Distilled water bad? Use reverse osmosis water instead?

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'Stralia
To quote a now permabanned member...that's utter bollocks. Yes, all of those waters are "mineral hungry", they will chew the concrete lining off concrete lined pipes to elevate their hardness...but inside metal receptables, no, they won't eat them. Power stations we use deionised water inside the boilers and feed system, purified with ion exchange, polished with ion exchange, and ultimately as the water is recirculated through the boiler and turbine many many times...distilled. Corrosion rates are low, unless air gets into the system...oxides need oxygen. If we used tap water or rainwater, we'd have scaling as well as corrosion, and intergranular corrosion. People used tap water forever, demineralised/deionised/distilled is best practice for coolant longevity.
 
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Upper midwest
RO water is corrosive NO!!!!!! It needs plastic or stainless steel in it's equipment. BIG MISTAKE to use RO water. I run a $80,000 RO system at work. You can use it in batteries, but don't use it in a aluminum or steel block, that's just nuts. In fact we had a problem with RO water attacking our chemistry in printing, we have to "pre treat" the virgin RO water to "attack" an additive BEFORE we use it, since it is so aggressive. Distilled is 110% the best water to use in an engine block.
 
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4,154
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South Carolina
Originally Posted by das_peikko
Distilled water pulls minerals out of the engine block? Boy that does it right there. I've heard everything now. LOL
^^YUP^^ Amazing how anyone can produce a youtube video and people watch it like its true. Its complete BS, in fact wont even watch it, why add "views" to the person making it, which is why its there to begin with.
 
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Kestas

Staff member
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Guy says distilled water is bad because it pulls minerals, aluminum and iron oxides from the block. Says to use reverse osmosis water or filtered rain water.
Complete nonsense. The issue is with deionized water. And even deionized water is safe once the first bits of antifreeze are added to it.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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The Motor City
Originally Posted by alarmguy
... why add "views" to the person making it, which is why its there to begin with.
To give it a thumbs down.
 

TTK

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TN
That is the 'hungry water" theory, originated by Click&Clack, as a joke I assume
 
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14,716
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Upper Midwest
Originally Posted by Mainia
RO water is corrosive NO!!!!!! It needs plastic or stainless steel in it's equipment. BIG MISTAKE to use RO water. I run a $80,000 RO system at work. You can use it in batteries, but don't use it in a aluminum or steel block, that's just nuts. In fact we had a problem with RO water attacking our chemistry in printing, we have to "pre treat" the virgin RO water to "attack" an additive BEFORE we use it, since it is so aggressive. Distilled is 110% the best water to use in an engine block.
There are certain subjects here that garner some of the most ridiculous comments and answers, and this is one of them. It's generally responses from people who have read something or heard something somewhere and then extrapolate that into what they think is knowledge on the subject. There is functionally no difference between de-ionized, distilled and reverse osmosis treated water. All three of the processes remove the hardness ions from the water and none of them put anything back in. Yes, metals are soluble in water and yes the water will dissolve some of the metals in the engine. But it is a minuscule amount and in a closed system such as an automobile cooling system the water would quickly become saturated and no further metallic leaching will occur. The amount is in the micrograms. But even then, when mixed with the proper coolant there are passivation compounds which protect the engine components from corrosion. Where this goofy idea comes from is in open systems where new pure water continuously flows over a metallic surface, such as in a water distillation system. But none of that applies to a closed system such as in a car. In a car you want deionized, distilled or RO water so that the chelation agents in the coolant are not immediately saturated by the additive water. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing sometimes.
 
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All water, whether it's distilled or tap or RO will promote corrosion on some level. The purer the water (distilled/rain) the lower the pH will be and the less buffering capability it has. Conversely, the more buffering ability a water has (tap water) due to higher mineral content, the less corrosive it will be because the minerals act like a buffer. So while using tap water can introduce impurities like calcium and lime into the system that causes scale, it actually is the least corrosive of all due to it's higher/more neutral pH and greater ability to buffer. You can alter a waters corrosion properties with additives. Coolant is an additive and most coolant mfgs add buffering agents and corrosion inhibitors to their product to improve a water+coolant solutions ability to resist corrosion and scale buildup. You can further improve upon these properties by adding aftermarket products like Lubegards Kool It, which has additional buffering agents and pH neutralizers. I personally have used Lubegard products in both my power steering and transmission systems with stellar results. In my opinion, Lubegard makes some real deal stuff. That said, it's totally NOT necessary to add an aftermarket corrosion inhibitor. Most of the additives in coolant will keep your system safe whether you're running RO (deionized water) or Distilled. In practice, you could run straight tap and probably do just as good (or better) as far as corrosion is concerned, so long as you were changing out the coolant regularly. The problem your going to run into with tap is the mineral content. Depending on where you live it can be quite high and even with the inhibitors, scale buildup can be a problem. This is why coolant mfgs recommend using distilled, it's pure H2O and nothing more - so the coolant mfg knows EXACTLY how their additive pkg works (best) on water that starts out at a ZERO mineral content. The additive pkg in the coolant (should) then balances the pH, add buffering agents to protect against oxidation and inhibitors to limit scale buildup. Fwiw, when aluminum oxidizes it actually forms a protective layer that inhibits further oxidation. And unlike rust, which flakes off, the oxidative layer formed on aluminum is quite resilient and not so easily removed.
 
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14,716
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Upper Midwest
Originally Posted by atikovi
Guy says distilled water is bad because it pulls minerals, aluminum and iron oxides from the block. Says to use reverse osmosis water or filtered rain water. Go to time 5:55: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ovO1esqzVo Thoughts?
My thoughts are that this person should refrain from commenting on anything related to chemistry or physics, and probably anything automotive.
 
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4,165
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WA
Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by atikovi
Guy says distilled water is bad because it pulls minerals, aluminum and iron oxides from the block. Says to use reverse osmosis water or filtered rain water. Go to time 5:55: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ovO1esqzVo Thoughts?
My thoughts are that this person should refrain from commenting on anything related to chemistry or physics, and probably anything automotive.
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109
Location
Flyoverland, KY
+1 on Shannow's comments. The only thing to add to that is that because RO/distilled/deionized water does not have a bunch of other chemical ions in it, some of which are inherently corrosive, the anti corrosion, anti scaling and pH adjusting additives in the antifreeze can do their job unimpeded with no competition.
 
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