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Radiator Fluid Flush?!?


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hi all,

i went to get my oil changed and they tried to sell me on a $70 radiator fluid flush? the guy showed me what i can only describe as turkey-baster with four colored balls in it. then he pointed to the line that stated, "NOT SAFE." he told me i had enough in there but it wasn't "protecting my radiator."

i've got over 75K miles. i don't think it's ever been flushed. but how do i really know if i need to? is there any additive i can buy?

thanks everyone,

don

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Your radiator/coolant flushes is important. Take a look at your coolant reservoir with the green stuff in it. The colour has to be bright greenish/yellowish shade. If it's dark, then you have to flush it.

You generally don't have to replace your radiator since it lasts at least 10years. If you have a leak or problem, you'll notice it. Your engine will over heat, and your climate controls will spit out a lot of heat--no cool air w/o AC on.

It almost sounds like he/she's trying to push some additives down your throat. Do not add any additives to your coolant. lexus is very specific, and changing anything could create some new issues. You can do the radiator flush yourself if you wish. It's just a matter of a large bucket, and a new 50/50 coolant fluid from Walmart or PepBoys.

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What he was showing you is a simple tester designed to measure the specific gravity (density) of your antifreeze. Basically he is telling you that your antifreeze mixture is weak. It probably wouldn't hurt to flush and refill your system if you don't know if it's ever been done. I would be getting my antifreeze through Lexus/Toyota since they use an antifreeze that is pink in color, not the typical green you normally find used in older US made autos. There are other brands of red/pink antifreeze out there but I don't think you can go wrong if you get it from Toyota.

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What he was showing you is a simple tester designed to measure the specific gravity (density) of your antifreeze. Basically he is telling you that your antifreeze mixture is weak. It probably wouldn't hurt to flush and refill your system if you don't know if it's ever been done. I would be getting my antifreeze through Lexus/Toyota since they use an antifreeze that is pink in color, not the typical green you normally find used in older US made autos. There are other brands of red/pink antifreeze out there but I don't think you can go wrong if you get it from Toyota.

price might be an issue!

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more verbage:

Take the bottom cover off(10mm); the drains on the engine[one on each side] are accessable between the track bar entensions and the aluminum subframe. The 10mm bolt heads are brass---use a ratchet with about 12" of extensions; also you will need approx. 24" of 3/8" ID hose. Put the hose on the outlet extension next to the bolt head and direct into a container. DO NOT take the bolt out; after turning a few turns the coolent will flow out of the hose. flows for about 15 min per side. remember to take off the cap or disconnect the rad hose connecting to the thermostat housing,--might want to open the air relief on top of the thermostat housing.

Of course, the radiator drain is very obvious !!

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my 99 ls has coolant filler plug located on top of the throttle body - don't know about the 90-94 years but just a little FYI....

If you have the filler plug, you'll want to fill the engine block thru it and fill the radiator/ reserve sections too.

Premix TOYOTA LONG LIFE COOLANT (ONLY) 50/50 with distilled water!

My capacity is 11.5 quarts so get 2 gal. each of coolant and distilled...

ONce it's full up , start engine and put heater on HOT/MAX till the car warms up good. Then double check level in reservoir to top off if needed.

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my 99 ls has coolant filler plug located on top of the throttle body - don't know about the 90-94 years but just a little FYI....

If you have the filler plug, you'll want to fill the engine block thru it and fill the radiator/ reserve sections too.

Premix TOYOTA LONG LIFE COOLANT (ONLY) 50/50 with distilled water!

My capacity is 11.5 quarts so get 2 gal. each of coolant and distilled...

ONce it's full up , start engine and put heater on HOT/MAX till the car warms up good. Then double check level in reservoir to top off if needed.

Sorry, I forgot to mention about the ratchet. I have confidence that he will figure out the steps on his own.

You'll have to warm the car up correctly, start, idle for 1minute, drive slowly, under 2000rpms, until the oil is warm. Then you can put the car through some tests. Heater test mentioned above, check for leaks after 20minutes of driving/idle.

Okay, I've got to ask, why is Toyota Anti-freeze so important to you guys?

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About the antifreeze.....

I believe I've seen posts here that have had problems with brands - especially DEXCOOL.

The reservoir label has "TOYOTA LONG LIFE COOLANT" on the cap as does the repair manual.....but, I know, it is a toyota product; what else would they say?

Anyway, no mention of problems with the Toyota coolant. It's not any more expensive than other stuff, so why not?

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I recently flushed and refilled radiator because of the 'green' coolant was in my 94 LS. however, I think I was misled to do so!

it has been stated quite frequently in the past in this forum, the 'green' coolant is harmful and corrosive to the alluminum radiator, so one must use 'red' coolant from Toyota.

so, I paid $23 for one gallan of genuine 'long-life' red coolant from Lex dealer. however, by comparing the labels, I found out the active ingrdients in the $23 red coolant are identical to those $6 green coolant anyone can buy at any gas station.

my take is that the color doesn't matter! the key is the coolant must be ETHYLENE GLYCOL based which is specified in owner's manual which also calls for 'DO NOT USE alcohol type'.

the bottom line is that most 'green' coolant is ethylene glycol based too, so why pay $23/gallon at dealer?

can anyone more knowlegeable make clear about green vs red?

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I also recently changed radiator fluid and used Dex-Cool by Prestone--it is red,long life, and is warrentied for 5 years; was more expensive--about $8 per gal.

Just checked the label and it does have 2 more ingrediants in it than the green does(I had an empty 'green' container).

Don't know what all that that means; but I do feel better about it.

It was not a propalene elycol base(the antitoxic antifreeze)

Again, if you were Toyota why would you try to sell Prestone--especially if you are getting twice as much,or more, for 'your brand'[goes to bottom line]--and you can bet that Toyota does not make it but buys it from someone else and puts their label on it. It then becomes the ONLY thing you can use--- otherwise voids a warrenty(sic). :D

At least it is red--an that seems to be a plus!!!!

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...... it has been stated quite frequently in the past in this forum, the 'green' coolant is harmful and corrosive to the alluminum radiator, so one must use 'red' coolant from Toyota.

so, I paid $23 for one gallan of genuine 'long-life' red coolant from Lex dealer. however, by comparing the labels, I found out the active ingrdients in the $23 red coolant are identical to those $6 green coolant anyone can buy at any gas station.

my take is that the color doesn't matter! the key is the coolant must be ETHYLENE GLYCOL based which is specified in owner's manual which also calls for 'DO NOT USE alcohol type'.

the bottom line is that most 'green' coolant is ethylene glycol based too, so why pay $23/gallon at dealer?  ......................

wandawoods ..................

I believe your assessment is correct in all respects.

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IJust checked the label and it does have 2 more ingrediants in it than the green does(I had an empty 'green' container).

Don't know what all that that means; but I do feel better about it.

It was not a propalene elycol base(the antitoxic antifreeze)

well, the bottom line question is:

is green ethylene glycol coolant truly harmful (corrosive) to aluminum radiator or not? if yes, it's because of which ingrediant?

I just don't want to pay 3~4 times more at dealer just for the color! it could be just a dealer rip-off like whole bunch of stuff they are selling over dealership.

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VMF,

Wandawoods states that there are green/yellow coolants that are ethylene glycol. Do you have knowledge that this is not true?

If not, perhaps you should alter your advice to make it chemical content-based, rather than color-based in order to avoid mass confusion.

Joe

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For further mass confusion:

Dex-Cool contains: ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, sodium2-ethyl hexanoate, sodium neodecanoate.

the green stuff contains: ethylene glycol,diethylene glycol, and water.

I am reading from bottles; no percentages given.

I was surprised to see 'water' listed---missed that before. Why would you want to buy water ??

NOW, would someone who has a Toyota bottle of antifreeze let us know what it contains(listed on back).

Hopefully, we will be ever more confused.

Wanda: the green stuff has been used with alum. radiators for years, hasn't it.

FUN ISN'T IT !!!!!!!

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Coolent FYI ...............

TYPE OF COOLANT?

Unfortunately, identifying the type of coolant that’s in the system isn’t easy. You can’t go by color because it varies, Most conventional two-year antifreezes for north American domestic vehicles is dyed green. But Saturn and some European makers also use green dye for their extended life coolants. Dex-Cool extended life coolant, which is used in new GM vehicles, is dyed orange to distinguish it from ordinary antifreeze. If intermixed with other types of antifreeze, the color may or may not change depending on the dosage. GM warns that intermixing extended life coolant with ordinary coolant reduces the coolant’s life to that of the ordinary coolant.

To add to the color confusion, some European and Korean coolants are dyed blue. Mercedes uses a yellow dye in its coolant. Toyota’s new extended life coolant is dyed red. Intermix any of the above and its hard to tell what color the coolant may become.

The real difference between all these EG coolants is in the additive package. Traditional antifreeze formulas for domestic applications with aluminum radiators, cylinder heads or blocks contain a high level of silicates (which is not really needed in cast iron engines with copper/brass radiators). Silicates form a protective barrier on aluminum that protects the metal. The additives in European and Asian OEM antifreezes, however, contain less silicates and rely mostly on borates to inhibit corrosion. European antifreezes also contains no phosphates because hard water can react with phosphates to form calcium and magnesium sediments. The Asians use phosphates but no borates and low or no silicates because they say borates may actually add to the aluminum corrosion problem if the coolant is neglected.

The extended life coolants use an entirely different corrosion inhibiting chemistry that uses carboxylate organic acids instead of the silicates, phosphates or borates.

ADDING COOLANT

When adding or changing coolants, therefore, the best advice is to follow the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer. Replace same with same. Or, use a "universal" antifreeze that is approved for ALL applications.

If you’re using a universal antifreeze, do a complete flush and change so there’s no intermixing of old and new coolants. This should eliminate the risk of an adverse interaction between different additive packages that might reduce corrosion protection.

If you’re recycling antifreeze, use the European, Japanese or domestic additive package recommended for the application.

Info found at this link ...... http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:b1XMI...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

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Nice.

One would deduce that there's more to it than whether it's EG-based.

I'll go with the Toyota red stuff, myself.

Joe

p.s. For anyone who doesn't already know...if there's a Toyota place nearby, get it from there, NOT the Lexus dealer, unless your pockets are just too full. (of money)

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NOW, would someone who has a Toyota bottle of antifreeze let us know what it contains(listed on back).

tansupplyman,

$23 toyota long-life coolant (red) from dealer:

ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, water, organic acid salt, hydrated inorganic salt

$6 'Peak' (green) from gas station:

ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, water, dipotassium phosphate, corrosion inhibitors, Silicates, Deformer, Dyes

anyway...if green coolant is corrosive to radiator, it must be the phosphate and/or silicates? however, the 'Peak' brand specifically states on label that pretects all metal including aluminum!

I buy the idea that don't ever intermix them. so, if one want to flush-n-refill, do make sure it's completely flushed. remember the engine block and heating core contain 50% of total volume (11.4 qt), thus you will need to flush them out too, then refill 6qt (1.5 gallon) of fresh coolant mixed with 6qt water.

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ok

here is a quote from the lexus repair manual

"Use a good brand of ethylene-glycol base coolant and mix it according to the manufacturers directions. using coolant which includes more than 50% ethylene -glycol (but not more than 70%) is recommended. do not use alcohol type coolant." it said also to use toyota or equivalent type of coolant

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I don't see anything that would make something corrosive. The only thing corrosive from Dex-Cool product is sodium neodecanoate, which will corrode many metal. Aluminum is lighter, the particles are spread apart, and are generally not easily corrosive to sodium based chemicles. The only thing that would corrode will be steel, and rubber tends to breakdown faster. Chances are your hoses will wear out before your radiator does.

I've used Prestone and Peak, and really don't see the reason someone will want to use the Manufacturer's brand, but if you have the money, hat's off to you!

Someone mentioned why someone would pay to have water. Simple, water cools, longer than any chemical. Space shuttle engines are cooled with dry ice, which has a small trace of water. Very effective.

manufacturer's recommend their products because they make money off the sales. Manufacturers also recommend you use the exact same tires they installed on the car originally, doesn't mean you have to.

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i have distilled water mixed with red prestone coolant at rate 50/50. my temp gauge is always a lil bit higher then the middle of the gauge. i'm not sure if it supposed to be like this but it is not giving me any problems.

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