Modern Coolants and the Cub

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cubguy's dad
10+ Years
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Tractors Owned: 1938 John Deere A
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Modern Coolants and the Cub

Postby cubguy's dad » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:03 am

Modern Coolants

Now that the Cub tractor is 62 plus years old, the choices of products or chemicals to use in this little tractor has surpassed what even the most foresighted engineers could have imagined back in the beginning. So how do we mix the past with the present? With all the new technology there seems to be as many questions as there are good answers. My goal is to provide information for others to make an informed choice through this maze of modern coolant technology not only for your Cub but your newer vehicle as well.

No matter what the engine is, coolant has to do a couple of things, carry heat to the radiator and prevent itself from freezing. Additionally, coolant also needs to protect the engine from corrosion. All the coolants on the market are able to the carry the heat to the radiator and provide freeze protection, however the corrosion protection relies on additional chemicals being added to the coolant. These chemicals are eventually consumed as they do their job and only last for a certain length of time and then they need to be replaced. Corrosion protection is very important, and with so many different types of coolants with different types of corrosion protection on the market today the choices seem endless. Also coolant has to be compatible with the many different rubbers and plastics in modern vehicles. Always consult the vehicle manufactures specs for coolant and compare. The engines of the last 13+ years require a specific coolant formulation that is compatible with all the rubbers, plastics and electronics that are used on them. An informed selection when considering what to buy will save money and time in the long run.

Coolants can be divided into three base chemical categories, 1) Ethylene Glycol (EG), often referred to as conventional coolant. 2) Long Life or Extended Life Ethylene Glycol (ELEG) 3) Propylene Glycol (PG) sometimes referred to as “non-toxic” coolant. Let us clear up one point, all coolants are toxic, and should not be ingested, “Non-toxic” is associated with PG-based coolants because it is classified as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) in its pure form by the FDA. The coolant manufacturer adds the toxic corrosion inhibiting chemicals to the PG base. Remember to keep all coolants away from children and pets and dispose of all waste coolant properly by recycling. As a side note all coolants sold in California and Oregon have to be “embittered” and labeled as such so that it does not taste sweet to children and pets. Embittered coolant can also be purchased across the country as well, but not all retailers carry it.

Today’s coolants can be further segregated into three basic types, identified by their chemical corrosion inhibiter technologies. I will also post a typical color for each one to aid in the identification process as most of us have come to rely on the color to identify the individual coolant. Because raw coolant has no color at all, every manufacturer adds color to the coolant as a dye marker, as there is no color standard, the manufacturer can add any color they want.

• Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT)

The IAT glycol based (EG) (permanent anti-freeze) coolants have been around for a long time. IAT coolants contain silicates that form a protective layer on everything in the cooling system, this includes the rubber components. Silicates quickly disperse and form a protective layer on metal engine parts; because of this the silicate levels can drop to less than 20 percent of the initial concentration level in less than 250 hours or 10,000 miles. The problem with silicates is that, under certain conditions or using in overconcentration (more than a 50/50 ratio), they can drop out of solution and form minute deposits called silica drop out ( this looks like silica sand) When this occurs it can plug up a radiator or cause leaks if the dropout gets between a shaft and seal. In an older style cooling system that shuts off the coolant flow to the heater core during the summer months, silicates can form sludge in the core that, might clog the core tubes rendering the heater core inoperable. Silicates are still in use because in the area of corrosion protection they work the best, especially in iron block/aluminum cylinder head engines, that is why some manufacturers still specify using coolants with silicate corrosion inhibitors. Silicate dropout was a severe problem for diesel engines that also required nitrates in the coolant as part of their corrosion/cavitation protection. The silicate concentration has been reduced to only 250 parts per million (ppm) in the modern IAT coolants, which still provides excellent protection. Modern IAT coolant when used as directed has little chance of silicate fallout. IAT coolant color is typically green.

• Organic Additive Technology (OAT)

OAT extended life or long life coolants do not contain any silicates, borate, phosphate, nitrates and other additives. They substitute organic acid technology (OAT) for corrosion protection for a 5-year or 150,000-mile service life. OAT development took over 20 years to perfect a coolant that would effectively protect against corrosion without using any silicates. The newer OAT coolants work very differently from the (IAT) coolants. Aluminum and ferrous (iron) metals oxidize or rust in the presence of moisture, even in the little bit of moisture present in the air. OAT coolants work to anneal this oxidization layer into a thin surface coating that protects against further corrosion (sort of like the bluing on a gun). This technology came out in 1996 in response to the need to extend corrosion protection to 100,000 miles plus level for emission/electronic sensor reasons. Some of those intermediate products are still in use today Dex-Cool is the typical brand name for this coolant. OAT extended life coolant is specified by many domestic and European manufacturers as it contains none of the chemicals that effect certain plastics and rubbers. The color of this coolant is typically red or orange; the latest German OAT coolant is now purple in color.

• Hybrid Organic Additive Technology (HOAT) typically Yellow. or Gold

HOAT coolants combine the advantages of both silicate and organic acid corrosion inhibitors. One of the HOAT coolants is currently the factory fill on all Ford and Chrysler vehicles with gasoline engines. HOAT coolant has been developed and formulated to meet new car manufacturers’ specific needs for 100.000 miles plus maintenance and warranty intervals. Colors for this coolant are typically yellow or gold

• Waterless Coolants

The Evans Company has been the business of providing cooling system products and components for heavy equipment and trucking industry for many decades. I believe that their products are reliable and would perform as expected. Waterless coolants have been around for some time now and are very prevalent in the sport of racing. Recently Evans has released new products aimed at other areas of cooling systems. Waterless coolants offer benefits that traditional coolants can not match 1) high boiling temp, in the 375 degree F range, 2) in the absence of water and water vapor, cooling system pressure is not created and the system operates under 0 pressures. 3) No water as part of the mix also means no cooling system corrosion. This product offers many benefits and would work very well in a Cub cooling system. The down side is the cost and the application requires that all the water is removed from the system prior to installation. I do not have any personal experience with this product (unlike the other coolants) and I would encourage interested persons to explore the above website for additional information.

All of us have come to rely on color to identify the coolant; this does not always work because the coolant in simple chemical form has no color at all. Every coolant manufacturer adds color to the coolant as a dye marker and there is no specification for color of each type of coolant. When orange (automotive Dex-Cool) and other non-IAT coolants started selling well, some indiscrete companies began to add similar colors to their coolants with conventional IAT corrosion technologies and raised their prices accordingly. There are Global green coolants from other parts of the world that are more like OAT or hybrids than traditional IAT coolants. The IAT coolants intended for heavy-duty diesel engines range from blue to green to purple, and the HOAT hybrids might be any color at all. Some companies are dying their coolants yellow regardless of the corrosion technology used and advertising that it can be “mixed” with any other corrosion technology and are thus “Complete” and are safe for topping off your cooling system. Reading the container is the only good way to know what you are actually buying. Just like motor oil each O.E. Manufacturer has their own set of standards and they are printed on the container if that anti-freeze meets those particular specifications..

So what will happen when coolants with different corrosion inhibitor technologies are mixed together? Absolutely nothing, no concrete or sludge will form or any adverse chemical reactions. The only thing that will happen is that the coolant will still carry heat and protect against freezing. Not everything is wonderful however, when adding an IAT to an OAT; the recommended coolant change interval will degrade to that of the shorter-life coolant. When the mixture stays below 25 % new coolant on top of remaining 75 % of the original coolant, the corrosion protection performance will remain that of the original coolant. But as the mix of coolant technologies raises above 25% new coolant to old coolant and you keep adding new coolant (a leak in the system) eventually the original corrosion inhibitor will be replaced by the new corrosion inhibitor. For example, if you continue to top up a five-year coolant with a two-year coolant, the resulting coolant mixture should now be changed every two years. Filling a vehicle that was designed for one type of coolant with another type can sometimes cause problems, and you shouldn’t expect the same corrosion protection as the factory fill for your particular vehicle.

. Likewise filling a cooling system with the wrong coolant could also cause problems. Newer cooling systems are mechanically designed to work with specific types of coolant. A recent test by Ford Motor Co. concluded after a 300-hour test of OAT coolant in a Ford engine designed for HOAT coolant, that the water pump impellor and backing plate were seriously damaged by cavitation corrosion. It is simply not possible to have one product that meets the coolant requirements of all the different automakers. Because some OEMs require silicate- free coolant and others mandate the presence of silicate, “one size does not fit all.” when it comes to coolant and there proper usage in your given vehicle.
For example because of it’s chemical makeup, PG coolant is not recommended for Ford Power Stroke Diesel engines. In this engine PG coolants can cause damage to aluminum parts, gasket materials and certain kinds of hoses. It also has a lower boiling point than EG coolant, usually 10 F to 15 F lower. While it may not sound like much, in a modern cooling system with a high output engine a few degrees may make all the difference in the world between overheating and staying cool.
Keeping the cooling system properly maintained is one of the most important elements of a preventative maintenance program. The simplest and most important cooling system maintenance items are freeze point and proper coolant level. In general terms almost all coolants are formulated to work best at the ideal freeze point mixture, a 50/50 mixture of anti-freeze and water (-34 degrees F however, some areas will need more of a concentration than this to provide adequate freeze protection). The 50/50 freeze point offers the best protection against freezing and allows the corrosion inhibitors to be present at the correct levels. The correct freeze point mixture also is the most effective coolant, because the fluid’s ability to carry heat (heat capacity) is best at a 50/50 mix. The quality of the water being used is also an important consideration in mixing coolant. In almost every part of the country, tap water or city contains minerals’ that can form deposits in a cooling system, especially on the engine’s hottest parts such as around the cylinder walls. These deposits can slow down the flow of heat transfer and if they break loose, they can clog radiator and heater core tubes. Other common contaminants are iron and chlorine and at high enough concentration levels can be corrosive to many parts in the cooling system. In order to avoid minerals and other contaminants from being in the coolant mix it with distilled water rather that tap water. Premixed coolants are mixed at the factory with distilled water and some offer distilled and deionized water as well.

When working on your cooling system and a part needs to be replaced remember that it will have no corrosion protection at all. The worst thing to do at this point is to reinstall the old coolant whether it is IAT, OAT or HOAT By adding fresh coolant along with the new part will insure that there are enough corrosion inhibitors in the coolant to provide protection for the new components. Whatever the coolant type, adding new coolant is recommended to avoid contamination from dirt, oil or other chemicals that are common in the shop. Dispose of used coolant properly by recycling.
The good news is that your Cub or vehicle made before 1996 will work very well with the EG coolant with IAT corrosion technology and the low silicate (250 ppm) formulation. This is the typically green colored coolant (as always check to make sure what you are buying). Another option would be to use one of the HOAT coolants (typically sold as “complete” formulations) as this will work in your Cub and may also be compatible for your modern vehicle as well. What ever you choose, buying it premixed is also an option. This would be a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and distilled water and this would afford you the best corrosion and freeze point protection for a span of two years. I have seen cost both ways, where pre-mix is more expensive than mixing it yourself to where it was a lot cheaper buying the premix
Unfortunately the choice of coolant for your modern vehicle may not be as easy. It is imperative to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to the proper chemical and corrosion technology for your given vehicle. This newer technology coolants are good for approximately five years or for 100,000 miles or about twice as long as the old technology coolants. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended coolant for your modern vehicle. Anti-Freeze containers list the compatible standards on the back of the container additionally many coolant manufacturers list the compatible standards on there web site as well.
. This is by no means a comprehensive article on anti-freeze or cooling systems, but an overview on the fundamentals of the newer coolant technologies. Part of my job is teaching cooling systems and coolants at both the high school and college level, but aside from that, what information is out there for the typical person to access? When researching this article I was amazed but not really surprised at all the misinformation that is out there. Companies want to sell products and as such simply do not supply all the facts, an important consideration when comparing products. I believe that going forward that the HOAT coolant will the choice of many OEM manufacturers as more of them are using this coolant with every succeeding model year. I do not see the traditional IAT green anti-freeze going away either as that is the old standby for many things. The Cub because of its simplicity will thrive on any of the old and newer coolant technologies with no problems.
My sources for this article: and open the power point slides on coolant. There are many more articles on this site and they are all free for the viewing. ... rticle.pdf this is an older article (2005) from Motor Age Magazine but it is worth a review

Experiance is knowing what NOT to do the next time.......
1937 John Deere A (Big John)
1953 Farmall Cub (LiL Red)
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