Coolant changed to green... problem?
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Coolant changed to green... problem? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I'll attempt to condense a long story into something manageable. I have a used 96 SLS w/ 104k miles that ...
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    rithban is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Question Coolant changed to green... problem?

    I'll attempt to condense a long story into something manageable.

    I have a used 96 SLS w/ 104k miles that has given me overheating fits to no end, getting worse and worse until I couldn't drive a mile to the store and back without overheating. Four dealers, two water pumps, thermostats, a recommendation to just replace the enginge... in short nothing but guesses and mega $$$ out the pocket... and a car that can't run in the driveway without overheating.

    After giving up and letting the car sit for a year I had it towed to a shop that we've come to trust; so far they've been able to fix things once and for all the first time on our other cars.

    They found the radiator leaking along with gunk in it, checked everything else over with a fine-toothed comb but couldn't turn up any explanation for the mysterious overheating. After replacing the radiator they said that a previous owner was mixing the regular green coolant with the orange, which I know is a no-no. We put a lot of orange DEX through it while the car barfed it on the road when it overheated.

    The shop flushed the cooling system and filled it with green coolant, saying that they didn't think that once the green had been used that one should go back to the orange collant. The car's been performing like a dream since!

    After reading abit about coolants and about the why one doesn't mix them, I'm just curious about whether the aluminum engine will be OK in the long term with the green -- assuming that the car is otherwise maintained regularly. (I take our cars to the local Jiffy Lube religiously. I'm a clutz around mechanical devices and hate mucking with them myself more than I have to.)

    So, I'm not inclined to do anything unless I'm asking for Big Trouble keeping the green coolant in. AFAIK It ain't broke and i don't wanna fix it.

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    BeelzeBob's Avatar
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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Sounds like that shop has their act together.

    They are correct. One the system is heavily contaminated with the green coolant the DexCool looses it's long life capability. You will have to change the coolant every 2-3 years/24-32K miles from now on regardless of whether you use the green coolant or the DexCool. Either will protect the engine equally well...just the DexCool's corrosion protection will last much longer (5 years/100K) than the green stuff in an otherwise unmolested or uncontaminated system. Since you will need to change it frequently from now on anyway, use the green stuff. It works great and will protect the engine fine and is less expensive.

    Why not use this shop for maintenance instead of just for repair. It might be a little more inconvenient than Jiffy Lube and a little more expensive...but...the good will created by giving them your business will pay dividends when you need other work done.... Besides, they get to know you better doing the routine maintenance and know what is going on with the car so if/when there is a more major problem you and they are in a better position going in. Since they sound like they know what they are doing I would solicite them instead of the Jiffy Lube....at least you have someone knowlegeable doing the maintenance...

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    rithban is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Ahhh... I appreciate the insight!

    Why not use this shop for maintenance instead of just for repair.
    Hmmm... well... uh... it never crossed my mind.

    Sounds like a great idea since I hope to keep the car running for a good long time. I'll ask them about it.

    Thanks!

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    cadillactech is offline BAD EMAIL ADDRESS
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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Dex cool is likely the worst thing GM ever put in a cooling system. You did well by going back to the old standard ( green ). Just don't forget to change it occasionally.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Yes this is true the orange stuff is nasty it will eat up your engine............I have replaced it on my sclade and dts..................

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Hmmm...this has got me wondering now.....I have the small coolant leak from the water pump area that some others have been talking about here.....mine's leaking green antifreeze...this is on a '97 STS.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by cadillactech
    Dex cool is likely the worst thing GM ever put in a cooling system. You did well by going back to the old standard ( green ). Just don't forget to change it occasionally.

    This is BS. DexCool is an excellent product that has shown excellent service in the field. The problems that people have had with it have been clearly identified as being caused by operating the sytems low on coolant in cast iron engines. The DexCool is not to blame for damage due to low coolant operation by the owner....

    In other cases of internal engine damage and cooling system problems with DexCool the owners were running nearly straight DexCool in the system...it was no diluted 50/50 as clearly specified.

    In all aluminum engines that need extra corrosion protection the DexCool provides superior protection basically for the life of the cooling system.....this protects the second and third owners from accepting the results of the earlier owners lack of cooling system maintenance as has happened with the 93/94/95 Northstars quite commonly.

    If the DexCool is so "bad" just how are all those millions and millions of cars and trucks with it in the cooling systems running around perfectly fine and happy...???

    I don't know where you are getting your facts from but the rumors about DexCool you are starting are wrong.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by 68l89
    Yes this is true the orange stuff is nasty it will eat up your engine............I have replaced it on my sclade and dts..................


    Absolute complete BS. What on earth evidence do you have that the DexCool is "nasty" and will "eat up your engine..??""

    If you run straight DexCool it will damage the cooling system, yes. That is why it is CLEARLY specified to be used at 50/50 mix ratios. If used correctly it is a superior product that offers excellent corrosoin protection for very long periods of time.

    The conventional, green silicated coolant will not hurt anything and will offer excellent corrosion protection also but it must be changed frequently as the corrosion protection dimenishes fairly rapidly. If you are going to service the cooling system frequently then the green stuff is fine.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by shookman34
    Hmmm...this has got me wondering now.....I have the small coolant leak from the water pump area that some others have been talking about here.....mine's leaking green antifreeze...this is on a '97 STS.
    Then someone put the wrong stuff in the cooling system.....You'll have to service the cooling system every 2-3 years/24-32K miles to keep the corrosion inhibitor package in the coolant fresh.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    On the green vs. orange debate - I am not very familiar with the new, low silicate Dexcool, so my opinion is an unqualified one. I don't know which is better for aluminum engines. But for what it's worth, my radiator shop man has been in the business longer than some of us have been alive, and I respect his opinion when he tells me that he is seeing far more radiator damage with the orange stuff than he has previously seen with the green stuff.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Why don't the manufacturers develope an active anode system. You see aluminum outboard motors that operate for years in salt water without serious problems. it seems to me it would be easy to retrofit older cars with something like this. The hot water heater in my house has magnesium anodes to protect the tank and it seems to work. The city water here is just like the well was drilled into a dead dinosaur. Engineers can sometimes get wrapped around the axle designing something for a utopian world while we're out here in reality. In the electronics world it is the norm to design for worse case conditions. An answer here is to design the cooling system for swamp water. Some diesel engines cool with engine oil in what would normally be the water jacket. They even run the oil through the heater core,

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by mechanix
    On the green vs. orange debate - I am not very familiar with the new, low silicate Dexcool, so my opinion is an unqualified one. I don't know which is better for aluminum engines. But for what it's worth, my radiator shop man has been in the business longer than some of us have been alive, and I respect his opinion when he tells me that he is seeing far more radiator damage with the orange stuff than he has previously seen with the green stuff.

    Ask him if the radiators are the OEM parts that were factory filled with DexCool or other applications. Just curious.

    We see just the opposite. Heater cores, radiators, water pump seals are all better long term with the DexCool if used correctly.

    There is always the issue of the concentration. If people do not dilute the DexCool 50/50 it certainly can be harmful to the system.

    Also, many non-GM radiators and heater cores are NOT DexCool compatible....so if it is retrofitted into other applications it can cause harm.

    Used correctly it is an excellent product with near lifetime corrosion protection.

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by dkozloski
    Why don't the manufacturers develope an active anode system. You see aluminum outboard motors that operate for years in salt water without serious problems. it seems to me it would be easy to retrofit older cars with something like this. The hot water heater in my house has magnesium anodes to protect the tank and it seems to work. The city water here is just like the well was drilled into a dead dinosaur. Engineers can sometimes get wrapped around the axle designing something for a utopian world while we're out here in reality. In the electronics world it is the norm to design for worse case conditions. An answer here is to design the cooling system for swamp water. Some diesel engines cool with engine oil in what would normally be the water jacket. They even run the oil through the heater core,

    Those systems are in open cooling or water systems. I am not sure how you would passivate a closed system like an automotive cooling system like that.....

    Hot water heating systems that are closed do not have a passivated system with a mag anode like you describe....wonder why??

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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    The problem is that an automotive cooling system is not closed. There is a vent on the overflow that oxygenates the coolant. I think that the old systems that had the expansion space in the top tank actually did a better job of keeping the atmosphere away from the coolant. The hydronic heating system in my home has been operating with plain water for almost sixty years. Any time I have opened it up for modifications or maintenance it has been as clean as a hounds tooth and it is all plumbed out of black iron pipe. Why not truly seal the automotive systems with an expansion tank with a bladder and a safety valve to prevent dangerous explosions. In fact there is a little voice rattling around in my head telling me that there used to be sealed automotive systems years ago with no vent at all.

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    cadillactech is offline BAD EMAIL ADDRESS
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    Re: Coolant changed to green... problem?

    Well, BBOB, my experience comes from 18 years working in a GM dealership, 21 years working on cars in general. I have seen first hand the damage that dex cool does. You can say what you want about it being "all that" but I would never run that garbage in ANY of my personal vehicles. In a ethylene glycol system, properly serviced, the only "bad guy" in the system is the mineral deposits in the tap water that you mixed the antifreeze with. If you use distilled water ( and I do ) you eliminate that problem. So, all you have to do is change it every 30k or so. BIG DEAL! My cooling system will last for years! With a propylene glycol system ( dex cool ) I dont care if you use distilled water or not! That stuff turns to funk after a while. In all fairness, maybe if you changed it like it was the green stuff ( every 30k ) it might not be as bad. But leave it in there for 100k? You will have the most awful mess coming out of your radiator. You realize that this dex cool was originally designed to protect the environment dont you? It was not designed to protect your cooling system better. This stuff just keeps fido from keeling over if he gets a belly full of it.

    When I profess to start spreading rumors without merit, I'll be sure and check with you first....NOT!

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