Radiator Blues...

Submitted: Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 2657 Views:1937 Replies:3 FollowUps:4
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A friend of mine recently had a bad experience with his radiator and here is the question as we are both puzzled.

For Courier Ute 4x4 2.5 Diesel, always serviced and looked after.
95000kms and 2 years old.
Recently started to overheat going uphill so he took it to his dealer who removed the radiator and sent it to a rad specialist.

He was told his radiator was almost fully blocked and needed replacement, could not be cleaned....
Not under warranty because the problem (the specialist reckons) happened because of the coolant (glycol deposits) and the coolant was supplied by him when the service was done.
We tested the radiator and it is on fact blocked right throught the middle tubes (about 80%).
We also noticed the inside of the plastic tanks was white with a calcium kind of substance.
We then removed the bottom tank and found all the white stuff had blocked the tubes on the bottom.
The radiator guy reckons this is common and he suggested to use just water with corrosion inhibitor.

Anyone had similar experiences? Does Glycol actually cause this problem?
Why did it happen so suddenly? The car has been through the Simpson this year and showed no signs of overheating...

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Reply By: OziExplorer - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
I have never seen or heard of this condition by using proper ethylene glycol coolant and keeping it changed. Trouble is, like fuel, there is some shocking so called ready mixed coolant in the market place. The two current affairs programs on the 7 and 9 have covered this subject and showed how poor some of the un-known brands were, and think Choice magazine may have as well. I only buy the Mobil concentrate or one of the major brands, and saw Valvoline in concentrate the other day correctly labelled with what was in it, and then mix it myself with de-ionised water from the super market.

If he had not changed the ethylene glycol coolant in two years, he was well passed the use by date of the coolant. Ethylene glycol is only good for a maximum 18 months, and should be replaced every 12 to 15 months. I think you will find what all this white stuff was, was that the radiator core was aluminium, and the head and/or block as well. With ethylene glycol after the 15 month period, it starts to get acidic like viniger, and causes corrosion. The white deposits would have been aluminium corossion, which is technically just like rust. However, I would still suspect the original coolant brand he used, because at two years the amount damage/corrosion you advise is way above what is normal, even if the coolant had not been changed.

It is highly advised to change *ALL* the vehicle fluids every twelve months, including brake fluid, power steering fluid, all transmission oils and coolant etc.
AnswerID: 9962

Follow Up By: Raymond Charlton - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Ozi
I agree with you to change the fluid every 12 months, one of the other problems is that some of brands are not compatible with each other and this can also have beenthe problem Will suffered
Regards Ray
FollowupID: 5194

Follow Up By: Will - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Ozi, Raymond,

I did not suffer the problem, as I said this happenned to a good friend of mine.
Your comments are right on the spot to what a friend of mine who is a mechanic also said.

The dealer followed the book for the coolant change which also highlites how wrong these dealers are when it comes to servicing vehicles....

FollowupID: 5195

Follow Up By: Truckster - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Couldnt agree more..

Even changing more often if your conditions have been harsh, mud etc...

Preventitive Maintanance is what its all about...

Now to go find the leak in my Air cond lines :(
FollowupID: 5202

Reply By: Member - Graham - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
Here's a couple of senerios that may shine some light,
1/ Most blocks have a drain & sometimes is overlooked when replacing the coolant which can release about 2 litres of coolant, if not drained properly the coolant breaks down turns acidic then contaminates the new coolant, therefore will breakdown quicker then over several changes the acidity is stronger and contaminating the metal surfaces therefore the effects on the softer metal becomes accelerated therefore the radiator gets blocked in a seemingly short space of time.
The radiator still works relitively well at 40% blocked.
2/ A stray current can be common diagnosis from some radiator service centres because the results look very similar. as water is conductive electricity can travel through it and pitting softer metals especially alloy.
This is usually low voltage of which is easy to check if condition exists, by using an anologue multimeter earth to earth & positive to touch the coolant/water in radiator with the vehicle running, the needle should move much well not to redgester.But not to be done immediatly after or for a couple of days of coolant changed because there will be a reading
due to the coolant structure has a positive charge and takes this time to neutralise.
I've had the second one recently caused by a fracture in a 130w globe base, it destroyed the radiator in 2 months.my high beams are used daily. hopes this helps??
AnswerID: 9971

Reply By: awill4x4 - Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Dec 19, 2002 at 01:00
For those who are interested in radiators and their associated problems, a site to look up is http://www.are.com.au/index.htm
Check out their tech section and particularly the "horror photos". It really makes you think much more carefully about the mixing of different coolants and stray current problems.
Regards Andrew.
AnswerID: 9988

Follow Up By: Will - Friday, Dec 20, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Dec 20, 2002 at 01:00

After seeing that webpage I reckon the mixing of coolants damaged his radiator.

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 5223

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