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How bad is winshield washer fluid in the engine coolant?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Blue85, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    All I can say is "whoops." My mind was on something else. /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif I put about a quart of washer fluid in the engine coolant overflow tank after the squirters stopped working.

    I understand that most washer fluid uses methanol. Will this react harmfully with the ethelyne glycol in the engine antifreeze?

    Which should I do:
    a) leave it alone and don't worry about it.
    b) empty out the overflow tank and assume that not much was sucked in during the 10 mile drive.
    c) drain all of the coolant from the system and start over.
     
  2. WHOOPS!! /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif Personally I would replace all the coolant since the washer fluid will make it sudsy. But at least you know the inside of the engine will be clean /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  3. OFFRDK5

    OFFRDK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I would say #3. Empty and flush everything.
     
  4. Lonnie

    Lonnie 1/2 ton status

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    It should be OK. Don't feel bad, you aren't the first I heard of that accidentally did this. The methanol will eventually evaporate from the engine heat & water will remain. In the old days alcohol was used for antifreeze...doesn't freeze but it boils easily. The engine should be fine as it will only draw so much in on 1 heat/cool cycle. Just dump the bottle out.

    Lonnie
     
  5. Seventy4Blazer

    Seventy4Blazer 3/4 ton status

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    if you like cooked soap leave it in.
    Grant
     
  6. reddog64

    reddog64 1/2 ton status

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    I'd just empty out the coolant bottle... and flush the bottle out good...

    not worry about the rest... /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. After thinking about this another thought crossed my mind. Take a sample of the coolant out of the radiator and place it in a jar. If you shake it up real good you'll be able to tell how much, if any fluid made it's way to the radiator.
     
  8. BlaznRebel

    BlaznRebel 1/2 ton status

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    1 gallon of antifreeze=2$
    Enough water to flush your system=Monthly water bill 10$
    Replaceing A motor=Mine was 4000$
    Catching it early and fixing it=priceless


    Need I say More?
     
  9. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Man I wish you were in my club. That would have landed you the Blooper bell for the month LOL.
    Coolant should be changed every 2 years. Your probably due. Drain it and refill. Fastes way to get them max amount of coolant out is the drain pepcock on the radiator and on the bottom edge of the block on both sides is a plug into the water jacket at the base of the cylinders. Sometimes rust and sedimnet collect and you may have to take a screwdriver to get them clear. You can get about 90% of the coolant drained that way.
     
  10. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    That is a good idea, assuming that the two will seperate from each other, which I'm not sure they would. I guess I would also have to warm the engine to operating temp first as well, to ensure that it hadn't seperated inside the system.
     
  11. MudFrog

    MudFrog 1/2 ton status

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    Not trying to hijack the thread but where can you dispose of coolant at? The local parts stores will not accept it.
     
  12. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    I hit the Jiffy lubs and oil change places that do collant stuff. They will usualy let you dump it in their tank.
     
  13. Sandman

    Sandman 3/4 ton status Author

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    Toilet /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Dont flame, Its only a joke.
     
  14. schmuck

    schmuck 1/2 ton status

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    put it in your neighbors bird bath /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/ignore.gif
     
  15. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    Has any been sucked out of the coolant tank?

    Most windshield washer solvent doesn't have much in it. If it doesn't list anything corrosive on it then I wouldn't worry about it too much. A quart out of 3 gallons of coolant isn't much and you probably didn't suck anything in.. if even a pint. Being mixed with the coolant already in the reservoir that means the amount of solvent in your cooling system is miniscule.. unless your radiator sucked a lot out of the reservoir.

    I, myself, would just dump out and rinse the reservoir out. I'd then use a antifreeze tester to see if it's within limits. Then again, about 1000 miles ago I put petcocks in my block and completely drained and flushed the system in my truck.

    However, if you can't remember the last time the antifreeze was changed or it's been more than 3-4 years it's time for a change. Back in the 70s antifreeze didn't last more than two cold seasons but antifreeze has come a long ways. Usually it's crud in the system that makes the antifreeze go bad instead of the antifreeze itself losing its effectiveness. If you do change it use distilled water. I hate DMFs that use regular tap water in the cooling system. My radiator wouldn't be so clogged with calcium if the idiot hadn't use the garden hose to fill the system. Distilled water can be had at the gas station for $1.50/gallon.
     
  16. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    If you live in the city ask your city government. Where I live now you're allowed to dump it down the drain as long as you let 4 gallons of water go with every 1 gallon of antifreeze. If you can't, then they should at least know where to get rid of it. They probably don't want you to dump it down the storm drain. I live in the sticks in a dumpy town and even they know what to do with it.

    You might have a waste transfer station you can get rid of it at. We do, but it's a chore to get rid of antifreeze there. That's where I do get rid of my oil but I just dump it in a giant pan and then it goes to a big holding tank. They look at you kind of funny if you get rid of more than ten gallons of oil though...
     
  17. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I dumped everything out, flushed the cooling system and started over with new coolant. I did it as much for general maintainance as for fear of the washer fluid.
     
  18. jcg

    jcg 1/2 ton status

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    It's also good for getting rid of the family of racoons that dumps over your garbage cans every night. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  19. muddysub

    muddysub 1 ton suburban status Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    dig a deep hole in the back yard. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     

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