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"green" coolant vs vw coolant
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Bruce Wayne
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: "green" coolant vs vw coolant Reply with quote

mechanic says I should not run "green" (prestone type) coolant in my van due to the fact it can damage the aluminum. is this true? he says to run vw coolant to prevent damage. never heard of such a thing myself,but im new to VW world.
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amishman
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only run the red VW kind myself. Why chance it. I think if you flushed the green stuff often, like every 1 year, it would probably be OK, but again, VW recommends certain stuff so your best to run what they say.

Basically you are supposed to run phosphate-free coolant. Not sure if that comes in other colors other than red but look for that.

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madmax25
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just filled up my '88 with the neon green Prestone "any make/model/year" stuff. I don't recall seeing "phosphate free" on it, but it says that it protects aluminum engines so I'm hoping it's good...plus I swear I saw a post by one of the wise vanagon elders on here saying that they use that stuff too...
If anyone believes this product and engine should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace (so i can dump it and fill it with the good stuff asap).
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DAVEURO
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been adding antifreeze to every kind of auto since 1983. In the 90's they went to the red (extended life) antifreeze to make autos less maintainable as well as the auto trans fluid. BS. The red DEXCOOL antifreeze turns to gunk if exposed to air. That means that if you have a leak and it gets low it begins to clog components. If the system is tight and full it still will evaporate and need to be added to at a minimum of 3000 miles. It just does. It is harder than hell to find a slow leak with the red as it drys quickly but will last longer in relative terms.
Pick one or the other. Replace it every 30K or every year to be safe. You can go longer but unless you plan on a new ride, keep it clear. It should look like the day you put it in. Green or red. The red will hold up longer. I have not seen the rusted internal components with the red as I have seen in the past with the green. If you have one or the other, do not mix them. It turns the color to grey yuck and you can't tell if it is good or bad. There is no cooling differences between the two. The only reason we use antifreeze is just for that-NO FREEZING. They do contain chemsicals that prevent oxidation (rust) that pure water can't do being made of oxygen or parts of. KEEP IT CLEAN AND KEEP IT FULL
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Mad-Max
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not noticed any gunk after 2 years of using dex-cool...
But i have noticed I fill the coolant overflow reservoir with the .oz
or two that evaporated when changing oil (3,000 miles)....and keep on trukin
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what the GoWesty "Library" says about coolant (and related problems):

http://www.gowesty.com/library_article.php?id=107

"When VW introduced the waterboxer in 1983 they did not realize the extent to which the design was susceptible to corrosion. The corrosion problem, particularly between the water jacket seal and cylinder head, was exacerbated by the presence of phosphate in the coolant. On early waterboxers it was not uncommon for the water jacket seals to fail and leak coolant as early as 40,000 miles, or two to four years. VW replaced countless water jacket seals under warranty, and the stigma has plagued the waterboxer image ever since. VW realized the problem and switched to a phosphate-free coolant. The problem was pretty much solved, but not entirely. Even with phosphate-free coolant, typical life of the water jacket seals were no more than 10 years or 140,000 miles. Out of warranty for sure, but still not up to modern-day reliability standards by a long shot."

"So what's the answer? The trick to keeping this problem from occurring on your waterboxer powered Vanagon is to simply flush the coolant every two years with phosphate-free coolant and distilled water. We have taken engines apart after five years with ABSOLUTELY ZERO corrosion. So what started out as somewhat of a design issue turned into a purely maintenance issue."

"So, what kind of coolant is the best? Contrary to popular folklore, it is not essential to obtain at all costs the genuine German, VW endorsed, flown-over-from-the-homeland Autobahn (blue) coolant. ANY coolant that is PHOSPHATE-FREE will work fine. That, distilled water, and flushing every other year is the ticket. "
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K58
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Sierra and 2 bottles of coolant conditioner
it's phosphate free and recommended
better empty out that green s**t
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GeorgeL
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

K58 wrote:
I use Sierra and 2 bottles of coolant conditioner
it's phosphate free and recommended
better empty out that green s**t


The other side of the equation that is often overlooked is the distilled water. Do not use tap water! The impurities vary from place to place, but they can't do you any good. Distilled water is cheap compared to corrosion!
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K58
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GeorgeL wrote:
K58 wrote:
I use Sierra and 2 bottles of coolant conditioner
it's phosphate free and recommended
better empty out that green s**t


The other side of the equation that is often overlooked is the distilled water. Do not use tap water! The impurities vary from place to place, but they can't do you any good. Distilled water is cheap compared to corrosion!

thanks George,
I neglected to mention a 50/50 Sierra / distilled water
and then the blue bottles
absolutely


Last edited by K58 on Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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jdgomez69
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Purple coolant! I'll get the brand and what not in the morning....
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bucko
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got my VW back from the shop, where I had them literally overhaul the cooling system (New heads, water pump, thermostat, and radiator). The mechanic called and had me come over to examine the old heads. They were pitted pretty bad, and it was due to using phosphorous based antifreeze and who knows what type of water. All done by the previous owner(s).

I can garantee that from now on, it will be flushed once every year, and with a 50/50 mix of distilled water and non-phosphorous coolant.

It's your cooling system. Use what you want; but if you don't want to spend money on new heads, do as the experts say.
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Raggamuffin
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

K58 wrote:
I use Sierra and 2 bottles of coolant conditioner
it's phosphate free and recommended
better empty out that green s**t


Amen for the Subaru Coolant Conditioner! I had a small leak and it dissappeared when I added 2 little bottles of that stuff!
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oasis
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was the 2.1 liter engine less susceptible to head gasket problems than the 1.9?

I realize phosphate-free only is the order of the day either way, but since I owned an'85 with a 1.9 and I am now looking for a new-to-me Vanagon, I was wondering what the concensus was on this forum.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oasis wrote:
Was the 2.1 liter engine less susceptible to head gasket problems than the 1.9?


Since virtually every Vanagon out there today have had the head gaskets replaced there shouldn't be much difference in the dependability of a 1.9 and 2.1. The head gaskets fail for multiple reasons anyway so it can't be blamed all on antifreeze and scouring. For one the gasket just hardens and fails from age and use, and second a lot depends on the sealant used on the gasket.

On my 91 I made 140,000 mi before I had to pull the engine due to head gasket seepage (and rod bolt stretch) and there was virtually no signs of corrosion. Yet I never change the antifreeze in any of my cars EVER unless forced to by a blown plastic fitting or something. I just run a 50/50 mix (yes, phosphate free)and add coolant conditioner religiously.

It is real easy to put off draining and refilling your coolant system. A month here and a month there, pretty soon a couple of years have past without it being done and corrosion has set in. Adding coolant conditioner takes so little effort I don't think that I have ever failed to add it annually since I first started using it in my rigs 30+ years back.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, pray tell, which conditioner are you using?
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Kill More Trout
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've looked for Sierra before and never found it. Where do you guys/gals find it? Same question for the Subaru conditioner.
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Raggamuffin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
And, pray tell, which conditioner are you using?


I used the Subaru stuff.
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bucko
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Band aid repair. May stop the leak for awhile, but it's not going to work forever. I for one don't want to be out on the road "somewhere" and have a major overheat problem because the "coolant additive" bit the dust.

I gotta believe it's not doing any favors to the passages in the radiator either.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was actually interested to know what additive Wildthings recommends. He detailed his service program, it seems to be successful, but it apparently hinged on the conditioner. Then he didn't say what he uses. That seemed like an important detail, so I was genuinely curious to know what it is.

I put two bottles of the Suby stuff in with my Dexcool/water mix. I looked into that quite a bit before deciding to try it. I never saw anything that specifically said it was for stopping leaks. My impression was that it was intended as a seal-conditioner and surfactant (wetting agent), designed for all-aluminum engines. Both would be nice qualities to enhance coolant performance. I know it's just a British product repackaged.

When I went into the Suby dealer to buy some, they were handing it out for free, and didn't care one whit when I said it was going in my old VW. The counterman even recommended the second bottle because he knew the Vanagon system is so big.

I'm not an advocate of it one way or another. I happen to be using it at the moment. If someone can point me to documentation of how it works, that it is intended as a leakstop, or that it has incompatibilities with common market antifreezes, I'd sure like to see them so I can be better informed about it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:25 pm    Post subject: coolant Reply with quote

Once again G-11 and distilled water change it once a year. VW red coolant is not very compatable with most other coolants. Buy a new Miata mix some Mazda and VW G-12 together in two weeks the entire system will fail. Had a customer do it. The only thing nice about G-12 is seems to seal the constant leaks on the newer VWs. I had a customer who had a his 90k mile daily driver Vanogon flushed with Prestone the head gaskets started to leak. Flushing it with distilled water and then filling it with G-11 fixed it for the next three years. We did try G-12 on some new Vanogon engine installs for customers who let no one touch the Van with no problem. But I stopped once I saw how mean and punative VW was when they decided to use G-12. It gets costly when you don't follow thier directions. Hamms Taxi Service put nearly 300,000 miles on his used 84 Vanogon taxi before the head gaskets leaked. He changed the G-12 coolant and distilled water once a year. After 25 years of repairing VWs it is obvious VW engineered G-11 into this engine design to make it last. After the first G-12 comingle we tested replacing G-12 with G-11 Pluses no big compatibilty issues, minuses G-11 seeps more than G-12. We explained and offered this option to all out of warranty customers. After all VW uses a low coolant light. Repeat comingling offenders really appreciated this option.

Last edited by perrib on Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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