Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

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Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby lazyuniondriver » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:58 pm

I started making my rounds with my anti freeze tester while it is still pleasant working weather outside.

The antifreeze in my equipment degraded itself by my tester indicating only 3 of the usual 5 balls floating, and it has only been two or three years since the antifreeze was changed.

I have added a few ounces of pure water on occasion, but not enough to dilute it by 2 balls I thought.

I got to thinking maybe my antifreeze tester was giving a false reading so I grabbed my spare which also floated only 3 of the 5 balls.

With recent discussion about gasoline going stale very rapidly in multiple forum discussions, I wondered to myself if the antifreeze manufacturers haven't found a way to cheapen the production cost of AF by blending the freeze protection elements of the mixture with something that evaporates instead of lasting a zillion years like the old stuff.

Still not convinced my antifreeze was only good to 10 below, I uncorked a brand new jug which claimed protection to 40 below diluted by as much as 50% by water. Same reading... 3 of 5 floating balls.

Down to the auto parts joint I went bringing home a new tester, which not to my surprise, indicated by floating all 5 balls that my coolant was indeed protected to well below temperatures experienced in my region.

Lesson learned: Both my testers probably date back to the mid seventies. One I bought new, one was given to me. I was not aware anti freeze testers have a shelf life but apparently they do. They probably count on the glass being broken and the balls rolling away long before they go out of calibration.

If your antifreeze tester dates back to when Jimmy Hoffa was still around, you may want to double check its accuracy. I am thankful my testers reported my coolant was on the weak side and didn't go the other way floating all 5 balls in pure water.

On a side note, a couple weeks ago I was in the antifreeze isle and noticed an end cap display of probably the most popular brand of antifreeze known to man had a "newly formulated mixture" that is "premixed for your convenience. No messy mixing needed for full protection".

A price check revealed the gallon of pre mixed anti freeze and water was the exact same price as the gallon of their pure formula which can be mixed 50% with water and still provide maximum temperature protection.

Whether your preference is to dump it in straight or dilute it, be careful what you grab... You could be laying down about 5 bucks for a half gallon of water if you aren't careful.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:32 pm

My tester says to test at operating temperature. Ed
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:37 pm

The testers are designed to operate at different temperatures. Most of the floating ball ones are for room temperature, or else you have to let the antifreeze stand in them long enough to warm the floats.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby RUSSALL » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:37 pm

I used my anti freeze tester that was from the 80's to check my tractors. They both failed.
So I went and got new anti freeze and a new tester to have as a back up.
Changed both tractors , pemixing as they are thermosiphon. After all the work I rechecked the new stuff and it failed also. Took out the new one a rechecked and both new and old were fine.
That was a expensive lesson that could have been avoided with a tool from this millennium,
And a few dollars.


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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby Don McCombs » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:49 pm

I guess I better get a new one. :D
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby ad356 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:58 pm

i did the antifreeze in my cub today, i did not know how long it has been in there so i changed it. i like to spend $10 or less and change out old fluids it is cheap insurance i think. anyways antifreeze that came out looked good no nasty surprises no sludge or anything else that doesnt belong. i took 4 2 liter pop bottles out when i emptied. i refilled with 1 jug of full strength antifreeze and 1 gallon of water which gives me a 50% mix water to antifreeze. i didnt premix and i didnt realize that might be an issue i think the water and antifreeze should easily mix on its own. i did know it was thermoshipon but it still circulates; am i going to have an issue with my method or will everything mix on its own like i think it should. am i going to have an issue, i certainly don't want my tractor to freeze
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby dgrapes59 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:31 pm

ad356 wrote:i did the antifreeze in my cub today, i did not know how long it has been in there so i changed it. i like to spend $10 or less and change out old fluids it is cheap insurance i think. anyways antifreeze that came out looked good no nasty surprises no sludge or anything else that doesnt belong. i took 4 2 liter pop bottles out when i emptied. i refilled with 1 jug of full strength antifreeze and 1 gallon of water which gives me a 50% mix water to antifreeze. i didnt premix and i didnt realize that might be an issue i think the water and antifreeze should easily mix on its own. i did know it was thermoshipon but it still circulates; am i going to have an issue with my method or will everything mix on its own like i think it should. am i going to have an issue, i certainly don't want my tractor to freeze


Pre-mixing had been debated previously, lots of opinions! Personally I pre-mix, I know it is mixed then! I think if you run it a bit and get it up to operating temps it will mix and you should be OK, take it out and play with it for a while! :big afro:

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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby ntrenn » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:11 pm

I've heard that the 50/50 premix from the factory isn't a full 50/50. I mix my own.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby thiggy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:29 pm

I've never had much faith in the ball indicators for antifreeze (or for battery testers either). Whenever I purchase new antifreeze, I go ahead and prepare a 50-50 mixture so that anytime I add coolant to any of my vehicles, I retain the same protection, rather than diluting with water.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby tst » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:09 pm

The green antifreeze is supposed to be changed every three years, after that it breaks down into the slimey oily mess that you find in the bottom of the bolster mixed with the rust and other years of collected goo, the gold color "pernament" antifreeze is good for 5 years
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby Rudi » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:13 pm

I mix 50-50 and do not dilute with water. I recycle my anti-freeze at a local facility and am now beginning to use the recycled coolant. Cheaper, greener and as effective.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby lazyuniondriver » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:17 am

ScottyD'sdad wrote:My tester says to test at operating temperature. Ed


Thanks for making me dig through the trash can Ed. My new tester's instructions read to check with coolant warmed up as well.

I never remember having to warm the coolant before testing with my old now discarded testers. The one I originally purchased was a NAPA Balkamp and was packaged inside a pocket protector which I still have. I read the instructions and didn't see anything about coolant temperature, only the key to how many balls were needed to float for specific temperature protection, although it could have been printed on the pocket protector overpackaging if there was any.
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby Scrivet » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:36 pm

Rudi wrote:I mix 50-50 and do not dilute with water..............

I'm sure this is a "forest for the trees" kind of thing but ..........if you don't dilute it with water what do you mix it with to get the 50-50? Or is this a two part statement where you don't use straight water if you have to top off the coolant during the year?
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby Rudi » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:19 pm

Scrivet wrote:
Rudi wrote:I mix 50-50 and do not dilute with water..............

I'm sure this is a "forest for the trees" kind of thing but ..........if you don't dilute it with water what do you mix it with to get the 50-50? Or is this a two part statement where you don't use straight water if you have to top off the coolant during the year?



Scrivet:

That would be what I meant. I use 50-50 when I fill. I do not dilute with water if I top off, I use more of the 50-50 pre-mix. It made sense to me when I posted it.. now I can see it is kinda obtuse :roll: :oops: :lol:
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Re: Anti Freeze Check Reveals Surprise

Postby Buzzard Wing » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:20 pm

The premix only goes half as far, but it is convenient at times. Also, when I mix it I ALWAYS use distilled water, no minerals is much better.

Also, it's hard to come by and expensive, but the ELC stuff is pretty interesting stuff. Rotella ELC is good for a 1,000,000 Km..... that is pretty well the life of a Cub.
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