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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cooling System Preventative Maintenance

Properly maintaining your cooling system can save you a lot of money. Recently, a friend of mine was heading south on I-35 from Dallas, when he blew the upper radiator hose on his Acura Legend. He should have stopped the car, but he didn't realize what was happening soon enough. He learned a $2,200 lesson that it pays to regularly maintain your cooling system. Aluminum head engines are very unforgiving, will not tolerate abuse, and will punish you for it.

Regularly examine all radiator and heater hoses. Many people change them all out every 4 years, since internal deterioration can be difficult to detect. When it's 105 to 110 degrees outside, you're bumper-to-bumper in traffic on I-35, and your A/C is on max, you definitely don't want any problems. It's an all too common problem in Texas. The logical time to change them is when you change your antifreeze, which brings me to the next point.

Not all antifreeze is created equally, even though they all come in pretty plastic jugs. It's the same way with engine oil--there are real differences in quality. Make sure the antifreeze you use meets the specs for your car. If in doubt, only buy your antifreeze from the dealer. Generally speaking, if your car came with the standard green-colored antifreeze, you should only use it. However, if your car came with DEXCOOL (orange colored), you definitely need to only use it. DEXCOOL-based systems, in particular, should be checked regularly to make sure they are not low. Fill them slightly over the line in the overflow tank and make sure there are no air pockets in the system. Chevron-Texaco experts in organic acid technology (OAT) tell me the problems some people have had with DEXCOOL can be eliminated by making sure the radiator and overflow tank are full, to prevent super-heated air from entering and causing corrosion throughout the cooling system. DEXCOOL-related problems can usually be traced to poor maintenance. In one of my cars, I have used DEXCOOL for years and I love the stuff. In my opinion, it is a superior technology. You don't have to worry about the deliterious effects of silicates, phosphates, and borates on water pump bearing seals, which precedes water pump failure. In my Taurus, I use the standard green-colored antifreeze (Zerex 5 year/100,000 mile) coolant, which meets Ford's specifications for my car. In both cars, however, I use a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water. Using distilled water is very important in modern-day engines. I've seen cooling systems overheat in just a matter of minutes from people using tap and well water. Don't take that risk.
 

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What would be the cause of the coolant being rust colored?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Most likely plain, old corrosion. Using anything but distilled water can trigger adverse chemical reactions, especially under the temperatures of today's engines, with metals and hoses. Chlorine, flouride, phosphates, borates, silicates, and many other chemicals complicate the picture and do us no good. I'd thoroughly flush the system, including heater core, check hoses for deterioration, and add 50/50 mixture of the proper antifreeze and distilled water.
 

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The Duratec's are supposed to use a type that is marked for use in Ford and Chrysler vehicles. Not the standard stuff you buy. It cost like 10 bucks a gallon

Mike
B)
 
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