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Old 06-11-2010, 03:49 PM   #1
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Coolant Analysis

Looking for a recommendation for a lab to do an analysis on my engine coolant. I tried Cummins but their lab lost my sample or possibly they did not receive it. I think I'll try someone else.

Anyone want to recommend a lab?
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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Here is a link that was mentioned in another thread. I requested their free test kit and received it the other day. I intend to try them when I need to check the oil, and may try them for my anitfreeze also, since I dont know when it was changed last.
Blackstone Labs

Oooops, I thought I read, on their site, that they did antifreeze also... maybe I'm wrong. I just went to the site to check and didnt see antifreeze tests listed. You should browse the site, maybe it is buried somewhere. I seems that I saw them state that they would test it eventhough there want too much info to report on antifreeze.

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Old 06-12-2010, 06:27 PM   #3
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Test

I thought for Cummins, you used a test strip obtained from them.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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That's true, there are test strips for antifreeze testing. I used one this year to check mine.

Since Brigadoon mentioned sending to a "lab", I thought there might be a test that would do a more in depth analysis of antifreeze.

So, Brigadoon... why a lab?
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigadoon View Post
Looking for a recommendation for a lab to do an analysis on my engine coolant. I tried Cummins but their lab lost my sample or possibly they did not receive it. I think I'll try someone else.

Anyone want to recommend a lab?
Read this, then go to the garden center at your local Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot and buy pH test strips. Dip a test strip into your coolant and compare(follow the directions) the color to the scale and you'll known your pH value. A test strip doesn't care what it's being dipped into since it is only mearsuring alkaline vs acid content.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:53 PM   #6
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An occasional lab test of coolant can be helpful as a check for contaminants in the coolant from leaking head gaskets, or auto tranny fluid leaking from tranny coolers - plus indications of other ills from electrolysis breakdown/erosion of softer cooling system metals.

I've been using Blackstone Labs for years in diesel engine oil analysis - they have been FAR more reliable and consistent in results than competing labs, and will email test results for rapid turnaround if you request it...
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:05 PM   #7
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When I used the FleetGuard test strip that Cummins gave me to test my coolant, I thought that it looked a lot like the test strips my wife uses to test the water in the hot tub.

When I looked to by more FleetGuard test strips I found that they werent cheap and to get a decent price one needs to buy more than I would use in my lifetime.

So, I have been wondering if some more commonly available strips would work. Based on RJay's comment, I will have to look into to this a little more.

The FleetGuard test strips test for DCA's and SCA's (whatever those are... MolyBDate and Nitrites) and use a chart to determine if one need to add an additive.

http://www.fleetguard.com/pdfs/produ...es/LT15626.pdf

In order to use another test strip, one would need to know just what the FleetGuard strips are actually measuring.

Any chemists out there?

.-/.-.
.--/-.../--.../-../.---/...-
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
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SCA is Supplemental Coolant Additive and DCA4 and DCA2 are the trade names of the additives. What these chemicals do in your engine cooling system is to provide protection against cylinder wall cavitation pitting failures. When a diesel engine runs it produces cylinder wall vibrations from combustion and piston slap. These vibrations produce minute movement of the cylinder wall that cause vacuum bubbles to form in the coolant. These bubbles implode (like explode but inward, not outward) against the cylinder wall surface with forces measured at 20,000 PSI. Sufficient force to break out tiny pieces of the cast iron eventually leading to coolant getting into the oil through a perforation. Use of SCA or DCA creates a tough oxide film on the surface of the cylinder wall (coolant side). The testing of the dissolved SCA level is an indirect means of determining the level of cavitation resistance your coolant has. Even with these additives, the phenomenon of cavitation is taking place. The difference is the hard oxide coating that takes the "blast" of implosion. If you test the coolant and find the SCA level decreasing, you have a strong indication that the cavitation phenomenon is active in your engine.

After you use the test strip you will have to call Fleetguard to determine how much DCA to add. My understanding is that they will not always tell you and refer you to the maintenance schedule in the engine owners manual. No where in my ISL owners manual does it mention DCA maintenance. What it does mention is below.

Every 500 Hours or 6 Months
Fuel Filters (Cummins and OEM supplied) - replace
Cooling System - check
Coolant Filter - replace
Lubricating Oil Filter and Oil - replace
Batteries - check
Battery Cables and Connections check


Every 2000 Hours or 2 Years
Cooling System - drain/flush/fill
Vibration Damper, Viscous(3) - check
Engine Steam Cleaning - clean
Air Compressor Discharge Lines - clean
Engine Mounts - check
Every 5000 Hours or 4 Years Section 8
Overhead Set adjust

I suppose if your engine is out of warranty you can use the test and add method if Fleetguard will cooperate. But if your engine is still under warranty then it might be a good idea to follow Cummins maintenance schedule. It is my understanding that all ISL engines do not have coolant filters so the schedule is drain/flush/fill every two years.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJay View Post
After you use the test strip you will have to call Fleetguard to determine how much DCA to add. My understanding is that they will not always tell you and refer you to the maintenance schedule in the engine owners manual. No where in my ISL owners manual does it mention DCA maintenance. What it does mention is below.
RJay...

Nice explaination on SCA's; however, I'm not sure what you mean by the above. The test strip instructions in the link I posted above seem to state what is necessary depending on the test strip reading:

Maintenance Actions Based on Results (Test Strip Readings)

ABOVE NORMAL - Do not replace service filter or add DCA4 liquid until the concentration
falls below 3.0 units/gallon. Test at every subsequent oil drain interval.

NORMAL - Continue to replace the coolant filter at your normal interval.

BELOW NORMAL - Replace the coolant filter and add 1 pint of additive per each 4 gallons

of coolant (equals 1.2 units/gallon).
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:15 PM   #10
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Dump that Cummins crap and go with Shell. No filters and no testing.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:03 PM   #11
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Dump that Cummins crap and go with Shell. No filters and no testing.
EeeeeeKs...!
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:53 PM   #12
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Coolant Analysis: Cooling System Maintenance, Cooling System Troubleshooting

This place does coolant analysis at a reasonable price.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:21 PM   #13
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I decided to go with a lab for analysis after I used the test strips and my nitrite reading was off the scale (or at least at maximum on the scale). So I thought I'd get a detailed analysis to see exactly what was happening.

I see a couple of other labs have been mentioned here, so I will probably call them to see what they can do for me.

Thanks to all that posted an answer.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:08 PM   #14
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NAPA also carries the test strips. IMO anyone that does not due an annual check must have money to burn as diesels need maintance care just like the rest of the RV.
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