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My annual anti-freeze conundrum

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  • My annual anti-freeze conundrum

    I have always used denatured alcohol mixed with water for anti-freeze, per the FSB. Why? Because if anti-freeze leaks into the crankcase, it will destroy babbit. At least that is what I was told early on by people who would know. But times and things change. My question, as always during this time of year, is there a modern anti-freeze that will not damage babbit if it gets into the oil, maybe some new stuff I haven't heard of?

  • #2
    Ya know Ray, I have always found Fords advice pretty good, and I understand your wanting to know about new ideas, but the Service Bulletins are pretty clear about using alcohol. If I was in a climate that could freeze the water in my radiator, I'd use the sure fired way of the past and get my car drunk.
    You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!

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    • #3
      Ray this really is a very easy decision
      Go buy your favorite full strength or 50/50 pre mixed coolant and fill it to a height of the baffle plate so you'll know if it looses any. Now your engine is protected from rust, corrosion and freezing and if your fears come true you will notice the level drop in the tank. Now oil floats on coolant so if it was to leak down into your oil it would be at the bottom of the pan and not in the babitt. If you suspect this just crack the drain plug loose so a few drips come out which would quickly confirm its antifreeze. Sometimes we over think the simplest things, but going the alcohol route is not an option in my book. This is the 21st century with more proven modern methods of doing & protecting things
      4~ Tudor's
      1~ Coupe

      Henry Ford said,
      "It's all nuts and bolts"


      Mitch's Auto Service ctr

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mitch View Post
        Ray this really is a very easy decision
        Go buy your favorite full strength or 50/50 pre mixed coolant and fill it to a height of the baffle plate so you'll know if it looses any. Now your engine is protected from rust, corrosion and freezing and if your fears come true you will notice the level drop in the tank. Now oil floats on coolant so if it was to leak down into your oil it would be at the bottom of the pan and not in the babitt. If you suspect this just crack the drain plug loose so a few drips come out which would quickly confirm its antifreeze. Sometimes we over think the simplest things, but going the alcohol route is not an option in my book. This is the 21st century with more proven modern methods of doing & protecting things
        Yeah, overthinking is one of my problems. Also adjusting my 50-year habits and assumptions. I have some 100% Prestone ethylene glycol I could use. Does the rust inhibitor work in it if it is diluted with water?And again, since I have been doing it the 1928 way for 50 years, I don't know what the proper ratio of 100% Prestone to water is, and the instructions on the bottle don't mention Model A's. A full 3 gallons seems excessive for an Oregon winter, where we seldom get below 20 degrees F. I could use a recommendation on the proper mix from those who use this modern stuff.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ray Horton View Post

          Yeah, overthinking is one of my problems. Also adjusting my 50-year habits and assumptions. I have some 100% Prestone ethylene glycol I could use. Does the rust inhibitor work in it if it is diluted with water?And again, since I have been doing it the 1928 way for 50 years, I don't know what the proper ratio of 100% Prestone to water is, and the instructions on the bottle don't mention Model A's. A full 3 gallons seems excessive for an Oregon winter, where we seldom get below 20 degrees F. I could use a recommendation on the proper mix from those who use this modern stuff.
          Usually it gets mixed 50/50 so for 3 gallons put in 1.5 of prestone and 1.5 gallons of H2O
          4~ Tudor's
          1~ Coupe

          Henry Ford said,
          "It's all nuts and bolts"


          Mitch's Auto Service ctr

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ray Horton View Post
            I have always used denatured alcohol mixed with water for anti-freeze, per the FSB. Why? Because if anti-freeze leaks into the crankcase, it will destroy babbit. At least that is what I was told early on by people who would know. But times and things change. My question, as always during this time of year, is there a modern anti-freeze that will not damage babbit if it gets into the oil, maybe some new stuff I haven't heard of?
            One problem with alcohol in a non pressure engine, is on a warm day it will boil out. We use to have that problem when I was kid. You do not have that problem with to days antifreeze. My 1928 Sport Coupe had the same antifreeze in it for 26,000 miles, never got hot, never had to add water.

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            • #7
              Thanks, Mitch & George. I'll give it a try this year in my coupe. I usually only keep one car running during winter, and store the other two.

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              • #8
                Ray i use sierra mix 50/50 like mitch said I use distilled water my engine guy says the sierra does not foam like some others do it is a concentrate of you can get 50/50. There are many choices and opinions,one more thing you can do and I have done is to get a syringe with a long plastic tube it will reach to the bottom of the pan and you can draw a sample and see what you have or crack your drain plug as Mitch says oil will always float on water so condensation or anti-freeze will be on the bottom.

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                • #9
                  If this is an annual problem............................What did you do last year??
                  Paul in CT

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                  • #10
                    Ray, surprisingly, ethylene glycol was available in the Model A era. I refer you to page 585 of the service bulletins.
                    There are tables there for the ratios to use for both alcohol and glycol.
                    Alcohol is highly corrosive to the cast iron water jacket, thus contributing to rust formation, clogged radiators, overheating, etc. While the glycol antifreeze did not have the sophisticated corrosion inhibitors of today, at least back then the rust formation was waaay less than with alcohol.
                    I suspect not that many owners used the glycol as I am sure it was more expensive, but it was available.
                    The 50-50 mix suggested above is standard in the industry. If you never see below 20, you could go lighter. You could use 60% water and 40% glycol. If you go lighter than that, say 70-30, you will not have enough corrosion inhibitor. We seldom see below 20 here either, and 60-40 is what I use.

                    In truth, antifreeze can potentially harm even modern bearing shells in modern cars. Be sure your cooling system is tight, and your head properly torqued and re-torqued several times. Then for the reasons Mitch and others mentioned above, the antifreeze-in-the-oil issue becomes moot
                    40% ethylene glycol freezes at about -13°F, giving you plenty of margin
                    http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedL...romPage=GetDoc
                    Please note to never run 100% ethylene glycol
                    Last edited by tbirdtbird; 10-21-2017, 11:24 AM.

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                    • Ray Horton
                      Ray Horton commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks Dave. I have always gone by the specs on p.288; I never got to p. 585. That decides it. Ehylene Gloco this year.

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by 1931 Flamingo View Post
                    If this is an annual problem............................What did you do last year??
                    Paul in CT
                    ?? See my OP.

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                    • #12
                      I'm going to try the Sierra mix like BNCHIEF this time. They had some stashed in the back of their store they ordered in the past for somebody else and O'Reilly warehouse sends them cases, not by the gallon. I think it was $22.95 a gallon, expensive but I'm not taking it with me and my kids will survive just fine.

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                      • BNCHIEF
                        BNCHIEF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I bought it dennis for 19.00 at napa here in kansas however at that price it should be a concentrate not 50/50 mix it half distilled water and half concentrate it will differentiate the difference if you confused I can take a couple of pics of the jusg difference for you. It is also safe around pets.

                      • Dennis
                        Dennis commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Well I poured mine in today, and when I started I thought this stuff sure is thick looking. Looked on the front and realized it was full strength. So I think the price was pretty good after all considering the price of distilled water.

                    • #13
                      I had used Peak for many years no problems, then it seemed to be hard to find so I have been using Green Prestone the last few years. 50/50 mix don't run it straight.

                      Our '36 Ford PU and the '30 Ford Roadster have Prestone in them and they are fine. Roadster has had it for almost 7 years now and it still rates to -30 below. Last summer I drained the pickup, the coolant was fine no rusty look or anything and it was almost 10 years old. Still tested to -30 degrees if I recall. I could have just put it back in but went ahead and refilled with new 50/50 mix. I like the anti-rust properties in modern anti-freeze over what the old alcohol based stuff was.

                      AND use only distilled mineral free water as H.L. pointed out that is important
                      Last edited by Jeff/Illinois; 10-22-2017, 07:06 PM. Reason: Forgot an important part of the equation

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                      • #14
                        We successfully used 50/50 Prestone with either mineral free rain water or mineral free distilled water in Model A radiators & vintage tractor radiators for over 60 years with no problems.

                        Everyone in our area was raised on drinking rain water & cooking with rain water since the early 1700's ..... our radiators never got clogged with minerals and we never had kidney stones.

                        Ten (10) miles north of here everyone had clear well water, drank mineral loaded well water & used mineral loaded well water in their radiators whereby they later developed mineral clogged radiators and kidney stones.

                        If you ever see a good, used original Model A radiator for sale ...... maybe best to ask the guy if he ever had kidney stones.

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                        • Mitch
                          Mitch commented
                          Editing a comment
                          A great analogy. Lol

                        • Jeff/Illinois
                          Jeff/Illinois commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I like that too!! Forgot to add, only use distilled water in the radiators here too lots of folks stumbling around with kidney stones!!

                      • #15
                        I use a 50/50 mix of Sierra and distilled water and do not have any overheating issues.

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                        • #16
                          I always use the 50/50 premix. If I ever need to add any (which is rare), it's more 50/50 premix.
                          Alaskan A's
                          Antique Auto Mushers of Alaska
                          Model A Ford Club of America
                          Model A Restorers Club
                          Antique Automobile Club of America
                          Mullins Owners Club

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                          • #17
                            We can't protect against EVERYTHING bad.--Would you wear a suit of ARMOR, so you'd never BREAK anything???
                            Dad

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