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Old 02-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #1
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Coolant - scam?

I am poised to replace the coolant in my boat and while researching different products (not Evans, I have about 18 gallons to replace!) I read all the labels and read all the reviews but there seems to be a lot of hooey out there. For example, Prestone vs Prestone Long Life or Diesel/heavy duty stuff, all seems to have the same composition when you read the MDS sheets but all have different claims (and prices). Another example is Dex-Cool for GM engines - more expensive than the regular stuff, but some of the Prestones state "safe for all vehicles" while also selling Dex-whosis.

So wtf? I am going to buy the cheapest low silicate coolant I can find that comes with a 'sheet' and add the corrosion inhibitors as per the test strips and to hell with the claptrap the brand names sell. What a scam. WallyWorld, here I come.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:08 PM   #2
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I am poised to replace the coolant in my boat and while researching different products (not Evans, I have about 18 gallons to replace!) I read all the labels and read all the reviews but there seems to be a lot of hooey out there. For example, Prestone vs Prestone Long Life or Diesel/heavy duty stuff, all seems to have the same composition when you read the MDS sheets but all have different claims (and prices). Another example is Dex-Cool for GM engines - more expensive than the regular stuff, but some of the Prestones state "safe for all vehicles" while also selling Dex-whosis.

So wtf? I am going to buy the cheapest low silicate coolant I can find that comes with a 'sheet' and add the corrosion inhibitors as per the test strips and to hell with the claptrap the brand names sell. What a scam. WallyWorld, here I come.
People/companies have done oil testing and the Wally World oil has beaten 1/2 the pack on several tests for overall performance.

No matter what you buy nowadays, it pays to be an educated consumer.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:12 PM   #3
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I may take a beating on this but you are right. Now that you figured this out brace yourself for the realization that all oil is more or less equal too
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
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Took a Caterpillar diesel class (circa 1998)put on by Caterpillar.They convinced me that extended life coolant was the way to go ... been using it ever since.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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What engines do you have? What color is the coolant in there now? Any idea of brand/formulation?

edit- questions posed to the OP.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:50 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. X. There is a small discussion of anti-freeze on another ongoing thread but damned if I can remember which one....
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #7
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Took a Caterpillar diesel class (circa 1998)put on by Caterpillar.They convinced me that extended life coolant was the way to go ... been using it ever since.
Same here. Switched to the CAT ELC rated coolant 8 years ago. No need for periodic testing or charging. Just flush and replace every 5 years. We are running a CAT 3116, so your mileage may vary.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #8
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Without a doubt I run the good stuff in my Ford 7.3 powerstroke...of course after hearing the horror stories from the early years of them...but the Lehman was in service a long time ago with long service life LONG before extended life coolants...most diesels we know today have been designed completely different...so yes why take a chance.

But I have to say that I would rather spend my money on other maintenance issues and the best oil if there is one, with frequent changes rather than on a coolant that is really doing nothing fancy. If it's high in silicates as some extended life coolants can be, it is only accelerating the demise of the coolant pump bearings.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:41 PM   #9
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I don't know much about anti-freeze but Yanmar is very specific about what to use and what not to use. The wrong anti-freeze can wreck the engine.
I can speak about oil. I am in the hydraulic industry and the proper fluid is mandatory. The chief lubrication engineer at Bethlehem Steel (now defunct) once told me that all multi viscosity oils (both engine and hydraulic) will strip back to a straight weight at some time during their life. A good name brand oil can take years. A cheap no name oil will strip back in a matter of hour or days. There is no way of telling what it will strip back to. A 10W40 can strip to a 10 weight or 40 weight or anywhere in between.

Our company has 13 dynamometers. many years ago an oil salesman came in to our purchasing department and said he could save us a lot of money on oil. well he did....but all of the transmissions we tested with his oil failed on the dyno. 100% failures. I saw this with my own eyes. Don't even get me started on filters quality.

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Old 02-05-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
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I don't know much about anti-freeze but Yanmar is very specific about what to use and what not to use. The wrong anti-freeze can wreck the engine.
I can speak about oil. I am in the hydraulic industry and the proper fluid is mandatory. The chief lubrication engineer at Bethlehem Steel (now defunct) once told me that all multi viscosity oils (both engine and hydraulic) will strip back to a straight weight at some time during their life. A good name brand oil can take years. A cheap no name oil will strip back in a matter of hour or days. There is no way of telling what it will strip back to. A 10W40 can strip to a 10 weight or 40 weight or anywhere in between.

Our company has 13 dynamometers. many years ago an oil salesman came in to our purchasing department and said he could save us a lot of money on oil. well he did....but all of the transmissions we tested with his oil failed on the dyno. 100% failures. I saw this with my own eyes. Don't even get me started on filters quality.

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Try and explain that to the client.

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Old 02-05-2014, 09:34 PM   #11
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Ski, Cummins 6CTA8.3 M1

It's green(ish) and because I am a recently new owner and I am hauling in a month, so can then pull the plug in the keel, I am changing it.

I won't know exactly until I measure it but estimating by the size of the keel, I think 18 gallons is close to its volume. I am intrigued by Evans but their high price combined with different products all sounding the same but with different prices, I think he has a good idea but he is selling like snake oil.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:40 PM   #12
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Another tip - I have found that buying cheap oil is a good thing if the specs on the can meet the manufacturer's requirements and house brands are usually produced by brand names. Example, Crappy Tire (famous Canadian store) sells "Certified" 10-40 diesel for about $20 cheaper than Rotella. The can meets the same specs as the Rotella, if you go to the MDS sheets which they have to publish, (you can find them in Customer Service) the oil is made by Shell! If you think about it, there are only so many refineries so the oil has to be the same. If the specs are the same, the additive package has to be the same. Ergo bingo, same stuff!
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:53 PM   #13
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I am poised to replace the coolant in my boat and while researching different products (not Evans, I have about 18 gallons to replace!) I read all the labels and read all the reviews but there seems to be a lot of hooey out there. For example, Prestone vs Prestone Long Life or Diesel/heavy duty stuff, all seems to have the same composition when you read the MDS sheets but all have different claims (and prices). Another example is Dex-Cool for GM engines - more expensive than the regular stuff, but some of the Prestones state "safe for all vehicles" while also selling Dex-whosis. So wtf? I am going to buy the cheapest low silicate coolant I can find that comes with a 'sheet' and add the corrosion inhibitors as per the test strips and to hell with the claptrap the brand names sell. What a scam. WallyWorld, here I come.


Basically there are 3 types of coolant. Only two should be used in marine diesels and they aren't the cheapest ones. Go figure.
Astm d3306 standard automotive and cheapest.
Astm d6210 hd diesel coolant. No need for sca's just use premix 50/50.
Dexcool is an organic acid and does not mix with glycol so if your engine uses it you need to stick with it.

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:08 PM   #14
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Ski, Cummins 6CTA8.3 M1

It's green(ish) and because I am a recently new owner and I am hauling in a month, so can then pull the plug in the keel, I am changing it.

I won't know exactly until I measure it but estimating by the size of the keel, I think 18 gallons is close to its volume. I am intrigued by Evans but their high price combined with different products all sounding the same but with different prices, I think he has a good idea but he is selling like snake oil.
My Cummins 6CT 300 heat exchanged holds right at 8 gallons. Remember there is a filter with an additive in it for the cooling system that is located next to the fuel filter. This should also be changed when doing the coolant.

Regardless of what coolant you choose, dilute it with distilled water (mineral free) available at most super markets or walmart for about a dollar a gallon. Distilled water virtually eliminates mineral deposits in the engine and heat exchanger.

Regarding oil, my preference is Rotella T (Shell oil). At walmart it's $13 a gallon. Not sure how much cheaper there house brand is. As expensive as a rebuild is, I'll stick with a proven winner. My dodge pickup with the cummins diesel has 355K miles on it now and still doesn't use any oil!

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:30 PM   #15
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I developed a fondness for the "Be Cool" product line when I used to build engines for my various toys. It's good stuff too...

However, mixing coolant types can be bad, depending on what you mix.

If I were DRIVING somewhere I wouldn't worry about it, because push comes to shove, you can get what you need overnighted to you just about anywhere, if you even need to in the first place.

On the water? Especially in places that might not be part of the vast shopping mall that is the USA...?

I think I would want the most commercially available product I could get, which means traditional "Green" anti-freeze.


That's just a thought...
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:58 AM   #16
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Volvo calls for a specific coolant and of course they are willing to sell it for $24 per gallon. It's to be mixed with distilled water ($1) per gallon so that's $12.50 per gallon altogether.

Many will argue that any coolant from the auto parts store or Walmart will do and perhaps this is the case, but Volvo is concerned about internal corrosion and considering the cost of the engine, using their coolant seems cheap insurance.

That said, they have introduced a new coolant. It's based on a different chemical (look it up if you want to) and in theory is better than the original. The problem is, they are incompatible so if you've been using the original (green), they strongly caution you not to switch to the newer (yellow) coolant. You can never remove all traces of the old and mixing the two will cause problems.

So - I continue using what was in the engine in the first place and what has been used over its history. For me, the cost is insignificant compared to other costs of owning the boat.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:06 AM   #17
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Another tip - I have found that buying cheap oil is a good thing if the specs on the can meet the manufacturer's requirements and house brands are usually produced by brand names. Example, Crappy Tire (famous Canadian store) sells "Certified" 10-40 diesel for about $20 cheaper than Rotella. The can meets the same specs as the Rotella, if you go to the MDS sheets which they have to publish, (you can find them in Customer Service) the oil is made by Shell! If you think about it, there are only so many refineries so the oil has to be the same. If the specs are the same, the additive package has to be the same. Ergo bingo, same stuff!
First, Rotella is $13 per gallon at Walmart so it's hard to imagine a store selling anything for $20 less. They would be paying me $7 per gallon to carry it out of the store.

Second, Just because the oil is made by Shell doesn't mean it's the same as Rotella in a different package. It could be a lesser quality oil and it could have different additives. Go to Shell and tell them you want 100,000 gallons of oil in your own packaging and you can tell them the specs you want. Same with batteries or anything else.

"Cheaping out" on oil and antifreeze doesn't seem to be worth the risk. Not knowing any better, I figure a rebuild or replacement for my engine would be $25K, more or less. Whatever the cost, I would rather invest the few dollars more that quality fluids cost.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:57 AM   #18
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Cheaping out is using a substandard product...not all products that aren't "top shelf" are necessarily substandard. People in the know, like many manufacturers say (the law does too) if you are using a certified engine oil they will still honor warranties. Independent oil testing has show time and again that some brands such as Walmart, Advance Auto, Pep Boys etc that meet the same certification as the big names are just as good if not better than some of the big names for certain applications (due to content)....

Also as the name of the thread implies...Coolant Scam...many coolants are perfectly suitable for many reasons for many engines....all you need to know is what the ingredients are to make sure you get what you need.

As far as the long life Organo based antifreeze (OAT), I have read where mixing them is not the end of the world as some will have you believe...it just negates the properties of the OAT and reverts you back to whatever you mixed it with. Some believe that yearly flushing of non-long life antifreeze that is suitable for your engine may be a better concept than long life use anyhow.

So spend your money wisely...that doesn't ALWAY mean top shelf. Then again if you aren't into independent research, there are always the standby names that others have used and enjoyed for years with known good service.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:23 AM   #19
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I think the "long life" has very significant advantages if engine coolant comes in contact w aluminum parts of the engine. I use LL on on all my engines w alu parts but just use the old green stuff on my Mitsubishi that has no aluminum contact w the AF.

John (johnma),
Re the "stripping back" as you put it I use straight 30W and 40W in my boat diesel. Use it for other reasons also. And change my Dino car oil often. Just bought a new car and it calls for synthetic 5W-30 oil and I think 6000 mi intervals. Intend to do as the manufacturer recommends. But I don't like the prospect of my Dino 10W30 "stripping back" to 10 weight oil. I do, however use Castrol and Mobile 1.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:53 AM   #20
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WesK, I buy oil in 20 litre pails. 5 US gallons.
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