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Automotive Additives in Loop

Does anyone here have any experience with automotive coolant additives in their system?

I'm talking about additives like Motul Mocool or Red Line Water Wetter. These additives are meant for high performance applications and to not contain any antifreeze. They do contain corrosion inhibitors.

 

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Reviews show that these additives have a positive effect on coolant temperatures in engines that run without a thermostat (duh..).

So I'm wondering if the positive effect is stil there when the temperatures are much lower, like the ones found in a PC.

Googling has netting zero results, so I'm asking directly.

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It really depends on the coolant. Some of these have really funky viscosity that can majorly interfere with a cooling block or pump. Remember, the radiator and water block in your engine block of your car are a lot bigger, with more powerful pumps designed for the somewhat corrosive nature of automotive coolant. Your PC's water block has a series of very fine fins to increase surface area (think heatsink fins, but a lot smaller) that can increase efficiency of convective heat transfer to the fluid (typically water or some other coolant). When you stuff something too viscous to go through these very fine fins, you can actually decrease performance, since you're slowing the velocity of the fluid.

 

Moreover, some of these have interesting chemistry that makes them great for automotives, which run at much higher temperatures than your PC. Think about it, if your PC had tons of tiny explosions happening inside of it, it would heat up your room very quickly. These coolants are, consequently, designed to withstand these higher temperatures while minimizing phase changes (specifically, evaporation). Your PC doesn't have the same heat generating capacity as a car does, and you won't reap the same benefits. The somewhat acidic (or basic, depending on the solution) nature of these coolants mean that they're much more likely to have a negative impact on the life and health of especially your pump, whose impeller is designed for water and water only.

 

Tl;dr: I can't recommend it, unless you have a bunch of parts lying around, you're curious, and you're not worried about killing or irreversably damaging your block, pump, or radiator. Instead, use good ol' distilled water or (if you're feeling bold) a coolant designed for computer systems, though you should do your own research - some of these coolants (especially pastel ones) are notorious for clogging up blocks!

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I'm not afraid for any damages, If you check the technical spec sheet of motul mocool. they state the following:

 

"With MoCool, engines run cooler by 15°C (30°F): Improves thermal exchange and engine cooling system efficiency. Cooling system optimal protection against corrosion. Recommended for magnesium, aluminum alloys cases, cast iron, copper, brass and bronze systems. Water pump protection, avoid cavitation Anti-corrosion properties that remain while high temperature and ageing. Low corrosion inhibitors consumption. Seals, rubber pipes, and plastics parts friendly."

 

Added to that, you add it to destilled water in a 20:1 ratio, so the viscosity change would be pretty minimal.

MoCool_(GB).pdf

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the major thing with using automotive coolant in your custom loop is that the additive may contain a chemical that doesnt mix well with your tubing (or rather.. dissolves it..)

 

for example, you cannot use a coolant with glycol when you have PETG tubing, because the tubing itself contains glycol in it's "plastic mixture".

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I get the feeling have not explained the product properly. Let me try again.

 

These additives are meant to be added to destilled water for competition use. Most competitions do no allow glycol based coolants because they are very slippery when spilt in a crash. That is why they run plain destilled water. These additives have been designed to improve the performance of plain destilled water without violating the glycol-based rule.

That is why these additives also have NO antifreeze properties.

 

Having said that, I run Tygon tubing in my rig

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21 hours ago, WallyPower said:

These additives have been designed to improve the performance of plain destilled water without violating the glycol-based rule.

You might want to research how these work. Generally, they're additives designed to prevent the creation of steam bubbles, vapour barriers and raise the evaporation temperature of water. That's how they accomplish better performance than pure distilled water- by preventing it from boiling, effectively. They don't make water at ambient temperatures and 0.5 psi more effective at conducting heat, they make water at temperatures over 100°c and 10+psi more effective at conducting heat by virtue of not being gaseous. 

 

As evaporation in custom loops isn't really an issue, you're unlikely to see improved performance in our sort of used case, and instead run the risk of instituting all sorts of problems like the stuff congealing in blocks as it's designend to be used at water temperatures over 100°c rather than mid 30s. 

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Yes, you are correct about the high temperature properties and behaviour.

But did you consider one other possible trait? That the additive changes the surface tension of the coolant and that it will improve its wetting behavior and thus increase the speed of heat transfer?

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You could put some of the fluid in a jar with some fittings, tubing and other parts in awarm area to test it out. Automotive coolant may end up breaking down the O-rings, tubing over time which will lead to leakage. Maybe some already has done a test like this and has results.

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8 hours ago, WallyPower said:

Does anyone here have any experience with automotive coolant additives in their system?

I'm talking about additives like Motul Mocool or Red Line Water Wetter. These additives are meant for high performance applications and to not contain any antifreeze. They do contain corrosion inhibitors.

 

 

 

Reviews show that these additives have a positive effect on coolant temperatures in engines that run without a thermostat (duh..).

So I'm wondering if the positive effect is stil there when the temperatures are much lower, like the ones found in a PC.

Googling has netting zero results, so I'm asking directly.

Search for "major hardware" on YouTube. He has a video about this. 

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You may may need to dilute it. Not sure if I would try this or another automotive coolant unless I was trying to salvage a broken AIO into a custom loop.

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20 hours ago, WallyPower said:

That the additive changes the surface tension of the coolant and that it will improve its wetting behavior and thus increase the speed of heat transfer?

An increase in surface tension via surfactants only significantly improves wetting behaviour and heat transfer in boiling water. 

 

Most people who've tested things like water wetter have come to the conclusion it has minimal to no impact even in automotive cooling systems, so I would reckon it's fairly unlikely to offer any benefit in PC cooling loops especially given the differences in how they work.

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I strictly use automotive antifreeze - had a loop running for 6 months 24/7 then cut up all the rads, blocks (both aluminum and copper) to show no corrosion.

 

Can fill like 8-10 loops with this $8 purchase.  If you have any questions feel free to ask, I use aluminum rads, block, and copper blocks in all my systems, buy everything from China (tubing included) - its super affordable.

 

But I wouldnt say that the temps are IMPROVED over using say distilled and additives from major manufacturers...I just say its just as effective and WAY WAY more affordable.

 

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Even in a car, those additives are snake oil. At best, they do nothing. In a car I would be concerned they raise the freeze point since you add something like water, but not glycol. In a car you replace the 50:50 mixture every 5-10 years and that comes with all additives you need. You may even lose your warranty if you pour such snake oil in. That is for cars, they experience much higher temps and freezing. So nothing applies to what a typical PC would need or want. 

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8 hours ago, Tristerin said:

I strictly use automotive antifreeze - had a loop running for 6 months 24/7 then cut up all the rads, blocks (both aluminum and copper) to show no corrosion.

 

Do you use the Prestone coolant as is without diluting or adding anything else to it?

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1 hour ago, alyen said:

Do you use the Prestone coolant as is without diluting or adding anything else to it?

As is at the 50/50 premix, straight from the bottle

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On 10/24/2020 at 12:28 AM, alyen said:

You may may need to dilute it. Not sure if I would try this or another automotive coolant unless I was trying to salvage a broken AIO into a custom loop.

Thanks for pointing that one out to me, missed it somehow.

It does sort of confirm what is was thinking, some minor performance increases, bordering on the edge of measuring error.

I still plan of using it for my new build, but mostly for the corrosion inhibitors.

I recently cleaned out my 7 year old loop that was running on destilled and PT Nuke. I found no Bio fouling, but the GPU block did have corrosion on the nickel plating.

 

R9_290X_Cleaned.jpg

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Very interesting thread OP. I was looking into this as I was planning my upcoming build and I want it to be zero maintenance.

 

What I have learned is: Tygon can be good shit or average shit. I don't know what you are using but the clear high purity plasticizer free tubing has been reported to cloud easily in some cases. If you mean Tygon Norprene black tubing, congrats that tubing is what I just chose and is basically immune to anything you would put in a watercooling loop. It's rated for tranny and brake fluid I believe.

 

As for antifreeze/automotive/glycol. What I can say is that many pc coolants do already contain either ethylene or Propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is the bad one that can react with clear pvc tubing. Ethylene glycol found in automotive stuff is fine. The additive I'm using is also ethylene glycol based, I very highly considered automotive but went with DazMode Protector since it's literally designed for a water-cooling loop. I have seen people report that using 10% coolant concentrate (not premix) works well, I would guess the 50/50 mix is maybe a bit heavy on the glycol but should work.

 

I dont know much about these glycol-less options but I wouldnt expect much, I believe the glycol actually s meant to improve the heat capacity performance of the coolant despite many posts on the internet claiming otherwise.

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On 10/26/2020 at 8:11 PM, S w a t s o n said:

Very interesting thread OP. I was looking into this as I was planning my upcoming build and I want it to be zero maintenance.

It probably won't be zero maintenance, but maybe you only need to flush the loop every 2 years. I am planning to use automotive coolant for my first custom loop. The videos I saw people said the 50/50 premix was a little thick so I'll be diluting it. I've got some stuff on order so maybe I'll create a build log when I get everything in. The black soft tubing I wanted from Dazmode was out of stock so I'm going to use clear tubing. I'm not too sure about how some plastics from my reservoir will react, but I think it will get cloudy over time from the coolant.

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1 hour ago, alyen said:

It probably won't be zero maintenance, but maybe you only need to flush the loop every 2 years.

It should be quite literally 0 maintenance with tygon norprene, distilled water and clear additive im using. No plasticizer to leach and gunk, no dyes, no particles. Im using all nickel plated blocks with copper rads (that I'm cleaning using mayhems blitz kit) and the daz mode additive is anti bio/ anti corrosion and I'm mixing it at max strength ratio of 1:5 instead of normal 1:10 (recommended by mfr). There shouldnt be shit in my loop

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