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Old 04-20-2019, 08:41 AM   #1
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Do You Really Know Your Coolant Ratio?

I just completed a wax valve fan controller modification and was frustrated that I only dropped 8 gallons of coolant from a system the book says holds 13-14 gallons (initial fill). It took multiple flushes to clean out all the other old fluid and finally run clear water from the radiator drain. I quickly realized that if I just add back 4 gallons of water and 4 gallons of antifreeze for a 50/50 mix to replace what I drained, the result would not be 50/50.

Instead I added 6 gallons of antifreeze and 2 gallons of water, ran the engine to mix it up, then tested the result with a hydrometer. Result was -20 degrees protection indicating a low 40's percentage of antifreeze. It should have been around -35 degrees for a 50/50 mix. So I needed to drain off a gallon of the coolant and add another gallon of straight antifreeze. And this verified the owners manual was right as well. 14 gallon system.

So when you change your coolant, be mindful of the unrecoverable portion and make sure to plan to add antifreeze for the whole system, not just what you drained. And don't forget to test your results with a hydrometer to verify your mix.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:16 PM   #2
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The most accurate testing method is to use a refractometer.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:11 PM   #3
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Did you use 6 gallons of 50/50 mix and not concentrate? That sounds like it'd give you the results you have with the two gallons of water.

I always use the 50/50 mix just so I don't have to figure out stuff like that.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:59 PM   #4
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What antifreeze did you use? O.A.T or S.C.A.?
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:05 PM   #5
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Curious what you did with the old coolant.
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Curious what you did with the old coolant.
I changed out all my radiator and heater hoses and ended up with 12 gallons of old antifreeze, my local quick lube place takes it. The local auto parts stores do not.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:17 AM   #7
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Barmcd, I used concentrate (SCA Precharged Fleet by the way). If I used the 50/50 mix and could only add 8 gallons, I would never be able to bring the whole system to 50/50.

Getting rid of old antifreeze in the greater Phoenix area (we haven't left for Washington yet) is not easy. No auto parts stores will take it. There is a place called Stericycle in Phoenix that will for $1.50 a gallon. Maybe I'll try a couple of those quick lube places. Might get lucky.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:47 AM   #8
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I did the coolant swap to ELC a few months ago, and the trick to getting the proper ratio is to know the system capacity (in my case it is 14 gallons).

So I get 7 gallons of the concentrate (not the 50/50 mix) because after you have done multiple flushes with distilled water you don't know how much distilled water remains in the system. With the concentrate method, you just add 7 gallons and fill the rest with distilled water (maybe it takes 5 gallons of water. Doesn't matter) as you will end up with a 50/50 ratio.

Then I keep a gallon of the 50/50 mix for topping up later if needed.

BTW - the local dump will take the coolant (at least in my area). The coolant is not considered a hazardous waste product so the local auto parts stores are not required to take it.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:04 AM   #9
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Unfortunately the refuse and recycling centers anywhere near us will not touch liquid automotive products. Not sure why. They do at our trash collection sites near our home in La Conner, WA and our bays going home will be relatively empty, so I could just haul it with me when we leave next week. It is in sealed 5 gal containers.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:21 PM   #10
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I use to do all my coolant flushes, etc in the 70's myself before they started prohibiting letting it run down the storm drains.

Now I take my coach to the dealer and let them do the drain and flush. Can't find anyway to get rid of the fluid around my neck of the woods.
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Old 04-23-2019, 06:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryB View Post
I did the coolant swap to ELC a few months ago, and the trick to getting the proper ratio is to know the system capacity (in my case it is 14 gallons).

So I get 7 gallons of the concentrate (not the 50/50 mix) because after you have done multiple flushes with distilled water you don't know how much distilled water remains in the system. With the concentrate method, you just add 7 gallons and fill the rest with distilled water (maybe it takes 5 gallons of water. Doesn't matter) as you will end up with a 50/50 ratio.

Then I keep a gallon of the 50/50 mix for topping up later if needed.

BTW - the local dump will take the coolant (at least in my area). The coolant is not considered a hazardous waste product so the local auto parts stores are not required to take it.
same here in southern utah on the disposal. both cat and monaco called out 50-55qts initial fill for my c9. 6 gallons of concentrate, 1 gallon of premix and top off with distilled water is just right. i don't carry coolant to top off- i believe that if i have to add enough water to alter the ratio significantly i have another problem to address first
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