Distilled water or Tap water for Coolent flush

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  #1  
Old 06-07-14, 09:57 PM
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Distilled water or Tap water for Coolent flush

Kinda a taboo subject around the internet. Can you get away with using water from the garden hose for doing the flush part only to get the old stuff out but then use distilled water to mix with the antifeeze or should it be distilled the whole way. The van says to use dex-cool and holds 11.9 quarts with the rear climate control. 2001 Pontiac Montana. Old stuff is brown so need change badly.
 
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Old 06-07-14, 10:19 PM
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Everyone has their own way of flushing. I flush using tap water. Then I drain it and throw in a couple gallons of distilled let it swirl around. Drain and refill with antifreeze and distilled water.

That brown could be rust or oil. Check for oil in the antifreeze.
 
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Old 06-08-14, 03:52 AM
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I've always used tap water in both flushing and mixing with the anti-freeze. I also use tap water when topping off batteries. Never had any issues that I'm aware of.

When the cooling system is extra dirty I like to flush it well, maybe run it a few hrs or a day with the cleaner in the radiator.
 
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Old 06-08-14, 11:49 AM
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Every manual on flushing shows exactly same picture - garden hose stuck into radiator. I don't think anyone is using purified water to flush, as it take gallons and gallons to.

DexCool is red by itself, btw. Well, orange, but that 's closer to red. Not saying your coolant does NOT need to be flushed.
You can use Prestone after flush. It is guaranteed to be mixed with DexCool. Whatever left of it in the system after flush.
 
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Old 06-08-14, 05:18 PM
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Well I used water from the hose. I drained it then used the hose to flush out more stuff out of the radiator till it was somewhat clearer. Then filled with water from the hose then ran engine. couldn't get any heat from the heater at first even though the temp gauge was going up and up. Had to rev the engine to around 1500-2000 RPM and got heat right away doing that and that got the temp gauge down. Drained again and was also orange like before. flushed rad while drain was open to get it clear. Had to also flush the reserve tank as that had sediment in it so had to fill stir then use a turkey baster to empty it. Used peak universal anti-freeze then ran the engine for 10 minutes without the heater then turned heater on and again had to rev the engine to 1500 to get heat from the vents(van idles between 500-700RPM). Mixture I would say is 80/20. 80% antifreeze 20% water.
 

Last edited by flirty1; 06-08-14 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 06-08-14, 07:43 PM
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Check for a possible bleeder valve on the thermostat housing. If you have one, open it and add coolant until it comes out of the bleeder. Then close bleeder. That is sometimes the reason for the thermostat failing to open.
 
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Old 06-15-14, 04:16 PM
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OK system should be bled. I removed the radiator cap so I could monitor levels and topped it off a bit with just water then opened the bleeder screw and coolant squirted out so it should be fine. had heater set to full during bleeding. road test and no issues so far.
 
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Old 06-16-14, 10:26 AM
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Mixture I would say is 80/20.
I don't believe I'd use over a 60/40 mix in a cold climate. From what I recall, a 70/30 mix is the strongest concentration recommended by most antifreeze manufacturers.
 
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Old 06-16-14, 10:00 PM
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Agreed. Mixing it too strong can actually lead to overheating in the summer. No idea how that works, go figure. 50/50 will be just fine.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 03:20 AM
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50/50 is what I normally mix my coolant at, more so for the anti corrosion properties than cooling/freezing ...... but I live in the south I also think that 70% is the max - it should state on the label the strongest recommended mixture
 
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Old 06-17-14, 06:34 AM
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Before retiring I was in the auto/truck repair business a lot of years. I am interested in knowing if in one to two months from now, if the brown rusty condition returns. I had a handfull cars that came into the shop that were badly rusted. We did major cleaning with high pressure water and backflush machines. Got the water crystal clear and filed with proper mixture and anti-rust additive. Within a couple of months the rust returned. We reflushed but still no luck. One car we tried four times but the rusty water always returned. Possibly todays coolants or engine alloys are more resistant to what I described.

The reason for proper ratio of anti-freeze to water for optimum cooling in summer is that pure anti-freeze does not readily give up heat as does water so when it passes through the cars radiator it will return to the engine hotter - therefore poorer cooling possible overheating if you are in the right (higher) temperature climates.

If you live in an area of the country that has hard water (high mineral content, soap does not suds up well or at all) and you use a water softener at home, then you should use distilled water in your car because the minerals do build up and clog the system and some have reacted with the radiator and heater core metals to corrode and leak. I have had no problem with plain tap water here where I live but I have a few friends that only use distilled water.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 06:38 AM
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it should state on the label the strongest recommended mixture
I checked two manufacturer's labels. A 70-30 mix provides freeze protection down to -84 degrees F. In my opinion, any mix stronger than this and you are asking for trouble. I also use a 50-50 mix and have never had any problems.

Back in the '60s and '70s we always used tap water for batteries and coolant mixing and never had any problems. I believe the recommendation for using distilled water came along with the advancement of more aluminum in the cooling systems such as aluminum heads and aluminum radiators.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 07:39 AM
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Another thing to consider (RE rusty rad water)...

As has been touched upon....radiators used to be brass (and copper?) and engine blocks and heads used to be iron/steel. Water+oxygen+iron/steel=rust. Add in galvanic action and high mineral content water and yes, tap water could be an issue. De-mineralized (distilled) water is less conductive than avg tap water.

I think for the average person who does average maintenance will never see any difference from regular tap water vs distilled. For the person who is hyper picky or the one who puts off maintenance, distilled may offer some advantage. I only use distilled in batteries (old habits die hard), but don't care so much when it comes to the cooling system.

I imagine ideally you should use technical grade distilled/deionized water since waters purpose in a car is purely as a carrier/coolant.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 03:44 PM
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I only use distilled in batteries (old habits die hard),
If I had to add water to a battery today I'd probably use distilled water too, but I don't remember having to add any water to a battery in over 25 years.

With the advent of long life antifreeze, using distilled water might be more important than it would have been years ago when we used to flush and change antifreeze every 2 to 3 years.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 05:24 PM
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I made it strong by accident. according to the manual it holds 3 gallons if it has a rear climate system. I started pouring the concentrate into the rad and got maybe 2/3s of a bottle into it before it backed up. I stopped and let it go down as the air settled and just started filling with water. Even after the bleeding I just added water.
 
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