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Thread: Cooland questions, Dexcool, etc.

  1. #21
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    Go with whatever seems to be in plentiful supply. I generally go with green as it's been around for decades. If you get the premiced stuff, it's also decalcified water. I'm of two minds about distilled water. It doesn't have any calcium to build up on radiator internal cores but it's also deionized and that can sometimes cause erosion. Not much but a chemist would call it "hungry" water.

    You overflow cap is your radiator cap. They can fail and I replace them when I replace a thermostat. One caveat on thermostats, never, never, NEVER use a "fail safe" thermostat. Every single one I have put in has stuck open, sometimes in a few days. Just get a good quality OEW temperature thermostat and go with that. If the heater hoses are reasonbly old, you might want to replace them too. They can be stinkers at times and are usually where a leak occurs on the road.
    I always use distilled water in all radiators.

    I have had the same experience as you with one thermostat that was guaranteed for life to never stick closed. In two or three days, it was stuck open. Having no thermostat is also a guarantee of never sticking closed. Anyway, I will never buy one of those again unless they can claim it cannot stick open or closed.

    They sure sell a lot of stuff for cars that don't work, even these days.

    BTW, what year did the Dexcool come out? Was it after 96 when my Saturn was built? I have mixed feelings about which to use after my radiator change, but I assume it makes no difference in reality. Today, I bought the radiator, hoses and thermostat. I will probably start working on it this Wednesday afternoon.

    -Don-


  2. #22
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    My mother had a '95 Chevy Cavalier and it came with Dexcool.
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  3. #23
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    Did your Mother buy it new or used? If used, the previous owner could have used the green stuff then switched to DexCool?, perhaps?

  4. #24
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    My mother had a '95 Chevy Cavalier and it came with Dexcool.
    I wonder how GM decides which to use in which model.

    Anyway, I am going to change my radiator this afternoon. I've decided to go back to the green stuff, since that's what the car came with and the original water pump and radiator lasted 135,000 miles and the original green coolant was never even changed.

    Now, with the new water pump, hoses, thermostat and radiator, my cooling system should last another 135,000 miles, at least with the green stuff, just as last time. There is no need to gamble with the orange stuff.

    This time, I will be sure to buy the green stuff and some distilled water and mix it myself.


    -Don-

  5. #25
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan View Post
    Did your Mother buy it new or used? If used, the previous owner could have used the green stuff then switched to DexCool?, perhaps?

    She relearned to drive after several years and the driving scholl used Cavaliers so she wanted a Cavalier. Not even a Sunfire, which is the same car. I bought it off a woman 10 years younger than mom who felt she was too old to drive and it had the factory sticker requiring Dexcool only.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    I wonder how GM decides which to use in which model.

    Anyway, I am going to change my radiator this afternoon. I've decided to go back to the green stuff, since that's what the car came with and the original water pump and radiator lasted 135,000 miles and the original green coolant was never even changed.

    Now, with the new water pump, hoses, thermostat and radiator, my cooling system should last another 135,000 miles, at least with the green stuff, just as last time. There is no need to gamble with the orange stuff.

    This time, I will be sure to buy the green stuff and some distilled water and mix it myself.


    -Don-

    GM hasn't had a good track record on quality for decades. They rush stuff into production and it bites them. The early Corvairs would kill you quick, as Ernie Kovaks found out. By the time they fixed all the problems, it was a good car. Then they quit making it. The same with the replacement Vega. Decent design and I actually liked the looks. My sister bought one of the first ones off the line and it seemed to be made of compressed rust. I got in it once and little brothers tend to slam doors. When I did, rust fell through onto my head. At 30,000 miles she was getting 100 miles to a quart of oil because they didn't put steel sleeves in an aluminum block. Chrysler made aluminum slant sixes 10 years previous with sleeves and they worked just fine. In 1975, GM made a running change with steel sleeves in the Vega engine and it became a mainstay for GM. Called the "Iron Duke" engine it was in use until a few years ago.

    I think GM was trying to get it to be widely used and they would hold the patents. It's like DuPont Industries. R-12 is still a good refrigerant but about the time the patents expired, by golly it got outlawed. Then again, Randolph Hearst was a friend of the DuPont family and a big investor in their company so when they developed Nylon, Rayon and other synthetic fibers, the Hearst empire start talking about "KIller Weed" so they could get hemp outlawed. During WW2, we needed hemp for hawsers on the Liberty ships we were building so hemp became okay. Afterward, hemp was bad. The president of GM said it back in the 50's that "what is good for GM, is good for America". In other words, it's all about the buck.

    I'm pretty sure Dexcool didn't make them a lot of money. Just like pet friendly Propylene Glycol didn't do much when it came out.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Coolant-Dexcool, etc

    Yeah, I know the R-12 story. This world runs on BS and it's mainly green BS. But look at the bright side, it's one fuel this world will never run out of. It's just everywhere.

    I got a very late start on working on my car today, but I got the job done by around the time it got dark. I replaced the radiator, hoses and thermostat. Now, along with the water pump, everything other than the heater core has been replaced in the cooling system. I should have no more leaks or cooling problems for a long time.

    But I did not yet go for a test drive. I will do that tomorrow and keep an eye on the coolant. I have not even started the car since the repair, so I will have to add some more coolant first, after starting the engine and warming it up with the heater on, before a test drive. Right now, I have the car up on ramps with other cars in my driveway blocking it. I will deal with all that tomorrow.

    I went to buy some coolant at the local auto parts store. They had the premixed blue cap green stuff on sale for $6.99 per gallon, so I bought several. That saves me a trip from having to by distilled water. BTW, I wonder why auto parts stores don't sell distilled water since it's used in both batteries and cooling systems (usually). BTW, I wonder if they mix with distilled water with this premixed stuff. This is the stuff I used. I've discovered the best way to make sure I get the right stuff there is to check the color of the cab. IOW, from now on, I will look for the blue cap there, if I want the same stuff again. BTW, it says it's "amber" but it sure looks green to me.


    -Don- SSF, CA
    Last edited by DonTom; 04-19-2013 at 04:01 AM.

  8. #28
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    I've poured the amber stuff in before and it gets really green with a little green in there. That's what I was talking about when I said it is fairly clear when you pour it in. Take yoxr time on the repair and be sure to debug it when you get done and you shpouldn't have any problems. I always go back and tighten the occasional leak. No matter how careful I am, there's always one.
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  9. #29
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    I've poured the amber stuff in before and it gets really green with a little green in there. That's what I was talking about when I said it is fairly clear when you pour it in. Take yoxr time on the repair and be sure to debug it when you get done and you shpouldn't have any problems. I always go back and tighten the occasional leak. No matter how careful I am, there's always one.
    You're correct about the leak. There was a small leak from the new heater hose under the thermostat. I didn't have that hose all the way in as far as it should go. A two minute job. I put around 100 miles on that car today without it losing a drop of coolant. I checked everything I worked around (A/C etc.) and all is fine.

    But you're wrong about the coolant. It was as green as could be as I was pouring it in, before it even got to the funnel I used. Not amber at all.

    BTW, the radiator came with instructions that said "Do not use tap water--use distilled or deionized water only", which I did as always.

    BTW, I notice the cap on the recovery bottle does say 16 lbs. But I really don't understand this. If there is a cap there that releases coolant to the outside, then it's not really a recovery bottle. It has no way to go back to the radiator when it gets cool. Seems my recovery bottle should have a recovery bottle. I assume the hose on the top goes to the street, but I could not follow it behind the engine. Am I missing something about how this set-up works?

    -Don- SSF, CA


  10. #30
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    You overflow cap is your radiator cap. They can fail and I replace them when I replace a thermostat.
    I just reread this post . . .

    I will buy a new cap, that's the one thing I forgot to replace in my cooling system. BTW, are they still referred to as a "radiator cap"?
    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    If you get the premiced stuff, it's also decalcified water. I'm of two minds about distilled water. It doesn't have any calcium to build up on radiator internal cores but it's also deionized and that can sometimes cause erosion. Not much but a chemist would call it "hungry" water.
    I ain't sure if I understand what you're saying. What's the difference with the water that is in the premixed stuff? Isn't it also distilled and deionized? If the water they use in the premixed stuff is somehow better, where can we buy it?

    -Don- SSF, CA



  11. #31
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Well, Don, over here we still call it a 'radiator cap' (I've just checked on a few car spares web sites to be sure).

    The question of 'Tap' vs 'Distilled' vs 'Deionized' is most interesting. I've always thought that deionized water should not be used in an aluminum radiator. I've just browsed the internet and it seems fairly obvious to me that there is no single concensus of opinion. My ten cents - stick to your favourite readymix for filling and topping up, just make sure the mix you are using is compatible with your radiator type (plastic, copper or aluminum).

    Ken.
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  12. #32
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Most of my stuff is well over 100K so I just use tap water. The advantage to distilled water is it doesn't have any calcium to build up on the tubes inside the radator.

    As for the cap saying "16 psi", that's the pressure it holds before it releases pressure. If your cap is old and weak, it may release pressure around6 or 8 psi. By holding the higher pressure, it will give you more heat from the heater and keep the engine from boiling the coolant on a hot day. By releasing at 16, it also protects the cooling system from exploding and bursting a hose or the radiator from too much pressure.
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  13. #33
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    Most of my stuff is well over 100K so I just use tap water. The advantage to distilled water is it doesn't have any calcium to build up on the tubes inside the radiator.
    Many of my vehicles have more than 100K miles on them, but I have always used distilled water. In an emergency, I will use whatever will work. Once my Sebring radiator cap failed when climbing up Mt. Rose (almost 10K feet in elevation) and all the water leaked out before I even noticed the temp gauge. I called for a tow, but just before the tow truck got there, I noticed a creek and I had a method to carry the water back to the car. But before I used the creek water, I was towed. But I would have used the creek water if I were out of range on my cell. But it would probably only be good for downhill, as that doesn't fix the cap. BTW, that was the first time I ever had a radiator cap fail. Since then, I had one fail in my 84 Yamaha Venture after climbing up to Virgina City in Nevada. Now I know they can fail without any advance notice, just like a thermostat, which I also have had happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    As for the cap saying "16 psi", that's the pressure it holds before it releases pressure. If your cap is old and weak, it may release pressure around6 or 8 psi. By holding the higher pressure, it will give you more heat from the heater and keep the engine from boiling the coolant on a hot day. By releasing at 16, it also protects the cooling system from exploding and bursting a hose or the radiator from too much pressure.
    But when the good cap gets over 16 LBS, where does it release to, directly to the road? Seems that means there is no recovery tank in such a system, unlike there is when the cap is on the radaittor instead of the bottle and then the recovery bottle can send the coolant back to the radiator when cool and pressure is low.

    -Don- SSF, CA


  14. #34
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    Well, Don, over here we still call it a 'radiator cap' (I've just checked on a few car spares web sites to be sure).

    The question of 'Tap' vs 'Distilled' vs 'Deionized' is most interesting. I've always thought that deionized water should not be used in an aluminum radiator. I've just browsed the internet and it seems fairly obvious to me that there is no single concensus of opinion. My ten cents - stick to your favourite readymix for filling and topping up, just make sure the mix you are using is compatible with your radiator type (plastic, copper or aluminum).

    Ken.
    At least here in the USA, instructions come with new radiators as long as they are NOT bought direct from the dealer (AFAIK). I always use whatever the manual says to use. For an example, the radiator I just purchased said to "use either distilled or deionized water". And then after that, it said in large caps "DO NOT USE TAP WATER!".

    I always read the manuals that come with stuff. And BTW, that's why I never use synthetic oil in any of my vehicles. I have yet to see a single owner's manual say there's any advantage of using such. The closest I've seen is in my year 2000 RV where it says "you may want to consider using a synthetic engine oil if temperature is below -25F (-32C). Of course, if I had a vehicle that says to use synthetic,or claims ANY advantage, I would use such. I doubt I will be RVing in -25F (-32C) so I won't ever consider using synthetic in it.

    -Don- SSF, CA

  15. #35
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    Many of my vehicles have more than 100K miles on them, but I have always used distilled water. In an emergency, I will use whatever will work. Once my Sebring radiator cap failed when climbing up Mt. Rose (almost 10K feet in elevation) and all the water leaked out before I even noticed the temp gauge. I called for a tow, but just before the tow truck got there, I noticed a creek and I had a method to carry the water back to the car. But before I used the creek water, I was towed. But I would have used the creek water if I were out of range on my cell. But it would probably only be good for downhill, as that doesn't fix the cap. BTW, that was the first time I ever had a radiator cap fail. Since then, I had one fail in my 84 Yamaha Venture after climbing up to Virgina City in Nevada. Now I know they can fail without any advance notice, just like a thermostat, which I also have had happen.

    But when the good cap gets over 16 LBS, where does it release to, directly to the road? Seems that means there is no recovery tank in such a system, unlike there is when the cap is on the radaittor instead of the bottle and then the recovery bottle can send the coolant back to the radiator when cool and pressure is low.

    -Don- SSF, CA



    I've used whatever liquid was handy before. I've used river water from the Ohio before. Strain the bugs and sewage out with a rag and it'll get you home.

    As for where it goes, that's one of the new ideas that isn't so good. Yep, it pukes it on the road. My Taurus did the same thing. Ford had a tank on top of the engine for years to let the air cavitate out of the system instead of vapor locking the cooling system. If you do any racing, you have to have a coolant recovery tank on most tracks. The problem with adding one to a FWD car is they are built to be easy and cheap to build. (Blame the auto journalists,it was different so they liked it and raved about it back in the late 70's.) There isn't much room under the hood. I had to add one to my Omni for autocross racing. I got one in there but had to make a bunch of brackets to do it.

    One thing to consider, when you go up in the mountains, the 16 psi is over the atmospheric pressure. At sea level the air is about 14 psi. Usually, the actual pressure is lower than 16 as when you go up, the atmospheric pressure drops and the actual release would be 15 or so at sea level but is 16 over air pressure at altitude.
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