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SCA Testing

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Most OAT-based coolants (also called Extended Life Coolants) are good for 6 years. Please read carefully on the one you bought to find out about testing and possibility of a booster needed after three years. Cummins, Texaco, etc have information on their coolants on their websites.

The only one I have first hand knowledge of is Caterpillar ELC. In an RV (i.e. less than 300,000 miles in three years) it is good for 6 years with no testing and no additional booster.

And, replace the air filter every three years, whether it is clogged or not. Remember it is made of glue and paper. They can deteriorate with time as well as dirt collection.

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Well I got the coolant changed out. I used the lower radiator hose to drain coolant. I used a small clear plastic hose to siphon out remaining anti-freeze in transmission cooler. I also reached into transmission housing with finger to see if there was any pitting, sludge, or film of any sort. It was spotless clean. I had a hot water heater flushing nozzle that worked quite well in flushing plastic overflow tank. Drained anti-freeze was clean and looked good. Since everything looked good, I just filled back up with distilled water, flushed heater circuit, redrained and filled with concentrate. I then flushed the distilled water from heater circuit until coolant was seen discharging from drain valve. I topped up with distilled water. This was my first time in do this procedure.

I was not hard but took a little time due to learning curve.

Cummins did confirm that block will self vent which it did.

I never did find low point drain on block and Cummins could not tell where one was located on block.

Engine and radiator held 10.5 gallons. Heater circuit held around 2.5 gallons.

Because of a lack of a block drain, 4 gallons of coolant remained in block that I had to flush out of system using procedures noted in forum.

Because of 4 gallons trapped in block, one must use concentrate coolant (not diluted 50/50) to achieve the 50/50 concentration and top up with distilled water as noted in forum.

Because this was first time I went back with SCA based coolant. Now that I know my system and limitations I plan on migrating to the newer extended life OAT on the next change.

One of my challenges for next change is to locate an OAT that comes in a concentrate when I plan for next change.

This forum gave me the confidence to take on this challenge and I am very appreciative of the assistance I received on it.

Hope my feedback helps others.

Terry

2007 Winnebago Tour 40FD with 400 HP ISL Cummins

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Terry,

Good write-up.

If you know your total system capacity, that makes the math a LOT easier. This is best determined by your coach maker, as they make the final decision on things like motor aid water heater/no motor aid water heater, etc. But, your chassis maker's numbers can get you very close.

I know Caterpillar ELC comes in concentrate-- that is what I use in my Caterpillar-powered coach.

With a Cummins, I would check with them to see if they have an OAT-based concentrate as well.

This is not to suggest that one is better than the other, but if engine service is reqired, it is much simpler to be using coolant by your engine manufacturer.

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Thanks for all the good advice. I have not checked our CAT dealership for the OAT but will check there now that I know they make one. I went to our Cummins dealer and they had a 60/40 or a 50/50 in the fleetguard brand. Both would have to be ordered in. I went to our Freightliner 24/7 truck repair center and they carried only the 50/50 OAT and SCA fully formulated anti-freeze. They could get in the Alliance Brand SCA coolant in 100% concentrate but would have to order 250 gallons. I finally found Peak brand SCA based 100% concentrate at the Tractor Supply Store. I was a little surprised at the limited availability of the 100% concentrate OAT or SCA based coolants. I will have to do a little more research to locate sources here in Amarillo, TX before next change. I am planning on going to the OAT the next time around.

I was a little nervous in tackling this maintenance procedure, but glad I took the plunge and DIY.

Again appreciate the help this forum provided.

Terry

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I know this is an old thread, but it's recently pertinent for me.

My rig is a 2005 HR Ambassador with Cummins 330 engine.

Recently, while on about a 300 mile trip towing a Jeep Liberty, the engine began overheating when going up long moderate grades in 90 deg heat. About 2/3 way into the trip, the water pump gave out and a hose blew. We had it towed to a big rig truck center for repairs. They replaced the bad components & the radiator cap and advised me that the coolant reservoir showed a small leak around the filler neck when pressure tested. I drove it home 120 miles with the Jeep  in tow with no problems, albeit  only 75 deg air temperature that day. 

This weekend I replaced the overflow tank, but in the process lost a couple gallons of coolant which was green in color. 

 When I purchased supplemental coolant, I got Final Charge ELC, not knowing at the time that there might be compatibility questions to  be asked. My questions are:

1 Should I be concerned about the green color antifreeze they put in (it was a large diesel truck shop).

2  Are there any concerns about the 2 gallons of ELC (red) that I added?

3 Would test-strip testing be appropriate and what to do if it comes up short?

 

Thanks

Joe

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Joe,

I would look at your invoice for the repair and see exactly what coolant they used.  Contact that coolant manufacturer and ask them (FAR better than our speculation) on what to do.

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Joe, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the color. If you added ELC on top of conventional coolant it could have some issues.

 I have seen and heard of sludge forming from a chemical reaction with certain brands when mixed.

Either check your receipt or call them to find out what coolant was installed. I would pick up some test strips and check it. Add SCA’s accordingly before using the coach. If it was ELC the test strips will show that it is very low on SCA’s. Don’t panic ELC is not meant to be tested for SCA’s. 

If it we’re me I’d drain the entire system and replace all of it with ELC. I would only do this once I confirm what the repair shop Installed. It might be ELC already. 

You could pull a sample and send it out for testing to confirm everything. Check the web for Blackstone labs. I’d attach a link but I am on mobile with little internet at the moment.

Does your coach have a coolant filter? 

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51 minutes ago, jleamont said:

If it we’re me I’d drain the entire system and replace all of it with ELC. I would only do this once I confirm what the repair shop Installed. It might be ELC already. 

 

Yes, by far the best advice.  Drain, flush and fill with ELC.

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Thanks guys,

I have some test strips on order. If they indicate correctly, and/or I add SCAs as needed, will I be OK for about a 500 mile trip I have upcoming, or does damage occur faster than that? I think I'm going to drain, flush, clean and refill in the Spring before my planned 3500 mile annual outing unless there's a more urgent requirement.

I'm looking at a product called Lubegard Heavy Duty Coolant Treatment. Purports to prevent many of the issues discussed here. Seems to get good reviews. Comments?

 

Joe

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The test strips I have indicate the levels of PPM Nitrate, Freeze Point and pH.  The card that comes with them indicates what color equals the level of the three items being tested.  So you dip the strip, of three separate pads, in the coolant and match the color on each of the three pads to the corresponding pad's color on the card.  From the information provided on the card you can tell if any of the three items are too low or too high.  What they do not tell you is how much SCA should be added, if needed, to remedy the the low level as indicated by the test strip.  All I've been able to find is that a pint of SCA equals five "units," and one chart on Acustrip's web site, but it did not say what substance they were testing...no help.

Is there a chart or some guidance as to the amount of SCA added based on the test?

Thanks for the help.

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Some test strip (I am holding a Wix test strip kit in my hand) indicate quantity of SCA in pints/gallon.

But, I have NO IDEA how they would work with contaminated (two different chemistries) coolant.

Particularly with a linered engine, I would not take a chance on it.

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Contact the shop to get coolant manufacturer and exactly which coolant it is.  Even if "from tank" they should know what they bought and then sold you.

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Can anyone comment on the efficacy of this (https://www.lubegard.com/products/heavy-duty-2-in-1-coolant-treatment/#section2) coolant additive product from LubeGard in cases like mine (above thread) ? It seems to come highly reviewed as an effective supplement that reduces corrosion/pitting and prevents slimy deposits. Is it an acceptable substitute for SCA additives?

Joe

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