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Extended life coolant drawbacks?

We have an '03 Century that I had switched to extended life coolant, since you don't have to check it's anti-cavitaion properties for 500K mi. However, two shops, one being Detroit Diesel in Charlotte, and the other an independent certified (all engines), said that, while extended life coolant is good for not having to check it, it is bad because it is much more acidic, and is harder on cooling components, especially plastic and seals. Then, I noticed on my gallon of spare extend life coolant, that it even says NOAT on it. The OA in NOAT means organic ACID. Anyone else heard that the "lazy" factor is not worth using ELC? I switched back to "green" per shop advice.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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I have never heard that the acid will eat the seals or plastic. As far as I know there is acid in all the coolants, and the organic is better, longer lasting.

What ever coolant that a person chooses to use I recommend sampling, I sample all my fluids (coolant, transmission, differential) every 50,000. It works great for me, I have piece of mind that everything is working the way it should be without any contamination or excessive wear.

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fwiw, sulfuric acid and muratic acid come in plastic jugs...

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Yes, but think of gasoline. Plastic containers not designed for gas (water jugs) quickly disintegrate when you put gas in them. So, plastic has to be engineered for its intended use. I'm wondering if trucks made after ELC hit the market have components better formulated to tolerate the ELC.


Jim, they might be but look at my history. My truck was made before the ELC coolants were big. My truck came with green antifreeze. Although the coolant started hitting the big trucks in the late 90's I dont think it was really big until the EGR engines came out, probably because of the heat.


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I agree with Matt, use what coolant you want and sample it regularly.

I personally like the extended life coolant and it has been in my truck since 2003. I have not had any part of the coolant system replaced because of the coolant eating anything on the inside. The only things I have had replaced in the cooling system was because of either a line rubbing through from some other component nearby or rusting from the outside. I replaced my original water pump in Nov 2007 and it was 8 years old. I replaced original my radiator in Jan 2009 (8 years old), the only reason I replaced it was I was offer a free one and mine had rusty end caps.Most of my coolant lines were replaced in 2005 but like I said the majority of those were replaced because of holes being rubbed in them, which has been fixed because when I replaced them I protected them from further rubbing. I just replaced my bunk lines under the truck for the first time because they were rusted on the outside so bad I was worried they would rust through, they were almost 11 years old.

I do replace my thermostats every 2 to 3 years but I do that because I don't want to take a chance on having one get stuck. When my truck was still owned by my company they didn't take good care of things and I had to freeze one winter in -30 weather when the truck wouldn't heat up enough to provide heat for me so I don't take chances anymore on old thermostats.

So to sum it up I don't think you have anything to worry about. Not many people even have the same truck as long as I have, though that trend seams to be shifting. In a couple of days I will have had this truck 10 years, I got it when it was just a little over 1 year old.

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from the peak antifreeze

Final Charge NOAT Extended Life Coolant / Antifreeze is formulated to meet the requirements of today's technologically advanced heavy-duty engines without the use of Supplemental Coolant Additives (SCAs). It's Nitrited Organic Acid Technology (NOAT) features a carboxylate base formulation, with nitrite and molybdate to deliver total cooling system protection for 1,000,000 miles of on-road use, 8 years or 20,000 hours of off-highway use, whichever comes first.

*Requires the addition of Final Charge NOAT Extender at 500,000 miles of on-road use or 4 years of off-highway use. To realize Maximum Protection, a complete flush and fill is required.

you can also get the non nitrited coolant.

Final Charge Global Extended Life Coolant features a patented Organic Acid Technology (OAT) formula that delivers total cooling system protection for 600,000 miles of on-road use (6 years of 12,000 hours or off-highway use) without the use of Supplemental Coolant Additives (SCAs). The only maintenance required is the addition of Final Charge Extender at 300,000 to 400,000 miles of on-road use (3 years or 6,000 hours of off-highway use).

if you do not use the extended life coolants detroit diesel recomends

Need Release Coolant Filters

(Non-OAT Systems)

Spin-on coolant filters are available for

Detroit Diesel engines. Membranes

in the filters release SCAs before

the coolant approaches a corrosive

condition, protecting the engine from

corrosion. The elements release the

SCA charge as needed, as opposed to

the maintenance SCA elements, which

instantaneously release the SCA

charge. Coolant filter elements should

be replaced after one (1) year, 120,000

miles (192,000 km) or 2,000 operating

hours, whichever comes first.

i doubt that DD would recomend 600,000 miles for OAT coolant change if they could have adverse effects on parts in the cooling system.

they recomend testing at 20,000 miles for most coolants.

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Switch over to Evans Heavy duty coolant and then you never have to worry about it. Its a life time coolant with better protection and you can run it a little hotter and get a little bit better fuel mileage to. But still sample it at least once every three to six months.I did it in my 2009 Cascadia with a DD15 and it works great.

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Thanks everyone for the answers so far. What strikes me is how both shops told me the same thing, and both of them have experience switching trucks to ELC and seeing leaks increase. Before I accept any "ELC" is just fine answers, I'm gonna at least get a p.h. test strip and test the acidity of standard vs ELC. I think nitrite (the "N" in NAOT ELC coolants) IS an acid.

Perhaps the newer trucks, that came with factory fill ELC, have components designed for ELC.... while older trucks may not. Think of plastic gas cans.... they can hold gas indefinitely, while if you put gas in a plastic drinking jug, it will melt..... so plastic can be modified to it's purpose. Again, i'm gonna test the ph of both types coolants before I accept any answers.


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Jim Bauman will be eternally grateful.
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