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Check Your Coolant!

13 posts in this topic

This weekend I did some side repairs for people in need of service repairs. I found one of my customers that I replaced a crank sensor on her Oldsmobile, her coolant has not been changed in like 130,000 or 140,000 miles. The low temp rating was around 15 deg. above. It looked liked pea soup and brown sludge. It took over 45 minutes of flushing system out, before clean clear water flushed out.. I checked he trans fluid and it was kind of “black”, but all she could afford now was crank sensor and coolant flush. Hopefully in the next couple weeks she will come back for t-stat and trans flush. Have your coolant checked or check it your self.

Just an FYI.

Good luck!

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Tis the season!

Cooling systems seem to take the hardest hit as soon as the cold weather hits. Its no wonder when you think about the extreme temp cycles we put them through.

Although we don't run into a lot of under protected cooling systems we have seen our share of grossly neglected/dirty coolant, broken t-stats, leaking water pumps, leaking radiators, and plugged heater cores already this winter.

Small cooling system problems can turn into big problems in a hurry. Under protected coolant can freeze and best case scenario blow out a frost plug. Dirty coolant, while being inefficient, can plug up a heater core over time. Leaking cooling systems can result in an overheated engine. A neglected $200 - $500 repair can quickly turn into thousands of dollars and time without a vehicle.

So why not share some of that holiday cheer with your vehicle? Maybe your coolant needs to be flushed, or you need a couple of tires, Help save those tires and make holiday travel more enjoyable with an alignment! How about a tune-up or fuel filter. Maybe your due for some brakes or a timing belt. How long have those accessory drive belts been making noise? Those rattles and clunks can't be good!

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Good points Airjer!

I was amazed that she did not pop a frost plug or worse. I tested what was left of coolant in reservoir. What I tested might not have been what was threw out the whole system, but I am sure on some of the cold days last week, ice was forming in system some where. She is very lucky. I can still smell the stagnant smell of rotten coolant out in garage. I back flushed, forward flushed, used chem.’s and air.

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grin.gif Airjer, that whole list you just posted describes my work car to a tee. How'd you know? grin.gif

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lol grin.gif

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BIG, if that was your work car, you would also report that oil is from your buddy's last change.

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Haven't gone that far......yet. I keep saying if one more thing fails, it goes to the scrap yard. tongue.gif

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Whats your thoughts on the Long life coolant? I have heard I should get it out of the vehicle at 3 years or 50,000. I have also heard that I should go with the regular antifreeze that the long life gets corrosive after time. Are these urban legends or are they true?

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Hey Orlip!

We met on the Croix down at the Kinnickinnic.

I have service advisors & service guys as friends and they all essentially say don't run the Dex-cool & long life stuff anywhere near the life it says.

They "quietly" advise to get the traditional Green back in.

Hope that helps...

Tim

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They all become corrosive after a while. The longer life anti-freeze tends to inhibit the electrolysis a bit longer then the green will. Essentially, with the aluminum radiator, cast iron blocks, aluminum heads, and circulating coolant, you have the makings of a battery. It will in some cases store upto a 1/2 to 3/4 volts of electricity which can, in some vehicles, cause ruanability issues. Once any coolant starts to break down, it becomes acidic and then really goes south in a hurry. It can take out waterpump seals and bearings, cause radiator and heater core leaks and it will eat up intake and head gaskets. It is well worth your time and the $80 to $100 to get the coolant flushed on a yearly basis. It will help prevent a lot of costly repairs over the life of a vehicle. The reason a lot of shops are reccomending anything but Dex-cool is that GM was putting in a Bars-leak tablet with all there cooling system services and in new cars for a while. What we saw then was that neglected cooling systems with the Bars-leak in would "gel" up and clog the heater cores and radiators on those vehicles. It was tough to get some of those cooling systems cleaned out. I can't stress enough, regular yearly flushes prevent a lot of serious repairs.

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Quote:

Haven't gone that far......yet. I keep saying if one more thing fails, it goes to the scrap yard.
tongue.gif


You'll have that vehicle much longer than you want now! You jinxed yourself! grin.gif

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Quote:

It can take out waterpump seals and bearings, cause radiator and heater core leaks and it will eat up intake and head gaskets. It is well worth your time and the $80 to $100 to get the coolant flushed on a yearly basis. It will help prevent a lot of costly repairs over the life of a vehicle.


Yearly seems a bit like overkill to me. I've been in the business for a long time and have seen lots of changes over the years that we have had to adapt to. At my company we base our coolant and oil change intervals on chemical testing done at different times over the life of our vehicles. Based on that testing, we generally flush and fill cooling systens at 75,000 miles, which occurs at about 2 1/2 to three years on many of our units. We have over 100 company vehicles of different types (gas and diesel) and I seriously haven't changed a water pump or head gasket in probably 5 or more years (on gas powered) using these intervals. Some of these are approaching 200,000 miles.

I've done my share of intake gaskets on the vortecs but after doing many, I don't believe that the intake problem is the result of a coolant degradation problem. Moreso a torque and movement problem.

Every vehicle is different, as are the conditions they are used, so these intervals may not hold true for every vehicle. It certainly wont hurt anything to do a flush yearly, but I personally feel that less than 2 years and 50,000 miles is being overly cautious, not to mention expensive in the long run.

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Yup. I think you're right crazy.gif

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