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  1. #1
    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    I have an older car, 1984 and not antique. A friend subscribes to an antique car newsletter called Tappet Clatter. The March 2019 issue, page 7, talks about the recent "organic" antifreeze now being used instead of the older "inorganic" Ethylene glycol mixture. The organic version not recommended for pre-1990 engines, per this newsletter.

    Note: this newsletter is USA distribution. Can't speak for non-domestic automobiles.

    Here is that page 7, written by a coordinator of shared technical information for that newsletter:

    Antifreeze Can Kill

    Most of us have known that antifreeze can kill animals. Well, now the conclusion is that using the wrong anti-freeze in your vintage car can kill your engine as well.

    There are two types of antifreeze, the original Inorganic Additive Technology also known as Ethylene Glycol (IAT), and the more recent Organic Additive Technology (OAT, N-OAT, H-OAT). The use of more modern OAT antifreeze in your vintage auto, can cause serious issues, including damaging old soldered brass radiators and eating up the gaskets, gaskets cements, and silicone seals in pre-1990 engines, causing major leaks.

    Going by the color of an antifreeze is a mistake. You can’t select the appropriate antifreeze by going by its color.

    Many ads also state “safe for older cars” but this generally refers to 10 year old cars and not older cars like many of ours. Ads often state “universal car and truck formula” or “compatible for use in all Automobiles and light trucks”. Don’t trust the lingo. Check it out yourselves to make certain it is an IAT product and not an OAT product.


    Brands to AVOID (OAT antifreeze) are;
    -All “Extended Life“ antifreeze
    -All Preston antifreeze products
    -Xerex’s G-05 product in the gold container

    ACCEPTABLE IAT Brands are;
    -Some Peak products using IAT*
    -Peak’s HD product “Sierra”
    -Zerex Original Green in the white container (green label)

    Note that there may be other products that will serve you just fine, but these listed products come recommended by “The Silver Ghost Association” and other clubs.

    Also note that Peak has a “product finder”. DO NOT DEPEND on the “product finder” to provide a good product for your car. A quick check for a 1940 Chevrolet and a 1970 Chevrolet, each recommended OAT products that are not appropriate---Be Very Careful.

    I recently received a reminder on the use of appropriate antifreeze from my mechanic. He stated that anti-freeze definitely has a life and strongly recommends using manufacturer’s recommended brand and not one that states it “meets and exceeds manufacturer’s recommendation, etc. He thought several parts in contact with the antifreeze in my old van had corroded out partially due my use of brands other than that strictly recommended in the owners manual.
    Comments welcome. Thanks.
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
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    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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  2. #2

    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Thanks for posting this, I have a 2nd gen Firebird with a Modine 4 core radiator that was not cheap. I was unaware of the OAT Antifreeze formulations.

  3. #3
    Member BlueCollar's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    The brand of antifreeze is not really relevant.. I worked in a factory that made antifreeze for countless different name brands, very few had their own formulations.

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    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    The brand of antifreeze is not really relevant.. I worked in a factory that made antifreeze for countless different name brands, very few had their own formulations.
    Just to clarify... You are in Canada? Was this factory in Canada?

    How did that work? Did your factory ship the antifreeze in branded containers? Was your antifreeze exported outside of Canada?
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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    Member BlueCollar's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Quote Originally Posted by Unboxxed View Post
    Just to clarify... You are in Canada? Was this factory in Canada?

    How did that work? Did your factory ship the antifreeze in branded containers? Was your antifreeze exported outside of Canada?
    Yes, the factory is in Canada and we did export to the US. We would ship labelled bottles, barrels and 1000L totes, as well as bulk trucks and rail cars. The only difference between the majority of the brands was the label and color of the bottle. We had 3 different formulations for these, Universal, Diesel and long life.

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    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    Yes, the factory is in Canada and we did export to the US. We would ship labelled bottles, barrels and 1000L totes, as well as bulk trucks and rail cars. The only difference between the majority of the brands was the label and color of the bottle. We had 3 different formulations for these, Universal, Diesel and long life.
    From your experience there, any idea of how long your antifreeze lasted? If that's a question. I haven't looked on a bottle lately to see if it states nowadays anything about "Use before ____"
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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  7. #7
    Member BlueCollar's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    I'm not sure that it matters how long it sits in the bottle on a shelf, it's more about how long its in the cooling system. The main priority of coolant formulations is to prevent corrosion, and it has a limited amount of 'reserve alkalinity' before it becomes acidic due to reactions inside the system.

  8. #8
    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    I'm not sure that it matters how long it sits in the bottle on a shelf, it's more about how long its in the cooling system. The main priority of coolant formulations is to prevent corrosion, and it has a limited amount of 'reserve alkalinity' before it becomes acidic due to reactions inside the system.
    Makes sense. Thanks.
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Suitable for bookmarking: www.fakehatecrimes.org and www.breitbart.com/tag/hate-crime-hoax

  9. #9
    Moderator Unboxxed's Avatar
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    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Quote Originally Posted by ABigSiameseCat View Post
    Thanks for posting this, I have a 2nd gen Firebird with a Modine 4 core radiator that was not cheap. I was unaware of the OAT Antifreeze formulations.
    I guess mine is 3rd gen. 1984 Camaro Berlinetta, sole owner. When I was looking to buy one, if a saw a previous year model on the road, I'd follow it until it stopped at its destination, grocery store, bank, wherever, then I'd interview the driver for his advice, what options to avoid, what is good, etc. I remember one guy was at the outdoor bank ATM, came back to his car and saw me talking to his girlfriend, gave me that look like "WTF, dude?" Ha, without acknowledging his concern or skipping a beat I explained and we had a great talk. She no longer existed. You know, every single guy, before I bought the car, and in the years after, said to not get the optional T-roof as it would leak and creak within 6 months to a year. Every guy said that. The only options I did not get were the T-roof, their upgrade tires (I preferred to get my own tires) and the rear window wiper. I put louvres on the back instead. Otherwise it was fully loaded. I'm spoiled now as the A-pillars on most new cars are noticeably thicker and I don't like that. That, and the new car/truck high beltlines and the huge and dominating tach on the display, unnecessary for automatic transmission models. And the wide black frame around the windshield to hide the glue. Uh, oh, here I go...
    The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. - Mark Twain

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    Suitable for bookmarking: www.fakehatecrimes.org and www.breitbart.com/tag/hate-crime-hoax

  10. #10

    Re: Newer antifreeze not good for older cars

    Chassis flex was a concern with the 2nd gens, if they had the 400, 455, or 403. So you either had to choose between a wimpy engine or giving up the T tops.


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