What's new in: Coolants

Sept. 1, 2012
Engine heat is placing new demands on coolant

No matter the season, weather or economic predictions, it seems there’s always something for you to research, check out or look into. The continually changing information on coolants is no exception. Here’s the latest on these critical liquids to help your fleet’s engines run better.

One of the growing trends is factory fills with extended life coolants. According to Jeff Snyder, industrial brand specialist for Chevron North America, part of Chevron Corp., customers are interested in learning more about extended life coolants, including how the coolants differ.

“Environmental regulation changes have caused the need for ancillary equipment additions to diesel engines like EGR and SCR systems that [contribute] additional thermal loads to the cooling system, placing upwards of 35% more heat into the coolant,” Snyder says. “Although [total] cooling system capacities have increased in size, they have not increased equivalent to the additional thermal loads placed on the system. The net effect is a smaller cooling system per unit energy that puts additional stresses on the coolant product.”

Snyder cautions that not all extended life coolants are designed the same. “The proprietary Chevron Delo ELC family formulations are better designed to handle the additional thermal loads of the modern diesel engine,” he says. “This can be seen by Chevron Delo ELC’s impressive pH control and longest service life claims in the industry.”

The Chevron Delo ELC service life is 750,000 mi./ 12,000 hrs./8 yrs. with no extender needed, or 1 million mi./ 20,000 hrs./8 yrs. with extender added at 500,000 mi./10,000 hrs./4 yrs.

MEETING OEM SPECS Over at Shell Lubricants, Stede Granger, OEM technical manager, says customers are seeking high-performance coolants that meet OEM requirements “using the same or similar coolant chemistry as factory-filled in the vehicle at a reasonable cost. In addition, Shell is working with many vehicle manufacturers to develop new coolant chemistry that requires minimal monitoring and maintenance, and provides many miles of satisfactory service,” he says.

“In order to meet fuel economy and emissions requirements, heavy-duty OEMs are increasing power densities using turbochargers, inner coolers, high-efficiency aluminum radiators, and multiple cooling system loops to provide the necessary cooling,” Granger points out. “Since these engine and cooling systems contain a significantly greater amount of aluminum, one phenomenon that has been observed is that nitrite-containing coolants may react with aluminum components causing unwanted reactions that can damage aluminum components.”

To counteract this, Shell offers nitrite-free HD ELC coolants that provide greater aluminum protection, he says. Shell also formulates its coolants with greater oxidation and thermal stability to combat the heat increase of engines.


The changes to engines and coolants have also affected maintenance practices, Granger notes. “The Technology Maintenance Council has prepared a recommended practice [report] entitled RP-365 Coolant Maintenance Guidelines.

The document provides helpful information for shops to service the coolant, including steps to determine the type of coolant in the vehicle, check and adjust the freeze point, and test for SCA levels in conventional fully formulated coolants and OAT levels in ELC coolants,” Granger says.

Lubegard offers a 2-in-1 coolant treatment that it said helps prevent corrosion and reduce temperatures. The company says the product prevents buildup of scales, deposits, and slime that cause overheating; extends the life of water pump impellers and seals; and is chemically engineered to reduce the surface tension of coolant, allowing it to more deeply penetrate metal surfaces at vital heat-transfer areas to prevent engine overheating.

Old World Industries offers the Final Charge Global Extended Life coolant/antifreeze, a heavy-duty coolant said to protect cooling systems for 600,000 mi. of on-road use with the addition of the Final Charge Extender at 300,000 to 400,000 mi. The product features a phosphate-free, silicate- free, nitrite-free, and borate-free formula that uses proprietary organic corrosion inhibitors to provide wet sleeve liner cavitation and corrosion protection of all cooling system metals, the company said.Also offered is the Final Charge 50/50 Prediluted Global Extended Life coolant/ antifreeze, a 50/50 mix of Final Charge coolant and deionized water.

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