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tencentlife Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:26 pm

I pulled the heads off a motor I had rebuilt one year, 12k miles ago, which had fresh Dexcool 50/50 and 2 bottles Subaru coolant conditioner run in it for that time.

Here are some pics.

There was some clotty goo around the head studs at the top of each head stud bore within the heads, below where the nut seals at the top. These are narrow areas where coolant would fill and stagnate.


This is what it looked like. Kinda like curds of goo, not sticky or slippery, no more than antifreeze is. Sorry, the autofocus was more interested in my fingerprints (probably colluding with the NSA)


There was a brown glaze on certain areas of aluminum, like inside the water pump cavity


but especially adhering to excess of the Gascacinch sealant that was used.


The stuff wasn't apparent anywhere else in the motor. It seemed it could clot where stagnant, and glaze where flow is high. Don't know what other factors might be involved. You can draw your own conclusions. I don't think it's particularly harmful, but a look inside a radiator would be something I'd like to see. Mine, for instance.

levi Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:10 pm

Now there's some good stuff to know....

:( :( :( :( :(
I haven't had any leaks, but I have to admit that with all the positive postings on here, I would have tried using that.
Hey, .....
:idea: Since you had a fresh rebuild....why did you add the blue?

bucko Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:14 pm

Thanks for posting this data TENCENTLIFE. This additive, along with any other will never go into my engine.

I'm sure though, there will be others soon that will continue to support putting this (and other snake oil) into their engines.

tencentlife Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:01 pm

I used it for its system conditioning aspects. I was led to believe that it was a surfactant and seal conditioner. I never saw it called a leakstop until after I had installed it. My system has always operated impeccably, and still does, in a climate with very hot summers, and with engines putting out more power than stock, thus more heat.

So I'm not slamming it or supporting it. You can draw your own conclusions. It don't think it's snake oil; Subaru wouldn't be recommending its use unless it provided some benefit. I'm not using it anymore at present, I'm trying WaterWetter (a straight surfactant) nowadays (can't say I see any difference with that, either, but without calibrated temp data, it's impossible to say. Slight fluctuations in observed OEM temp gauge readings amount to no evidence, in my opinion. Too subjective). I don't see anything in what you see here that would necessarily be harmful. The cylinder jugs and head passages don't appear to be glazed with anything. Normal antifreeze colors metals and leaves deposits in nooks and crannys, too. But as I said, it's the inside of the radiator where I wouldn't want to find this goo. No foreign matter emerged when I drained the cooling system at the last motor swap.

Make of it what you will.

Petervw Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:35 am

would you know if your thermostat is still clean looking

tencentlife Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:30 am

Well, no votes in the poll. I forgot to include a vote for non-users, which so far would seem to be everyone. Remind me not to become a political consultant.

My T-stat was still sparkly clean, as I recall. It's not aluminum, though. I think this stuff is made to stick to aluminum. I also think that's what the pasages in the radiator are made of.

Well, if my radiator goes bad, I'll saw it in half. I want everyone to send a little bag of sunflower seeds to the Guinea pig.

deprivation Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:29 pm

tencent:
Two questions:
1: I always thought the Subaru goop was an "emergencies-only"-thing. Is there a reason you ran it preventatively?

2: why are you pulling apart a fairly fresh rebuild?

Thanks,

Deprivation

?Waldo? Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:47 pm

It might and it might not affect your radiator. It's possible that the lower temp of the radiator in some way prevents the stuff from precipitating out. Sure would be interesting to find out.

In shells? Roasted? Salted?

Andrew

Petervw Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:05 pm

tencentlife wrote: Well, no votes in the poll. I forgot to include a vote for non-users, which so far would seem to be everyone. Remind me not to become a political consultant.

My T-stat was still sparkly clean, as I recall. It's not aluminum, though. I think this stuff is made to stick to aluminum. I also think that's what the pasages in the radiator are made of.

Well, if my radiator goes bad, I'll saw it in half. I want everyone to send a little bag of sunflower seeds to the Guinea pig. subaru rads have been all aluminum for many years now with no problems..I have 3 subarus in the family all with aluminum rads.. however, subaru, only recommends there coolant or aftermarket ones like "peak", but NOT dex-cool...

GeorgeL Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:40 pm

deprivation wrote: tencent:
Two questions:
1: I always thought the Subaru goop was an "emergencies-only"-thing. Is there a reason you ran it preventatively?

No, Subaru recommends it as a preventative of problems.

kayakwesty Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:49 pm

that gunk looks like dex-cool gunk, I have seen it when mixes with old coolant, do you think it might be a cause?

I do know Dex-Cool is [email protected] on GM cars with just a little bit of the green stuff left

btw nice thread , it makes for great discussions around the internet grease rack, thanks for posting the pics.

Petervw Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:51 pm

GeorgeL wrote: deprivation wrote: tencent:
Two questions:
1: I always thought the Subaru goop was an "emergencies-only"-thing. Is there a reason you ran it preventatively?

No, Subaru recommends it as a preventative of problems. all subarus must have this product added in there cooling systems to maintain the extended 100k mi. 8yr warranty

tencentlife Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:00 pm

Andrew, this little piggy likes them in the shells, roasted and salted.

Dep, I had heard of the Suby stuff before it got much discussion around here. It was promoted as a coolant system conditioner; such products usually include surfactants (which lessen water's surface tension, making it "wetter"), and seal conditioners. Those are good enghancements to have in coolant, and Subaru's was a strong endorsement. They weren't promoting it as an emergency measure, as I understood at the time; they were suggesting it as an enhancement to the cooling systems in their cars, that would also help with a leakage problem that was occurring on some of their engines. That wouldn't mean necessarily that it was a "stop leak"; conditioning of seals can alleviate seepage as well. I'm against stop leak products myself, so if that was it's featured property I would not have used it. I had no need for such a product anyway, and if I have a leak I fix the damn leak.

That was then. I've seen a lot more about it since and reading up some online it looks like Subaru pushed this on the engine models of theirs that were developing head gasket leakage. So, that would seem to be the property they were promoting (this isn't Suby's product, by the way; it's another manufacturer's product, English if I recall, relabelled).

Anyway, I was swapping engines to try out my newest one, and coincidentally I had discovered the very beginnings of a valve burning on my old one (Italian stainless valves will be replaced with German), so the timing was good to swap. All the year-old coolant was drained into big clear plastic bins, and there were no fragments or floaties to be seen. I saw nothing else out of the ordinary until I removed a cylinder head. You saw the pictures.

Petervw, car radiators have been aluminum or had aluminum cores for many years now. Could this be a reaction peculiar to Dexcool? Sure, I dunno, maybe, whatever. I'm just showing what I saw, and I really don't see anything that would suggest that this stuff is necessarily harmful in any way. But the inside of my radiator is a mystery and I would have to cut it open to be sure. If I ever replace it I will saw it in half and you all will be the beneficiaries of whatever I discover if the day ever comes. The observation about aluminum in particular was because within the motor, there was only any brown glazing on bare aluminum surfaces where there was a high-velocity flow of low-temp coolant (inside the water pump). Flow thru a radiator is fairly slow, but also fairly cool at the return side. The clotty goo was only found in those stud cavities where coolant would be absolutely stagnant.

As to whether this stuff is good, or bad, there are just too many unknowns to really tell. Presumably, Subaru did some kind of testing with it, but did they stringently limit its use to be in combination with certain coolant formulas only? Perhaps, probably, although admonitions by auto makers to only use their own products are as old as cars, and usually have as much to do with generating aftersale income as they do with any technical considerations. I do know that Suby dealers gave out the conditioner for free, but I'll bet they charge top dollar for their branded antifreeze. Did this stuff address the head gasket leakage complaints on Subarus by seal swelling, or leak blockage? Also, hard to tell.

I won't be using it anymore myself, because I can get the wetting properties I want with Water Wetter, and because there are so many unanswered questions about the Suby stuff.

tencentlife Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:10 pm

kayakw, it's not impossible that it's just a mixing-of-coolants problem, but here's the synopsis:

1999-2006 I ran an AVP longblock. Previous to my ownership, the van had had standard green Prestone or whatever in it. When the AVP went in, from then on I used orange antifreeze, although in retrospect I can't be totally sure it was Dexcool or just Tang. It was phosphate-free, that's the one thing I made sure of.

2006 I pulled that AVP motor and rebuilt it into a 2.2. There wasn't goo like this in the heads or elsewhere in the engine. The cooling system was drained, but not water-flushed, and when the new motor was installed I used Dexcool.

Now, a year later, this is what you see.

Petervw Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:01 pm

I talked to a friend of mine who owns a rad shop and he said that he has seen on several vehicles the "Dex-cool Goop"..although this product when first came out did solve some problems related to cooling systems and that also many thousands, if not millions of people have No problems at all...But under the right conditions such as an ever so small air leak at for example, the water pump or possible headgasket leak (one of the reasons why possibily GM used a stop leak with this dex-cool product from the factory)...Or certain areas of the cooling system continually running hot would produce this goop, especially around the head stud area and rad cap located at the radiator ..to continue his take on this would be Not to use dex-cool unless recommended from the factory

klucz Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:19 pm

I checked the Technical Service Bulletin at work for Dex-cool. One said that the use of too many sealant tablets can cause the color to change, and that sealant tablets should not be used regularly (if the tech could not fix the leak). Another says that due to inconsistent dye used it may change to a pink color with time, somewhere between 0-150K. A third says that Dexcool may appear green when levels are low, causing a tech to accidentally add conventional green 2yr coolant. And the one that interested me most said that aluminum radiators, heater cores, waterpumps, could be damaged due to erosion, corrosion or insufficient inhibitor levels in dexcool.

At the shop where I work we ususally see at least 2 cars a month with the dark orange goop resulting from mixing. I personally wouldn't use it on any car, just my .02.

Petervw Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:56 pm

8419p27 wrote: I checked the Technical Service Bulletin at work for Dex-cool. One said that the use of too many sealant tablets can cause the color to change, and that sealant tablets should not be used regularly (if the tech could not fix the leak). Another says that due to inconsistent dye used it may change to a pink color with time, somewhere between 0-150K. A third says that Dexcool may appear green when levels are low, causing a tech to accidentally add conventional green 2yr coolant. And the one that interested me most said that aluminum radiators, heater cores, waterpumps, could be damaged due to erosion, corrosion or insufficient inhibitor levels in dexcool.

At the shop where I work we ususally see at least 2 cars a month with the dark orange goop resulting from mixing. I personally wouldn't use it on any car, just my .02. Dex-cool is not even needed now especially with the newer products from "Prestone or Peak"..it can be added to any type or kind of coolant including green,yellow, orange, blue, red, or fushsia..comes both in the 150k mi and also Lifetime coverage..as usually, a complete flush is needed to get the best benefits or just change out the system every 30k if not sure

Tomasz Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:20 pm

my buddy and I used the subaru stuff with no issues and thousands of miles on it, if you have a small leak and don't feel like replacing the seals in the next year or three I would definitelly consider it as an option

GeorgeL Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:47 pm

Unless I am missing something, I don't see much bad about the stuff in the photos. I looks to me that a bit of air or oil worked its way in via the studs and reacted with something in the coolant. The reaction thickened the coolent and sealed the potential leak. At least that is how I interpret it.

piledriver Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:59 pm

Heya tencentlife!

Just FYI I finally pulled the old Vanagon motor the rest of the way down, no pics, but it has been running std orange Dex-cool for the last 70K and 5 years of it's long life...

No pics, but there was zero corrosion on the heads, and it looked exactly as it did when I first worked on it at 207K

Have flushed/replaced the coolant 2x in those 5 years, (unintentionally with blown hoses, 50/50 mix maintained)

277+K miles, finally spun a rod bearing... the stock pistons show ZERO skirt wear. None. Check to middle of stock spec. Middle rings worn down to ~3mm wide. Still have full cross hatch so some extent. Half tempted to clean and reuse...

Sadly the case is beat at the center main. Going all T4 mains when I rebuild...



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