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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-20-2018, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Mixing coolants?

I can't seem to find a definitive answer about this using search, hoping some knowledgeable folks can shed some light on it.

So this actually happened to a different car I owned, but it applies to the 6 as well. I brought my car into the shop to get an alignment and they told me my coolant was low, and that they topped it off for me. My car had pink coolant, and I keep hearing that you should always use the same color coolant and that mixing them ruins it.

I asked them what kind of coolant they topped it off with, and they told me they used this yellow universal stuff.

Is it OK to mix that "universal" stuff with other coolants?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-20-2018, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamadoorknob View Post
I can't seem to find a definitive answer about this using search, hoping some knowledgeable folks can shed some light on it.

So this actually happened to a different car I owned, but it applies to the 6 as well. I brought my car into the shop to get an alignment and they told me my coolant was low, and that they topped it off for me. My car had pink coolant, and I keep hearing that you should always use the same color coolant and that mixing them ruins it.

I asked them what kind of coolant they topped it off with, and they told me they used this yellow universal stuff.

Is it OK to mix that "universal" stuff with other coolants?
Very good question. If I remember correctly, yellow (universal) coolants can be mixed with other colours. Or if the coolant is clear/water coloured.

In any other case, mixing coolants is a very bad idea.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-20-2018, 07:45 PM
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IMO you should NEVER do that.

There are several reasons:

1. You now have TWO different chemical compositions whatever you put in there NEXT must be compatible with, not one. This is just begging for trouble.

2. You no longer have the original color to know when it's DISCOLORED, which (if/when it happens) is VERY bad and means you need an immediate flush and replacement and, if on short time, indicates a serious problem (frequently a compression leak -- aka blown head gasket!)

Don't do it. Run whatever the OE coolant is. If you insist on changing to something else then do a GOOD flush, finish the flush with DISTILLED water, then fill with the new coolant. Just be aware that most modern engines have a reason they use whatever coolant they use, including dissimilar metal corrosion protection.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-20-2018, 08:56 PM
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And NEVER de-ionized water... only distilled water. The former may leach metals from your system, I'm told.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Cdn17Sport6MT View Post
And NEVER de-ionized water... only distilled water. The former may leach metals from your system, I'm told.
Nonsense.

Distilling water leaves most ions behind since they evaporate at a higher temperature than the water does. But, not all -- some organic contaminants evaporate *first*, so they would remain in distilled water (e.g. ethanol) Indeed, this is why you use a still to make booze from a mash or even a wine (the ethanol evaporates first); when the temperature rises to near 212F you've got all the booze out and now you're distilling the water.

True pure water has zero TDS in it (dissolved solids) and zero disassociated ions (e.g. NaCl) in it. It has extremely low conductivity (water actually has very low conductivity; it's the ions that make it conductive.) And yes, both deionized and distilled water are extremely aggressive -- pure water is an extraordinary solvent, which is why you never, ever use it "neat" as a coolant -- anywhere. Even places where very pure coolants (e.g. a nuclear plant) use water don't run pure water -- there are additives and buffers intentionally added and the chemistry is very, very carefully balanced and monitored to account for this.

There are certain specific exceptions where you want to run "pure" water in an engine because water has more specific heat capacity than glycol (for example) and thus it will transport more heat -- about 10% more than a 50/50 glycol/water mixture. If you have a marginal cooling system in something you may want or need to do this to prevent overheating. IF this is necessary, AND you have no need for freeze protection, there are additive packages (e.g. Fleetguard) that can be mixed with pure deionized/distilled water to prevent corrosion and make doing so safe. One specific place where this is common and necessary is with older 2-stroke Detroit Diesels in marine service where the company that marinized the engines cranked up the output beyond what the factory cooling system was designed for and could handle but didn't replace the heat exchanger with one that has higher capacity -- and you use your boat in a place where hard-freeze temperatures are NEVER encountered.

Distilled water, in most cases, is usually more pure than deionized, especially if the distilled water was filtered first and/or it was double or triple-distilled. In lab applications where even tiny impurity concentrations can cause problems this can matter. For use in a cooling system either is fine but distilled is cheap enough in the quantity required (about a buck a gallon, much cheaper than the glycol and additive mixture you use it with) and available at nearly any grocery store, so there's no reason to use anything else.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tickerguy View Post
IMO you should NEVER do that.

There are several reasons:

1. You now have TWO different chemical compositions whatever you put in there NEXT must be compatible with, not one. This is just begging for trouble.

2. You no longer have the original color to know when it's DISCOLORED, which (if/when it happens) is VERY bad and means you need an immediate flush and replacement and, if on short time, indicates a serious problem (frequently a compression leak -- aka blown head gasket!)

Don't do it. Run whatever the OE coolant is. If you insist on changing to something else then do a GOOD flush, finish the flush with DISTILLED water, then fill with the new coolant. Just be aware that most modern engines have a reason they use whatever coolant they use, including dissimilar metal corrosion protection.
Well, yet another reason why I'll never go back to one of those quick lube shops. Very unlikely that they are going to have FL22 laying around, they will probably just use the yellow stuff and call it a day. I doubt most mechanics have FL22.

It's stuff like this that made me learn how to maintain my own car. You go to a shop to get stuff done, and they use generic stuff that your car wasn't made to use. If they change your Trans fluid they definitely aren't using OEM fluid. If you want high mileage oil in your car, they charge $5 more per quart even though at the store it's only like $1 more for a 5 quart jug. They are definitely using the cheapest oil filter they can find. One place even put the wrong filter on my car and it flew off after a couple of miles. Jiffy Lube once told me I needed a new serpentine belt, I had it looked at and it was just fine.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 12:03 PM
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Yep. FL-22 is what you want to use in the 3Gen cars; it's an ELC (extended-life coolant) and good stuff. Just buy it from the stealer (yeah, it's expensive) and change it on 100k mile intervals or thereabouts. This is one of the easier jobs to do on ANY vehicle; you can flush using distilled water using nothing more than a funnel and hose.

One warning -- do NOT allow used (or new!) coolant onto the ground in ANY amount. It's extraordinarily toxic to animals and sweet in taste, so your neighbor's dog or cat WILL lick it up. Ethylene glycol will KILL even in small quantities as it is broken down by the body into two acids, both of which are extremely bad news. Interestingly enough one of the potential antidotes is ethanol which can be used if the commercial antidote drug (fomepizole) is not available since ethanol interferes with the metabolic pathway that ethylene glycol is broken down via and thus mitigates (but imperfectly) the secondary metabolite toxicity that usually is the direct cause of death.

The worst part of this sort of poisoning is that the acute toxicity (if you survive it, and you may not as cerebral edema usually results from ingesting it) disappears after about 12 hours but the damage does not stop there; it continues for 2-3 days and kills either through heart failure or severe kidney damage as a result of the metabolites being highly poisonous. The latter is survivable if your heart doesn't fail but that damage, even if you survive it, is permanent.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 12:36 PM
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Prestone has a 50/50 pre-diluted antifreeze specifically for Japanese cars, on the container it says for Honda/Nissan but if you read the details it includes Mazda. I used it after my recent cooling system flush.

https://prestone.com/products?detail=AF6300
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 12:39 PM
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I second the use of FL-22.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-21-2018, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S100Y View Post
Prestone has a 50/50 pre-diluted antifreeze specifically for Japanese cars, on the container it says for Honda/Nissan but if you read the details it includes Mazda. I used it after my recent cooling system flush.

https://prestone.com/products?detail=AF6300
The problem with that stuff is that I don't know what the chemistry is that's in it and I can't find an online reference to it that specifically calls it out either.

Specifically FL-22 does NOT contain 2-EHA. I DO NOT KNOW IF THIS PRESTONE STUFF DOES BUT *MOST* DEX-clone (which most aftermarket antifreezes are) products DO contain it.

There may be OTHER issues with the chemistry too but this specific one is REALLY severe if you get bit by it on an engine that has an issue with it; 2-EHA eats silicone and many plastics over time. There are a *LOT* of engines that have silicone-based seals on gaskets in various other places (e.g. hoses and O-rings, plus plastic parts); the most-serious place the problem can show up is in manifolds since a leak there will go into the engine and can destroy it.

You need to know what chemistry is in the coolant you run and whether or not it is safe for the engine and accessories you have. If you run the clone stuff it's on you.

Last edited by tickerguy; 09-21-2018 at 04:30 PM.
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