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RBEmerson Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:51 am

In an e-mail conversation, a friend commented about using only VW anti-freeze to avoid doing Bad Things to the engine's cooling system (GW 2.2L). Somewhere I saw something about using only phosphate-free anti-freeze.

Recommendations?

James 93SLC Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:56 am

Pretty much a non-issue now as 99% of the antifreeze on the market is phosphate free. There are so many cars now with aluminum heads and/or engines.

Here is the current label on a bottle of Prestone from Advance Auto.


bluefirefly Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:28 am

As long as you replace it every 2 years, you should not have any problem at all.

joseph928 Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:49 am

:bay_blue: right almost all antifreeze is ok but why not do something good for the earth buy sierra antifreeze my syncro likes it, taste good last longer.

RBEmerson Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:00 am

Thanks for sorting that issue out.

Agreed that ethylene glycol is nasty stuff.

Wildthings Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:14 am

James 93SLC wrote: Pretty much a non-issue now as 99% of the EXTENDED LIFE antifreeze on the market is phosphate free.

Here fixed it for you, as much of the non-extended life stuff still has phosphates in it.

As far as I know the Sierra antifreeze is good as well, but lack extensive experience with it.

mtwrench540 Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:45 am

my experience has been that these vans are self changeing!! bluefirefly wrote: As long as you replace it every 2 years, you should not have any problem at all.

debbiej Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:47 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: sad but true!

Wildthings Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:16 am

mtwrench540 wrote: my experience has been that these vans are self changeing!! bluefirefly wrote: As long as you replace it every 2 years, you should not have any problem at all.

I pretty much never change the antifreeze, just add coolant conditioner once a year. My '91 self changed fairly frequently from the time we bought it new until it got the Subaru several years ago. No coolant leaks at all since then. My junk 83 1/2 got a coolant change on purchase and then made it without any substantial coolant issues until the engine died 75,000 miles later. My Syncro was somewhere between those two extremes.

randywebb Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:25 pm

what kind of coolant conditioner do you add?

is it the product that Subaru dealers sell for their leaky heads? The one they source from the UK or something...?

Wildthings Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:55 pm

For my Suby van and WBXers I now use the Subaru stuff, in the past and for other engines I used the NAPA house brand. I buy a quart bottle and it last for years.

Terry Kay Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:43 am

Most class 8 trucks have a water filter.
Most of the better water filter's have a water conditioner "pill" inside the can.

The coolant, even with the conditioner in it, will not last forever.

The coolant will still suspend garbage, detrimental--especially to an aluminum engine.

It should be changed on a bi-yearly schedule--if you have any thoughts of lthe power plant lasting for awhile.

There is no magic formula, no miracle in a bottle, just common sense, and some periodic maintainence.

Wildthings Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:52 am

Terry Kay wrote: Most class 8 trucks have a water filter.
Most of the better water filter's have a water conditioner "pill" inside the can.

The coolant, even with the conditioner in it, will not last forever.

The coolant will still suspend garbage, detrimental--especially to an aluminum engine.

It should be changed on a bi-yearly schedule--if you have any thoughts of lthe power plant lasting for awhile.

There is no magic formula, no miracle in a bottle, just common sense, and some periodic maintainence.

You can tell that this worried the "H" out of me. My Dodge which I have owned for 30 years has had the antifreeze changed at 10 year intervals and had one radiator leak over that time. For a truck that is now 40 years old and has many hundreds of thousands of miles on it, the single radiator failure is probably way better than average. My 91 WBXer made it until the rod bolts started to stretch at around 180K without the heads ever having to be redone, though they were leaking at that time and I had never once done a scheduled antifreeze change. I have never had to replace the radiators in any of my own Vanagons either. IMO if you add coolant conditioner and occasionally check your coolant with a test strip or meter then changing the antifeeze is a waste of time and money and may actually be detrimental.

Ahwahnee Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:02 am

Wildthings wrote: ...My 91 WBXer made it until... 180K without the heads ever having to be redone, though they were leaking at that time and I had never once done a scheduled antifreeze change...

So... you didn't routinely change the coolant and by 180K the heads were leaking?

Coolant is pretty darn cheap (costs much less than a tank of gas) and not really the chore to change and bleed that some make it out to be -- so to me it seems a no-brainer.

Wildthings Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:44 am

Ahwahnee wrote: Wildthings wrote: ...My 91 WBXer made it until... 180K without the heads ever having to be redone, though they were leaking at that time and I had never once done a scheduled antifreeze change...

So... you didn't routinely change the coolant and by 180K the heads were leaking?

Coolant is pretty darn cheap (costs much less than a tank of gas) and not really the chore to change and bleed that some make it out to be -- so to me it seems a no-brainer.

Yeap and the norm for people following VW recommendations of phosphate free coolant changed out frequently was for the heads to be weeping and have to come off at around 80,000 miles so my maintenance program let me better that by twice. As such it would be hard to show what could have been gained by changing out the coolant. Antifreeze does not break down, only the additives do. Keep the additive level up and you should have no problem running coolant for extended periods. I can add coolant conditioner to every vehicle in my fleet in less than 10 minutes so it gets done each and every year without fail.

tencentlife Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:18 am

joseph928 wrote: :bay_blue: right almost all antifreeze is ok but why not do something good for the earth buy sierra antifreeze my syncro likes it, taste good last longer.

PG isn't any "greener" than EG, both biodegrade equally easily in active soils and are approved for disposal in sanitary sewers (i.e. municipal sewers; I don't know as I would dispose of either in a private septic system due to its small capacity). PG is only distinguished by its low toxicity (it is still toxic, but one would have to ingest quite a lot of it to cause harm), apart from that a PG/water mix is slightly less effective a heat transfer medium than an EG/water mix. But choosing PG isn't any better or worse for the earth than EG. Both require the same additive elements to be used in an engine cooling system, and I would hazard to say it's the additives that probably pose more danger to the environment than the glycol alone.

randywebb Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:27 am

I'm asking because I replaced the Temp II sensor and lost a fair amount of coolant before I was able to shove a catch pan under there.

My coolant is 2 years old now - sounds like I can go a bit further if I add the coolant conditioner and some distilled water... (?)

Another question -- various places around have test strips for coolant. Do these simply test the freezing point / boiling point, or do they test the conditioning package?

Wildthings Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:31 pm

randywebb wrote: I'm asking because I replaced the Temp II sensor and lost a fair amount of coolant before I was able to shove a catch pan under there.

My coolant is 2 years old now - sounds like I can go a bit further if I add the coolant conditioner and some distilled water... (?)

Another question -- various places around have test strips for coolant. Do these simply test the freezing point / boiling point, or do they test the conditioning package?

Strip test for additives.

http://www.radstrips.com/

However if your coolant no longer will pass the strip test, you might want to change your antifreeze verses just adding coolant conditioner. I feel conditioner is a preventative measure and not something to start adding once the original additive package has gone to pot.

I add conditioner when I first do a coolant change on buying a new to me rig, or when an engine has been overhauled and then add it regularly from there.

Terry Kay Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:12 pm

Wildthings wrote: I pretty much never change the antifreeze, just add coolant conditioner once a year. My '91 self changed fairly frequently from the time we bought it new until it got the Subaru several years ago. No coolant leaks at all since then. My junk 83 1/2 got a coolant change on purchase and then made it without any substantial coolant issues until the engine died 75,000 miles later. My Syncro was somewhere between those two extremes.

And all of this good information is coming to you live direct from the Wildthang, who runs 5/30 in his engine 24/7/367 wihich is agiainst any logical thinking, against the grain of the VW issue owner's manual, & against the grain of the information listed in the back of the self service portion of the oh holy Bentley.
If you made a phone call to a VW Dealer they would tell you this is a bad idea themselves .

Now here he is--the oil man, suggesting to forget changing the coolant every two years--just keep topping off that coolant with conditioner.
As someone else mentioned-- it's pretty cheap insurance to change the coolant every once inwhile.

There is going to be a time that that coolant , regardless of how much conditioner he tosses at it will become over saturated with combustion by-products.
It's a way of the inyternal combustion engine, and no conditioner is going to remove that.
Lime & mineral scale from the water your mixing will eventually over contaminate that coolant.

No conditioner will overcome this phenomina--forever.

Subaru conditioner AND STOP LEAK ONCE A YEAR?( and this is what this stuff is--conditioner & stop leak)

Perfect suggestion for a long term mix of jello for coolant.

Real good suggetion there Wildthang--

I'll take a pass & change the coolant every 2 years--it ain't goona break the bank.

Wildthings Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:04 pm

My engines last longer than most with the oils I run and the way I treat my coolant. How old is your radiator? Mine is still original and cools just fine at 300K miles. Why are you getting products of combustion into your coolant? Maybe its time you fixed those compression leaks. Lime and mineral scale??? Is that coming from you Chicago tap water? Try some distilled water next time?



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