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The truth about Ethylene Glycol

 
Old 02-11-2019, 06:11 PM
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Gold Dragon
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Default The truth about Ethylene Glycol

Experiencing some unusual weather here in the Northwest this winter. Seattle has had about a foot of snow and some very cold nights. The other night we had a low of 15 degrees. Been worried about the Vette just setting in such a harsh environment. I know, I know, some of you guys are in some much harsher climates than I am. Thats why I wanted to ask about Anti Freeze. I was reading an article from 89, that says pure Ethylene Glycol has a freezing point of 0 , to -5. The article went on to say that mixing pure Glycol with water will lower the freezing point. Seems counterintuitve. Any members have any thoughts or experience to share?
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:26 PM
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Nowhere Man
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go to a auto parts store and buy a anti freeze tester and test it for you self
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:36 PM
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69L46vert
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We get -25F here and no problems. Article might be wrong?
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:22 PM
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CanadaGrant
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You are correct. PURE ethylene glycol freezes at +10.4F but mixing it with water actually lowers the freeze point. 60% ethylene glycol mixed with 40% water lowers the f/p to almost -50F. Just google "ethylene glycol freeze point" for the exact explanation on why this happens as it's kind of complicated.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:02 PM
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50/50 mix has always worked for me in cars and heavy duty trucks. Never had one freeeze up in almost 40 years of north east winters. The issue becomes the tap water. Use distilled water or buy the 50/50 premixed.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:47 PM
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I cringed when a kid at the O reillys auto parts store told me he was running 100% glycol in his truck, and no thermostat. Who am I to tell him he is an idiot. All the information you need is right on the container. Yes, adding water is the correct procedure. How much is determined by your usual cold temps. Here in Las Vegas, I can run 30% glycol to water and be ok, but I usually run it at 50/50 and add a water wetter or equivalent.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:38 PM
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7T1vette
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50/50 mix of anti-freeze and distilled water is a good formula for very cold weather. Tap water is not a good choice, as it has solids, minerals, and biotics which can cause problems in a cooling system. Distilled water is inexpensive and you can find gallon bottles of it at local grocery stores. Two gallons of distilled water and two gallons of anti-freeze gets the job done on most all C3's.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:43 AM
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71 Vert LS1
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Tested my hot rods a couple of weeks ago with a 50/50 mix of green anti-freeze and water. Good to at least -35. I can't confirm but I've heard that full strength ant-freeze doesn't cool as well as a 50/50 mix.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:36 AM
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7T1vette
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When you purchase anti-freeze, don't buy the premixed stuff. Figure it out....half of that bottle is nothing but WATER. Water is cheap--even if it's distilled water. Pay for ethylene glycol and just add your own water. Premixed anti-freeze is just a step above the ultimate rip-off: $60K pickup trucks!
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. Been a car guy from the beginning, and growing up in the Midwest I am no stranger to Anti Freeze. Have always bought full strength. Who wants to pay for half a jug of water that I can get out of the tap. Agree, big rip off. I guess I always assumed that water dilutes everything from orange juice to paint. Figured Ethylene glycol was no different. Now I find out that it's necessary. Not only for lowering the freeze point, but running full strength actually lowers the heat exchange rate by 35%. Gonna take NoWhere man's advice, and buy a hydrometer for Anti Freeze so I know exactly what's going on in my cooling system. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:31 PM
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One more trick, water may be free from the tap, but you dont want the minerals in your engine. Mix with distilled (or deionized) water.

Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 71 Vert LS1 View Post
I can't confirm but I've heard that full strength ant-freeze doesn't cool as well as a 50/50 mix.
Correct. Water transfers heat better than EG.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:35 PM
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dmaxx3500
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Originally Posted by Bikespace View Post
One more trick, water may be free from the tap, but you dont want the minerals in your engine. Mix with distilled (or deionized) water.

Good luck!

been using ''tap'' water for 45+ years

''NEVER HAD A PROBLEM''
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:46 PM
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carriljc
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Originally Posted by dmaxx3500 View Post
been using ''tap'' water for 45+ years

''NEVER HAD A PROBLEM''
..... but then again, it must be that some folks have really crappy water.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:53 PM
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MelWff
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there is tap water from a municipal source and tap water from a well. The mineral content might be higher from a well.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:05 PM
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v2racing
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Tap water not only can cause deposits like iron and calcium carbonate (lime) in the cooling system, but it also will transmit electricity whereas distilled water will not. Therefore tap water can contribute to electrolysis which will eat holes in aluminum radiators. Back in the old days the radiators were all brass and the cars weren't expected to last forever. Most everyone used tap water. Overheating was a common problem back in the old days too, I know, unfortunately I can say, I was there.

Mike
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:43 PM
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flyeri
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I have for several years now used distilled water because it is so cheap. But for nearly 45 years I have used city water right out of the garden hose. When I changed the coolant in my Silverado a couple years ago I noticed that the Owners Manuals said to use a "50/50 mix of coolant and clean, drinkable water. No other additives are required." Now it was 6 years old and had 95,000 miles when I changed it. It was the same color as the new coolant I put in it. I get the part about well water and minerals. My Mother in law's well water makes me sick. But I'm not so sure that 50/50 mix with non distilled water, changed at a reasonable interval, is going to ruin the engine.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:52 PM
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I also just used tap water for years. Then a lot of aluminum parts were showing up in the cooling systems. My understanding was that there were certain chemicals or minerals in the tap water that would react to the aluminum. I have no idea if it is true. But in the past few years I have had to change out more than a few aluminum radiators that should have had a lot more miles in them. Cheapo imported radiators or tap water? I switched just to see if there was a difference. But it was on the internet so it must be true!
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:01 PM
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HeadsU.P.
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Well, for you non-believers about tap water not hurting a thing: Fill a plastic water bottle with your tap water. Set on shelf away from sunlight. Come back and check on it in 3-4 yrs. How does it look? Calcified? Lime deposits? Minerals & rust in the bottom? Want that in your engine block & radiator?
Now try it with a jug of distilled. It will look the same as the day you bought it.

Last edited by HeadsU.P.; 02-12-2019 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:05 PM
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joewill
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it does seem counter intuitive that EG freezes before water, but a mix does not. hmmm..... the next 10 below day i have i will put my antifreeze jug outside and see what happens.
but.. does EG expand when it freezes like water does?
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