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Old 01-07-2012, 11:18   #1
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Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

I have just been through some drama with the cooling system of my Kohler genset, which has a 3-cylinder 1000cc Yanmar engine. I mistakenly thought that the fresh water side of the cooling system was breached; as it turns it, it was ok and now the generator is running again (thank God).

But the fresh water side was full of really ugly, brown, sludgy cr*p. I am flushing and flushing it and still haven't gotten it out yet. It looks kind of like murky Coca-Cola.

One thing I suspect is that the generator was on green (ethylene glycol) coolant, and the engineer I hired to thoroughly service both engines when I bought the, including changing the coolant, put in pink. I have read that this can create this brown sludge. I have been using it for three years (!) like this, I guess with brown sludge in the cooling system. I guess it is a miracle that the thing runs.

My question is this -- when I get the cooling system clean again, what should I put in it? The Kohler manual says use ethylene glycol, and don't use "alcohol or methanol antifreeze or mix them with the specified coolant". I think the pink stuff -- propylene glycol, I think - is technically an alcohol.

What do you guys think? I am inclined to follow the manual to the letter, although I would hate to keep two kinds of coolant on board.
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:10   #2
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

http://ldmarineservice.com/files/yanmar_bulletins.pdf
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:44   #3
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

The colour doesn't matter as long as it's ethylene glycol.
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:50   #4
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

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I'll be d****d. It looks like they recommend ONLY the pink stuff. How interesting.
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:51   #5
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

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The colour doesn't matter as long as it's ethylene glycol.
All of the coolants in the service bulletin put up by Seaduction are propylene glycol. Directly contradicting what Kohler recommend.
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:55   #6
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

If it was really brown and sludgy (rust) I suspect you have either an air leak (likely) or electrolysis (less so). A small leak of air (oxygen) past a loos clamp or pump seal on the suction side can do terrible damage. A bad head gasket (exhaust into jacket) is also very bad. Sludge is seldom the fault of the AF, not that quick.

After changing, watch it closely.
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Old 01-07-2012, 14:05   #7
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

The propylene glycol stuff is not made for engines - it is used to winterize water systems because propylene glycol is non-toxic. It comes in pink, green and blue versions (at least it does in the US). Do not put this stuff in the engine.

The color of the antifreeze used to matter (green vs. orange) a number of years ago, as the additive formulations were changed to suit different metal combinations in different engines. Nowadays, almost all antifreeze sold is "universal" and should say something to that effect on the container ("good for all engines" or "use with any antifreeze" or something like that).

So the color doesn't mean anything anymore.

The sludge you are experiencing could be due to mixed antifreeze a number of years ago, but I suspect it is more due to the fact that you have not changed the antifreeze and flushed the system for a number of years.

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Old 01-07-2012, 14:11   #8
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

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All of the coolants in the service bulletin put up by Seaduction are propylene glycol. Directly contradicting what Kohler recommend.
No, they are ethylene glycol based. For example, from Havoline's product literature for Dex Cool: "Havoline® Universal is a single phase, ethylene glycol antifreeze"

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Old 01-07-2012, 14:32   #9
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
If it was really brown and sludgy (rust) I suspect you have either an air leak (likely) or electrolysis (less so). A small leak of air (oxygen) past a loos clamp or pump seal on the suction side can do terrible damage. A bad head gasket (exhaust into jacket) is also very bad. Sludge is seldom the fault of the AF, not that quick.

After changing, watch it closely.
Could electrolysis in the fresh water side be caused by a bad anode in the heat exchanger? I had no working anode in there for God knows how many years -- didn't realize it had one idiot I am

But the heat exchanger was ok. Could it have affected the fresh water side, or does the anode only protect the heat exchanger?
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Old 01-07-2012, 14:53   #10
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

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No, they are ethylene glycol based. For example, from Havoline's product literature for Dex Cool: "Havoline® Universal is a single phase, ethylene glycol antifreeze"

Mark
I stand corrected. Or at least partially so -- Dex Cool, at least, is a blend of ethylene glycol and polypropylene glycol. Anyway, it is not the base which is key, it's the additives, apparently. What we think of as the "pink stuff" is apparently OAT or organic acid long life additives. Apparently it is these additives which can cause problems with the green stuff. I read about it here: Antifreeze: Red or Green?
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Old 01-07-2012, 16:41   #11
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

Before adding any coolant, it is necessary to address the brown sludge issue. I am confident the brown sludge is coming from electrolysis. The electrolysis issue needs to be solved, or any color coolant you use will turn brown -- and very quickly, might I add.

The color of the coolant is irrelevant. Different manufacturers code their coolant differently; and I'm not aware there is an ASTM or ANSI standard for coolant colors. You need to find out what chemical composition your manufacturer recommends and purchase the coolant that is most appropriate.

There is of course, gold coolant -- which is suggested as being appropriate for all engine types. Both Prestone and Sierra manufacture it. I would use this only if you are unable to obtain specs from your manufacturer.

Also, you need to determine whether the closed cooling system is aftermarket. If that is the case, you might need to consult the company that manufactured the closed cooling system. There might exist incompatibility between the material your heat exchangers were constructed from versus the alloy used for your engine. This is something to give serious consideration to; and may very well be the cause of electrolysis.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-07-2012, 16:48   #12
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

The Texaco extended life is also ethylene glycol.
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Old 01-07-2012, 17:03   #13
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

Additional clarification: Bluecol - Antifreeze Coolant
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Old 01-07-2012, 17:05   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Could electrolysis in the fresh water side be caused by a bad anode in the heat exchanger? I had no working anode in there for God knows how many years -- didn't realize it had one idiot I am

But the heat exchanger was ok. Could it have affected the fresh water side, or does the anode only protect the heat exchanger?
I looked for a long time to find the zincs on my 3gm30f in order to change them. I later found out that the zincs were only put on the salt-water cooled versions of the 3gm30.
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Old 01-07-2012, 17:28   #15
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Re: Do You Use Pink or Green Coolant In Your Diesel Engines?

i use orange or magenta. green is for cars.
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