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Old 06-25-2007, 01:32 PM   #1
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Has anyone else had trouble reading these strips? With my "new to me" '94 HR - C8.3/250-3060, I changed the coolant shortly after I purchased it. I drained and flushed the system with distilled water and then refilled with the appropriate amount of DCA4 for the "empirically determined" 20 gallons or so of coolant.

After runnning it about 500 miles, I checked it with the FG test strips and it said that there was NO discernible concentration of DCA in the system. With the inside knowledge that I had - I was POSITIVE that the DCA content should have been at least in the neighborhood - but I added another container of DCA60 - ran it another 500 miles and rechecked - same indication. Freeze point OK @ ~-20F and Nitrites OK at ~ E or F reading - but the Molybdate reading is essentially non-existant. Just shows some 'spots' on the indicator block - no 'color' to match to the chart.

I thought ... maybe I have some 'out of date' (but the date code was good) - or contaminated strips - so I ordered a couple of new sets - straight from Spartan. Got them today and rechecked - SAME RESULTS!

I'm concerned - REALLY concerned. The docs say that too much DCA is just as bad as not enough. I KNOW that I should have more than enough DCA4 in the system, but the test stips say otherwise.

Is this a common problem?? I guess my only other possibility is to take it to the local (60 miles away) Cummins place and have it checked "professionally" ?? I REALLY don't want to end up causing problems with this mother diesel engine...

Steve
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Old 06-25-2007, 01:32 PM   #2
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Has anyone else had trouble reading these strips? With my "new to me" '94 HR - C8.3/250-3060, I changed the coolant shortly after I purchased it. I drained and flushed the system with distilled water and then refilled with the appropriate amount of DCA4 for the "empirically determined" 20 gallons or so of coolant.

After runnning it about 500 miles, I checked it with the FG test strips and it said that there was NO discernible concentration of DCA in the system. With the inside knowledge that I had - I was POSITIVE that the DCA content should have been at least in the neighborhood - but I added another container of DCA60 - ran it another 500 miles and rechecked - same indication. Freeze point OK @ ~-20F and Nitrites OK at ~ E or F reading - but the Molybdate reading is essentially non-existant. Just shows some 'spots' on the indicator block - no 'color' to match to the chart.

I thought ... maybe I have some 'out of date' (but the date code was good) - or contaminated strips - so I ordered a couple of new sets - straight from Spartan. Got them today and rechecked - SAME RESULTS!

I'm concerned - REALLY concerned. The docs say that too much DCA is just as bad as not enough. I KNOW that I should have more than enough DCA4 in the system, but the test stips say otherwise.

Is this a common problem?? I guess my only other possibility is to take it to the local (60 miles away) Cummins place and have it checked "professionally" ?? I REALLY don't want to end up causing problems with this mother diesel engine...

Steve
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:15 AM   #3
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SteveD welcome to irv2
If you mix coolant with water 50/50 I would think you would be ok. I will short cut your question down to the Road Master forum maybe you can get the answer your seeking.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:28 AM   #4
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I've read elsewhere that the test strips will not give a correct reading under certain conditions, due to the presence of something else. Can't recall details or where I saw that - may have been one of the Freightliner chassis groups, either here or on Yahoo FCCC group.

You might use Find to search for other messages concerning coolant, test strips, etc.
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:00 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. I spent a while talking with Spartan, Cummins and then Fleetguard yesterday. The bottom line is that I appear to have miscalculated the required DCA4 for my system and it really IS as low as the strip indicates. I added another bottle yesterday and plan to add yet another before my next trip. Not sure what my head was thinking, but it's pretty easy to figure out what you need - multiply total gallons in system by 2 = # of units of DCA4 required. I was about 10 short, I think.

I'll know for sure after my next trip this weekend.
Steve
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:22 PM   #6
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I ran into the same issue with trying to figure out how much DCA4 to add to raise the SCA to a specific level from a maintenance perspective. Not much documentation around explaining how much to add to increase. Took me awhile to figure out that units contained in the bottle meant units per gallon.

USCA = (DSCA - CSCA) X CCap
>
> USCA Number of SCA (DCA4) units required
> DSCA Desired SCA
> CSCA Current SCA
> CCap Cooling system capacity in gallons
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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The previous owner of our Monaco said that the coolant filter contained the additive... Something about putting on a new filter when the SCA got low. I've got the strips and will check the reading. I've also got a spare coolant filter.

Does this seem right???

Thanks, newbie here...
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:52 AM   #8
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I am not sure if the 94 Cummins 8.3 had the coolant filters but I do know that my 99 Cummins does. The filter has a the additive that disolves as the coolant is filtered. With the new engine you only need to change filters and coolant/water mixture when needed.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:06 AM   #9
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My '94 DOES have a coolant filter and it DOES contain 'some' DCA4. However, not ALL coolant filters do, and there are different amounts in different filters. Be sure to get the one you need. I think they are available in various numbers from 1 unit up to as high as 12 units - but they are all intended for maintenance levels only. There is never enough DCA to handle a full coolant change. The recommendation is to check your DCA concentration at each oil change and then change the coolant filter to match the amount of DCA needed. I've heard conflicting stories, but according to Fleetguard, the filter does NOT "gradually release" the DCA - it just immediately feeds it into the coolant system. I suppose it does take a few minutes, but it won't be weeks or months as I previously thought.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:54 AM   #10
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Steve, just one other thought. Are you sampling the coolant from the petcock or the overflow bottle? The overflow will give an incorrect reading so you must drain a few ounces from the petcock for testing. I'm sure you know this, but thought I would mention it.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:23 AM   #11
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Thanks Norm, Yes, I'm aware of that. I also just noticed that I never posted a follow up of my issue (I was responding to Les' question above).
In my case, I finally discovered that I had 3 (yes THREE!) sets of defective test strips - bought from different places (2 at one time, one at another). I went to a local Cummins shop and their first test indicated same as mine. They then looked at their bottle and noted IT was expired (all of mine were in date). They opened a fresh bottle and retested and finally found a proper indication. I went up front to their parts dept and bought a 4th set of strips and retested myself and got a proper indication (it was still low in DCA). When I got home, I added another 2 bottles of DCA and **FINALLY**, after about 4 months of trying, got a proper indication of the proper DCA concentration in my engine .
Steve
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