Dear No-Rosion Customer,
This past winters record warmth may be a foreshadowing of things to come. Some forecasters are already predicting record heat for this summer. Is your vehicles cooling system ready?
If you have read any of our prior newsletters, it will come as no surprise to you that water is the absolute best coolant for any engine. It conducts twice as much heat as glycol antifreeze, and allows engines to run significantly cooler. But what you may not know is that not all water is created equal.
In recent years, a number of environmental factors have increased the frequency in which tap water contains high levels of chloride. These factors include: utilization of desalination plants for tap water, winter road salt runoff, use of calcium chloride for maintaining unpaved roads and in fortifying roadbeds for new construction, leached ground minerals, groundwater fecal contamination, and byproducts of oilfield drilling activity.
There are now over 21,000 desalination plants in operation worldwide. In 2007, worldwide use of desalination grew by 43%. The US has over 1,400 desalination plants, and California has plans underway to build 20 more.
In desalination, sea water containing 1.94% chloride passes through filters having an average salt rejection rate of 99.4%. This yields desalinated water that contains 116 ppm chloride. So if desalinated water were used as straight water coolant, it would contain 116 ppm chloride. The dilutive effect of mixing desalinated water with 50% antifreeze would effectively cut the concentration in half, resulting in 58 ppm chloride.
Chloride is corrosive to aluminum and its alloys. For this reason, ASTM D3306 Standard Specification for Engine Coolant for Automobile and Light-Duty Service establishes the maximum allowable chloride for engine coolant at 25 ppm. At levels higher than this, chloride can stimulate intergranular corrosion of aluminum/alloy radiators. It reacts with water to form hydrochloric acid, causing localized pitting. Because this type of corrosion is autocatalytic in nature, it can continue until the entire thickness has been penetrated, resulting in radiator leaks and failures. This is one of the reasons antifreeze manufacturers now prefer to sell pre-mix blends, which are made using reverse osmosis water instead of tap water.
Here is a list of some US cities, along with their respective chloride levels in municipal tap water:
1 Data is presented in ranges, because most municipalities collect water from multiple sources, having varying values, and
also because chloride readings often tend to fluctuate seasonally and year-to-year.
2 Indicates cities known to produce at least some of their municipal tap water using desalination plants.
Commercial and residential water softeners are effective at removing calcium, magnesium, and certain metal ions from tap water. But most do not effectively remove chloride ions. Only Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane filtration can completely remove chloride contaminants from water.
We have always known that RO water makes the best engine coolant. But we have not widely recommended its use, because it has traditionally been difficult for consumers to find. Fortunately, that has recently changed. Almost all brands of Drinking Water found in gallon jugs at supermarkets are now RO water.
Because RO water can now be found at almost any supermarket in the form of Drinking Water, we recommend its use for straight water engine coolant applications.
Care should be taken to use drinking water, not spring water. Spring water often contains added minerals to enhance flavor. There is a risk that this high mineral content can cause scaling and deposits in vital heat transfer areas of a cooling system, which could lead to overheating.
Due to the inherent electrochemical instability of distilled water, we recommend against its use as straight water engine coolant. The only time it should be used is when mixed with 50% antifreeze.
Not sure if your tap or softened water is high in chloride?
We now have a product that allows you to quickly, easily, and inexpensively determine whether water is safe to be used as engine coolant. Our new No-Rosion Water Test Packet includes four test strips that provide accurate readings of chloride, hardness, and pH levels. An accompanying color chart indicates whether each level is within a safe range.
The corrosion inhibitor ingredients in No-Rosion do provide protection against a wide range of contaminants, including chloride. But if the chloride level is high enough, and a sensitive aluminum alloy is present, there is a risk. By simply converting to RO water, this risk is effectively cut to zero. Or, use our No-Rosion Water Test Packet to be sure that your tap water contains less than 25 ppm chloride. Visit our web site for more information on this new product.
To avoid the possible issues of water, you might be tempted to try Evans Waterless Coolant. It is 100% glycol, and marketed as having benefits that make it better than water-containing engine coolant. Buyer beware.
Due to heat transfer limitations of glycol, Evans Coolant causes cylinder head temps to increase by over 100oF. Having cylinder head temps this hot causes issues: (1) it increases octane requirement by 5-7 numbers, (2) it requires ignition timing retardation of 8-10o to avoid trace knock, (3) it reduces horsepower by 4-5%, and (4) it can cause premature wear of non-hardened valve seats through a process known as brinelling. For more detailed information on this subject, please refer to the TECH INFO section of our web site.
Evans Coolant is 10 times more viscous than water. This can cause issues with water pumps - especially in cooling systems of older cars that were designed to run with less viscous, non-glycol coolant.
Converting a system to Evans Coolant is quite a task. It requires 97%+ of coolant to be evacuated from the system, which can be difficult. It costs over $200. And it is prohibited by race tracks because 100% glycol is slippery and flammable. For these reasons and more, we recommend against its use.
One last item on the topic of chloride. Some aluminum radiator manufacturers use fluoride/chloride containing welding flux. If not properly rinsed from the radiator after its manufacture, it can make its way into the engine coolant. So far we have only seen this happen with aluminum radiator cores made in Asia. Ford Motor Company has led the research in this area. In their ASTM scientific paper, Investigation of Interaction Between Coolant Formulations and Flux Loading/Compositions in Controlled Atmosphere Brazed (CAB) Aluminum Surfaces in Heat Exchanger Applications, Ford utilized a proprietary test method to isolate and identify various fluoride-containing fluxes, and the damage they can cause to some aluminum radiators.
If/when you may find it necessary to replace your radiator with a new one, especially one having a core manufactured in Asia, consider flushing your cooling system with our No-Rosion Flush or HyperKuhl Flush product after installation. This will help remove residual flux contaminants, and neutralize any acids that may have already formed from the presence of flux residue.
Switching gears a bit. Last year we began providing products and services to an international mining operation. Each of their trucks has a cooling system capacity of 285 gallons, and a radiator with a replacement value of over $10,000. When fully loaded with iron ore or coal, the gross vehicle weight of these trucks exceeds five hundred thousand pounds. See the photo below.
One of the services we provide to them is diagnostic coolant analysis. This allows us to proactively identify problems within the cooling system that can be detrimental to coolant performance, or lead to premature engine or radiator failure. In their case, preventing just one radiator failure can save $10,000.
Because of this, we now utilize a very sophisticated piece of laboratory equipment called an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) atomic emission spectrometer. Using this analytical tool, a coolant sample is vaporized by argon plasma, and an optic reads the spectrum of light that each element in the sample emits. The result is a report, in parts per million (ppm), of every single component and/or contaminant that exists in the coolant.
Why do I bother to mention this? Because now you can benefit from our enhanced analytical capabilities.
Our new No-Rosion Coolant Analysis Service is a very affordable way to take the pulse of your vehicles engine and cooling system. When you send us a 6 ounce sample of engine coolant, we will analyze it using our ICP spectrometer, and send you a very detailed report of our findings. This includes specific recommendations that may be necessary to optimize maintenance of your vehicles engine and cooling system.
This new service can also be helpful in diagnosing the cause of failures. Here is a case in point . . .
our customers regularly drives his 1936 Cord 810 Westchester thousands of
miles in various road rallies. He recently had the Cord's engine torn down
to repair a faulty camshaft. The technicians found heavy white deposits on
piston tops and exhaust valves, as well as in the water passages of the head
and block. More was found in the radiator bottom tank. He was rightfully
concerned, and contacted us regarding the problem. He initially suspected
electrolysis, because the engine has aluminum cylinder heads and a cast iron
We requested a coolant sample, and analyzed it in our lab. The results indicated that, in fact, it was not electrolysis. Sulfate levels in the coolant were more than three times the ASTM-accepted maximum.
Sulfates react with water to form highly corrosive sulfuric acid. Their presence at this high of a level could only be caused by combustion byproducts entering the cooling system. This info prompted further examination of the head gaskets and mating surfaces of the engine. Sure enough, it was found that seepage had occurred. The source of the problem was accurately identified, and mechanically corrected. This simple test may have saved thousands of dollars in additional damage.
The cost of our No-Rosion Coolant Analysis Service is $95 per sample. Other laboratories that do not use an ICP spectrometer would charge well over $500 to produce the same results. This is due to the man-hours necessary for chemists to manually perform such an extensive analysis. So, while our service may seem expensive, it is actually a very good value at this price.
A complaint we sometimes hear from customers is that our shipping costs are too high. I AGREE!
Unfortunately, we have our government to thank for that. Federal regulations now make it necessary for us to ship our chemical products under the classification ORM-D, which stands for Other Regulated Materials for Domestic Transport Only. For shipping purposes, the government is basically requiring us to declare our products as semi-hazardous materials. As a result, our shipping charges are higher than would be the case if we were shipping a non-chemical product, or one with a lower pH.
We have worked hard to prevent you from over-paying on shipping charges. For this reason, we now ship most ground packages via Fed-EX Ground instead of UPS Ground, as they are generally a couple dollars less per domestic shipment. We also now provide online package tracking services. When your order is processed, our fulfillment computer automatically sends the tracking number to you via email.
You may have noticed that recent newsletters have become longer, and a bit more technical in nature. In earlier years, we purposefully kept our newsletters simple, and non-technical. However, we have had customers call to tell me that they enjoy the technical information, and find it to be of value. For this reason, we will continue to try to provide information that is technical in nature, but yet written in a manner that hopefully makes sense, and is easy to understand.
Speaking of which, we have added the past few years of newsletters to our web site. Some of you have requested copies that you could share with friends who are fellow automotive enthusiasts. Our thought is that, by having them accessible on our web site, they can be more easily distributed. You will find them by clicking on the NEWSLETTERS link contained in the left hand column of every page of our web site.
As always, we will remind you that the corrosion and overheating protection provided by our products is depleted over time. To maintain your system properly, be sure to add another bottle every year. An order form is enclosed. You can also order online by visiting our secure, encrypted web site: www.NoRosion.com. Or call 847-477-9262 to order by phone.
Thank you for being a customer. We appreciate your business, and look forward to continuing to be of service.
Applied Chemical Specialties, Inc.
PS - Back by popular demand . . . No-Rosion fuel additives! Watch for all the details in our Fall 2012 newsletter.
Copyright 2012 Applied Chemical Specialties, Inc.