This is probably OT, but I can't find a good general car newsgroup.
What is an alternative to ethylene glycol antifreeze? Some kind of
alcohol used to be used, but I don't know what.
Anything dissolved in a solvent lowers the freezing temperature and
raises the boiling temperature. Salt sound corrosive, but how about
sugar? Would that cause any harm? My engine has iirc both steel and
aluminum parts, plus there are rubber or neoprene parts. Any other
materials likely to be used in a '95 Chrysler cooling system?
I have a leak in the radiator, and until I can get a replacement and
have weather above 40 or 45 to put it in, it's just often enough below
freezing here that I can't just keep refilling with water. But for
money and environmental reasons, I don't want keep using ethylene
A few seconds of Googling suggests that most alternative antifreezes are
geared towards being more enviro or pet friendly, not necessarily cheaper.
There could be something out there, some chemical powder say, that disolved
in water depresses the freezing point and is also not corrosive but if so
why wouldn't we be using it in the first place?
Would an engine block heater be a least costly solution?
Yeah. I was looking for something we already had at home, like
rubbing alcohol (or drinking alcohol, but that's probably too
expensive. How about cheap white wine? Would that damage the
I'm really curious about sugar now. It doesn't evaporate. I wonder
why I've never heard of it being used.
Or pepper. I have an extra can of ground pepper.
Or a weak solution of baking soda or vinegar. AiUI, anything
dissolved in water lowers the freezing temp and raises the boiling
temp. The lowest it ever gets here is 10 and usually no lower than
20, and this year so far, no colder than 29. If really cold weather
was predicted before I had time to receive and install the new
radiator, I could go out and drain the radiator etc.
For example, we no longer use alcohol as an anti-freeze because it
evaporates**, but that must take a measurable amount of time (like
maybe all winter), or we never would have used it in the first place.
So it would probably last at least as long as it takes for the water
to leak out, but I don't know what kind of alcohol is best or how much
it would cost.
**That's why ethylene glycol is called "permanent" antifreeze.
I don't know, maybe, but in my particular case, the electric cord
would have to cross two sidewalks to get to my car. And other people
walk on the sidewalks and I'd be afraid someone would trip, especially
at night. (If I had the right trees, I could run the wire above
everyone, all I have are 5-foot bushes. :( )
Yes, it would. Wine is fairly acidic, and you'd have a major corrosion
problem. It also wouldn't save you any money, either: you can get antifreeze
at discount stores for around seven dollars a gallon. Try buying wine for a
dollar-forty a bottle...
Because it's a bad idea...
Pepper doesn't dissolve in water.
A weak solution of *anything* isn't going to help you. Even a weak solution of
antifreeze isn't going to help.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Yeah, I did try BarsLeak and it seemed to work great. But that was a
week or two ago. A couple days after I added it, the level was just
as high as when I put it in (which is funny because even when there is
no leak I seem to lose some in the overflow bottle.) Tonight, I
noticed that even though the engine was a lot hotter than normal, one
or one half index mark from the top of the scale, there was no heat
coming from the heater. No heat is a pretty clear sign I have less
water than I should (Maybe half as much as I should is my guess). So
when there is daylight, I'm going to find out whether there is a leak
or not, but I'm pretty sure there is. Oh yeah, I opened the hood and
in the dark saw some signs of water on the radiator.
Even if perchance, it's not leaking, the question still interests me,
so I asked tonight.
I used the metallic version of Bars Leak, not the original version
that looks like rotten black peas, so Andy, I have a feeling the
ALUMINA stuff would be similar to what I used.
Maybe I'll try it anyhow, but I don't think it will work and I think
I'm going to replace the radiator. In warmer weather I would just
carry 2, 3, 4 gallons of water with me, to make sure I can always get
home (One time in an area that had no gas stations, I ran out of water
so I even drove up someone's driveway and asked for some, which they
were happy to give me, from the garden hose. They were sitting on lawn
chairs at the end of the driveway by the house, so I knew they were
home. Although if I were really desperate, I would fill my bottles
from the garden hose or garden faucet even if the people weren't home.
That's the kind of world I grew up in, where that was ok, and I assume
that's the way most people still feel.) But I have a 2800 mile trip
coming up in March. I'm only taking some tools and I'd rather do the
repair before I leave than on the road.
Mail order, off the web, the radiator is about 105 dollars. I'm
curious whether it will be more or less at the stores around here.
I'll find out tomorrow. Any predictions?
No heat is not always a sign of low coolant level. In your case, the level may
have droped at some point far enough to empty the heat exchanger. When you
refilled the radiator, the heat exchanger remained filled with air. It needs to
be bled out.
Using straight water is an excellent way to destroy your water pump. If you are
losing coolant and the radiator appears dry, you may have already done so. My
advice is that you are headed for trouble. Expensive trouble. Forget all of the
lame-brained schemes to put off replacing the radiator, and do it immediately.
Even if that means paying someone else.
for very short-term..I think one of the first enviro-friendly versions of
antifreeze was called "Sierra" but not 100% sure..
I changed a water pump in -20F temps by working 10-20 minutes then
going in to warm My fingers many years ago,,took all day,,If I can do
that You can change a radiator in above 0 temps..If You have serious
health issues disregard the preceeding!
This is a case of trying to save a buck may cost you dearly in the end.
That Bars Leak may have plugged the radiator core. Yes, it happens often.
The real solution is a proper radiator repair. Now you may need a new
radiator core also. A competent radiator shop would have had you going in a
short and cost effective time compared to what you may face now.
As a teenager, I tried all sorts of additives in some old clunkers I drove.
It taught me a valuable lesson; get the car fixed properly. There is no
substitute for soldering a hole or replacing a bearing, or whatever the real
I hope I'm wrong but find out before more damage is done from overheating. .
Just a general reply. Forget the alcohol no matter how cheap. Yes it
evaporates, it does so even faster when heated. As in maybe only an
hours driving. At least that was the case back in the days of
non-sealed cooling systems. My old man tried it back in WWII - didn't
Pepper - used to be used as a leak sealent. A handful dropped in the
rad supposedly seals the leak, never tried it, never knew anyone who
did but there are lots of references to it.
You keep refering to replacing the rad, why not take it to a rad shop
and have it fixed. Should be cheaper than a new one.
Don't use the sugar, wine, rubbing alcohol, methanol, etc. In fact, if
you use just plain water, regardless of freezing concerns, long enough,
you are going to have corrosion problems. The odd-ball additives you
mention may have additional consequences as well, possibly forming
deposits on metal surfaces and adversely affecting water pump,
However, interestingly enough, a can of pepper, though not soluble,
_may_ temporarily stop the leak. I wouldn't recommend it except
in an emergency, though. Sooner or later you will have to fix or
replace the radiator. Seems like a good use for a charge card if you don't
have the cash.
Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontent makes rich men poor.
Go to your auto parts store, and if it is a small leak, get a product
called "ALUMINA" comes in a small tube. I had a 93 Chevy s-10
Blazer, with 70,000miles, with a small leak. I put a tube in the radiator,
and it sealed it up. i drove that Blazer for 130,000, and it never leaked!
There are non-toxic alternatives made for engine cooling use, like
propylene glycol, which is available at marine supply stores. However,
they are more expensive than regular anti-freeze. As others have
suggested, I would not try some home brew idea. In addition to
preventing freezing, antifreeze must have lubricating properties for
the water pump, and additives to balance the PH and prevent corrosion.
If it's a minor leak, I'd just try to get by with regular anti-freeze.
If it's worse than that, I'd take it to a shop, if necessary.
Go to an auto parts store and get yourself a bottle of Bars Leaks. Use
according to the directions. If the leak is big enough that Bars Leaks won't
stop it, then you need to either replace the radiator or get the leak
soldered. Anything else you do short of that is just pissing money away.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
If it's a small leak, loosen the radiator cap so the system never
pressurizes; it will leak a lot slower and might even heal itself with
mineral deposits. Keep it topped up with, say, 2:1 water and antifreeze
instead of 1:1 until you get it fixed if you don't need really cold
freeze protection. Your water pump will thank you for not running
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