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  #1  
Old 05-05-2003, 03:03 PM
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Location: USA
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whats the big deal about "Mercedes" coolant?

I am doing my 75K service and have some concerns about which coolant brand to use. In responses to my 75K service thread some folks advised using only "Mercedes" coolant. I called some of the indies here in town and all said they use off the shelf coolants. I may have one of them do the coolant because I am running out of time before I leave on a trip.

So whats going on here? Is it ok to use Prestone or other chain parts store coolant or should I stick with "Mercedes" coolant?

If parts store stuff is OK which would you suggest?


Suganami (spelling?) said he had a water pump failure after using regular "green" color coolant? Coincidence?
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2003, 03:37 PM
chicago124
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Hi,

Well, I could say that MB coolant is ph balanced for aluminum motors. (It is.)

I could say that most of the mechanics here in Chicago, say to use MB coolant. (They do.)

I could say that many Ferrari owners use it as well as do Porsche owners. (They do.)

I could say that it contains other ingredients to help with wear and tear on water pump parts. (If heard that as well.)

However, my best advice is to use MB coolant because so many knowledgeble people on this forum will say the same thing. It's just cheap insurance vs. taking a risk with an expensive motor.

Regards,
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2003, 03:41 PM
dweller
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You can use Zerex G-05. It's the same as MB coolant. My local Autozone carries it, for about $3 less than MB's version.
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2003, 03:52 PM
DTF
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Regular antifreeze has been known to gel up in the MB radiators.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2003, 04:01 PM
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Regular ( glycol based ) antifreeze, mixed with Dexcool type antifreeze will produce a mixture that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It will clog up any cooling system, not just MB's.
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2003, 04:07 PM
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I researched this a few years ago after I was unable to determine from Mercedes what was special about their coolant.

Other sources indicated that Mercedes and most other European and Japanese OEMs use ethylene glycol based antifreeze without inorganic salt inhibitors such as silicates and phosphates. Rather, they use an organic corrosion inhibitor package based on carboxyate technology. I believe the the Zerex G-05 mentioned in the prior post is a so-called "hybrid" that uses a combination of both organic and inorganic technology. All current Chryler/Dodge models are using a hybrid now, but I'm not sure if current Mercedes cars are using a hybid or their tradtional organic.

About the time I looked into this GM had just come out with Dexcool - a new inorganic inhibitor blend. Though Dexcool is slightly different than the traditional Mercedes blend, it accomplishes the same end - it provides excellent protection for aluminum WITHOUT preciptating out salts that eventually clog radiator tubes. Also, the lack of abrasive silicates improves coolant pump seal life.

The initial aftermarket brand of Dexcool was Havoline Extended Life, but Prestone also now makes Dexcool. It's a licensed product and name, so just look for "Dexcool" on the label. I now use it in all my cars ranging from a '63 Corvette to a '91 MR2. I'll never use "green stuff" again.
Duke
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2003, 05:26 PM
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i use Silkolene Eskimo on my other cars..
wouldnt it be a good idea to use this also on my 1981 200? (W123)
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2003, 05:40 PM
dweller
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Quote:
Originally posted by Duke2.6
Rather, they use an organic corrosion inhibitor package based on carboxyate technology. I believe the the Zerex G-05 mentioned in the prior post is a so-called "hybrid" that uses a combination of both organic and inorganic technology.
Duke--
I don't know much about the chemistry of the Zerex. Here's their web page:

http://www.valvoline.com/pages/products/product_detail.asp?product=10

There's technical info in the left-hand column. Click on "MSDS/Product Info" especially. The G-05 is "Mercedes approved" (I understand Zerex makes the stuff bottled as MB-brand--I believe it's identical, but I don't know for sure.)
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  #9  
Old 05-05-2003, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by manny
Regular ( glycol based ) antifreeze, mixed with Dexcool type antifreeze will produce a mixture that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It will clog up any cooling system, not just MB's.
MB antifreeze, Dexcool, and conventional "green" Prestone are ALL ethylene glycol based. The difference is the corrosion inhibitor package - organic for Dexcool and MB, inorganic for the green stuff.

Dexcool has received a bad rap. The rust/scale problems are due to running for extended periods with low coolant levels. I've been using Dexcool in all my cars since 1995 - before it even became available through the normal retail outlets - and have had no cooling system problems. GM has built on the order of 30 million cars/trucks with Dexcool.

Texaco won't support the long life (5 year) change interval in cars that have ever had conventional green coolant. There's no scientific way to test the life properties on cars in service that have a wide range of cooling system condition, so their recommendation to follow the normal cooling system change interval on vehicles not originally equipped with it is conservative.

I continue to observe a two-year change interval, and changing coolant on the 103 engine is simple. If your car does have conventional green antifreeze and you switch back to MB type or Dexcool, be sure to thoroughly flush out the system as there is some incompatibility between the organic and inorganic inhibitor packages.

Duke
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  #10  
Old 05-06-2003, 12:08 AM
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The original MB coolant was made by the German company BASF (a huge chemical company like Dupont) and was called Glysantin. Valvoline (US company) acquired the antifreeze division of BASF several years ago and became the official supplier of MB coolant. Fortunately, Valvoline also sells their MB coolant in retail channels under the name of Zerex G-05, which costs about US$9 at Autozone.

Dexcool is only bad if car owners leave it at low levels for extended period of time, which may cause rust-like residues in the radiator. Walmart has Prestone Dexcool for about $6.

Eric
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  #11  
Old 05-06-2003, 09:50 AM
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I'm trying to make sense of this coolant issue, and I see some gaps in the logic. If Mercedes coolant is so superior to other coolants, why isn't hasn't the general public (i.e., the "synthetic oil-using crowd") picked up on this fact and spread the word about using it for all vehicles? I'm a materials engineer, and I see nothing special about the materials used in the Mercedes engine and cooling system when compared with other vehicles, nor do I see anything different on the demands the cooling system makes on the coolant. The same benefit Mercedes coolant gives for its vehicles should also benefit other vehicles.

Why hasn't there been any advice issued on using Mercedes coolant for ALL vehicles? Wouldn't this also be "cheap insurance"?
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  #12  
Old 05-06-2003, 10:06 AM
dweller
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As I mentioned, I know nothing about the chemisty of the coolants, but when I asked one MB mechanic why the MB stuff was preferable, his answer was that MB expects the life of their engines to be in multiples of 100K--400K in the case of most of the diesels. The expected life of a Detroit engine, especially the gassers, is somewhere between 100K and 150K, and the ricers somewhere between 100K and 200K.

His point was that, for short-lived engines, there's little reason to be concerned about how the antifreeze is affecting the cooling system. If you want your engine to live to an old age, use the MB stuff. Again, I don't know the chemistry well enough to say what it is that makes the MB stuff better--I presume it's the anti-corrosion materials.

I also understand that MB and Dexcool aren't quite so bad on the environment when you finally dispose of them, though again I couldn't explain why.
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2003, 10:19 AM
Tod Labrie
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I would not use anything other than MB OE coolant. There is scientific proof that it protects MB engines better. It has to do with pH levels and acidity. The STAR magazine (a few years ago) did an interesting article on aluminum, pH levels, and MB coolant It has NOTHING to do with personal opinion, this is science, it doesn't care what you think. The same goes for replacing brake fluid, it WILL absorb water over time, that's its nature. Science doesn't care what your opinion is.
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2003, 10:36 AM
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Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I think I am going to source some MB fluid from a local dealer and go with it. It's just that little extra piece of mind.

I swung by Overby's this morning for plugs (F8DC4), power steering filter and its related gasket and I showed them a sample of the rad fluid. Without hesitation the service manager said it was MB fluid. He could tell by the color. He does not sell the MB fluid nor do they use it. They use Pennzoil green. He suggested using that or Prestone pre mixed. He commented that the Prestone premix is nice because it requires no mixing

So I guess I just remove the red plug on the bottom of the radiator on passenger side.

My 60K was at 59,717 8/14/01 at Gulf Stream Motors in West Palm Beach, FL. I believe the 60K calls for radiator fluid change. I have the 60K stamp but not the Replace Coolant notation on page 72 of my service book. Do you think the omission was an oversight?

Anyway I'll just drain and refill to be sure.
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2003, 01:38 PM
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Coolant changes in the MB maintenance system, like brake fluid changes, are not part of the mileage/time scheduled maintenance tasks. They are considered separate tasks, and the change interval is purely time based regardless of mileage. Based on the information previously posted that Zerex G-05 is the same as MB coolant I would suggest you use either this or genuine MB coolant, even if you have to provide the antifreeze.

The pH levels of conventional and organic or hybrid inhibitor package antifreezes cannot be directly compared. Conventional inorganic inhibitor antifreezes are formulated to be alkyline, and there are test strips you can buy to test the coolant's reserve alkylinity. Once it reaches a certain level the coolant should be changed, however, these test strips are not valid with Dexcool (not sure about G-05) because they are not formulated with as much reserve alkylinity due to their completely different inhibitor chemistry.

The synthetic oil crowd has likely not picked up on these new antifreeze products because they haven't been around that long, and they haven't been marketed that aggressively with heavy advertising expenditures.

Since my current cars range in age from 12 to 40 years and don't see much annual mileage accumulation, I'm more concerned about internal corrosion than mechanical wear, which is why I now use Dexcool and change it every two years, even if the car has little mileage accumulation, and I change the coolant and brake fluid at the same time since they are both on two-year service schedules.

Duke
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