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Old 12-15-2020, 09:35 AM   #1
fordwife
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Default Anti freeze

Back in the day, here in the northwest, and in other cold climates we would run anti freeze in our vehicles in the winter. Then in the spring we would drain it , replace it with water, then the next fall we would put the anti freeze back in. Does anyone remember why we didn't run the AF the year around?
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Old 12-15-2020, 09:40 AM   #2
uncle buck
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Default Re: Anti freeze

I don't, but todays antifreeze is considered a "coolant" and has dual purpose to be also used to raise the boiling point as well as lower the freezing point. Could it have been a different base product such as alcohol based?
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Old 12-15-2020, 09:48 AM   #3
JayChicago
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Yes. I think I remember my dad telling me back in the day they used alcohol based antifreeze which would boil away during hot weather. And I recall as a teenager the modern antifreeze then available was advertised as “permanent” antifreeze.

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Old 12-15-2020, 12:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anti freeze

My mother (born 1918) told me that her father, who was an auto dealer in Hartford, CT in the 20's used to run water year round but would drain it in the evening in cold weather and replace it with alcohol for the night then reverse the process in the morning before using the car.
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Old 12-15-2020, 03:55 PM   #5
hotrodart
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Water has a better heat transfer coefficient than 50/50 mix of antifreeze......cooling a flathead with all-water would be better in summer.....that is, if your system is clean and free of crud.
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anti freeze

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eddie48: Don't know how cold it got in Hartford, Conn. but in Hartford, Ohio running straight water in the winter would freeze. We did put cardboard in front of the radiator that would help some time but could also freeze sometime. Drain it at night & put a extension cord with a light bulb would be the ticket. Our cars & truck sat outside, the barn was reserved for the tractor & horses.
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Old 12-15-2020, 11:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Ethylene glycol permanent antifreeze has been on the market since the 30's. I live in NYS and been driving since '61. I've never heard of anyone draining radiators at night when it got cold. Maybe if you lived in the boonies and had no other choice.
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Old 12-16-2020, 12:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Anti freeze

I live in Minnesota and started driving in 1957. I distinctly remember my best friend's father doing it with his '52 Studebaker when we were in the 10th grade. I also remember it having to do with the old-style alcohol-based anti-freeze. I think he was using ethylene glycol by than and did it "because that's the way I've always done it".
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Old 12-16-2020, 10:57 AM   #9
Bob NH
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Anyone remember Prestone ? I have a qt. of Zerex permanent and a qt. zerone which is the alcohol base
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Old 12-16-2020, 11:32 AM   #10
mike in tucson
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Default Re: Anti freeze

A lot of farmers used kerosene in their cooling systems.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Germany.
I’ve been driving cars, trucks and farm tractors since 1946.
In the forties we had ethylene based antifreeze as well as alcohol.
I have been around cheap people that drained farm tractors every day and filled the them with water to haul out the manure everyday but if it get colder than about 20F you can’t do that in a car or truck if it has a thermostat.
As soon as you hit the road and the thermostat closes it’ll freeze. Especially at more than 10mph. Alcohol will boil over on summer days. But it was much cheaper.
One day I had my Dad’ s ‘51 Ford V8 freeze the radiator so the coolant couldn’t circulate any more after about two miles.
The solution tested for zero degrees but it was -15F that day. Was fine around town but pushing cold air through the radiator at 60 mph made it slush up and stop circulating.
It will get slushy, won’t break the engine or block but at sixty miles per hour it will slush up when the thermostat gets closed some.
There are a lot of hard heads in California that refuse to use antifreeze.
I am working on two cars right now that have had straight water in them for enough years that they are full of rust.
Even with new radiators they will not take in a gallon of water,
and the boil over in less than five minutes. One I have stripped to the bare bock and have cleared a lot of rust out so I can soak it with rust solvent. Slow process.
I know, many of you folks that have no idea what you are talking about will argue everything I just said.
In my search for an 8BA block I have bought four in the last 10 years but everyone was cracked in the water jacket area.
A fried of mine has a beautiful ‘35 convertible sedan, here in Ca, after rebuilding an LB engine and installing it I filled it with 30% antifreeze and some rust preventive.
The next day he drained it out on the ground and filled it with straight water. Typical.
That was at least 10 years ago.
Now it is full of rust and gets hot in no time. But at least he doesn’t have any of that f’n antifreeze in his car.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anti freeze

In the mid fifties I worked in a hardware store in Wisconsin.
We sold antifreeze, pumped it out of barrels.
Alcohol was about a dollar a gallon. Maybe less.
Permanent antifreeze, like Zerex and Prestone was seven dollars.
I used alcohol in my ‘33 and ‘40 fords but I had to fool around adding every week.
If I got stuck in the snow it would surely boil over.
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Anti freeze

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Originally Posted by mike in tucson View Post
A lot of farmers used kerosene in their cooling systems.
I used to work with an old guy, his family had a chicken farm Downeast. He told me they always ran kerosene in the vehicles and tractors in the winter......Mark
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:50 PM   #14
Aarongriffey
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Default Re: Anti freeze

To answer the original question, people drained it in the late spring to keep it fresh for the next winter and some were so used to to the alcohol stuff boiling over that they thought the had to drain it in the summer.
We gotta remembertoo, most of those car only lasted 5 or ten years and they ere junk.
A car with 60,000 miles was ready for an engine overhaul or a trade in. There were exceptions, I know of a 35 ford or that’s still going but the owner was very carefull with it. It has been totally rebuilt though.
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Old 12-17-2020, 04:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anti freeze

I remember my uncle stopping at a gas station and buying alcohol based antifreeze for 10 cents a quart, this was early 60ís.
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Old 12-17-2020, 06:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Some great stories told here! I'm trying to figure a good mix for year round here in FL. Also should I use any special type for the '35 flathead ?
Just to add a little tidbit, when I was stationed in South Dakota in '66 and in Sioux St Marie, MI in '68, we would plug the cars in using a internal heater on the motor. I know you must remember that.
Anyways, any advise on the coolant would be great.....
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Old 12-17-2020, 08:40 PM   #17
JayChicago
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Yeah, I remember block heaters. The good ones went in the lower radiator hose, and thermal circulation would move some heat through the engine block. Cheap ones were easy-to-install dip stick heaters, just providing a little heat to the oil at the end of the dip stick.

In Florida, I would suggest using the minimal amount of antifreeze needed. Pure water provides a little better heat transfer for hot days. (I would not consider how antifreeze raises the boiling point; if you are above 212 degrees, probably should stop driving) There should be a chart on the back of the antifreeze bottle showing how much to add to get protection down to the lowest temp it ever gets in your location. But then you might want to add some rust inhibitor, since you will getting a minimal amount from the additives in the antifreeze.
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Old 12-17-2020, 09:21 PM   #18
BobR35
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Thumbs up Re: Anti freeze

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayChicago View Post
Yeah, I remember block heaters. The good ones went in the lower radiator hose, and thermal circulation would move some heat through the engine block. Cheap ones were easy-to-install dip stick heaters, just providing a little heat to the oil at the end of the dip stick.

In Florida, I would suggest using the minimal amount of antifreeze needed. Pure water provides a little better heat transfer for hot days. (I would not consider how antifreeze raises the boiling point; if you are above 212 degrees, probably should stop driving) There should be a chart on the back of the antifreeze bottle showing how much to add to get protection down to the lowest temp it ever gets in your location. But then you might want to add some rust inhibitor, since you will getting a minimal amount from the additives in the antifreeze.
Thanks Jay, good info. I'm trying to jar my memory in respect to these old engines, It's been a while so I really appreciate your input. I'm putting dual gauges on so I'll be draining the radiator and starting with fresh stuff and I'll definitely put some rust inhibitor back in with the new coolant mix.
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:28 PM   #19
michael a
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Default Re: Anti freeze

Did you all ever come across head bolt heaters

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Old 12-17-2020, 10:37 PM   #20
JayChicago
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Did you all ever come across head bolt heaters
New one on me. Never heard of head bolt heaters.
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