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Old 11-06-2011, 06:43 PM   #1
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What color is your antifreeze?

Ladies and Gents,
I could have gone straight to the Freightliners forum with this but, I figured it get good answers here too. We've got an Itasca Horizon 36GD D/P on a Freightliner Evolution Chassis and a 330 CAT in it. In the last couple of days, I've been in, around, and all over the net in looking at info on the antifreeze for this coach. I find it difficult to get the EXACT anti-freeze that was/is used for this coach.

I've gone onto CATs site, many of them to be specific, and one of their sites says it should be "Purple". And some say it should be "Red". My build sheet, just tells all accessories and options etc so, that's of no help. I've gone into the CAT owners manual and it too, is not all that clear. The CAT manual states:

Preferred: Caterpillar Extended Life Coolant (ELC)

Acceptable: Caterpillar Diesel Engine Anti-freeze/Coolant (DEAC)

Now, along with those recommendations, there's a whole ton of "must conform to or meet ASTM XXXX or ASTM XXXX or TMC XXXX and many many more. I mean come on CAT, can't you simply put it simple to the laymen or simple minded like me?

There's no color reference to either one of those in that manual if I recall. There is reference to additional additives but, only if you use this or that or are at this maintenance interval or that one etc. Now, I realize and know that there is maintenance to these engines and, they are not quite as simple as my old '63 Nova but, it sure seems they're making it hard for me do decipher.

In replacing my coolant reservoir the other day, I managed to spill some on the ground 'cause of not paying attention. I caught almost all of it but, did spill some. And mine is more or less RED, but with a tinge of orange in it. It's mostly RED. But, in reading the manual, it appears I made a mistake of just adding some tap water for topping the tank off. I added about three pints of tap water to bring it to the "Max Cold Line" in the new reservoir. In the manual it talks about very specific water requirements. P/H level, hardness level, and more, geesh. This thing is not a NASA space shuttle, it's a diesel engine in a common motor home.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be sarcastic here, or nonchalant about keeping my beautiful rig up to par, just trying to keep it simple in my maintenance, but be guided by CAT.

And, according to most of the web sites, "THEY" say, it's almost impossible to tell what kind or brand of anti-freeze you have by the color. This engine has been operating just fine. We've been on a couple of short trips and we just finished a long, 2500 mile one. The only time it got warm was on a long grade, from Baker CA to Las Vegas NV, those you who know those two grades, know what I'm talking about. It was 104 degrees outside temp when I was climbing those grades, carrying my Goldwing and towing our Jeep Rubicon. I actually received a warning buzzer on the dash info system that I was approaching the "threshold" of the high temp. So, I pulled her over and let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes. After that, all was well.

So, what's your color, and did I screw things up by adding those three pints of tap water? I knew, in the back of my mine, I should have added at least some store bought bottled water. What an air head. Thanks for any info you provide here.
Scott
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:57 PM   #2
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I have CAT ELC in mine and it is definitely red, not purple. Kind of a cherry red to be specific.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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Mine came from the Freightliner factory with Fleetguard coolant specifically formulated for diesel engines, with SCA's. It is 'Red' in color (red, pink, you call it).

Only use pre-mixed 50/50 antifreeze when topping off your coolant. The water needs to be pH bananced. Don't use tap water. Beauty of the 50/50 stuff is that it has the correct balance of coolant to the correct water mix. No muss, no fuss.

It's availabe at NAPA, Tractor Supply, and I believe Pep Boys.

Also, when you drain and refill your coolant, only use the 50/50 mix for all the same reasons.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:13 PM   #4
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CAT ELC is the one.. As for the water, if you must top off and dont have coolant, you can use distilled water.. in fact, its the only water I use as tap water has too many minerals..
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:43 AM   #5
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Gents,
Op here. I just did some reading in another part of the CAT site. It's the one about CAT ELC. On one of the pages it does state that its color is called : Strawberry Red.

So, at least I know it's labeled as that and, mine is somewhat close to that color. I figure, just how many "Red" anti-freezes can there be out there that, just happen to be in a 44,000 mile, three owner C-7 CAT powered motor home? This is looking more and more as being the "Original" anti-freeze in this coach.
Scott

P.S. And yes, from now on, it WILL be DISTILLED WATER and or, just add some from a gallon of CAT ELC, already pre-mixed. Guess I better git some before I actually need it. Thanks to all who answered. Very much appreciated.
Scott
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:00 AM   #6
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Your CAT came from Freightliner with a Fleetguard coolant that uses SCAs which need to be checked with test strips for proper concentration. Many folks have switched to CAT ELC when they change the coolant, but doing so requires a full flush of the cooling system after draining the old coolant and before adding the ELC. Your CAT engine manual should describe the flushing process. Check the rear of your coach in and around the top of the radiator to see if you have a sticker describing the coolant--there should be one there from Freightliner if it hasn't been changed.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:34 AM   #7
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Fire Up: Our coaches are the same age and I heated up on the same grade. After taking the engine cover off and really looking at the radiator, if you already haven't, you'll see the interior fins coated with oily crud. My BIL came over after I thought I got it real clean and to my dismay with a flashlight look at the lower rear driver's side and you'll find more crud in a direct line back from the crankcase slober tube. I re-blasted the radiator with simple green and just the hottest 40 gallons of water the house water tank could provide and you will be amazed what washes off.

That was the end of the heating up problem and replicated the same trip a few weeks later with no problem. Coolant is red as the other reader added. I recently had all that 2004 coolant changed out as well as all new hoses and belts. Good insurance.
Good Luck- see you trouble free over the Baker Grade next summer.....
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:33 AM   #8
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Check your SCA's. Adding only water has possibly effected the SCA levels and thats not good.

The techs at the Gaffney Service Center check the SCA level by bringing the engine to operating temp and then draining some coolant from the bottom petcock on the radiator into a cup. Check to make sure the test strips are "fresh"; they have a date on the package.
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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Just went to Cat ELC and it's a "cherry color". Won't be thinking about changing for a while.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:49 PM   #10
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To all who've replied,
Thanks for taking the time to read my issues. I will either get some test strips or, have it done professionally so I keep the beast in tip-top shape. As for cleaning the radiator, it looks real clean from the back side that you see from the back of the coach. The slobber tube has been up graded and is a long hose that extends to the back of the coach so, that's not a problem at this point in time.

I don't know when it was converted to the longer tube so, there may be some "crud" in the inner radiator and I might have to get in there and do some serious interior cleaning. Thanks again for all the tips and we'll get on this. I for one, hate heating problems. If this will cure it. I'll jump right in there and get-r done. Thanks again.
Scott
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:58 PM   #11
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One thing you can do to inspect the front of the CAC (charge air cooler, aka intercooler), which is in front of the radiator, is to open up the rearmost engine access panel in the coach and reach a digital camera down to take some pictures. The camera should be able to see a lot better than you can from the top.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:28 PM   #12
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The antifreeze in my CAT 350 is yellowish-green. Don't know for sure, but I suspect it is the original antifreeze, now 6 years old. Had a sample checked by CAT this week, and they said it was ok, but recommended I add a quart of their additive, which I will do as soon as the snow melts.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:04 AM   #13
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I was at a Cat dealer yesterday (11/16/11) and asked about coolant color - the tech said pink, or purpleish would be extended. Mine is "prestone yellow" and I'll soon be changing it.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick1142 View Post
The antifreeze in my CAT 350 is yellowish-green. Don't know for sure, but I suspect it is the original antifreeze, now 6 years old. Had a sample checked by CAT this week, and they said it was ok, but recommended I add a quart of their additive, which I will do as soon as the snow melts.
Dick,
You see, this is what I mean. The Cat operators book I have states that the Cat motor I have should have a purple colored antifreeze but, it can have a Red. It seems most of the folks who've answered have the "cherry red" or plain red. Which, I guess, for the most part is, the CAT ELC, Not the DEAC which is purple. Now for me, I really don't care, as long as it works, it protects the motor and radiator, doesn't cause any problems, and I get reasonable life out of it. I certainly don't mind changing it or flushing the engine and putting new in. I just want to make sure it's the right stuff. And, at this time, the CAT ELC appears to be the right stuff. So, thanks for all your input and time here.
Scott
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #15
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Freightliner recommends changing your coolant/antifreeze every 5 years if it's SCA coolant. Comes from the factory with Fleetguard pre-charged with SCA's.

NAPA sells it for somewhere between $11-15/gal. P/N = FCA053 50/50 pre-mix. CAT C7 holds about 10 gallons. A drain and refill would be about $150 if you do it yourself. No need to flush the engine unless your existing coolant is really bad.
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:34 PM   #16
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Hey Pusherman,
Thanks for the heads up on the antifreeze maintenance interval from Freightliner. I think I looked it up at one time but, as usual, this one celled brain of mine can't remember squat anymore. I would like to get some test stips and try them out before I jump in and change it first.
Scott
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:54 PM   #17
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You'll probably find that your antifreeze tests OK other than adding some SCA's, as I find FL's recommendations conservative. To be on the safe side, I usually recommend and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

For me it's cheap insurance. I just changed mine after 5 years and 26K mi, and it was probably OK at drain.

Be sure to at a minimum check the SCA levels with fresh test strips. Additives are available to refresh the SCA's.
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #18
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I just had my 2000 40J UA 300 HP cat, serviced at Quinn Cat near Fresno CA, my antifreeze is the ELC they checked it still good to minus 41. Quinn said never fill with water use Cat pre mixed ELC only never add any water.

Great service at Quinn

Maybe you need to have yours checked also my 40J has an extended breather tube so what little blowby that I have never gets close to the radiator.
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