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pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? #5125163 06/04/19 02:19 PM
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Oro_O Offline OP
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I have been reading about these tests and can't really find any credible source that says this is a solid way to evaluate used coolant. I find lots of advice and recommendations, but no real scientific testing/evidence.

For oil, we'd obviously accept a used oil analysis to confirm the oil is good. Can we likewise credibly use pH and/or voltage readings to continue to run coolant?

For example - vehicle flushed and filled with IAT green coolant, 5.5 years ago. Used <30k miles in mild climate, and it still has a pH of ~8.5, right where it should be, and healthy voltage reading of 0.070V. Continue to use it?

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: Oro_O] #5125270 06/04/19 05:06 PM
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mk378 Offline
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Voltage reading is hokus but testing the pH makes sense. Ethylene glycol breaks down to become an acid over time which will reduce pH.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: Oro_O] #5125508 06/04/19 11:33 PM
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Your pH looks good. Pick up a coolant hydrometer to test your freezing/boiling point, they're not that expensive. But at 5.5yrs I'd D&F with fresh stuff, especially since coolant isn't that expensive. I think you'll sleep better at night...

Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 06/04/19 11:35 PM.
Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: Mad_Hatter] #5125550 06/05/19 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter
Your pH looks good. Pick up a coolant hydrometer to test your freezing/boiling point, they're not that expensive. But at 5.5yrs I'd D&F with fresh stuff, especially since coolant isn't that expensive. I think you'll sleep better at night...

They start at $2.07 at WM.


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Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: BlueOvalFitter] #5125672 06/05/19 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueOvalFitter
Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter
Your pH looks good. Pick up a coolant hydrometer to test your freezing/boiling point, they're not that expensive. But at 5.5yrs I'd D&F with fresh stuff, especially since coolant isn't that expensive. I think you'll sleep better at night...

They start at $2.07 at WM.


Yeppers...I have both the Chaslyn brand and the slightly more expensive Prestone brand. All total for like $8...i use both as reference to one another. I try to check once a month (if I remember too) and it takes less than 5mins.



Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 06/05/19 08:20 AM.
Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: Oro_O] #5125706 06/05/19 08:52 AM
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I never check my coolant with a hydrometer . Not for years .

I use 100% variety of coolant and never put water in a cooling system , baring a mishap / emergency .

No problem , works fine . No calcium build up ( our tap water is pretty hard ) . Cools fine . Never gets cold or hot enough to cause problem .

If there is no water in the system , it is not going to rust .

Let the flames begin .


Wyr
God bless
Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: WyrTwister] #5125713 06/05/19 09:01 AM
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kschachn Offline
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Flames are not necessary. It has been explained to you, in technical detail and on numerous occasions as to why that is not a good idea. If you choose to continue to do so that is your business but I would suggest it isn't proper to advocate what is contrary to the requirements of every automaker on the planet.


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Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: WyrTwister] #5125719 06/05/19 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
I never check my coolant with a hydrometer . Not for years .

I use 100% variety of coolant and never put water in a cooling system , baring a mishap / emergency .


You use 100% coolant?

I have hard water too. I'm on well and the cal/mag/lime is waaaay high. Great buffer for my aquarium but not so much for the home plumbing. I only use distilled or DI when I do a D&F / flush.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: kschachn] #5125725 06/05/19 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Flames are not necessary. It has been explained to you, in technical detail and on numerous occasions as to why that is not a good idea. If you choose to continue to do so that is your business but I would suggest it isn't proper to advocate what is contrary to the recommendations of every automaker on the planet.


I live in the NW and 50/50 has kept the OE radiator practically brand new. We rarely get temps above 90f and when we do it's not usually for extended periods (maybe a week or two at most). So most of the summer it's fairly moderate. Winter temps are another story though...we can spend weeks with sub freezing morning temps.

Last edited by Mad_Hatter; 06/05/19 09:06 AM.
Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: BlueOvalFitter] #5132610 06/12/19 07:51 PM
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Oro_O Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BlueOvalFitter
Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter
Your pH looks good. Pick up a coolant hydrometer to test your freezing/boiling point, they're not that expensive. But at 5.5yrs I'd D&F with fresh stuff, especially since coolant isn't that expensive. I think you'll sleep better at night...

They start at $2.07 at WM.



Got busy the last few days with some work things that had me off my routine. Wanted to say thanks for the advise; I'll pick one up next time I am in WM.

I mix my coolants at 60/40 and as mentioned, we very rarely see cold temps. I'll track the pH and freeze point and see how long it actually takes to start to see evidence of modest compromise in the fluid. Should be interesting.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: WyrTwister] #5135030 06/15/19 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
I never check my coolant with a hydrometer . Not for years .

I use 100% variety of coolant and never put water in a cooling system , baring a mishap / emergency .

No problem , works fine . No calcium build up ( our tap water is pretty hard ) . Cools fine . Never gets cold or hot enough to cause problem .

If there is no water in the system , it is not going to rust .

Let the flames begin .

there is water in the 100% coolant, sir. it is an aqueous solution. also rust preventers. I'm a biochemist, just in case you doubt me.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: Oro_O] #5135034 06/15/19 03:16 PM
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Change every five years and fogetaboutit. laugh


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: WyrTwister] #5135055 06/15/19 03:47 PM
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Warstud Offline
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
I never check my coolant with a hydrometer . Not for years .

I use 100% variety of coolant and never put water in a cooling system , baring a mishap / emergency .

No problem , works fine . No calcium build up ( our tap water is pretty hard ) . Cools fine . Never gets cold or hot enough to cause problem .

If there is no water in the system , it is not going to rust .

Let the flames begin .

You can get away with it in Texas as long as it stays above freezing but I'm not sure what your trying to prove by using 100% since it costs more. A coworker used 100% in his car until the temps dropped down into the teens one night. He started his car before leaving work one day and it ran for about 15 minutes and quit. Burned the motor up. Don't be foolish....use coolant as it was intended.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: PaulH] #5137454 06/18/19 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
Originally Posted by WyrTwister
I never check my coolant with a hydrometer . Not for years .

I use 100% variety of coolant and never put water in a cooling system , baring a mishap / emergency .

No problem , works fine . No calcium build up ( our tap water is pretty hard ) . Cools fine . Never gets cold or hot enough to cause problem .

If there is no water in the system , it is not going to rust .

Let the flames begin .

there is water in the 100% coolant, sir. it is an aqueous solution. also rust preventers. I'm a biochemist, just in case you doubt me.


There is water, but only a very small amount. I tried to evaporate straight coolant in a wide, shallow pan (lots of surface area) in my garage. No dice. It’s like 3-5%, and under ambient temperatures, it just doesn’t evaporate any time soon.

Re: pH and voltage testing coolant - reliable? [Re: mk378] #5234588 10/09/19 07:54 AM
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willbur Offline
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Originally Posted by mk378
Voltage reading is hokus but testing the pH makes sense. Ethylene glycol breaks down to become an acid over time which will reduce pH.


Voltage readings hokus? One would think corrosion by products in depleted AF would raise coolant conductance and be reflected in raised voltage readings.
Regarding the OP and searches that are not credible or scientific regarding voltages- pick up a chemistry book and you will likely find what you need.

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