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Steve7 02-19-2001 10:24 AM

Car: 1986 300E (130k/mi)

I have noticed recent rust stains in my new cooling tank resevoir. My question is -- how serious is this, and can I do somthing to prevent further corrosion -- if this is indeed the problem. First, some background. . .

Last month I had the head-gasket replaced becuase it was leeching oil into the coolant. I also replaced the radiator, and all hoses. For better or worse, I flushed the remaing oil in the coolnat system by driving it (short distances) w/ a mix of water and vinagar. I used such a mix, changing it daily - for about four days.

Have I caused a corrosion problem, can it be reversed, --- or did I just loosen some remaining rust. I have since-of course, put a proper mix of coolant and water.
(PS: The stains may even have occured before I put this proper mix in --and they are not worsening.)

Any insight?


s60 02-19-2001 11:22 AM

You can't really reverse it. My guess is that the water corroded it without any coolant. Nothing much you can do except, make sure you proper concentration of h20 and coolant.

longston 02-19-2001 03:57 PM

Just What "Coolant" Did You Use?
Now that I have put on my flak vest and helmet, let me ask you the question that ALMOST ALWAYS results in a red flaming folder. Are you using the proper Mercedes antifreeze? ;)

If you put green coolant/antifreeze in your car, you should drain it as soon as humanly possible, flush the cooling system with Mercedes citrus cooling system flush, part number 000-989-10-25 (I don't have a price for you, but it's usually around $11.00) and replace the antifreeze with Mercedes antifreeze, Part Number Q 1 03 0002. Fast Lane has it for $10.89 per gallon. You only need one. :cool:

Now some people will disagree with me, but I also suggest that you go to the local supermarket and purchase a gallon of distilled water like you would use in a steam iron. Mix the antifreeze with the distilled water 50/50. Or, you can go to a local Pep Boys, and buy a special de-ionized water for use in batteries and radiators that's made by Peakô. I really can't recommend that you use tap water. :rolleyes:

If you want to know why I am suggesting all of this there are several lengthy threads on that subject that are already in the archives. This one links to all of the best ones:

And I don't know where you got the idea of putting vinegar in your cooling system, but it won't even do a 10th of the job that the Mercedes flush will. And vinegar is way too acidic, and you could actually harm your water pump seals by running it in your car for a period of time like four days. :(

Steve7 02-19-2001 04:52 PM

But am I OK?

Thank you for the replies.

My central question, however, is whether I have done any irreversible damage.

What I want to hear is that the new antifreeeze (perhaps MB antifreeeze)will indeed inhibit any corrosion I may have caused from my water/vinagar buffoonery (recomended by my mechanic). Am I OK?


Wm. Lewallen 02-19-2001 06:47 PM

You have not harmed your cooling with the vinegar flush. Vinegar is a fairly weak solution of acetic acid(4-5 percent).Acids have no effect on fats(grease).To do a good job of cleaning your cooling system, you need to use a degreaser first, followed by a citric acid flush. The degreaser removes the oils and grease deposits allowing the acid to do its job.I did my 1982 300D-turbo last summer, and I can say the stuff does a good job. You can get the citric acid from your local super market. Look in the home canning srction. Or get it from your local MB dealer.Part No.000 989 10 25. The degreaser 001 986 21 71.
Bill Lewallen Lexington,Ky.

smk_texas 02-19-2001 07:13 PM

Do you have to take the raditor out and flush it with degreaser & citric acid??? Also, can you please let me know the details such as the mix ratio etc and how long one has to wait between the degreaser & citric acid flush ?? Thanks
92 190E

Wm. Lewallen 02-19-2001 07:17 PM

Another thought about which brand of antifreeze you should use in your Mercedes. Daimler-Chrysler approves a brand to use in your MB.It is Valvoline's Glysantin G 05.
Glysantin was once the brand made by BASF.BASF sold the brand to Ashland Oil(parent company of Valvoline).
By the way, silicon or silicates is added mainly to prevent foaming and maybe some lubrication of the water pump.
Valvoline's Glysantin G 05, approved by Daimler- Chrysler for world wide applications can be bought at you local auto parts store. It's called ZEREX. Check this out. Maybe a little less expensive than what you get at your Mercedes dealer.
Bill Lewallen Lexington,Ky. Home of VALVOLINE

Wm. Lewallen 02-19-2001 09:11 PM

Here is the procedure for cleaning the cooling system. The ingrediants to use are listed on a thread above.I mixed the entire contents of each container in a plastic bucket and poured it into the reservoir tank. Top off with water.
1.Completly drain coolant. Radiator and block. Drain plug for most diesels is on the lower right side of the block in front of the starter
2. Remove thermostat
3. Fill system with degreaser solution
4. Run engine at operating temp. for five min.
5 Stop engine and let cool to about 122F
6 Completly drain radiator and block.
7.Rinse twice with clear water;run engine warm 5 min. with each rinse.
8. After second rinse with clear water, fill with 10%(100g/l)solution of citric acid.
9. Run ten min. at opperating temp.
10.Drain and flush three times as you did before.
11. Fill system with your favorite antifreeze. Any well known brand will do just fine in your now clean cooling system.Valvoline's Glysantin G 05 is approved by Daimeler-Chrysler for world wide applications. Notice that they state that Valvoline's Glysantin G 05 is approved, and not mandatory that you use it. You can buy from your local auto parts store. It's called ZEREX..

longston 02-20-2001 01:28 AM

Regular Zerex Is Not G O5...
Sorry, Bill,

But BASF only licensed the rights to manufacture antifreeze with Glysantin in it as the corrosion inhibitor to Ashland Oil, Glysantin is still a trademarked and patented product produced solely by BASF. Valvoline might now make a G O5 antifreeze, but it is not readily available to the public as such. And you cannot "buy it from your local auto parts store". Valvoline in fact, told me it wasn't available to the public.

Don't believe me, check out:

Show me where they ever mention G 05 on their website, or where you can buy Zerex, G 05 antifreeze, please!

The closest they come is Zerex 5/150, which is their extended life antifreeze. Regular Zerex still contains phosphate corrosion inhibitors which are bad for your Mercedes... Read the label on the product for yourself.

To be sure I would only recommend Mercedes Benz coolant under the part number I already posted here, available from Fast lane, or your local Mercedes dealer.

Rule of thumb: IF IT"S GREEN, DON"T USE IT!!!!

Wm. Lewallen 02-24-2001 05:07 PM

Scott L. and others,
I was wrong in assuming that Valvoline's Zerex and their Glysantin G 05 were the same products. Since Lexington is the headquarters for Valvoline, I called them to ask where I could buy their Glysantin G 05. Lo and behold it can only be purchased at your Mercedes dealer. At around $13/gal.Wow!
The stuff must have magical powers.
I asked the Rep. I talked to why it wasn't sold in regular auto stores like the P-green stuff and other brands of antifreeze. He wasn' sure about that, but he thought it might have something to do with the agreement Valvoline made with BASF over the trade mark of Glysantin G 05.
A question I would like to ask anybody to answer is this:If Prestone is so detrimental to all automobile engines,why is it (Prestone) the leading brand of antifreeze sold in the US. The P-green stuff has been around since 1927. Surely, if the green stuff is as bad as Scott would have us believe, It would have destroyed so many engines in its 34 years on the market, that no one in their mind would want to even be near the stuff.
All car engines are made of the same materials; cast iron,steel high lead solder copper,aluminium, brass and low lead solder and also use plastic and hoses in the cooling system. The P-green stuff is formulated to provide optimum protection for these materials and also protect against rust and crrosion rust. What more do you want than that. And at half the price.
This post is getting to be too long, but I would like to tell of one experence I had with Mercedes antifreeze.
In the fall of 1993 we bought a 1983 300SD from an elderly couple in Cincinnati. They used it mainly to drive to their Fla. winter home in the Tampa area. They bought the car new and had it serviced at the prescribed intervals at the MB dealer.It had 130,000 m. on the odometer. It had MB antifreeze in the cooling system.I did not change it because the car had been serviced nine months before we bought it. All fluids were changed. In the summer of 1994
the upper connection for the radiator broke off.I gave no thought about the antifreeze causing the breakage. I figured it was heat and age. The worst enemy of plastic is heat. And of course age. I installed a new Behr radiator($245), filled it up with a 50/50 mix of the P-green stuff and haven't had any coolant related problems. That's been almost seven years ago.
Scott, if you can only buy the Valvoline (Mercedes) antifreeze at the dealer and maybe some mail order houses, I wonder how many MB owners who don't have their MBs serviced by the Mercedes dealer are driving their cars with that P-green stuff in their radiators.
Scott,you continue using Valvoline's Glysantin G 05 in your Mercedes, and I'll continue using the P-green stuff in mine(I've used it for fifty +years- thirty-four in Mercedes). This way we both can be happy-and friends.
Bill Lewallen Lexington,Ky. Home of Valvoline's Glysantin G 05 antifreeze.

longston 02-24-2001 08:18 PM

You Think YOUR Post Was Too Long?
Seriously, I'm really glad you checked with Valvoline to confirm what I'm saying. I like to be accurate in whatever I suggest on this forum.:)

However, have you read the information other members and I have contributed to this subject via the link (to the links) I provided in my earlier posting to this thread? Regardless, here's the jist for those who aren't interested in reading several old threads.

First, to answer this question, "If Prestone is so detrimental to all automobile engines,why is it (Prestone) the leading brand of antifreeze sold in the US. The P-green stuff has been around since 1927. Surely, if the green stuff is as bad as Scott would have us believe, It would have destroyed so many engines in its 34 years on the market, that no one in their mind would want to even be near the stuff." It's not my personal crusade here, I'm just passing on what knowledge I have acquired through my research into this subject. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger. :rolleyes:

Also, I am not targeting a specific manufacturer when I suggest that you not use an antifreeze that contains phosphate corrosion inhibitors. Peak, Havolive, and every other manufacturer of "the P-green stuff" is included in that assessment. But they all do make antifreeze that should work as well as Mercedes antifreeze containing Glysantin. Those are the products usually marketed as "Extended Life 5/150 Antifreeze/Coolant" But those products cost as much as, if not more than, the Mercedes product, and may not work as well, so why should we buy them?

All that having been said, let's address your question differently. Why has antifreeze with phosphate, amine, nitrate and similar corrosion inhibitors been the predominant cooling system antifreeze sold in the U.S. for the past 70 years? Marketing has a very large part to do with that, but add to it the fact that no one had, until the recent past, developed an antifreeze that addressed the problems caused by using phosphates, nitrates, amines and similar compounds as corrosion inhibitors, as well as the added use of silicates.

In fact, there are many engines and engine components that have been destroyed over the past 70 years by using "the P-green stuff". Radiator scale, corrosion, engine block cavitation, water pump, and radiator & heater core failure can either be viewed as normal failure of parts that would need to be replaced anyway during the course of regular vehicle ownership, or they can be viewed as the "detrimental" effects of using water mixed with "the P-green stuff". It is possible that no one saw the correlation between the use of phosphates and all of these component failures. Or did they? After all, all antifreeze sold in the U.S.that use those corrosion inhibitors have been "reformulated" to supposedly be safe for use in aluminum engines. If the manufacturers didn't see a problem, why reformulate?

In Europe, where the water is very "hard" and consequently chock full of minerals, using a phosphate corrosion inhibitor in your antifreeze (especially in an aluminum block engine) is disasterous. Water "hardness", or mineral content varies greatly in the U.S., so my recommendation is to just use the antifreeze designed by Mercedes for use in your U.S. import.

The phosphates in the antifreeze, combined with the heavily mineralized water, causes a reaction whereby the minerals "drop out" of solution and attach to the passages in the cooling system. Further, they will, after sufficient time, break loose and combine with other chunks of mineral spars to eventually clog some of those passageways. In the meantime, you've got an abrasive mixture of antifreeze and water with these mineral bits swirling around under pressure in your cooling system wearing out your water pump seals, and abrading the aluminum walls of the engine and radiator. Whatever doesn't plug up, is cavitated, or eroded.:eek:

And when you add to that, the electrolytic effect caused by multi-metallic engine & cooling systems, you increase those chances for cavitation. Diesel, and especially heavy commercial engines, are prime candidates for these types of problems due to their aluminum blocks having steel sleeves inserted to form the combustion chambers. Add the aluminum pistons with steel piston rings, and it's like rubbing a balloon on your head, and touching a doorknob. Except now, metal is being degraded by the static "spark" effect in the antifreeze mixture. Any Mercedes, or heavy commercial diesel engine shop should be able to tell you about how many engines they have seen come in with serious problems of this nature.

If all of this weren't the case, there would be no need to have developed the "extended life" antifreeze that is now on the market. You will now be seeing the "phasing out" of green phosphate antifreeze throughout the industry. Saturn uses a proprietary red antifreeze, GM has a specification for antifreeze that is called "DEXCOOL" that Havolive, Peak and Prestone all make product for, Ford has a similar specification for antifreeze, and Chrysler is also developing one now that they are owned by Daimler. None of this new antifreeze has either phosphates in it, or a green color. Coincidence? I don't think so. You see, Mercedes was the innovator of this technology with BASF. Of course, how many other things can you think of that Mercedes has innovated that have been copied by just about every other vehicle manufacturer?

One of the reasons that we own Mercedes' is because of those innovations, along with the high reliability and longevity possible given proper maintenance. I did my research because of a simple statement from a tech at my local Mercedes dealer. After looking under my hood when I bought my car in October, he said, "you've got the wrong antifreeze in your cooling system", and that started me wondering whether he was right or just trying to sell me some product. After everything I have found out, I'm now quite sure he was right.

I'm glad to hear that you haven't had any problems with your cooling system over the past seven years. I hope you never do. You may be an exception to the general issue, or perhaps it's due to using distilled, or very "soft" water with your antifreeze. But you may have problems developing in your engine and cooling system right now. I don't know.

I too, have used "the P-green stuff" for more years than I want to count, and have never questioned the quality of those products. But this is a matter of proper application of the correct product, and I have now determined that any antifreeze that has phosphates in it isn't the optimum product to use in a Mercedes.

I agree with your right to choose to use whatever Antifreeze you want. I would hope that a civil disagreement about antifreeze wouldn't polarize anyone's relationship with another member on this forum.;)

Mercedes antifreeze is available here from FastLane for $10.89 per gallon. Just slightly more than the cost of "the P-green stuff". It's Mercedes antifreeze, Part Number Q 1 03 0002. You only need one gallon of it added to one gallon of demineralized water to refill your cooling system .

Try this: Do a flush of your cooling system at your next coolant change interval, Use the Mercedes flush, and see what, if any, crud comes out of your cooling system. Then, refill the system with The Mercedes stuff, and see if you can see any difference at your next coolant change after that. Then report back to us and let us know what your conclusions are. :D

Wm. Lewallen 02-24-2001 11:07 PM

You have written a great treatise on the goodness of Valvoline's Glysantin G05 and the evils of Prestone antifreeze. Now we need to educate the 80% of American car owners(domestic and foreign)that are using Prestone antifreeze of its evil effects on their engines. This is a task I don't want. A good, well proven product is hard to dispel. I say let each car owner choose their own poison and live with it. I have chosen mine and lived with it for the last 50+ years. No regrets.
By the way, what color is the Mercedes-Valvoline Glysantin G0 5 antifreeze?
Scott, you sound like a good fastidious and proud owner of Mercedes autos,I would bet you buy Mercedes Batteries.
I have owned too many Mercedes in the last 34 years to list here. Lets just say I have owned a few.
Bill Lewallen: Lexington,Ky. Home of Valvoline,the maker of Glysantin G 05

longston 02-25-2001 02:10 AM

Why, Thank You..
Actually, It's not a crusade against any evil. I did my research, and made up my mind. So, if my research helps someone to make a decision either way, then that's great. Otherwise, it at least helped me!:cool:

But no one will need to educate the American public. They will get used to it! The green stuff IS on the way out, and will most likely be gone within the next 10 years...

And the last time I looked, Mercedes antifreeze ranged from a kind of straw yellow to a medium amber color.

But, FYI, I use Interstate branded batteries, always have! :D

You might be surprised to find out that interstate makes the batteries branded by Mercedes, and the MB one is just slightly higher ( a few dollars) in price than the Mercedes equivalent! ;)

Wm. Lewallen 02-25-2001 03:37 PM

At least we agree on one thing. Batteries. I have used Interstate batteries for at least 25 years, but I think the next one I buy I'll get from Autozone or Advanced Auto. I've heard that Interstate makes their batteries and many other brands. Someone told me that there are only two companies that make batteries.Interstate and Exide. There surely must be more. Do you know if there are more than two?
I've heard people swear that they would only have a "Mercedes" battery put in their car. Same for MB brake pads and calipers.Did you know that at one time Mercedes used Dunlop brakes? Shame.They have also used Girling and Teves(ATE). I've worked on all of them.
I won't list all the Mercedes I've owned over the years.
Let's just say I have owned a few.
Bill Lewallen Lexington,Ky.
After thought;none of my turbos whistle,but the one I rebuilt on the 1982 300D turbo does w(h)ine between 30-40mph
Like a minature 747 jet.Not loud. Just sweet whining.

longston 02-25-2001 05:15 PM

Batteries At The Ready...

This link was the best I could find so far about who the major manufacturers of batteries are for standard automotive applications here in the U.S.: Interstate seems to be conspicuously absent...

Here's another couple of links that are chock full of information on auto batteries: and

Optima is one brand that has been discussed here on the forum quite a bit. They are now owned by Interstate But their batteries aren't always a perfect fit in Mercedes cars.

Here's a tip on getting more battery for your buck. Find an Interstste distributor in your area, and buy direct from them. And when you do, ask them if they have any batteries in the model you need that are "Blems", or "Pre-Installs".

These units are every bit as good as the "brand new" ones, and come with the same warranty, but are sold for at least 25% less that the "brand new" ones.

BTW, if you want to know more about the antifreeze issue, a new member has dredged up the old Red vs Green thread, and I posted the link to Valvoline's website where they detail the Glysantin G 05 coolant...

[Edited by longston on 02-25-2001 at 05:45 PM]

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