Engine coolants and antifreeze agents have been around for many years and until recently, the most popular antifreeze was a simple ethylene glycol based product. This product, known today as “conventional” coolant, did a satisfactory job as a heat exchange agent but had one big drawback. It required a continuous check for metals protection and a supplemental coolant additive package installed several times a year to keep up with the chemical depletion.
You can imagine with the numerous jobs that diesel performs, from powering vehicles to driving industrial equipment, regularly maintaining the coolant system could prove extremely demanding. Extended life coolant was designed for diesel engines where regular maintenance was limited because of their remote locations. This type of coolant required less maintenance and provided an improved level of metals corrosion protection.
To control corrosion, conventional antifreeze utilizes nitrites, silicates, phosphates and borates. However, these materials deplete and need to be replenished. The addition of more materials, in turn, causes the issue of “plating,” when materials in the liquid circulation stick to the hot metal surfaces. As the plating continues over time, a layer of insulating material forms and reduces the amount of heat the coolant can take away form the metal components. The excess heat remains in the metal and produces “hot spots” or areas of high heat.
These high heat areas prevent proper cooling and lead to cracks that increase in size and depth until major failure occurs. These areas also attract more of the insulation materials to plate, perpetuating the insulation problem.
Extended Life Coolants:
Extended Life Coolants (ELC), often referred to as organic acid technology coolants or ‘long life’ coolants, use carboxylate type organic acids, (alkyl monoacid and alkyl diacid) that provide metal corrosion protection without the issue of “plating.” With the problem of plating removed from the equation, heat transfer is improved by as much as 7% to 8% over conventional coolants.
The chemical balance of ELCs remain very stable over a long life cycle, provided it is not contaminated with other coolants or fluids and not overly diluted with water.
Conversion from standard coolant to Extended Life Coolant provides a definite advantage with the prevention of liner pitting, corrosion and scale that can ultimately damage your vehicle’s cooling system. Since most costs of engine repairs are related to the cooling system, Extended Life Coolant is an ideal solution to help improve fleet maintenance and lower the overall cost of total maintenance.
This information was provided by Fleetguard Cummins.