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oilman
Coolant and antifreeze is a topic we are asked about on a regular basis, and often causes confusion; types, colours, service life etc.

Perhaps the most frequent cause of confusion is what the difference between anti-freeze or coolant is. Basically, they’re the same product (although the term “coolant” could just be applied to plain water; see below!)

To help clear some of the confusion up on the more technical details of antifreeze and coolants we enlisted the help of Martyn Mann – Technical Director, Millers Oils UK - who has provided the information below.

Not all antifreeze / coolant is the same!

Coolant can be plain water; water is a very effective coolant but would not protect against sub freezing temperatures or protect against corrosion inside the engine. The use of antifreeze protects against both problems.

Antifreeze not only suppresses the freezing point of your engine coolant, but provides good corrosion protection and increases the boiling point during use.

Most commercial antifreeze formulations include a glycol (to suppress the freezing point and raise the boiling point), corrosion inhibiting compounds and a coloured dye (commonly orange, green, red, or blue fluorescent) to aid in identification. A 1:1 dilution with water is usually used, resulting in a freezing point in the range of minus 37 °C to minus 42 °C, depending on the formulation.

There are two basic types of coolant available today dependent on the corrosion inhibitors used:

·inorganic additive technology (IAT)
·organic additive technology (OAT)

[b]Inorganic Additive Technology[/b]

This is the traditional coolant based on inorganic additives and is called inorganic additive technology (IAT). It is a tried and proven chemistry that provides a fast acting protective film. The additives deplete and the coolant needs to be drained and replenished every couple of years. This type can be used on all mixed metal engines with components including steel, cast iron, copper, brass, aluminium and solder without any detrimental effect.

[b]Organic Acid Technology[/b]

The newer OAT coolants work differently than the older silicate based IAT coolants. Aluminium and ferrous metals form a surface-layer of corrosion in the presence of moisture, even with the little bit of moisture in the air. OAT coolants prevent this metal-oxide layer that protects the surface against this corrosion. Inherent with their design, the OAT coolants last longer than the older traditional IAT coolants. This category of antifreeze cannot be used in systems containing yellow metals.

A couple of questions and answers.

[b]Why are coolants different colours?[/b]

Coolants/antifreezes are coloured so you can visually see them; colour intensity can be an indication of over dilution. The different colours are non specific to the different types of antifreeze. The manufacturer can dye the product any colour they want. The colour is no guide to the actual type of antifreeze type and the label should be read before use.

[b]What is best for performance use?[/b]

It is always best to use the engine manufacturer’s advice. If engine contains yellow metals [copper and brass as in older vehicles] then the long life products based on organic technology should not be used. As a general rule, most modern engines require the long life organic antifreezes.

[b]Is there any advantage to using concentrate over pre-mixed coolants?[/b]

None other than the user may want to use the pre-mixed product due to ease of handling or cost and visa versa.

[b]Can concentrate and pre-mixed coolants be mixed?[/b]

A simple answer is that you can, however do not mix IAT and OAT antifreeze together.

So, there we go. Hopefully this information has been useful, if you have any further questions not covered here please ask and I will try to get the answer.

With thanks to Martyn Mann and Millers Oils.

Cheers

Guy and the Opie Oils team.
FOCA

Sticking on topic i changed from organic to inorganic when i fitted my electric waterpump, the concentrated inirganic had a higher boiling point,(nessesary because i de-pressurised the system) a lower freezing point and better conductivity than the standard organic stuff - ive got to change it every 2 years, though

 

There is new, very expensive stuff that performs even better available now

smokieno1
The coolant in my wife's KA (2013 petrol) is orange. Went to buy a top up bottle today and Arnold Clarke Ford sold me FORD SUPER PLUS PREMIUM ANTIFREEZE code - 4U7J19544AB2A. It is yellow.
They told me it was replacing the orange stuff and it was ok to mix it with the orange stuff.
Is this true or have they sold me the wrong antifreeze??http://www.talkford.com/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_id=140786



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Damon Cook
Hi i recently cleaned out my radiator with flush and replaced it with antifreeze brought from a ford dealer -37 degree stuff the dilution ratio is 1:1 abd i read that my mk1 tdci focus takes 6ltrs of coolant but the 6 litres has put me over the max mark will ot cause any harm like this?
SeanW
It's unlikely that you managed to remove every single drop of the old stuff. Overfill could cause a problem. You might find it over pressures and spurts out of the expansion tank cap.

Turn you heater to max and run the engine with the expansion cap off, the other possibility is that there is an air pocket it the system (possibly within the heater matrix). From what I've seen of Ford's so far, they're really good at self bleeding. Give the hoses a wee squeeze too, you can feel if there's air present. Once the engine is up to temperature (fan kicked in) all of the hoses should be warm/hot.
Damon Cook
Which is the expansion hose there is 2 next to each other at the top of the tank and a bigger one at the bottom
Damon Cook
I assume its bad when you drain your radiator and rusted water comes out ? I drained the system ran 2-3 buckets of water through it sealed it put the rad flush in with water ran the engine. For 10mins of 1.5-2k revs drained and put another bucket through then filled tank with water ran engine for 5 drained and then put the antifreeze in so think i got most of it out
BOF

Hi i recently cleaned out my radiator with flush and replaced it with antifreeze brought from a ford dealer -37 degree stuff the dilution ratio is 1:1 abd i read that my mk1 tdci focus takes 6ltrs of coolant but the 6 litres has put me over the max mark will ot cause any harm like this?

 

 

Generally, it doesn't. The harm it can cause is if the antifreeze boils over (wrong phrase) and spills over the paintwork, because the paintwork can be damaged (or even cause a mist in the engine compartment, which isn't good). If it doesn't spill out, it doesn't cause damage.

 

I assume its bad when you drain your radiator and rusted water comes out ?

 

Well, rust has got in there, and, assuming that it wasn't filed up with rusty water, it indicates that something has been rusting, and this is not, generally, good. The corrosion inhibitors ought to stop this, so, probably, the most likely explanation is that the anti-freeze either had the wrong inhibitor or not enough inhibitor.

 

If putting the nice, new, shiny a/f has stopped this, then you have probably done all you can; if it, relatively quickly, starts going rusty again, then start worrying.

 

For 10mins of 1.5-2k revs drained and put another bucket through then filled tank with water ran engine for 5 drained and then put the antifreeze in so think i got most of it out

 

That sounds like you did a good job; the only other caution that I would add is that if you are in a hard water area, you really want to be using distilled/de-ionised/'water filter' water to ensure that you aren't dumping too much hardness into the engine, because the hardness has a habit of dumping out on the hottest part of the engine, which needs the best cooling...and it reduces the cooling.

 

On a vaguely on topic point, I did once try 'synthetic Propylene Glycol' antifreeze, and one of the difficulties was that garages had a habit of 'helping' (and I mean the exact opposite) by topping it up with the Ethylene Glycol stuff. Of course, if they test the Propylene Glycol with a Specific Gravity tester, they get completely the wrong result, although the refractive index testers work, apparently.

 

If you are using anything unconventional, you need a big notice on the expansion tank telling them what they have to use, because any excuse and they'll 'help' you so much that your cooling system stops working.

Damon Cook
Thanx for the advice I could only see the rust once it's drained so won't know until I change the antifreeze again but only got 6 months left with the car so as long as it's ok for that time I'm happy just trying to do my best to look after it keep it running smooth


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