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Old 10-05-2010, 08:22 PM   #1
NeedMoreVrmm
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1999 SL2
Default Best Type of Coolant

1999 SL2 DOHC Auto ~158,000

Will be replacing a leaky water pump, radiator, thermostat, and all the hoses (including a good flush of the system prior to part replacement).

I thought I remember seeing suggestions to use the yellow universal coolant. When I stopped at the Saturn, I mean Buick/GMC dealer to get a new thermostat, the parts guy saw my shopping list and asked me why I was using that (actually he said he never heard of that).

Is the yellow universal coolant the best to use?

Or should I use Dexcool? I just thought I remember seeing that it has caused lots of problems.

And of course there is the regular green stuff.

(OK, there is the new environmentally friendly coolant, but I'm concerned that it's not readily available and adding any of the other 3 to it might be really bad, so I figure I'll stay away from this for now).

Thanks for your help!

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Old 10-05-2010, 08:32 PM   #2
moresaturn
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Generally, use the any make/model coolant. I would personally suggest you go to Wal-Mart and get a gallon of Prestone undiluted Antifreeze. You could use Dex, but the availability of typical coolant (glycol based) is higher than that of Dex. You do not want to mix the two. Also another reason to refrain from using Dex is that is should have additional binders (I do not exactly what, some kind of ground spices?).

Just get Prestone and use that, that is what I did

Plus at wally world, Prestone is like 10.50.

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Old 10-05-2010, 09:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Use 100% antifreeze and dilute to fill with distilled water. The Antifreeze products sold as Universal will provide the best protection and longest service life. There are several brands available. The Universal product will be marked Universal on the front. You will need a full gallon of 100% antifreeze and 1 gallon of distilled water for a complete coolant change.

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Old 10-05-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

I also use green coolant in my cars with no issues.

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Old 10-05-2010, 11:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

use the cheapest stuff you can get, but use 100 percent antifreeze, no water.

this will give you better rust protection and lubricant for the water pump,

plus, it will last longer.

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:14 AM   #6
DonP
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Your best freeze protection is at about 67% antifreeze, 33 % water. If you go above this freezing protection actually decreses. For our purposes, after flushing the system thorouthly, add 1 gallon of antifreeze and fill the remaing with water (deionized or distilled if your tap water is hard or suspect). That is close to a optimum mix for freeze protection.

100% antifreeze is NOT recommended or necessary. If fact some manufacturers warn against going over 60% antifreeze due to risk of damage to engine parts. To quote Ford's Motorcraft: "DO NOT ALLOW the concentration of coolant to fall below 40% or exceed 60% as engine
parts could become damaged or not work properly."

It is worth noting that the higher the antifreeze concentration, the lower the heat transfer capacity of the coolant. Thus over heating will be more likely with high concentrations of antifreeze. So in summary, 50/50 is probably best in a hot climate, and 60% antifreeze in a cold climate.

You can buy the 50/50 premix, but you are paying a lot for the 50% that is water, and end up with less protection.

Universal (yellow) coolant is a good and safe bet, and givs you options in case you need to top off with what ever is available. IMHO DexCool's (orange stuff) problems were mainly the result of running beyond the nominal 5 year rating and perhaps excessive exposure to air due to cooling system problems and use outside the recommended applicaiton parameters. The Green stuff (traditional) is OK too, but has a shorter useful life (2 years).

If you use green stuff to top off a system filled with universal, you are ok, but then the nominal useful life is degraded to that of the green stuff, and you shoudl not top off again with the orange stuff.

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Old 10-06-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedMoreVrmm View Post
the parts guy saw my shopping list and asked me why I was using that (actually he said he never heard of that).
He'd never heard of Prestone?

Prestone's marketing department must be having fits

...
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Guess I now (12/2008) own a 1998 SL2, silver, 5 spd :p
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And now (7/2010), a Craigslist 1997 SC2, white, 5 spd

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Old 10-06-2010, 10:04 AM   #8
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

News Flash
By design there is 1 quart of flush water permanently trapped in the heater core. The only way to drain it out is to remove both hoses and blow it out with compressed air or turn the car over. So, if you use diluted 50/50 antifreeze/water mix it is physically impossible to end up with a minimum 50% concentration.

Use 1 full gallon of 100% antifreeze of the color that you like and then fill the remainder of the system with distilled water. This will be 4 quarts of 100% antifreeze, 1 quart of flush water, and 2 quarts of distilled water. You will then have a 57% antifreeze/43% water mix which will be fine. Less than 50% provides inadequate long term corrosion protection for the aluminum components.

To obtain a 67% concentration requires 4.7 Qt. of 100% antifreeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonP View Post
Your best freeze protection is at about 67% antifreeze, 33 % water. If you go above this freezing protection actually decreses. For our purposes, after flushing the system thorouthly, add 1 gallon of antifreeze and fill the remaing with water (deionized or distilled if your tap water is hard or suspect). That is close to a optimum mix for freeze protection.

100% antifreeze is NOT recommended or necessary. If fact some manufacturers warn against going over 60% antifreeze due to risk of damage to engine parts. To quote Ford's Motorcraft: "DO NOT ALLOW the concentration of coolant to fall below 40% or exceed 60% as engine
parts could become damaged or not work properly."

It is worth noting that the higher the antifreeze concentration, the lower the heat transfer capacity of the coolant. Thus over heating will be more likely with high concentrations of antifreeze. So in summary, 50/50 is probably best in a hot climate, and 60% antifreeze in a cold climate.

You can buy the 50/50 premix, but you are paying a lot for the 50% that is water, and end up with less protection.

Universal (yellow) coolant is a good and safe bet, and givs you options in case you need to top off with what ever is available. IMHO DexCool's (orange stuff) problems were mainly the result of running beyond the nominal 5 year rating and perhaps excessive exposure to air due to cooling system problems and use outside the recommended applicaiton parameters. The Green stuff (traditional) is OK too, but has a shorter useful life (2 years).

If you use green stuff to top off a system filled with universal, you are ok, but then the nominal useful life is degraded to that of the green stuff, and you shoudl not top off again with the orange stuff.

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Old 10-06-2010, 12:56 PM   #9
saturnsctwo
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

i use between a 60/40 to a 70/30 blend of dex cool vs water. the manual says dex cool so that' what i use. the yellow universal coolants are supposed to be good also. flush out the old stuff if your converting to a different kind of coolant though...

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Old 10-06-2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnsctwo View Post
the manual says dex cool so that' what i use.
That's what I used, too... until it all turned to jello and my car would overheat in heavy traffic with the a/c on (fan working fine).

Apparently it's a common problem when dex is exposed to... air.

As everyone else has said, flush with water, get a gallon of concentrated (not 50/50) antifreeze, pour it all in, and top off with clean water. If you live in a very hot environment, you may want to get a bit closer to a 50/50 mix (a full gallon of antifreeze puts it above 50/50 because the system does not quite hold 2 gallons). Water conducts heat much better than antifreeze, so using less antifreeze and more water will increase the cooling system efficiency. However, less antifreeze means it will freeze more easily (not a problem as long as you have at least 50/50 unless you frequently experience temperatures way below 0dF) and more importantly, the antifreeze has corrosion inhibitors which prevent corrosion inside your cooling system. This is a big issue on some cars, but I'm not sure if there's anything susceptible to corrosion on Saturns (aluminum doesn't corrode that easily).

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Old 10-06-2010, 01:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
That's what I used, too... until it all turned to jello and my car would overheat in heavy traffic with the a/c on (fan working fine).

Apparently it's a common problem when dex is exposed to... air.

As everyone else has said, flush with water, get a gallon of concentrated (not 50/50) antifreeze, pour it all in, and top off with clean water. If you live in a very hot environment, you may want to get a bit closer to a 50/50 mix (a full gallon of antifreeze puts it above 50/50 because the system does not quite hold 2 gallons). Water conducts heat much better than antifreeze, so using less antifreeze and more water will increase the cooling system efficiency. However, less antifreeze means it will freeze more easily (not a problem as long as you have at least 50/50 unless you frequently experience temperatures way below 0dF) and more importantly, the antifreeze has corrosion inhibitors which prevent corrosion inside your cooling system. This is a big issue on some cars, but I'm not sure if there's anything susceptible to corrosion on Saturns (aluminum doesn't corrode that easily).
it gets that way if it's left in too long. i never listen to the long maintenance scedule i just change it every few years regardless. it's always clean & clear when i replace it, but i still do it for general preventative maintenance. ya i also heard that it reacts that way when in those open overflow bottles, but saturns don't have them...

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Old 10-06-2010, 01:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Frequent Saturnfans speculation also states that the 57% coolant mix (1 gallon pure coolant) is less likely to allow boiling in localized areas of the SOHC where cracks are known to form.

I flush the system thoroughly with tap water (fairly soft Lake Michigan stuff), drain, refill with distilled and run, drain, add the 1 gallon of coolant and top off with distilled as necessary. Every bit of the old stuff is flushed out that way and very little tap water remains in the system.

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedMoreVrmm View Post
I thought I remember seeing suggestions to use the yellow universal coolant. When I stopped at the Saturn, I mean Buick/GMC dealer to get a new thermostat, the parts guy saw my shopping list and asked me why I was using that (actually he said he never heard of that).
Hahahahhaaha

That must have been Sellers on Grandriver. I met the same parts guy. He couldn't figure out which thermostat. I told him, an SOHC, an 8 vin. He had me get my VIN so he could be sure he got me the right part.

I got my new thermostat there. I'm glad there is a dealer that stocks satty parts near the shell of Saturn of Farmington Hills. Man, they seem to hire some doorknobs to work the counter.

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:11 PM   #14
Dr. Sprock
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

race cars use 100 percent water.

why?

slightly better cooling like the guy said up above,

and,

have you ever gone skiing on a fresh slick of prestone and oil?

and, track clean up is easier, the rad is the first to go,

right after moderation, that is,

the reason the rich guy wanted 100 percent antifreeze in his 500 cid cadillac, (which took about 5 gallons,) was that he did not want to have and change it as often, the lazy *******,

you guys use whatever you want, i really do not care, just don't drink it, it drives prices up.

look now, 15 bucks a gallon wtf, over?

check the pH, has nobody took chem class here?

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

From recent posts, I'd say you know all about chemicals ... I mean chemistry.

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Old 10-10-2010, 07:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Whenever I post a question I always appreciate any input that people can give me. However, when OldNuc gives me advice, that's it. Problem solved every time. Go with what he said. I always do and my 10 year old car runs like new.

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Old 10-13-2010, 01:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Off topic, but where do you guys get rid of your old anti-freeze?

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Old 10-13-2010, 02:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by doser View Post
Off topic, but where do you guys get rid of your old anti-freeze?
Put it by the front door and the city comes by and picks it up. However you get rid of it make sure that its secured. The stuff is like candy for dogs but unfortunately is also very deadly for them.

-Robert

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Old 10-13-2010, 03:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

Each state is different. MN will have rules maybe. But, any large truck repair place will take it because they recycle the stuff. It is highly toxic to all animals, not just dogs.

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Old 10-13-2010, 05:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Best Type of Coolant

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Put it by the front door and the city comes by and picks it up. However you get rid of it make sure that its secured. The stuff is like candy for dogs but unfortunately is also very deadly for them.

-Robert
what city does this? i was told to just dump it in a sanitary sewer as it's Biodegradable....

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