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Best Ethylene Glycol/Water Ratio to avoid overheating? Why? Informal Survey.

shortsguy1

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This is sort of an odd thread because I am actually most interested in where/how you learned the answer to the following question:

What is the best ratio of ethylene glycol to water in coolant for a car which has overheating issues (and freeze protection and rust protection are not a concern).

In my forum reading here and elsewhere, the common answer is that less ethylene glycol is better because the specific heat of water is higher than EG. But I have read some older Society of Automotive Engineers papers which contradict this common wisdom. They say more EG makes a car less likely to overheat (up to 70%). So I am confused right now.

So ignoring all other issues (freeze protection, rust protection, water pump lubrication, etc.):

1) To avoid overheating, is less ethylene glycol better?
2) Where/How did you learn this (1st hand experience? the internet? engine handbooks, etc.)?

(for simplicity, can we assume that no other additives are being used in the cooling system (like Water Wetter or Purple Ice), because these would just complicate the question)

When time allows, I will try to post some of the observations from these old research papers. But for now, I would really appreciate your answers to those two questions. The more responses the better, as I am most curious about how people have learned about this issue. Thanks so much.
 

steveg

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I had a major rust issue after running water with WaterWetter for a couple of years.
I spoke to an engineer at Royal Purple and he told me in temperate California 20% antifreeze is all that's necessary. Also tap water is better than distilled because the latter, due to its pH, actually is more corrosive and tap water's minerals actually help to prevent rust.
 
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My Healey is not a bad overheater so I have never spent a lot of time looking for the Holy Grail of coolants and normally simply use the premixed stuff, perhaps tossing in some Water Wetter if it is near to hand. Ethylene Glycol does many things, one of them being that it allows the coolant to serve as a lubricant for the water pump.

Race cars are normally prohibited from using any antifreeze as in the event of a spillage it would make the track very slippery. So in my race cars, to distilled water I add either Water Wetter or some cooling system conditioner to perform the above function.
 

Joe A

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A little research will turn up that distilled water is not corrosive, but deionized water is corrosive.

People tend to confuse the two kinds of so-called purified water.

A liquid that is short on ions and hunting to get them from someplace else, is going to eat what it can find. :smile:
 
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A little research will turn up that distilled water is not corrosive, but deionized water is corrosive.

People tend to confuse the two kinds of so-called purified water.

A liquid that is short on ions and hunting to get them from someplace else, is going to eat what it can find. :smile:
+1 good points.

BMW used to specify a 3-yr interval for their coolant refreshing. Since most of the coolant still looked as gorgeous as the day it was put in (some of the more anal-types opting to replace it every 2-yrs, along with the brake fluid) I'd store the used coolant in clean gallon jugs and use it in my Healey for a year or so!

When it was time to drain/fill and bleed the Healey's brakes, I'd do the same with the coolant. While usually using a 50/50 mix of BMW's coolant and water, that if I'm not mistaken might be good for something approaching -30*F, that was more than adequate for the cars I worked on since they weren't used in the cold winter climates anyway (other than storage).

BTW, that info was sourced from BMW's TIS (in-house service and repair manuals in software form, primarily for use by their dealership techs).

While now living in SW Florida, I've toyed with the idea of 70% distilled water/30% coolant concentrate in the Healey, but that would require a more complicated system than just filling an empty cooling jug 1/2-way up with each ingredient. Since I too have zero cooling issues with my Healey, I'll just keep life simple and stick with 50/50.

I'm currently putting an LS3 crate engine into an M3 (4-seater) and the owner requested that I drain and keep/reuse his Evans Coolant. Always one to comply with their wishes__when feasible__I did retain most of it; wow, that stuff stinks! I have it in a closed 5-gal bucket until needed, and about another 1-1/2 gal (bucket and coolant supplied by owner) to top off the new system. I've no need to experiment with it for my own needs, but I try to keep my customers happy when I can!
 
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... an engineer at Royal Purple and he told me in temperate California 20% antifreeze is all that's necessary ...

That's an awfully generalized statement; 20% is probably just fine in Malibu, but will cause you some serious headaches in Truckee in January (does everybody from out of state think California is only 'Surf City?'). 'Softened' tap water may be OK, but some well and other water in California is extremely 'hard'--the tap water here in San Jose included--and will deposit some serious scale in no time (one of my son's cars suffered permanent water spotting from being sprinkled by tap water for a couple years). I've used 50/50-40/60 Prestone and distilled water in my BJ8 for over 120K miles and, aside from a slight reddish tinge and a minute amount of rust particulates the block and radiator remain clear and spotless.
 

steveg

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Thanks for the clarification on distilled vs de-ionized water.

Bob - sorry I didn't clarify that was the advice he gave me for my situation in so calif. Of course I wouldn't run that in Truckee in January.
 
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I think 40/60 AF/water--or at least 30/70--is more advisable; who knows when you might want to take a day trip up the Angeles Crest or to Apple Valley on a crystal clear winter day?
 

Keoke

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I think 40/60 AF/water--or at least 30/70--is more advisable; who knows when you might want to take a day trip up the Angeles Crest or to Apple Valley on a crystal clear winter day?
:iagree:
 

steveg

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Don't get me wrong, Shortsguy - it's all fun! Usually with these kind of surveys we all can only advocate what we've done before. So it's not really the best, so much as it's what we have personally experienced.
 

RAC68

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Like Michael and Joe, I live in a more varying climate where Summer can reach 100F+ and Winter can go down to below 0F-, I stay closer to the 50/50 coolant-antifreeze/distilled-water mix and change every 5 or so years. Although I do appreciate that coolant/antifreeze is a contributor to maintaining a proper engine operating temperature, I also believe that the Healey lacked a number of design factors that contributed to its tendency toward overheating. Such factors as a porous radiator bulkhead that allowed radiator-heated air to be recirculated multiple times when waiting at a light, a rising engine temperature at speed due to the formation of a high pressure bubble that blocks an efficient evacuating flow through the engine compartment, and even the lack of a fan cowl to improve fan functional efficiency by diminishing air from ineffectively rolling of the end of the blades.

Yes, maybe the use of coolant can keep a Healey from overheating in the English climate of the 1950s and 60s but not today ... at least where I live.

Just my thoughts,
Ray(64BJ8P1)
 
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Joe A

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I've had my car since 1995, but I don't consider myself an expert on much. ;)

Like most, I have my anecdotes.

I'm adjacent to Ray here in New York and I use a 50/50 blend with the old-fashioned green antifreeze of yesteryear.

Recently I decided to change out the radiator with one I bought from AH spares, one which purports to have 30% more cooling surface area in the core and looks original. but without ID plates. I also changed out the water pump at the same time, "just because," it was original. I then had the original rebuilt by The Flying Dutchman at the suggestion of Healey Surgeons . . . and the original now sits in a box as a spare pump.

I may have mentioned in another thread that I cut down the air-director/deflectors by 50% so as to be able to get the radiator in and out without dinging the fins. I have not yet done so, but I will make the portion of the deflector/director plate that I removed, able to be reinstalled in place.

I did use the car in two or more hours of continuous stop and go traffic on a warm but not hot summer day this season and it only overheated slightly. The temperature was brought down quickly by switching on the electric fan installed ahead of the radiator by the previous owner sometime in the 1980s.

Part of the fun of owning and driving a Healey is that you are not sitting in a modern "appliance" where you just turn a key and the next thing you know, you are at your destination. One has to have a little touch of masochism and perhaps a little sadistic tendency when one considers the passenger beside one. ;)
 

Joe Schlosser

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A couple of points here.
Water, Purifying water, removing the chemicals from water, by deionization, reverse osmosis or distilling produces the same thing. Purified water regardless of how it is manufactured is very aggressive. Very pure water, higher than 10 Meg ohm resistivity, will even attach SS and suck the iron right out of the metal depositing a red film on the metal.
It does not matter how you purify the water the end result is the same. Trust me on this one, I was manufacturing "Pure" water for 30 plus years for Pharma.

Regarding Ethylene Glycol
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ethylene-glycol-d_146.html
All the info is on the web page but a 55/50 mix freezes at about -35 F, Boils at 225 F ( a little higher than straight water) at atmospheric pressure ie no radiator cap and has a heat capacity of about 0.85. So you need about 15% more flow to get the same cooling with 50/50 as with straight water.
You can adjust the mix depending on the winter conditions. I am in the NE so I use 50/50 on everything. When I was racing I used straight water and water pump lube, drained everything every fall.
 

Joe A

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A couple of points here.
Water, Purifying water, removing the chemicals from water, by deionization, reverse osmosis or distilling produces the same thing. Purified water regardless of how it is manufactured is very aggressive. Very pure water, higher than 10 Meg ohm resistivity, will even attach SS and suck the iron right out of the metal depositing a red film on the metal.
It does not matter how you purify the water the end result is the same. Trust me on this one, I was manufacturing "Pure" water for 30 plus years for Pharma.

I agree that absolutely purest of pure water (whatever that may mean) is essentially the same. Methods of achieving purity matter though and in common practice not all pure water is the same. As I am reasonably sure that you'll agree, there are differing degrees of purity obtainable from commercial off-the-shelf water products, Types II. II II, etc.. Deionized water is generally more pure and more aggressive that typical distilled water.

Good info here:

https://www.thoughtco.com/distilled-versus-deionized-water-609435

Here is a quote from the above article:

"As you can see, in some situations either distilled or deionized water is fine to use. Because it is corrosive, deionized water is not used in situations involving long term contact with metals."

One point I wished to make is that, whatever water you choose to use, don't use deionized water.

There is a lot of information on this topic spread throughout the Web. This is why in my short post above, I suggested "A little research . . ." would not hurt.

I'd use rain water or generally available distilled water before I would use deionized water in any metal container. Personally? I use tap water which has been softened by the local water authority.

I'm not looking for an argument. You may have the last word if you like.
 

Joe Schlosser

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Joe
You can make different degrees of Pure water by any method. I have seen 10 meg Ohm plus water by distillation, deionization and reverse osmosis.
The specific method does not matter but the level to which you take the process. A good still will produce the same quality of water as a good DI system.
I agree that with a bottle of commercial water, unless it is stated on the label in PPM or conductivity you have no way of knowing the chemical quality of the water.
I agree that any type of purified water except softened to remove the Ca and Mg should not be used in an engine.
 
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