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Antifreeze longevity

Discussion in 'Questions & Answers' started by weerab, Jun 1, 2012.

  1.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    Car's just over 4 years old, wondering if it is wise to change coolant/ antifreeze, anyone have any idea how long it keeps it's antifreezing properties. Battery is also orignal, so probably on it's last legs.
  2.  
    Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Season Pass Holder

    Probably wise to change the battery, they always fail in the cold
    re the antifreeze, take a small sample from your radiator, place it in a jar in the freezer overnight, and see what happens.
  3.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    Thanks Charlie, I did try that freezer trick last year.
  4.  
    agentBM

    agentBM Part of the Furniture

    Um....service? Shouldn't that have been done at each service?
  5.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Ethylene/Propylene Glycol should be right, it shouldnt go 'off' but if you are getting some corrosion through your cooling system you might want to just change it over. Manufacturing specify anything between 40-80,000km to change your coolant.

    I personally wouldnt worry too much about the battery, just inspect it and make sure there is fluid in there and she should be right. Take some jumper leads or a powerpack if you have one and are worried, but the crap that mechanics and the RACV spin about batteries only lasting 3-4 years is rubbish, IMO.
  6.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    It's been seviced regularly at a Subaru dealer, I am sure if it was part of the schedule they would have done it. I'm sure the coolant's fine, I was just think about it's antifreeze properties below up at the snow.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  7.  
    snowtyres

    snowtyres Well-Known Member

    Anti-freeze/coolant should be checked with a anti freeze tester (hydrometer) which will show the temperature range that the coolant will work to.

    For maximum protection it is important to allow for the wind chill factor as well as the ambient temperatures, especially at Mt. Hotham.

    This video link shows the test procedure

    http://www.ehow.com/video_2328529_test-antifreeze.html

    Anti freeze testers are available, at relatively low cost on ebay

    http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=...-All-Categories
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  8.  
    sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    If you're wondering about your battery you can do a load test. Mechanics can do it or you can buy the gadget pretty cheap. Except if you're in Australia where nothing is cheap. Oh well. My experience is 5 years works for most automotive batteries, and that's in a cold climate compared to Oz.
  9.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member


    Thanks for that, I work in a lab so have access to density measurement, just have to find out what the SG should be. It might just be easier to change the coolant, don't think it's that expensive as long as you avoid the "Subaru Coolant".
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  10.  
    Nidecker

    Nidecker Dedicated Member

    It just doesn't get that cold in Aus, seriously pretty much anywhere you are allowed to drive / park a car in Aus is below the snow line. The whole windscreen wiper / antifreeze / whatever else you see or hear about from alpine regions overseas just doesn't really apply here. Chains being the one exception [​IMG]

    And I say this as someone who has lived and worked in the snow here and O/S. The worst problem I ever had, was being unable to start my V8 ford in Crested Butte after 2 nights of minus 40. (and we were living in it at the time) Turns out the engine oil from Arizona wasn't really suitable for those Alpine temps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  11.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    Sorry, I would have to disagree as someone who had to be towed of Hotham by the RACV. We had walked to the MUMC hut near Feathertop one Anzac day weekend and it started snowing on the last day on the way back to the car. We got geographically embarrassed in the snow and mist along the razorback and found that the car wouldn't start when we finally got back to it. We planned a night in the Diamantina hut but after a quick phone call to Hotham resort ( no mobile phones then, must have been a landline) one of the Hotham guys picked us up and took us back to a lodge that was being renovated. Can't remember paying for the accomodation and we had a gourmet breakfast provided by one of the guests. Turned out to be the chef from Howquadale, Marieke. Got the the car towed off next day to Bright and it turned out that the Welch plugs were blown, could have been much worse. The car was my old mans, I was driving it while he was O/S so didn't think of antifreeze, but in these day coolant/antifreeze was not standard. So what is minus 40 in Celsius?

    I've also got to add that all the resorts in OZ AFAIK are above the snowline!
  12.  
    sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Engine antifreeze is inexpensive and virtually all modern engines are designed with it intended for use as a coolant. Follow manuf specs, typically it is diluted 1:1 with water. I would want some windscreen antifreeze too if I was parking overnight at a resort or around snowline, even in mild Aussie temps. The water lines to the spray nozzles are small and it would be easy for them to freeze. Roads above the freezing mark are always sloppy and there is a constant spray of gunk coming from other vehicles. Washer fluid will be needed and it's no use to you if it's frozen.
  13.  
    damian

    damian Addicted Member

    Are you serious? Really?

    Wind does not make the temperature of metal any colder than the air temperature. It only makes the metal cool down faster until it reaches air temperature.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  14.  
    sawtell

    sawtell New Member

    yup, ignore this, you have no idea what you are talking about...
    ive had my windscreen wiper bottle freeze more then a dozen times, and ive been involved in 2 cars of which the engine failed due to coolant freezing, one the block cracked the other it blew the intake manifold gasket, water pump gastket and cracked the radiator, that was in my own car at falls, and the block in a friends car at buller.... both car parks are above the significant snowline, and both carparks get WELL below 0.

    This situation has always bothered me, metal is highly conductive with temp, meaning it can gain, and lose heat very easily.. im not sure about the wind issue, but have you ever been out to your, when it hasnt dropped below 0, say 2-4 degrees, a normal winters night in melbourne, and your car is covered in ice?

    how has this happened if the car hasnt dropped below out side air temp?




    and inregard to the coolant, it should be fine, but if your worried, take it into subaru and get them to swap it, i think suabaru do it at the first "major" service, then one before 100k where they do the belts.
    200 bucks for peace of mind.

    in saying that, i havent changed my commodores antifreeze for 6 years (150000kms). It is still green and it still passes the freezer test.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  15.  
    damian

    damian Addicted Member

    Good question. My guess is black-body radiation. The same reason warm slushy wet spring snow freezes rock hard on clear nights even though ambient air temp had not dropped below zero overnight. Snow absorbs lots of day-time long-wave radiation. As that long-wave radiation leaves the snow on clear nights it cools to below ambient temps. The same could apply to your car surface?

    Either way, wind will not cause the metal in your car to cool below ambient air temperature. Metal and wood etc are not influenced by wind chill.

    And yes, water in cars will freeze in Australian mountain areas based on my limited experience. I rented a camper van and the water in my sink pipes froze overnight in the NP at a lower altitude that the Perisher carpark.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2013
  16.  
    snowtyres

    snowtyres Well-Known Member

    The reference to wind chill was to highlight the effect that it has to reduce a warmer engine to the lower ambient temperature very quickly, similar to a Blast Freezer when used for vegetables, prawns etc.
    The wind chill factor can not reduce the temperature of the engine cooling system below the ambient temperature, no matter how great the wind velocity. Temperature testing with hydrometer is important because it accurately shows how low the temperature can go before the coolant will freeze and is much more accurate than a simple “sample in the freezer test†as winter alpine temperatures will often be in the minus range.
  17.  
    stansi

    stansi Well-Known Member Season Pass Holder

    Wouldn't your freezer be at -18
  18.  
    Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Addicted Member

    Temperatures are measured in a Stephenson screen, not on the surface of your car. Both will always be different.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  19.  
    stansi

    stansi Well-Known Member Season Pass Holder

    And by the way, I add methylated spirits as well as washer solution to my windscreen washer bottle, and it works.
  20.  
    Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Season Pass Holder

    Well I'll be stuffed!
    The things you learn here!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  21.  
    teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty Commercial Member

    Generally the engine isn't exposed to the wind. The body panelwork protects it - at least it does in mine.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  22.  
    teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty Commercial Member

    -40F = -40C

    Conversion formula is:
    (where c is deg C, & f is deg F) f = c/5*9 + 32
    -40 is the only temp where they have the same value.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  23.  
    trappers

    trappers SH10151 Moderator

    Yes. Frosts are caused by black body radiation to space. It is why you do not get a frost on surfaces that cannot see the sky (eg. Under a tree). But it has nothing to do with "long wave radiation" or anything during the day, radiative heat transfer is a function of temperature. It would not matter whether it was a warm cloudy day, you could still get a frost at night if the sky is clear and local air temps cool.

    "wind chill" is simply a human term it has no impact whatsoever on car radiators [​IMG] when a car is moving the wind created by the movement of the car in general far exceeds the external wind speed anyway. at any reasonable speeds (say 10km/h + the airflow through the radiator is turbulent and convective heat transfer is limited primarily by the internal heat transfer coefficient, not the external one ... Therefore wind has SFA impact.

    Wind chill is actually an impact of evaporation of sweat on human skin which is why it is related to the velocity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2013
  24.  
    Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Season Pass Holder

    So to sum up..........
    Put a sample of your coolant in the freezer!
    KISS
  25.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    RACV reckons av. battery life is about 3.5 years.

    Have just replaced mine after 4 years cos it got flaky last winter. Went for max cold cranking capacity anticipating a good few sub-zero starts this winter (and this month in the outback).

    Coolant I change every year. Nulon make one that they claim is good for two years.

    Subaru say you should use their stuff; dunno whether this is a sales con but for a few bucks extra I won't risk losing a claim.
  26.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    I'll do that, it did get a bit complicated, didn't it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  27.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    Ziggy, what battery did you get for your Subaru? I was looking at Repco but open to suggestions, also might just change the coolant wouldn't do any harm. Have read that you should use 1 part coolant and 1 part distilled water which seems ridiculous but I can get RO water from work.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  28.  
    trappers

    trappers SH10151 Moderator

    Yep do that! [​IMG] it will work perfectly well [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  29.  
    trappers

    trappers SH10151 Moderator

    Yep. In Norway we used to buy bottles of washer fluid every time we filled up, but you can use metho in a pinch.. We used to go through mother loads of washer fluid!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  30.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    Weerab, dunno the brand I'm afraid. I get the RACV to swap them over in my driveway and they also do a basic health check. IIRC std is 450 amps; RACV max was 600 amps but you can find 650 or so from retailers.

    After the swap you may have to give the ECU a chance to relearn about idle speed. It can die at low revs and leave you without power steering and brakes in the middle of a roundabout; a pain. I did that by starting cold and letting her idle to op. temp twice.
  31.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member


    I've already been thru that after my last service where they cleared the ECU for some reason. The mechanic said it might take a little while for the ECU to relearn to idle, meanwhile it was quite dangerous. I think we may have crossed paths on a different forum, my user name is quite similar, yours is totally different?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  32.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    On the Foz forum? Yeah, my name there is diff.; 5 letters, lower case.
  33.  
    weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member

    Yes the Foz forum, but must admit to spending much more time on this forum, much more interesting.
  34.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    True.

    For us outbacking Sube owners the offroadsubes forum is useful; the mod has done a lot of the kind of thing I'm venturing into and is very helpful.

    FWIW, when the battery dies or is disconnected, a number of ECU checks and controls are lost. Some can be reset with the right diagnostic gear.
  35.  
    trappers

    trappers SH10151 Moderator

    Is that true for all subes? I have an Impreza, and need to change the battery too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  36.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    Expect it would be.

    When my battery lost all cranking power once last winter, the engine warning light fired up, cruise control died and the ECU needed to be reset by a mech. with all the gear and codes. (Tawonga mech., for those near Mt Beauty).

    So with the battery swap now, clearly the RACV guy did all the necessary, except to tell me how to get the ECU to relearn how to control the idle speed!
  37.  
    Nidecker

    Nidecker Dedicated Member

    Just a side note here, the garmin gps units have a bluetooth add (eco route) on that plugs into your vehicle’s standardized onboard diagnostics port, and I'm pretty sure I have read that it allows you to reset the ECU yourself, it works with Garmin and Android [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  38.  
    Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member Season Pass Holder

    Yeah, have read similar posts about Android phones being able to read the ECU with the right connector.

    Would want to take care as some ECUs are user-programmable.
  39.  
    ians 158

    ians 158 Dedicated Member

    This app is not bad http://torque-bhp.com/
    You can buy a blue tooth adapter off e bay for around 30 bucks.
    I did find it couldn't read abs faults.
    To reset my ecu(d40 navara) all i have to do is disconnect the positive battery terminal
    and put my foot on the brake pedal to use the brake lights to draw all power from the system.
    Hook the positive up again and all done.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  40.  
    sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Timely reminder to all forum users about to head to the snow: a cold night can kill a battery that was giving no sign of age previously. If you're at that 4-5 yr old battery mark, have a battery load test done before you go and replace if necessary. Otherwise Murphy will get you with a dead battery on a fresh snow morning.
  41.  
    trappers

    trappers SH10151 Moderator

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  42.  
    Mizu_Kuma

    Mizu_Kuma New Member

    Head on down to ya local auto parts place (Super Cheap, Autobahn et etc) and they should have test strips that ya dip into ya radiator!!!!!

    These will give an indication of the lowest temperature that your coolant can stay in liquid form!!!!! If ya need to increase that protection, just drain some out of the radiator, and add some more coolant concentrate to the radiator!!!!! (Use the same brand/type that is currently in there)

    As for the battery, go to ya local mech/battery place and they should also be able to test ya battery!!!!!

    Takes the guess work out of it all, and saves a headache and an unfortunate bill for a new motor and a tow!!!!!
  43.  
    Mizu_Kuma

    Mizu_Kuma New Member

    Just had the battery in my 06 Outback 3.0R for the first time in may!!!!!

    The "Engine Check" light was the indicator that it was on the way out!!!!!

    I can't remember what brand battery it is, though our mech is a Subie specialist and always uses OG parts to keep it the way it was designed!!!!!

    I think that the distilled water in the radiator is a bit overboard imho as the coolant has corrosion inhibitors anyway?????
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013