coolant? how? noob to old cars..
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500, 472, 425, 368 Discussion, coolant? how? noob to old cars.. in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; ok ive always had newer cars where i simply put water somewhere. now i have the good ole 79 425 ...
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    adam_mcd's Avatar
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    coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    ok ive always had newer cars where i simply put water somewhere. now i have the good ole 79 425 4bbl that takes coolant and it says its low. how the hell do i add coolant/water combo to this beast? im getting 4 different answers from myself, friends, and even the back of the jug itself. oh, and i think i got wrong coolant. i got the gm dex cool approved prestone 5/150. now im reading dex cool is for newer cars? thanks for any help in advance

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Dex Cool is evil.... do not use it.....

    use the green stuff.... I think Prestone has a "new" "green" coolant that is *compatiable* with all color coolants.... just use that, no difference....

    I don't understand your question very well, but I'll try....

    the cooling system on the '79 is the same as new cars.... atleast new GM cars...

    when the enigne is cold (no pressure in the cooling system.... check by squeezing upper radiator hose) you remove the radiator cap and the level should be full up to the top..... the jug is simply the overflow tank.... the reason why it says add/full on there, is that there should always be coolant in the jug, as long as the radiator cap is working, if there is coolant in the jug, then the cooling system is full..... when there is no coolant in the jug, then that means there is a good chance the system is low on coolant....

    on these cars, the "Coolant" light on the dash does not mean it is low on coolant.... it means the coolant temprature is too hot... because of low coolant.... which in effect is overheating the engine (did the stop engine temprature light come on?)

    First see if there is a leak, if not, then remove the radiator cap and top the system off... if it is the origanal cap, just replace it, they are only a few dollars..... the stock cap is 15lbs, but the auto store here didn't have one, so a 16lbs cap will be fine....

    then fill the coolant jug to the full level mark.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    ok this helped alot. i remember seeing people with older cars fill their stuff up in the radiator and seeing the jug was like 'wtf'. thanks! no lights came on its just a lil low, an inch over the add mark, but my car has been running underpowered. this probably wont be the reason why its runnin underpowered after long trips, but gotta start somewhere.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    really old cars (50's and 60's American cars) did not have the over flow jug.... I think some imports also don't have an overflow jug....

    so the concept for the cooling system on the '79 isn't very "old" at all..... in fact it is pretty "new" in that the same thing is being used today

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Cadillac started putting the overflow jug on in '68, I believe. Some of the newer cars have a radiator cap on the overflow, and no cap on the radiator. Dunno exactly why though.

    Dex cool isn't supposed to be that bad, with one BIG condition: you have ONLY EVER put dex cool in the engine EVER since it was BRAND NEW. Or you have rebuilt the engine with everything hot-tanked, new radiator, heater core and hoses. That way there isn't a trace of the green stuff anywhere.

    If you mix dexcool and regular antifreeze, they will turn to jello. Very bad.

    So, stick with whatever color antifreeze is in there currently.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    well, all my previous newer cars were dinky imports or low end domestics that didnt use coolant, just good ole water. this is the most luxurious car ive owned. but when i mean older cars, i mean 60's 70's muscle cars and whatnot, that dont have the jug. im gettin another one of these low end domestic or dinky imports for drivin to college...$2.50 for 92 octane! whats sad is i got used to the twilight sentinel

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Umm... Dinky Imports (i.e. Honda's, Toyota's, Daihatsu's etc.) and low end domestics (i.e. Escorts, Chevettes, Grand am's etc.) all use coolant (usually green), you should never run straight water in a car, except for a few exceptions I guess, like you're driving something pre WW2 or a car built for the track maybe. Whenever you buy that commuter car, do yourself a favor and use coolant, mxed to 50/50 with distilled water if it ever needs it.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    actually, water should be fine in any car as long as it doesn't get below freezing where you live.
    Water has a higher heat capacity than antifreeze, and will cool better, it's just that those of us who live where it freezes don't want a cracked block!

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    using only water is supposed to cause the rusting of the cooling system. Antifreeze, I have heard, inhibits rust.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    well, all my previous newer cars were dinky imports or low end domestics that didnt use coolant, just good ole water.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Quote Originally Posted by BluEyes
    actually, water should be fine in any car as long as it doesn't get below freezing where you live.
    NO, sorry, it's not fine. the coolant has additives that keep the water from eating away at your block, and causing corrosion.

    Water has a higher heat capacity than antifreeze, and will cool better,
    Sorry, wrong again. Antifreeze raises the boiling temperature of the water, increasing it's "heat capacity"
    it's just that those of us who live where it freezes don't want a cracked block!
    I'm not trying to be rude, but it's a personal thing. I get really really pissed when people who don't know what they are talking about spout off random shit and misinform people. I have found that calling them stupid in public makes them less apt to say dumb things in the future. So, while I may have ofended you, please understand, I'm only trying to help.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoehorn
    Antifreeze raises the boiling temperature of the water, increasing it's "heat capacity"
    That is not what heat capacity is, and is also the reason why coolant systems are run under pressure. At 15psi, water boils well above 212*F, so boiling over isn't a problem.

    Heat capacity is how much thermal energy per unit volume something must absorb to raise its temperature by 1*. It takes less energy to heat antifreeze than water, thus water has a higher heat capacity. This make it a better coolant because a given volume of water being pumped through the block can carry more energy out in a given amount of time.

    Yes, antifreeze has corrosion inhibitors. Straight water used to be used for coolant systems for years before ethylene glycol was used. Alcohol was used in the winters for freeze protection. Engines survived just fine. As long as you change your coolant occasionally, water will work.

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    remember never to use tap water either...

    use distilled water!

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Straight water will cool the engine better then water and antifreeze. The issue isn't boiling point as blueyes said. in chemisty I think they call it the specific heat constant. Anyway, normal everyday water has a specific heat constant of 1 if I remember my chemistry correctly. adding stuff to water will make it lower and lower is worse (again... I could remembers the details incorrectly. But in know the science is correct)

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    Re: coolant? how? noob to old cars..

    Yes, waters heat capacity is 1cal/g*C. There are a few liquids out there with a higher capacity, but none so easily available.

    On the boiling issue - under 15psi (in the radiator) the boiling point of pure water is raised to 250*F. You've gotta be pretty hot for that. But the kicker is the water pump building additional coolant pressure against the thermostat inside the block (this is why removing the t-stat is a bad idea). That adds another 40psi or so in the motor, pushing the boiling point closer to 300*F. You need that to prevent boiling and steam pocket formation in the water jackets around the combustion chamber and exhaust ports.

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