Aluminum heads/ coolant [Archive] - Chevelle Tech

: Aluminum heads/ coolant


Bob West
Mar 27th, 06, 8:03 AM
What do you guys use for coolant with alloy heads to keep corrosion in check? I might have a few more questions before I get this thing going again. Thanks.

427L88
Mar 27th, 06, 8:09 AM
The pink stuff Bob, but NOT GM Dexcool.

jbird
Mar 27th, 06, 9:27 AM
I use 50/50 regular ole anti-freeze and water. But I am open to suggestions for something better.

10secBu
Mar 27th, 06, 9:30 AM
I stumbled on this some time ago and bought one as cheap insurance.

http://www.radcapproducts.com/radcap.html

GRN69CHV
Mar 27th, 06, 9:42 AM
I filled my new motor with 50/50 premix -I am on well water with a high mineral content, have found the premix doesn't accumulate scale build up as quick. The pink or Dexcool may last a long time, but truthfully, I typically don't have a motor together long enough for this to be an issue.

Clint44
Mar 27th, 06, 10:05 AM
50/50 mix works fine in the winter. 100% distilled water with a bottle or two of Redline WaterWetter works great in the summer.

427L88
Mar 27th, 06, 11:50 AM
BTW, use TAP water, not distilled. Distilled will actually cause more problems. Too pure. I use Prestone 5/100,000 I think its called. Pinks are made specifically for alloy engine components. Is there really a difference, I donnow.

71LS6
Mar 27th, 06, 12:11 PM
The older green is not made for alloys. Most of the new coolants are. Read the lable and make sure it says safe for aluminum. There are several good additives made to lower temps and protect engines when there are different metals in the engine coolant loop!There are some specialized coolants you run straight that are made for industrial applications that are great. I run a product called ambitrol made by Dow chemical that is the best coolant I have ever seen. It is not available commercialy sad to say. Lowers Corvette temps abot 20 to thirty degrees. Water is the problem. The local supply may have any number of components in the mix.

Xtreme70SS396
Mar 27th, 06, 1:00 PM
As 10secBu noted - that cap he linked to uses a sacrificial anode.

I use zinc in my radiator, but magnesium is a better alloy for this purpose, and that radiator cap uses magnesium. You can get anodes for this purpose just about anywhere that sells marine products.

Basically, the anode (zinc or magnesium) sacrifices itself so your aluminum doesn't have to. Great protection for a few bucks.

Beaux
Mar 27th, 06, 1:16 PM
BTW, use TAP water, not distilled. Distilled will actually cause more problems. Too pure. I use Prestone 5/100,000 I think its called. Pinks are made specifically for alloy engine components. Is there really a difference, I donnow.


I thought it was RODI water that was too pure and would cause issues? Due to it lacking any and all minerals and such that it would start to pull in and or absorb them and "attack" the aluminum and other softer metals.

10secBu
Mar 27th, 06, 1:25 PM
I picked up some anti-freeze at WallyWorld. It's a Prestone products called extended life rated for 5 years/150k miles. It's a yellowish color and is rated for aluminum components protection. It also states it can be mixed with any color anti-freeze.

Up until now I've just used straight tap water with a can of water pump lube added. But with new alloy heads, I'm trying to do what ever within reason to minimize any corrosion.

Gokou
Mar 27th, 06, 3:08 PM
I like using over the counter premixed stuff from my local Honda dealership. It's an OAT formula made for all-aluminum or nearly all-aluminum applications and it also has a surfectant included (which is what waterwetter is.)

Using some RMI-25 is also a good bet; it's a mildly "soapy" cleaner, lubricant, and surfectant all in one. However, because of its cleaning properties it can "find" leaks though in older or poorly maintained cooling systems once it cleans the buildup off.

I also run magnesium sacrifical anodes in both heads and in the block plugs. You can get them from McMaster-carr. They're made for water heater use, but just cut them to length (keep them as long as possible) and thread them in.

Also, someone please show me where using distilled water is bad in a cooling system. High calcium and/or mineral content in tap water (or worse, well water) usually causes big problems with scale buildup in a short amount of time. Distilled water does away with the majority of the mineral content and keeps scale buildup at a minimum.

Using DI water (especially straight) in a cooling system is another matter entirely; DI water has a very low dissolved solids content and is rather high in conductivity which will accelerate electrolysis in your cooling system-- that's bad.

Running water only, in any circumstances, isn't the preferred method. You don't get the additional ph balancers, anti-corrosion additives, and water pump lubricants that a good coolant brings to the table.

Troy

427L88
Mar 27th, 06, 3:10 PM
Troy, I read it here, by a chemist. Run a search. It's logged in my brain, but I cannot reference it.

d1_bradley
Mar 27th, 06, 4:34 PM
Most sites, including this one from Castrol, say to USE distilled. http://www.castrol.com/castrol/genericarticle.do?categoryId=8264013&contentId=7006991

Schurkey
Mar 27th, 06, 5:01 PM
So, what did folks use thousands and thousands of years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and Buick and Cadillac timing covers were made from aluminum?

I thought ANY reasonably fresh antifreeze would protect aluminum. The problems only started when the antifreeze was old and worn-out.

Am I wrong?

Gokou
Mar 27th, 06, 5:19 PM
So, what did folks use thousands and thousands of years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and Buick and Cadillac timing covers were made from aluminum?

I thought ANY reasonably fresh antifreeze would protect aluminum. The problems only started when the antifreeze was old and worn-out.

Am I wrong?

You are right. Any fresh antifreeze is better than none when it comes to ph balancing and corrosion protection... but there are a LOT of options out there now concerning protection methods and formulations.

A lot of the new cars use OAT (organic acid) formulations; while these are very good at protecting aluminum they are not as good as protecting cast iron and typically very poor when it comes to protecting copper and lead (i.e. copper/brass soldered radiators) compared to the more "conventional green" formulation of good old US silicated antifreezes (i.e. standard Prestone.)

For instance, modern OAT Japanese coolants typically have no silicates (the typical inhibitor in Prestone and older formulations) while European OAT formulas still have some silicates in them... and use different OA's than the Japanese coolants. US-spec OAT coolants (i.e. Dexcool) differ from both.

Suffice to say, if you want decent "all around" protection of all the different metals in your cooling system it's hard to go wrong with the usual "old school" green silicate formula standard Prestone. While some of the new OAT formulas do better at aluminum protection they often are lacking in ability to protect other metals in the cooling system compared to a classic silicate formula.

Whatever you choose to run, mix it properly, keep it fresh, and run some sacrifical anodes for additional protection.

Motorhead62
Mar 27th, 06, 5:32 PM
The "NEW" Prestone and a jug of "Anti-Rust". Good for the water pump too! :thumbsup:

eville
Mar 27th, 06, 6:23 PM
I also run magnesium sacrifical anodes in both heads and in the block plugs. You can get them from McMaster-carr. They're made for water heater use, but just cut them to length (keep them as long as possible) and thread them in.

Troy

Ok, I'm a little confused... I found the anodes here,

http://www.mcmaster.com/ctlg/DisplCtlgPage.asp?ReqTyp=CATALOG&CtlgPgNbr=465&CtlgEdition=&sesnextrep=608962333990950&ScreenWidth=1280&McMMainWidth=801

Which ones do you run and where do you thread them in?

Gokou
Mar 27th, 06, 6:34 PM
Ok, I'm a little confused... I found the anodes here,

http://www.mcmaster.com/ctlg/DisplCtlgPage.asp?ReqTyp=CATALOG&CtlgPgNbr=465&CtlgEdition=&sesnextrep=608962333990950&ScreenWidth=1280&McMMainWidth=801

Which ones do you run and where do you thread them in?

You buy the pipe threaded rods in the appropriate size and thread them into any of the various pipe plugs that hit water/coolant. The anodes by virtue of being the most active metal on the galvanic series of any of the metals in your engine will be "eaten up" first from electrolysis prior to your expensive aluminum heads. Magnesium is the most active and would be the best choice but they're only offered in pipe sizes of 1/2" NPT and larger, while most plugs you'll be replacing in the system are 3/8" or 1/4" NPT. They're simply rods that are pressed into machined brass pipe plugs, so you can also buy some magnesium rod and make your own. I started with the off the shelf Mcmaster zinc anodes and later for added insurance yanked the zinc rods out of the provided plugs and made my own magnesium rods from some mag barstock I had laying around. The zinc is perfectly adequate though and you don't need to go to the lengths I did.

Since the entire engine is mechanically fastened and the coolant acts as one big electrically conductive solution joining all the various components it really doesn't matter where you install them as long as they are immersed in the coolant. Right now I have one in each head and one in the block. I also ran two in the back corners of my previous intake which was tapped for 4-corner cooling.

Occasionally (when changing coolant yearly) I'll remove them and wirewheel them to remove any scale that may have formed on them and to expose fresh metal.

Xtreme70SS396
Mar 27th, 06, 7:01 PM
FYI, #3606K6 is the zinc anode that's 3" long on a 1/4 NPT plug - fits right into your drain plug on the radiator.

echristie
Mar 27th, 06, 7:36 PM
I replaced my petcock with a zinc plug I picked up from McMaster-Carr. I run 50-50 Prest*ne.

E.

Camaro_fever68
Mar 27th, 06, 8:47 PM
How necessary is this? I see cars of all makes and models with over 200,000 miles and still running. Cast block, aluminum heads; Aluminum block, aluminum heads; and cast block, cast heads. We not running salt water through our engines, except on my boat and it has about 3 zinc anodes on it. And let me say this.....I went salt water fishing in the marsh and I took a boat without the sacrificial anode that ran perfect in frest water. Once I got in the salt water, about 10mins. and it started missing. Took me awhile to figure it out.

How many people have actually seen the damage inside there engine from electrolisis. I'm not talking rust from straight water, I mean the little pits that have formed over years. A good place to see them is on aluminum manifolds that block off the water on back the heads. How long would it take to actually damage a head or intake to where it would hurt it with normal anti-freeze and water?

pavo
Mar 27th, 06, 9:11 PM
I use a coolant called "Fleet Charge". I get it through TSC (Tractor Supply Company). It is designed for Fleet vehicles like big rigs. I also use distilled water to dilute it. On the rear corners of my intake, I ran a ground wire to try to cut down on any electrolysis. After 6 years and about 150,000 miles, the aluminum (rad, water pump, heads, and intake) all looked like I just put them on. I don't know if the ground wires work, but I know for myself I will continue to use the same method from now on......
Just my .02

glennslanaker
Mar 27th, 06, 9:48 PM
i think you guys are really over-thinking this. aluminum head cars are all over the place, even a lot of old ones, and there are boneheads driving them for years and years of trouble free operation that don't even know what 'coolant' even is.
you've got about as many different opinions here as reponses, and ya know, they are apparently all working fine.

sleeper
Mar 27th, 06, 11:36 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1,1&item=8049848004&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT


I found this on ebay. Looks like it would be OK with aluminum heads???

Bob West
Mar 27th, 06, 11:37 PM
Thanks guys, alot of good reading here.

69bigblock
Mar 27th, 06, 11:43 PM
Bob, I just want ta say thanks for asking all the questions as I need all the same info for when my afr's arrive. Oh, thanks for the answers guys...

Gokou
Mar 28th, 06, 12:16 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1,1&item=8049848004&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT


I found this on ebay. Looks like it would be OK with aluminum heads???

Same part as from McMaster, but at twice the price.

Ron454
Mar 28th, 06, 12:48 AM
You ready for this Bob? And others?

I use Prestone GM Dexcool..........
I put it in in '99 when I built the Nova.
No corrosion, no problems.
When I built the 498........I took the coolant out of the 468.....it looked perfect....so I put it back in. Same stuff.
Alum heads too.

In fact.....with the AFR heads....the car runs so cool, I have to warm it up before a run....even in the summer.

I also use it in my 91 442 Calais.....works perfect.

My 06 Cobalt SS comes with it in the radiator as well as the intercooler.

I've heard nothing but crap about it....but my experience does not mirror others comments.

Ron

Cameano
Mar 28th, 06, 4:56 AM
How many people have actually seen the damage inside there engine from electrolisis. I'm not talking rust from straight water, I mean the little pits that have formed over years. A good place to see them is on aluminum manifolds that block off the water on back the heads. How long would it take to actually damage a head or intake to where it would hurt it with normal anti-freeze and water?

I see the effects of it all the time at work. We run twin Honda 50's on our RHIB boats, and usually only get 2 to 3 years out of a block before water starts leaking through the exhaust housing. The pitting in there can get real bad, real quick. I've been hearing rumors of Mercs in the future.