It’s Green; it’s Good, Right?

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It’s Green; it’s Good, Right?
Submitted by Kirk Barrick

Antifreeze has come a long ways since the days of adding alcohol to the radiator to keep it from freezing. Ethylene glycol is pretty much the standard today, and with it comes the
additives the manufacturer adds to help with rust and corrosion. But over time these additives lose their effectiveness, allowing acids to build up in the cooling system. These acids will start to eat away at your water pump divider plate, and inlet and outlet tubes.

Antifreeze manufacturers add phosphates and silicates to protect the aluminum components from corroding. These two additives also aid in trapping rust, calcium, and other mineral deposits in the coolant. Sounds good right? Unfortunately these deposits are abrasive and will wear out the water pump, and over time form sludge that lines the system and blocks the passages in the engine and radiator. For cars that are not driven frequently, the buildup is accelerated. The buildup in the engine prevents a good heat transfer to the coolant, and so your newly built engine may still run hot. If the block was not in the hot tank long enough, or the hot bath was weak, you may be back at square one.

Now that I’ve painted a bleak picture, there is light at the end of the tunnel. GM has developed an "extended life" antifreeze for it’s new cars that is good for 5 years or 100,000 miles under normal driving. Havoline markets their licensed version called DEX-Cool.  Still containing ethylene glycol, it does not have the phosphates and silicates. It’s patented formula will help fight the corrosion 2 to 3 times longer than standard antifreeze.  Dex-Cool does have it’s pro’s and con’s. It will work in an older car providing you can start with a thoroughly clean system: clean radiator and block, no deposits. Dex-Cool is one of the many products that claim to neutralize acids and inhibit rust and corrosion.

Recently introduced for automotive use is "No-Rosion". When added to fresh antifreeze, its sodium hydroxide solution eliminates the need to annually flush and replace old antifreeze. When added to existing antifreeze, it will neutralize the acids and trap the silicates and phosphates in a gel state. The scale and deposits in the antifreeze remain suspended in solution keeping them from adhering to the cooling passages. No-Rosion has an additive to protect the aluminum components. No-Rosion is recommended for vehicles that are not driven very often, and in storage for long periods of time.

Kirk Barrick

Note: This article is taken from the March/April issue of Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine, written by Steve Lucas.


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