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Old 08-21-2009, 06:10 PM   #1
saturnsctwo
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Default ginger root tablets/coolant change

it's time for my 5 year coolant change. boy does 5 years go by fast! seems like i just changed it! anyway, the last time i changed the coolant i used 2 of those ginger root tablets in the coolant. i got them from saturn. they are supposed to seal up any tiny leak like in a porous block. my car never leaked coolant other than a small leak at the t-stat housing due to a bad o-ring. i changed the whole t-stat housing & it never seeped there again.

anyway i just used the tablets for as a preventave maintenance thing. should i re-use them with the new coolant change? as i said my car never leaked coolant that way. use of these tends to discolor the coolant. saturn says they won't clog up any radiator passage, but i'm leary of using sealants like thls because i still think they can cause a minor blockage possibly.

if i don't have any leaks should i continue to use these as preventave maintenance, or is once enough?
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

i am a certified saturn mechanic and can say gm in general does not reccommend any type of stop leak for any car system... coolant is vital to engine cooling and i have seen stop leak clog rediators and hoses, if the vehicle isnt leaking than you should not use it, if the vehicle is leaking the leak needs to be properly fixed and still no stop leak used.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnTech122 View Post
i am a certified saturn mechanic and can say gm in general does not reccommend any type of stop leak for any car system... coolant is vital to engine cooling and i have seen stop leak clog rediators and hoses, if the vehicle isnt leaking than you should not use it, if the vehicle is leaking the leak needs to be properly fixed and still no stop leak used.
well i think those tablets were jusr for possible leaks through the block which might be porous that's all, not for like radiator leaks...
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

Please, will someone explain "seal up any tiny leak like in a porous block". I have never seen a porous block, yet alone a block seeping coolant in places other than gaskets, plugs, etc. Sounds like a snake oil treatment to satisfy the customer and get them on their way.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

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Originally Posted by KLS1P View Post
Please, will someone explain "seal up any tiny leak like in a porous block". I have never seen a porous block, yet alone a block seeping coolant in places other than gaskets, plugs, etc. Sounds like a snake oil treatment to satisfy the customer and get them on their way.
some saturn engines have had some tiny porosity due to the lost foam casting way they are manufactured...
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:42 AM   #6
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Wrench Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnTech122 View Post
i am a certified saturn mechanic and can say gm in general does not reccommend any type of stop leak for any car system...
The GM Shop Manuals for my 1995 Chevrolet Lumina detail out the "ginger root" tablet. They give the part number and everything if I recall. They are only available at the stealership. I had never heard of them until that time. I did eventually find a thread explaining that they were added with a machine on the assembly line. GM uses a tablet because, it is easier. You can buy the ginger root as a power in most stores under some name that I cannot recall. It is with the stop leak stuff.

Of course the Lumina had the 3.1L Dex cool head gasket failure and recall. So perhaps the ginger root was preventative to get the car to the other side of the warranty. Then it was your problem to replace the head gaskets. I think this is good accounting more than good engineering.

I do not have shop manuals for my Saturn.
It has Dex cool.
I have not read about gasket failures on ECO's.
SO perhaps the tablets are not required...

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Old 08-27-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLS1P View Post
Please, will someone explain "seal up any tiny leak like in a porous block". I have never seen a porous block, yet alone a block seeping coolant in places other than gaskets, plugs, etc. Sounds like a snake oil treatment to satisfy the customer and get them on their way.
GM for a while had issues with porous castings. A porous casting is where air is not evacuated from the metal poured in the casting. The tiny amounts of trapped air cause fluid leaks. It is sometimes referred to as metal or block porosity. I know the Corvette had some issues with porous castings in the 1990's causing oil leaks. Some of the GM 3.1l (not the 3100) v6 has porous lower intake manifolds. I remember my parents had this exact issue with their 1989 Buick Century. It was fixed under warranty IIRC. I know GM issued a bunch of stop gaps to get the cars out of the warranty period. The ginger root might be one of them.

GM is not the only one that has had porous castings. My 2007 Yamaha FZ6 had a porous head casting that leaked coolant from the middle of the head! It was fixed under warranty.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

Thank you for the examples of porous castings, I have never seen one. Were the tablets ever considered a fix under warrenty? I would consider a fix like that as eventually wearing away.
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

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Originally Posted by KLS1P View Post
Thank you for the examples of porous castings, I have never seen one. Were the tablets ever considered a fix under warrenty? I would consider a fix like that as eventually wearing away.
It probably did, but it most likely got the vehicles past the warranty period. GM did not have long warranties back then, so it only had to stop the leak for a short period of time.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

The active ingredient to stop corrosion in DexCool is an organic acid called Ethyl Hexanoic Acid, EHA, (OK they use either the sodium or potassium salt of the acid).
I can't imaging ginger root to not react with the EHA. And unlike the old style antifreeze with Silica to passivate the metal, the EHA forms a soapy covering over any corrosion. If the EHA were to interact with the ginger root it would most likely form a clump and clog something in your cooling system.
If your block isn't leaking coolant, I wouldn't try to fix a non existent problem.
And for anyone who thinks that GM checks everything for compatibility, it was the DexCool coolant that led to the end of production of the 4.3 liter engine. The EHA is also a plasticizer, like Armor-All it, keeps plastics soft. Unfortunately for owners of the 4.3 liter engine the intake manifold gasket got very soft from DexCool and leaked.
Don't forget to use distilled water or pre-diluted DexCool. Too many ions in tap water for the EHA to react with.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: ginger root tablets/coolant change

i just changed my coolant. it was pretrty clean with some debris around the filler bottle neck from that ginger root additive. i flushed out the bottle. i guess i won't use that crap again. anyway, i know the capacity of this car is 7 quarts, but all i can get in it so far is 1 bottle of full strength coolant & 1.5 quarts of distilled water. i know the heater core & maybe some other places in the engine will hold some coolant. right now the expansion bottle is a little above the full cold mark, will this go down with a couple of hot & cold cycles? i think the mixture is like 70/30 now which would be excellent......

i drained all the coolant out of the car through the radiator drain valve & engine block plug which not much came out maybe like a half quart.

if it goes down i will just add more of the distilled water......
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