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Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 2:27am

Greetings Astro Safari fans ! Below is a video of a guy who got 500K on an Astro van. I am aiming to get 300K on mine but I need the collective wisdom of this forum to help me. I am on my third Safari and my new one has 86K on it. My first two vans all died of a complication of the cooling system. I know there is a passionate debate over green vs orange and I have read all the arguments for each. I would like to get advice about other things I can do to keep my cooling system happy and healthy. I bought the van with 70K on it. It now has 86K on it. What should I do other than flush out the coolant? Should I change the water pump ? Change the water hose ? I want to be conservative.... Those of you that have kept your vans running over 250K... What advise do you give me ? Many thanks
http://www.specialist-online-dictionary ... -Club.html

Safari Rich

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 2:47am

If you want to keep the orange stuff in it, NEVER USE ANYTHING BUT DEXCOOL. However, the problems result from anything other than orange getting in it.

Flush the hell outta it, pull the frost plugs when you do, make sure the rear heater valve is open as well as the front heat if you have both. Flush, flush, flush. Then blow as much of the rest of the water out of the system with compressed air. Fill with Green antifreeze and Deionized water...NOT TAP. You don't want minerals in the water to collect in the system and cause problems. Then drain and refill the system every 2 or 3 years and you should have a happy system. Cooling systems go bad because the additives in the coolant wear out...lubrication and anti corrosion. You can filter old antifreeze and re add the package if you really wanted to, but most don't bother.

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 2:50am

If you run Dex-Fool may as well just junk it now and get it over with.

Green use block flush every 5 years when you change the coolant.
Recommendation from a lifetime owner of a radiator shop.
He said if everybody did that simple maintenance he would be out of business.

Universal coolant from Prestone has been working real well for me. And all my customers cars. Mixes with anything and prevents the setting up like concrete and blocking everything effect.
Has the advantages of Death-cool that it inhibits corrosion. Green that the flush isn't part of its formula. Slowly eating the metal away. It cant corrode if the metal is slowly being eaten, with the gaskets and aluminum, metal parts.

So there are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dex-Cool sets up like concrete if the wrong coolant, oil gets in there. Or it is to old. Or you mix it with other formulas of dex-cool and there are 4-5 of them. It turns to a sand like substance and eats gaskets and metals once the chemical reaction starts. Google dex-cool class action law suits or use search here on the forum. If you do not have a college degree in chemistry you have no business having it in you engine.

So make a choice and most important is flush and change the coolant every five years.

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 4:44am

I have a 93 with 325k mi (original engine, 2 replacement water pumps, 1 used radiator*,

2 drain valves in place of the 1/4" plugs in the block). Always had green, always flushed

and serviced every 4 to 5 years. Always a new standard 210* Stant T-stat & lever vent

radiator cap whenever there was major maintenance, like change water pump or flush and

service---cheap insurance. Other than that, keep yer eye on the gage, and yer head looking

for steam when you lift the bonnet after any good run. You don't want to get caught short

of coolant, if you want to go the long haul. Once a year it doesn't hurt to check the system

with a pressure tester to see if you are getting too much pressure (from the combustion

chambers) or not making enough pressure (weak cap) or loosing pressure (coolant leak).

This is just good headwork, and nothing like rocket science. What you don't want is to

wait until you are F.O.R.D. and left standing next to a pig farm...

Uncle Bob

(* found a good 3 core radiator with brass tanks in JY)

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 6:47am

Ok thanks.. I had already decided to go green. Now I am worried about getting it all out. The original owner had Dex cool and I have not attempted to flush it out. Does anyone make a 50/50 ready mix of green antifreeze?

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 1:53pm

Use the cooling system flush they sell everywhere, follow the instructions. I did it in the summer so I could run straight water for a while and I flushed 3 times, using a garden hose to a hose bib I put in the heater hose. Finally filling with Prestone and distilled water. Lots cheaper than the ready mix. Distilled is at grocery, drug and department stores. Premix can be had anywhere too.

Replace the intake manifold gasket either immediately after finding a slight leak you can't find or before. It will leak. Replace it.
My white wench has about 280,000 miles on her at present.

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 9:04pm

Excuse my ignorance. How can I tell if my intake manifold gasket is leaking ? Water on the floor of my garage ? About the switch to green.... If it were summer time I would go out with a 6 pack of brew and run the hose for awhile. Its been below freezing here for weeks in NYC and I want that Orange stuff out now. I have a buddy with a B&G machine so we are going to flush it out and replace with Universal Gold straight. Then I will flush it out again and slowly switch to green. Any problems with this plan ? As a practical mater, how do you mix the green with distilled water.. Do you use a 3 gallon bucket? I am all about what is cheaper.

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 29th 2014, 9:16pm

Ok Uncle Bob.. 325k Wow... thats what Im talking about! So i found this cap on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Stant-10231-Radia ... B000B8N3GE

Its a "Stant 10231 Radiator Cap - 16 PSI Vented" if you do not feel like clicking on the link. Did you change the water pumps because they failed or as a precaution ? If as a precaution at what mileage did you change them and were they after market? Thanks... Slow but Im learning !

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 30th 2014, 2:49am

You should adhere to a 15# cap (max). I like to use 13# caps in my older, er, 'classic' truck.

I opt for the "lever vent' style so that I can depressureize the cooling system easily while it is still

Hot, Hot, Hot ! with out endangering me or others in the immediate kill zone. The cap should

have a "lever" on its' top, just like the water heater safety valve that you have in your home.

It will also say 'lever vent' right on the box. No lever, not a lever vent ! Don't forget to get

2 ea 1/4" drain valves (straight, not 90 degrees) for the block drain holes. (makes flush and fill

that much easier) And, if you are looking for neat stuff, get a Prestone flush kit to install in

the heater hose that comes off of the water pump. When you need a w/p, don't get a refurb,

do yourself and your truck a favor by asking for a brand new pump. (it's proven they last longer)

Also modify 2 ea 3/8" coarse by 3" bolts by cutting off the heads and slotting the shank for use with

a screwdriver, to help keep the gaskets and w/p in place while you install the lower bolts, then replace

the top studs you made with the original bolts. (trick)

Good hunting

Uncle Bob

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 30th 2014, 3:00am

Good trick.. thanks. I'm almost at 90K. Should I change the w/p as a precaution since its been running orange stuff ?

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 30th 2014, 4:21am

When and if the water pump goes you'll overheat, won't kill the engine, if the intake leaks water into the oil,,, 5 to 1 odds your motor is done. If it leaks outside the engine it overheats, won't kill the engine. If I were to do proactive engine work it would be the gasket. It is an expensive job to have done so most will simply be aware and stay on top of the fluids. Change at regular intervals, when you stop for gas pop the hood and look at them, coolant and oil make a chocolate milkshake. If you see that it's too late but if you check often you may catch it before it's caused damage.

As far as mixing distilled w/ green? pour in a 1/2 gallon green and then a 1/2 gallon water into the radiator, pour the remainder together into one bottle. Don't ever pour plain water into the reservoir, as that might not get mixed before it freezes. What you pour into the rad gets mixed as soon as you reach operating temp. (you need to burp the system after being drained)

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 30th 2014, 4:36pm

Safari_Rich wrote:Good trick.. thanks. I'm almost at 90K. Should I change the w/p as a precaution since its been running orange stuff ?

Nah, wait for the w/p to start peeing coolant out of the weep hole (on the underside of the nose of the pump. I think it is there

specifically for that purpose). I have also heard of, but not seen, personally, complete erosion of the pump impeller. I seriously

doubt this is possible, but over the course of 40 years of playing the game, I have seen a lot of strange things. Your temp gage

will tell you a lot about the system if you remember to watch it, and that cloud of steam from the front of the truck will be the

secondary warning sign... Again, though, I don't just change parts for the sake of prevention, b/c that would kill my rainy day

emergency fund. What I do, is keep a watchful eye on things that usually go unnoticed. The FSM (our bible) states clearly in

the first chapter and verse: The most important thing is a thorough visual inspection, which will usually uncover most problems.

So, if you have a glass eye, keep it out for goodness sake !

Uncle Bob

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 30th 2014, 4:53pm

http://www.motul.com/system/product_des ... pert%20(GB).pdf?1324461364

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 31st 2014, 7:11am

The Motul link did not work.. Dr_defreeze what did you want to show ? Yes I lost my 2002 Safari from a coolant system problem so I am already in the habit of watching the gauges. Orange stuff comes out tomorrow.. cant wait. I hope the damage is not already done but at least I know now what to look for. So tomorrow she will have Universal coolant. I was going to switch to green but what is the argument against Universal over green ? I thought is was because the universal costs more but it does not seem to be much more ( buck a gallon). Will I be better off in the long run with green or Universal ? Thanks again ..

Safari _Rich

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 31st 2014, 3:43pm

Buck a gallon?
Prestone premix is $14,
Prestone concentrate is $16

and the universal you say is more than that. I don't know, never used it, might be good stuff.
You need 2 gallons maybe more if you have rear heat so that makes the premix total $28 and the concentrate $18, distilled water is only $2 a gallon.
If you get the store brand antifreeze it's even cheaper, the same companies make the stuff, some just have pretty bottles. Cost is not my only reason for going this way,
I have never seen a failure that green used properly, had caused or could have prevented.
I've been wrenching a long time so if there were a problem with it I think I would have noticed.
Uncle Bob, he's been around a while and CM,,,
well some kids were born with a silver spoon in their mouths'?
he had a 9/16ths :lol: ....

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 31st 2014, 5:09pm

alot of it is the time of year to. What I use is 11-12 bucks a gallon in the summer. It is 15.99 now

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 31st 2014, 5:23pm

I've owned vehicles with green & dexcool. I don't disagree with the fact that flushing / changing coolant is cheap insurance but....

Alot of people will think it is foolish but I base coolant life on my eyeballs & an electrolysis test.

I have a 1987 (120K miles) Astro that still has the OEM green coolant in it. Every time I think about changing it, I don't. It still appears green, clear & checks fine for electrolysis. No cooling system failures & it still has the OEM water pump & radiator. Temperature gauge stays rock solid at the point of thermostat opening.

I owned a 1991 Buick Century (3300 V6) & the intake gaskets failed because they were crappy plastic. There was pitting/corrosion on the intake manifold surfaces so I couldn't blame dexcool for the pitting because it had green OEM green coolant. It still had the original coolant in it when I got rid of it at 200K miles.

I replaced the plastic intake manifold gaskets on my 1999 Grand Prix GTP (117K miles). I used the upgraded metal intake gaskets. The Dexcool looked good, clear (after the residual goo floated to the top from the failing intake gaskets) and tested good for electrolysis so I skimmed the goo off the top & poured the old coolant right back in. It also still has the OEM water pump & radiator.

My DD truck & the wife's DD have 7 year old OEM coolant in them & they still look & test good.

In my experience it is more crappy, cheap gaskets than the type of coolant used.

I would agree that mixing coolant types might not be a good idea.

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

January 31st 2014, 5:24pm

Ha, silver spoon in my er, our mouth ? We were so poor...

(How poor were you ?) When I popped out, my family couldn't even

afford to own church mice ! Ba-da-bum.

So, why do youse think we drive these old trucks ???

Uncle Bob (I know, I know, don't give up yer day job !)

Re: Cooling system.. How do I make it to 300K !

February 16th 2014, 5:27pm

I'll just have to always check my fluids or look out for that smoke for now since my electonic temp gauge doesn't seem to work unless it's just cold
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