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Old 09-12-2010, 12:44 PM
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Default Life of engine coolant?

I did a coolant (Toyota red) drain and fill on the 80 yesterday since its been three years since the last one. I know we tend to overdue the preventive maintenance on our trucks due to our intense interest in them, but how long should coolant last?


My wife's '04 SAAB is due for an oil change and I thought I might as well do the coolant since its likely original juice. I went to look up the type of coolant and capacity so I would know what to buy. It's like 7.8 quarts of Dexcool. It also says the coolant is good for the life of the car. Now either they don't expect the car to last very long or Dexcool has some fancy buffers in it the can keep the acidity down for a long time.

What do you think, Change it or leave it?
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:35 PM
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I don't know, but it's funny that you bring it up.. I was changing the oil yesterday in the 2000 Jeep Cherokee we've somehow adopted and figured I might as well do the coolant...

it only has like 50k miles on it but the coolant looked kinda like it could use to be changed just because it was kinda mirky.

I say do it.. why not? it's cheap and relatively easy.

I also threw a new radiator cap on there for good measure. Not like it was overheating or anything, but it was like 4 bucks at NAPA. If it was anything other than the jeep i'da gotten an OEM one, but NAPA's cheap mexican parts are basically OEM for the Jeep anyways.

I don't know... interested to hear what others say.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:59 PM
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an auto parts store will have test strips you can buy that will tell you how good the coolant is and what the mixture is rated for.
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:51 PM
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I went ahead and put new juice in. I was at the parts store getting some oil and picked up a jug of orange dexcool. It's quite easy to change the fluid on a SAAB 9-5. The rad drain is a quarter turn deal that opens up a drain hole that is pointed straight done. And, get this, its made to easily shove a hose on so that the coolant doesn't splatter all over the place - unlike the more familiar Land Cruiser. On both my 80 and my old 60, draining the rad meant several catch buckets and several old towels to mop up the mess on the garage floor. Toyota engineering is good but there are some features that I wish showed up on Cruisers. Additionally, the SAABs use a pressurized overflow bottle so there is no cap on the radiator. Its on the plastic bottle instead. This makes draining and filling the system simple - just poor until the liquid level is up to the full mark. Any bubbles in the system are easily expelled to the bottle.

I have a coolant tester that showed the old mix was ok for freeze and boil over protection but I was wondering how acidic the stuff becomes after being in the car for 6 years.

Speaking of acidic liquids - did anyone else here catch the Radiolab show on national public radio today? The episode is titled "Oops" and has some amazing stories of oops, one involving a lake of acidic mine water that is just too wierd to be true.
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60wag View Post
I have a coolant tester that showed the old mix was ok for freeze and boil over protection but I was wondering how acidic the stuff becomes after being in the car for 6 years.
that's all the coolant testers will test. you need to get the test strips that test the ph, etc.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:05 PM
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All BMW's and Mini coopers are 4 year life span. would say that is pretty normal life span for coolant...
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:58 AM
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I did considerable research on this topic when I was offered some unused, but old ethylene glycol. It turns out that the "corrosion inhibitors" that they add to automotive coolant are simply buffers to react with any acid found inside the cooling system. Eventually they are used up and the coolant becomes acidic and will start to corrode the surfaces inside your cooling system. The "test strips" are simply litmus paper.
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Old 09-13-2010, 01:20 PM
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so are you aiming for a neutral pH (~7) when you do the tests?
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rzeppa View Post
I did considerable research on this topic when I was offered some unused, but old ethylene glycol. It turns out that the "corrosion inhibitors" that they add to automotive coolant are simply buffers to react with any acid found inside the cooling system. Eventually they are used up and the coolant becomes acidic and will start to corrode the surfaces inside your cooling system. The "test strips" are simply litmus paper.
basically, yes, there are 3 way and 4way test strips that molybdate, nitrate, freezepoint and i can't remember the fourth thing (we only carry the 3way test strips here).
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subzali View Post
so are you aiming for a neutral pH (~7) when you do the tests?
No, higher than that is my understanding, as in slightly alkaline (~8-9ish).
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