Good info for cooling systems

PurpleBeeper

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Wow! Wow! DO NOT USE SOFT WATER! Only use distilled water..it's cheap and you can get it at any Walgreens, Rite Aid, grocery store, etc. I know Jay Ross of Applied Chemical Specialties and he is sharp guy and knows a lot of stuff...but in this case he is mistaken. Water softeners do add sodium chloride, BUT THAT'S SALT, as in salt water, which is super-duper corrosive to all engine metals. You do not want salt water in your cooling system.

To give Jay some credit, he is 1/2 right. If you used ONLY distilled water (no ions in it), it would indeed start to dissolve cooling system metal (aluminum, cast iron, brass, steel... all the metal "ions" dissolve into the water). That part is true, but we won't be using only distilled water.....by using one of those corrosion inhibitor/surfactant blends (Lucas, Royal Purple, Water Wetter, etc.) we are adding "ions" into our distilled water (so, it's not really pure distilled water & the corrosion Jay talks about doesn't happen) to make the water-only coolant. Distilled water is used in making the coolant to make absolutely, positively sure only the ions that protect metals get into the coolant (the corrosion inhibitors), an no others. Chloride & sulfate are probably the two worst ions to get in your coolant, so DEFINETLY do not put sodium chloride aka "salt" (from soft water) in your cooling system.

And speaking of salt..... DO NOT EVER use an antifreeze called "Super XXX" which comes in a yellow bottle with a blue label, it is really cheap, is green and I see it most often at gas stations. It says something on the back like 'does not meet any automotive manufacturers specification' or something like that, so at least they're honest. That stuff is green salt water....no lie.
 

GetX'd

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This is really substantial stuff here to pay attention to. I didn't know any of this and who would have just thunk it? Water is water right. Guess not.....

Anyone else have opinions on the subject?
 

FU64RY

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Rain water or water out of your dehumidifier. NO SALT.
Salt and iron do not go well together.
 

PurpleBeeper

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The lowdown on water:

1. Distilled water is the best. It is really pure. It has been boiled into steam (pure water since dirt & salts won't boil) and condensed back into pure water. This is the best water to use. Note, that if it is left open to the air, it will very slowly absorb carbon dioxide (what we breath out) from the air and become acidic (lower pH). Carbon dioxide (CO2) + water = carbonic acid, which is what makes bubbles in Coca-Cola.

2. Deionized water is your 2nd choice. Ions (like chloride & sulfate & fluoride) are always in tap water & many of them are corrosive. "Bad ions" are the main thing you don't want in your cooling system. Deionized water has had 99.99% of the ions removed. The downside to deionized is that they don't necessarily remove "dirt" from the water. I'm sure it goes through a filter & dirt is not really a big deal (compared to chloride, fluoride, etc. bad ions), but it's not as pure as distilled water.

3. Tap water - only use it if you're stuck by the side of the road. Tap water has a lot of bad ions in it and that varies city by city. In the Midwest, most tap water has carbonate (dissolved limestone). In the North, they have a lot of iron in the tap water (toilets get a brown ring in them from it). Many cities add fluorine for kids teeth or chlorine to kill bacteria. None of these ions are "good" and many of them are "bad ions" you don't want in your cooling system. The one rare exception is some new "trick" that Prestone is using in some of its new automotive antifreeze where one of their ingredients actually needs a little bit of "bad ions" to work at its best, but that is an odd-ball. Don't use tap water.

4. Well water - the worst water you can use. It is absolutely FULL of ions you don't want in your cooling system.

5. Dehumidifier water - not a bad idea actually. Because you're collecting water that was once steam/water vapor, it's almost like you have distilled water....but it will have a little air dust in it, so I'd rank it as a decent #2 choice for coolant water, equal to deionized, but behind distilled.
 

383man

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All I can say is I have used tap water all my life in my cars and never have I had any major problems. Sure I guess other water can be better but I have never had a problem with tap water. I use the tap water and green anti-freeze mix and its always been great in my cars. Ron
 

HEMI-ITIS

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All I can say is I have used tap water all my life in my cars and never have I had any major problems. Sure I guess other water can be better but I have never had a problem with tap water. I use the tap water and green anti-freeze mix and its always been great in my cars. Ron
Ron,do you use antifreeze?
 

383man

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Ron,do you use antifreeze?
Yes in the winter I have too. When I go racing for the summer I have to drain it as the tracks dont like you using anti-freeze since they say its harder to clean then an oil spill. But Most of my life I just used tap water in the cars I raced and they have always had great looking cooling systems with never a problem. Course now I know distilled is best but I just wanted to point out that most of my life the tap water I used seems to have been fine for me. Ron
 

furyus

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For some additional protection, I use a sacrificial annode. They are available at boat supply houses. Just remove the petcock, and screw it in. Not expensive either.
 

69 GTX

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What is the purpose of that Furyus?
 

furyus

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What is the purpose of that Furyus?
The sacrificial annode will corrode before the aluminum or iron parts will. So if you have electrolysis occurring in Your cooling system, it will not eat holes in your expensive parts. So, even though I do all I can otherwise, this is cheap extra insurance. They put large plates of it (I think it's zinc) on steel ships to fight corrosion.
 

dla4567

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You will also find them in all hot water heaters.
 

69 GTX

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Also in my camper hot water heater.
 
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