Can orange and green coolant be mixed w/o problems? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-26-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Can orange and green coolant be mixed w/o problems?

I've been asked this question more than once and don't really know how to respond so let's hear it from the experts here.

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post #2 of 16 Old 08-26-2012, 09:54 PM
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The question is generally posed in retrospect, by which time it is too late.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-26-2012, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Christo1960 View Post
The question is generally posed in retrospect, by which time it is too late.
Ahhh, but why is it too late?

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post #4 of 16 Old 08-26-2012, 11:34 PM
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Ahhh, but why is it too late?
It's not. Go to any auto parts store. Pick up a gallon of 50/50 mix -- every brand. Read the label on the back. All will tell the "ingredients" -- almost always water, ethylene glycol, and diethylene glycol, in that order. You may mix it with any other new or previously installed antifreeze that has/had the same composition. And a further statement on the label will say out loud that you may mix it with any previous product in an "automobile" engine. Motorcycles are rarely mentioned overtly.

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-26-2012, 11:49 PM
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Ahhh, but why is it too late?
There's nothing diffinitive, but the Orange and the green mixes have different corrosion inhibitors (either phosphate or silicate), if you mix them, you dilute both. Thereby potentially rendering them relatively inneffective.

My statement that it was too late, refers to the asking of the question after the deed has been done, and is accurate whenever that type of issue occurs.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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So, with the exception of the possible dillution of additives, no harm will come from mixing the two. I've had people claim the mix would begin to 'gel' after time. I figured that was baloney.

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post #7 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 11:31 AM
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Coolant safe for aluminum radiators needs to be silcate and phosphate free.

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post #8 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 11:40 AM
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I've never checked the dealer shelves for a brand specific coolant. It should be there if is a concern exists, no?
I know Honda had a specific coolant some years ago that caused some print in the mags. For a buck or two difference between the auto parts and the suzuki store, why gamble. It's only once every 5 years, if you do it at all, right?
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 07:16 PM
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Your question opens up a lot of other questions.

There antifreezes with more than one combination of corrosion inhibitors with orange/gold/yellow dye. There are more than one antifreeze compounds with green dye (ethylene glycol base or propylene glycol base).

The most common orange AF is probably GM's DexCool. The most common green AF is the ordinary green ethylene glycol stuff. When mixed they work OK, but you end up with the shortest anticorrosion protection, 2 years at best.

The corrosion inhibitors become depleted before the antifreeze capabilities of the ethylene glycol wear out (if ever). Follow the recommendation on the label for the length of service (usually 2 years or 5 years), or use a voltmeter to test the system. Put one probe into cool coolant in the radiator neck. Put the other probe on the battery negative post. If you read 0.3 volts DC or less, the inhibitors are probably still doing their job. If the voltage is higher, the inhibitors are depleted and your cooling system has become a galvanic battery cell destroying the more active metals.

The type of corrosion inhibitors in the antifreeze to use depends on the metals inside the cooling system. Plus, Europeans prefer AF without phosphates due to the high concentration of minerals in some of their tap water. The Japanese prefer no silicates in their AF due to the way they design their water pumps. There are phosphate, silicate, borate, combinations of those two or three, organic acid technology (OAT/DexCool), a different organic acid compound (OAT/not-DeathCool), and hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT) corrosion inhibitor packages.

So...what to do? I prefer to use any motorcycle specific antifreeze (but these usually have only 2 year protection), or any Japanese auto antifreeze, or Zerex Asian Engine Formula antifreeze. If you buy a concentrate to mix with water, use distilled water especially if your tap water contains much mineral. Our engines seem to be very tolerant of just about any antifreeze, and we haven't seen reports that relate to problems with any antifreeze, nor with neglected systems.

Here's a good article:
Learning Coolant Fundamentals

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post #10 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
Coolant safe for aluminum radiators needs to be silcate and phosphate free.
Honda goes so far as to state coolant containing silicates will damage their water pumps
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