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Old 06-30-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
a_2000_se
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AntiFreeze tester, propylene vs. ethylene difference

I searched but did not find......

I just came to find that you can't use the same AntiFreeze tester for PROPYLENE glycol based antifreeze (Prestone) as ETHYLENE glycol based antifreeze (PEAK) even though they are both "Green". It has something to do with different specific gravity.

I came across this this past weekend when refilling my cooling system. Checker had Peak AntiFreeze on sale, two 50/50 mix gallons for $10. On the back of the container it said good to -34 F. After refilling my coolant system I check it and only had 3 balls floating with one sllooooowlllyy decending, Roughly -15 F or so but definitely not -34 F. I even stuck the tested in the container to make sure it wasn't being diluted by my system. Got the same 3 and a half balls floating.

So I looked it up and sure enough found that the two won't test the same with the standard testers. Anyone got a Refractometer.....

Anyone have a conversion for the Ball Values?

My testers balls values are: 20 5 -10 -25 -40 (be nice).

Does Heat affect the test value?
and finally: Can you mix Green with Green antifreeze, as I always though you could, even though they are PROPYLENE/ETHYLENE based?

Both companies are now offering products that are compatible with ANY antifreeze/ coolant regardless of color. But what about testers?


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Old 07-08-2009, 10:03 PM   #2
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Chances are you've been using Ethylene Glycol the whole time being it's the more common type.
Prestone Low-Tox is the only antifreeze they make that is Polypropylene Glycol. All the others are Ethylene.

I'd blame the tester on being old?
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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Propylene anti-freeze is going to be much more expensive since that particular compound is used in many other applications. It's also commonly used in medicines, and it's similarity to ethylene glycol is what inspired a Chinese drug manufacturer to produce some medicines using cheaper ethylene glycol. This resulted in deaths of over 100 people in Peru before someone finally figured it out.

If you're worried about it, then open up the popcock, drain half a gallon or so of coolant, and add straight coolant- not mix- to replace it.

I love my neighborhood puppies, but I've never used non-toxic anti-freeze. Whenever I have to do a job on one of the vehicles that will result in spilled coolant, I make sure once I've spilled it that I use a hose to wash it away and keep the hose on until I can't see green anywhere.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:14 PM   #4
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Old - yeah it's at least 10 years old. It may be time for a new one but not too worried about it though because the tester is reading low - in my favor.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:24 PM   #5
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So I buy another "BALL" antifreeze tester. A brand new still in the original package 'VICTOR' red bulb squeeze type with 5 colored balls, part number 00330-8. Victor is made by 'Bell Automotive Products Inc.'

It has the same temperature range for each ball as my old one. But the new one only had two 'two' balls floating for a 50/50 pre-mix of PEAK anti-freeze compared to my 10 plus year old one that 3 and a half balls floating. PEAK says their pre-mix is good to -34 degrees F. So either the testers aren't worth the $1.49 they sell for or PEAK is a little light on the glycol. I'm leaning toward 'cheap tester'.

It would be a little difficult for PEAK to be in bed with BELL in the hope to sell more antifreeze when they pre-mix their product and say it's good to -34.

-lol- enough of this topic.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_2000_se View Post
So I buy another "BALL" antifreeze tester. A brand new still in the original package 'VICTOR' red bulb squeeze type with 5 colored balls, part number 00330-8. Victor is made by 'Bell Automotive Products Inc.'

It has the same temperature range for each ball as my old one. But the new one only had two 'two' balls floating for a 50/50 pre-mix of PEAK anti-freeze compared to my 10 plus year old one that 3 and a half balls floating. PEAK says their pre-mix is good to -34 degrees F. So either the testers aren't worth the $1.49 they sell for or PEAK is a little light on the glycol. I'm leaning toward 'cheap tester'.

It would be a little difficult for PEAK to be in bed with BELL in the hope to sell more antifreeze when they pre-mix their product and say it's good to -34.

-lol- enough of this topic.
I have been having the same problem and went back to the auto store to complain. There were good enough to open a 100% and a 50/50 and had the same results, the 50/50 tested -10 to-15 and the full strength tested -25. I took my mix THAT WAS MORE THAN 50%, because I kept adding anti freeze to try and get the mixture correct to my tester, to a mechanic friend of mine and He tested it with a ethylene glycol tester from snap on tools and it tested -60 degrees F. there does seem to be a big difference in the type of tester. I haven't confirmed yet what the anti freeze ( Ethylene or propylene) was that we tested with the store tester, but I will.
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