9 of 15 (11452 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In


Quote
It's only GM's that were seeing with the corroded quick-disconnects and intake gaskets leaking due to the Dex-Cool. 'splain that, Lucy.


And just who is it that has concluded that corroded pot metal and intake gasket failures are caused by Dexcool?

It couldn't be that GM is the only one that uses that design gasket and pot metal connectors...............?

Dexcool is the most widely used coolant of anything made now and the problems are minimal.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
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Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 14, 2009, 3:52 PM

Post #10 of 15 (11446 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

>>It couldn't be that GM is the only one that uses that design gasket and pot metal connectors...............?
Dexcool is the most widely used coolant of anything made now and the problems are minimal. <<

So, it's the metal that GM is using? Why, is it, when you get that crap out of the system and change it over to green, the problems cease? Just because it may be 'most widely used' doesn't mean anything. And, what about the sludge? Is that acceptable? I know that air introduced into the system can cause rust, impeller damage, (owner neglect) ect, but Mud? We don't see it with the Mopar or Aisan crap, just Dex-Cool. Use what you wish. We'll have to agree to disagree.Wink
Loren
SW Washington


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 14, 2009, 4:00 PM

Post #11 of 15 (11443 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In


Quote
So, it's the metal that GM is using? Why, is it, when you get that crap out of the system and change it over to green, the problems cease? Just because it may be 'most widely used' doesn't mean anything. And, what about the sludge? Is that acceptable? I know that air introduced into the system can cause rust, impeller damage, (owner neglect) ect, but Mud? We don't see it with the Mopar or Aisan crap, just Dex-Cool. Use what you wish. We'll have to agree to disagree



And what do you have to back up any of that? I have seen plenty of GM intakes leak with green coolant. I have also seen plenty of connectors rot out with green coolant. The other coolants haven't even been around long enough to say they don't have the problem. The sludge only occurs when the cooling system is abused and not maintained properly. The "most widely used" comment indicates that is is currently driving around in more cars "without sludge problems" than all the other coolants combined. All these other coolants are just Dexcool copy cats.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
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May 14, 2009, 4:20 PM

Post #12 of 15 (11439 views)
Re: Checking and Adding Coolant to a Radiator Sign In

Use what you wish. We'll have to agree to disagree.
Loren
SW Washington


Tom Greenleaf
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May 14, 2009, 11:17 PM

Post #13 of 15 (11432 views)
DexCool vs others out there Sign In


Loren, Hammer - readers,

Obviously this has opened a can of worms. Appreciate the concept of "Agree to disagree" re this product. It's still an ethylene glycol hazmat product just like the others but some how exaggerated claims from the beginning were not realistic for the general public.

I've personally had TWO issues with OE DexCool and that was enough. What Loren calls plain "green" is sold by a well known maker "Prestone" and others. IMO it matters more what additives you put in with the base of any of them.

Right now - all changes by me are going to be colorless PEAK product - comes in a gold container and damn if is doesn't cost a fortune too. Boldly stated that it's not 2yr, 5yr but rather PERMANANT - compatible with any EG based antifreeze to use to add.

Note: PEAK by brand used to be blue! I'm getting old man! The color is added as EG is colorless by itself. I may be misinformed but almost all is made in one place and sold to be brand named with assorted additives later.

Re: Lawsuits - Egad I hate that stuff and disagree with that almost always. I much more for the "personal responsibility" line of approach.

If a company knowingly produces a product whole or in part and advertises wild claims it ought to be held responsible for that. Should this mean millions to ONE person - I say no. There are folks who pay attention to the letter of suggestions by product makers and got burnt and there's also something to be said for that!

With world wide monetary issues of the last year it's getting hard to be "brand loyal" as when you check who owns and runs what seems to change by the week!

Copy of this thread sent to John Hess - owner and publisher of Cool Profit$ Magazine out of Petaluma, CA.

There's a lot written and or published by him on this topic,

Tom Greenleaf (Volunteer at CarJunky.com)

CC: John Hess - IMcool@IMcool.com
9 Natalie Circle
Petaluma, CA 94952-3281



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on May 14, 2009, 11:27 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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May 15, 2009, 10:39 AM

Post #14 of 15 (11414 views)
Re: DexCool vs others out there Sign In


Quote
Right now - all changes by me are going to be colorless PEAK product - comes in a gold container and damn if is doesn't cost a fortune too. Boldly stated that it's not 2yr, 5yr but rather PERMANANT - compatible with any EG based antifreeze to use to add.


Sorry Tom, I can't let this ride.

About the only difference in the Peak you refer to and Dexcool is the color dye. They are both silicate free coolants. The only thing that makes them compatible with any EG based coolant is the yellow color which will blend with any other color. Other than that, it's Dexcool and no more permanent than Dexcool is. If it is contaminated with green coolant, then it becomes a 2 year coolant, just like the green.



/Texaco-Havoline_DEX-COOL_Extended_Life_Coolant.pdf



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 15, 2009, 10:52 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
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May 16, 2009, 9:26 AM

Post #15 of 15 (11401 views)
Re: DexCool vs others out there Sign In

Smile all - back from my short run to Maine - nice state!

I have to default to just say my view is somewhat "Once Bitten - Twice Shy" type thing. All of these are still Ethylene Glycol bases if my eyesight (marginal sometimes) read it right. OK: That's what allow for freeze protection. The whole rest of the game is additives IMO.

Hey - even John Hess mentioned above (friend for afar) doesn't agree with some things I do for now (retired) for my own and family vehicles. I use the "anti-rust" junk separate additive but not the whole bottle in all! I don't have the part # but NAPA sells a "radiator sealer and block repair" product actually made by Macs that I put like one ounce in also. It's not the sawdust approach type stuff!

With that combo I had remarkably good luck with LACK of surprise problems.

My own 97 Chev has Texaco's DexCool in it right now but I will switch next time to something else. Those vehicles with a radiator cap on radiator if you lower the coolant level you usually get a good look at the tubes of a radiator to know how well things are going. When and if I see something other than clean tubes there - then I act.

Best I can say is to continue checking things all around a vehicle and decide from what you notice IF something isn't working out.

Back: As far as the law suits against said product my guess is most were neglected - again an opinion??

T







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