View Full Version : Antifreeze

09-12-2003, 05:53 AM
Any pros or cons to the "safe" antifreeze brands such as Sierra? When it first came out I never tried it as there was controversy over environmental issues vs whether it would protect the car. It's been years now and there is more than one brand correct?

We have a couple of motors out and wonder if we should take the opportunity to switch over at least on those cars.

No discussion needed on tracks that don't allow AF, that's not an issue here as we do still use the IT cars in the winter so we need it during that time. http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif

I searched the archives for Sierra but.....



Roy Dean
09-12-2003, 07:46 AM
Sierra is propylene glycol based... this is the same stuff that is in candy, soda, and... uh.... "personal lubricant" http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/tongue.gif

It's much more viscous at lower temps. In extemely cold environments, I would avoid it. I don't use it because of that (and I live in eastern PA).

Roy Dean
09-12-2003, 07:49 AM
oops, I should mention that most antifreeze mixtures are based on ethylene glycol... which is both delicious and VERY TOXIC.

bill f
09-12-2003, 10:12 AM
I assume you are using it in a racing car application, so my comments are directed to that.

Anti-freeze has a lower capacity to store heat, and is a less efficient cooling medium. Pure water is the best, although Water Wetter is somewhat better, and provides corrosion protection.

My opinion is: Using anti-freeze is not a good thing for racing because of the effects when the stuff lands on the track. It takes forever to evaporate, is difficult to clean up by the course crews, and makes a difficult track for the others that did not have their cooling systems leak. I'd hate tho think that someone else bent their car because my car dumped "water".

Some racing venues also ban the use of anti-freeze for that reason.

If it is less efficient (literature is available for this point), more difficult to clean up, and it is more treacherous for other competitors...why use it?

The only time I can think that I'd want to use it would be if I was Ice Racing, where the temps are always way below zero. Spring and Fall in the North East will tolerate the use of water...I've been doing that for 10 years now, and I race late October in Ohio.

Not meaning to start a debate, just rendering an opinion.

Good racing.


Speed Raycer
09-12-2003, 10:47 AM
Can't comment on the "safe" A/F's, but with Water Wetter as a lubricant, there's no reason to use A/F except for storage. Just remember to drain some of the straight water and top off with the appropriate amount of A/F for your climate, otherwise your racing budget could take a severe hit http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif

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Dave Ebersole
09-12-2003, 01:24 PM
I entered the last MARRS race at Summit Point last October. During the second qualifying session that Saturday, with a few laps to go, the wire from my distributor to coil came off on the front straight and I coasted off at the end on the escape road. While I was off the track finding the problem and fixing it, getting back in the car, etc, a car had lost a hose and dumped anti-freeze in the carrousel part of Summit. Two Spec Miatas had gone off in the slick stuff and a debris flag was up. As I headed back to the track, the corner worker in 1 told me," You have two minutes to checker". I figured I could get around to start and get that magical "fast lap" so proceeded around picking up to normal race speed by the time I hit the carrousel. By then, the corner workers dropped the debris flag and I came through the turn on the racing line, nailed the anti-freeze, slid off onto wet grass, began an agonizing slide and jammed my left front into the right side door of one of the Miatas as it's poor driver, over the fence, looked on helplessly. My weekend was done. Bent subframe, broken windshield, bent hood, broken wheel, LF fender destroyed. The Miata made repairs and was able to race Sunday, but had much damage to his right side.

Please don't use anti-freeze at the track.

[This message has been edited by Dave Ebersole (edited September 12, 2003).]

09-12-2003, 02:18 PM
What about the anti-corrosion propertise in coolant/anti-freeze? A block that rusts from the inside out or a head that turns to black paste on the inside will also leave a charred smoking hole where your billfold used to be!

09-12-2003, 02:29 PM
As far as corrosion goes, NAPA sells a corrosion inhibitor and water pump lubricant called Mac's 13. Good stuff, I've been using it in every car I've owned (street and race) since I was a teenager.

I use it at about 1/2 the recomended dillution in race cars, because of the 'slick track' effect. I've never actually had a catastrophic coolant loss, but I feel better knowing it's dilluted, and presumeably less slippery.

That and Water Wetter gets me through the season, as someone else mentioned I add antifreeze for winter storage. Maybe I'll try Propylene Glycol this winter so I don't have to worry as much about the dogs getting into it when I drain it for next season.


09-12-2003, 05:40 PM
Thanks guys, but if you read my post, I did say we use the cars *in the winter* and I suppose I should have specified in New England so yes we need the AF during that time. I really didn't want this to evolve into a thread of whether AF should be used on a track or not, that's a whole other issue. http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/frown.gif

Roy, thanks for your comment, I didn't even consider how it works in cold weather vs warm and cold weather use is important.


09-12-2003, 09:22 PM

Con's on the "safe" stuff - its Propelyne based and as best as I can tell, im-fing-possible to find a hydrometer that will test it. Closest I can find is a $150 optical refracting style testor that just tells you the %, not the freezing point. Otherwise it seems to work like the other green stuff.

The newer GM/Ford stuff they say is good for 100k miles seems to work well too, I have it in some of my street cars. It is ethelyne based so keep the pets & small kids away from it. I'd use this stuff & just keep track of it when its not in the car. By not needing to change it for new as often, you don't end up creating as much to throw out.

If you have to drain it out for the summer race season, just strain it through a paint strainer when you put it back at the end of October.

In many places, the ethelyne stuff has been de-rated on the list of hazmats. Don't know why, it is still the same stuff.


Greg Gauper
09-12-2003, 10:00 PM
Living in the land of the frozen tundra, my $.02 worth...

I use plain water and water wetter during the season. After the last race of the year (october) I drain the radiator AND engine block. Had the head off (alum block & head) and saw no signs of corrosion. When I refill I make sure to use distilled water which seems to help (vs my yucky well water).

As a general rule of thumb, I replace my water pump every 4-5 years as a precaution, usually when ever I'm doing other major work. Ditto on the hoses.

[This message has been edited by Greg Gauper (edited September 12, 2003).]

Dave Ebersole
09-13-2003, 10:37 AM
Sorry Diane, I didn't intend to highjack the thread regarding the use of antifreeze on a race track, however, the last NE div regional I see is the October 25 weekend so it still shouldn't be needed. Since you specified that it was an IT car I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that you would be using antifreeze on the track. If it is a dual purpose car, you still shouldn't use it on the track, regardless of what a pita it is to change it in and out.
Again, my apologies,