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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

Change antifreeze?

2001 Ford Ranger with 165k miles. Not sure last time antifreeze was changed or added. It's a darker green, not quite a pine green, but getting there. Still "green" by any book. Does it need to be changed?

I read a flush can be bad, but what about a drain and re-fill? No harm in that, or is there? Is there any way I can drain it myself if this is ok to do?


shdesigns
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join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA
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Usually there is a petcock on the radiator. You can drain (remove cap to let air in) and refill.

Supposedly it lasts 10 years now, so your due.

Be careful draining it if there are any pets around, it is poisonous and it smells sweet to animals.

You can buy the premix or the full strength and mix 1:1 with distilled water. Usually need 2 gallons.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder


Irun Man
Spartan up
Premium
join:2002-10-18
Walden, NY
reply to fartness
With green coolant, drain and fill at least once every three years regardless of mileage. Some vehicles have a bleed screw to vent air from the system (mostly GM products). Even if you don't get all the old coolant out, better to replace what you can.
--
I turned on my computer for this?

dragonfly5

join:2012-09-04
reply to fartness
You can't tell anything by the color of antifreeze to determine whether it needs to be changed, all that could tell you is how badly your headgasket is failing if it's a milky froth.

What happens is that there are anti-corrosion agents in the antifreeze and some water-pump lubricants that break down over time. This is why you change every 2-3 years, to replenish those additives.

I would drain, flush with garden hose, backflush (the heater core especially) with said hose, and refill. If your coolant capacity is 2 gallons, drop a full gallon of concentrate into the tank and then top off with distilled water.


rob_in_chatt
Premium
join:2004-09-17
Chattanooga, TN
go to the parts store and get a PH tester for automotive coolant. that is the easiest way to see if your coolant needs to be changed.

Misinformation and disinformation ???

Anti-freeze goes acidic after a certain amount of time.
THIS is why it needs changed, no other reason.
The single best way to check for over-aged antifreeze is with a DIGITAL volt meter.
You connect the negative lead directly to the battery negative post and dangle the positive lead into the radiator neck submerging the tip into the antfreeze but not touching the radiator itself.
Read voltage on a DC scale, is it below .5 VDC (that is ½ of a volt) ???
Think grade school chemistry....the higher the acidity the higher the specific gravity and the higher the ability to carry voltage.

Acid is bad for teh engine inner werkins.....mmmk?

ke4pym
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Charlotte, NC
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said by TypeNameHere :

Misinformation and disinformation ???

Anti-freeze goes acidic after a certain amount of time.
THIS is why it needs changed, no other reason.
The single best way to check for over-aged antifreeze is with a DIGITAL volt meter.
You connect the negative lead directly to the battery negative post and dangle the positive lead into the radiator neck submerging the tip into the antfreeze but not touching the radiator itself.
Read voltage on a DC scale, is it below .5 VDC (that is ½ of a volt) ???
Think grade school chemistry....the higher the acidity the higher the specific gravity and the higher the ability to carry voltage.

Acid is bad for teh engine inner werkins.....mmmk?

So, I have to ask. If one meter probe is on the negative terminal of the battery, and the other meter probe is dangling in the fluid, what voltage, exactly, will get measured?

dragonfly5

join:2012-09-04
Well, he's right.

The acidity of the coolant will interact with the aluminum block and form a crude chemical battery. The more acidic the coolant the stronger the "battery" will be, and the higher the voltage you will measure.

My only concern would be that there's no OEM spec on how much voltage is too much or too little.

But he's wrong in that there *are* lubricants and other additives in the coolant which will wear out and you'll never know it by a voltimeter. That degradation is measured in years, not volts, so you should be changing it out every X years anyhow.


shdesigns
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said by dragonfly5:

My only concern would be that there's no OEM spec on how much voltage is too much or too little.

Or what the probes are made of: steel? brass? copper? , Nickel plated? zinc plated? Gold plated?

All would produce different voltages.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder

reply to dragonfly5
The "end of life" spec is .5VDC, you should change antifreeze before this ....I recommend .4 to my customers, most say a tad lower than that.

Google up antifreeze voltage test....here...
»www.completeradiators.com/articles/34.htm
It's not an uncommon way to test at all and is easily the single most accurate way to do so.

Now as for there being any sort of lubricant in antifreeze ?!?
Exactly what is getting "lubed" ?
The sealed waterpump bearings ?
If the antifreeze ever gets near the waterpump bearings the pump is toast and should be replaced (you will be able to verify this by looking at the antifreeze spewing from the waterpump weep hole).
Nice try.

dragonfly5

join:2012-09-04
Lubricant is a bit old-school, I'll give you that. The newer deal now is anti-corrosion additives, for example those present in Dexcool (OAT) if you're driving a GM vehicle. Those absolutely *are* depleted over time.