One coolant for my "fleet"?

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Jan 15, 2006
Okay, so not much of a fleet, but there are 3 completely different vehicles that I have. I got to thinking about this after realizing that when I saw one of my vehicles low on coolant late last night, I went to look for what I thought I had for it, only to find I had used up already. I had to end up sending my wife, who is using that vehicle today, to stop at Canadian Tire and pick up their Asian formula coolant for use in the Toyota. As I had stuff for one of the other vehicles on hand, as well as some of the ancient "universal green," I got to thinking it would be nice to convert all 3 to the same as they come up for flush and fill next. The 3 vehicles and OEM fills are: - 2006 Toyota Sienna / Toyota Super Long Life (pink) - 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Duramax / Dexcool - 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan / G13 I've heard people surmise that Dexcool and G12/G13 are very similar formulations, and even heard of VW owners using Dexcool in place with a full flush and fill. I have also heard of Toyotas being happy after a full flush and fill on Dexcool as well. I am also curious about G05, Delo ELC, Rotella ELC and Cool-Gard II, and if they are suitable for all 3 of these applications. I am not married to the idea that they all need to be on the same coolant, but it sure would be handy to have just one on hand to top up any of the 3 vehicles if needed.
The coolants are designed for the respective engines and new engines are designed with a certain coolant in mind. I wouldn't deviate from what the engineers engineered.
If I had to pick one AF for the noted vehicles, it would be Peak Global Lifetime, preferably the concentrate. A Long Life, long service interval OAT (no silicates) AF with no 2eha found in DexCool and the universal Dexclones. Been using it in an older 3.4L Tacoma for a few years now, original radiator. A farther second choice, G-05.
I dont believe it the one size fits all approach to coolant. I think it can be close, but not close enough for my OCD. Therefore I have on hand a jug of each. Mazda FL22, Toyota Pink and O'reilley Conventional Green. I also stock at least one oil filter for each and enough oil for at least one oil change. If I need more than one jug of each, something has happened and I need a tow.
I've been switching many of the older cars I deal with over to regular Prestone when I have to replace cooling system parts. I always flush the system with tap water then fill with Prestone and distilled water. I haven't had any problems, plus Prestone is available everywhere and has sales and rebates.
I would gladly suffer under the tyranny of oppressive coolants in exchange for the security of knowing I wasn't dissolving various engine components. Also, any color imparted to a specific manufacturers coolant will be maintained by using (even flushing 95% effectively) their stuff. It's way easier to say, "Oh yeah, the coolant is good & refreshed" than, "Oh yeah, the brown stuff you see in the reservoir is compatible". To earlier posters. It's 2017. What you might get away with using on older cars isn't what I want to hook my wagon to today.
The fact that you recognize the differing formulas in your vehicles is way ahead of the general public. I dont for a second think that I am smarter than the people that designed, built and warranted the engine and components that make up the cooling system. Why mess with changing it. life has enough challenges.
Zerex G-05 is a good all rounder. It has inorganic additive technology (IAT), like the old IAT green, to respond quickly to exposed metal surfaces in non-sealed systems, something that an OAT can't do. But the IAT concentration is reduced so precipitation issues are not a big concern. G-05 also has organic acid technology (OAT) to offer long life (~ 5 years) but contains no 2eha. Sort of the best of both worlds, a hybrid-OAT (HOAT). Now in Europe and Japan they tend to run modified HOAT, with Japan wanting Phosphates but no Silicates, while Europe wants Si but no Phos. Why the opposite ? This is a question I have been trying to track down for ages, and no it's not the slightly different grades of aluminium alloy they use. A small change in metallurgy doesn't cause a dramatic shift in corrosion behavior, not with the sort of similar commercial alloys we are dealing with. It's the people. In Europe, companies like MB & BMW etc were finding some people were topping up their coolant with tap water. In certain areas this tap water was very hard, with high calcium, and the Ca reacted with the Ph to form precipitates that scaled up the radiator. So they dropped the Ph from their coolants. In Japan they don't always flush and drain the radiator, and then put new coolant in of the correct concentration. There they sometimes just boost the add pack by adding concentrate to the existing radiator fluid. This can concentrate the silicates over time, which again precipitate out, and hurt the water pump. So most of this special chemical brews for Europe and Japan are just to compensate for owner bad habits. The average OCD BITOG member should be fine with any brew. Just flush well before changing. It's obvious that G-05 works well, Ford & Jeep have been using it for ages and the BMW G48 (Audi G11) is very similar to G05. It also obvious the Dex-Cool works well and the minor teething problems (more to do with the gasket) are well behind them. Thousands of GM cars are happily using Dex-Cool (myself included), most universal long-life coolants are Dex-Clones, the Euro G30 is an OAT. And I hear both Ford and Toyota may now be using some long-life OAT like Dex-Cool (not 100% sure on the last point). But any good coolant should work in a modern system in good order. Just well flush with clean water before changing. I was running G05 in my Japanese motorcycles and I needed to change the coolant on my GM car. I seriously considered swapping it to G05 too. I was completely confident it would work well, and I would only have to carry one top-up fluid at home. In the end I kept it on Dex-Cool as my biggest concern was some bozo at a garage doing me a "favour" and topping me up with the "correct" Dex-Cool causing cross contamination. Even though I would have had a big G05 Only sign on the overflow tank. Remember it's not just chemistry, it's other people. Choice is yours, but not a bad idea.
If you want a universal, works in anything, protects anything, no silicates option that you can get almost anywhere, any time of day or night, there is only one option: Shell Rotella ELC Peak Final Charge is a close second, but it's gotten more difficult to find here, where Rotella has gotten easier. I use Rotella in everything that has required coolant service. I have not had one issue at all. Boats, heavy equipment, motorcycles, scooters, generators, cars, trucks, you name it.
So here's what I'm hearing. There is the school of thought to stick with OEM. A very safe strategy, and a school I subscribed to until recently, at least for coolant, especially as I've learned more over time. A given regardless of what strategy one chooses is do not mix different formulation types. Of the coolant types that are of interest to me are the Asian super long life coolants, almost all being virtually the same formulation except for dyes and minor insignificant differences. There is the VW/Pentosin G13/G12 family of coolants, from what I gather, sharing similarities to other European formulas. And there is Dexcool and all of its clones. All three of these groupings have similarities, but enough differences I would not want to mix them together. Aftermarket consumer targeted are G05 and PGL. Many extoll their virtues. Then we have the commercial fleet targeted coolants with near lifetime fill applications for me, such as Peak Final Charge or Rotella ELC. My understanding of cooling systems are, while there are certainly some design differences, and plastics, rubbers, etc can be different, the systems really are mostly the same in principle overall, and the aluminum alloys shouldn't differ that markedly to warrant different formulas. It seems the OEM strategies for formulas are based on what is proprietary to them, almost reflecting the pride of the respective engineers, compounded by the end user realities in their home markets, which they extrapolate globally. My thoughts are, my van is due for a second timing belt change this summer. This means I should probably consider replacement of the OE Denso water pump, and as the second fill of coolant is getting up there in age, that is the perfect time to replace it. First change was a straight drain and fill with Toyota SLL per manufacturer's recommendation. This change, I want it flushed completely regardless of what goes in there. This could be the first of my vehicles to migrate to a coolant I can eventually use across the board. I am leaning heavily into doing homework to pick out a commercial ELC. I have some Dexcool on hand to top off the truck, if it needs it, as I believe I have a ways to go on that coolant. And my newest vehicle won't need a change for a very long time, so I will get G13 for top up if required. I tend to keep vehicles for a very long time, so I think migrating to one of these super extremely long life coolants over time makes sense - likely the last fill I will do ever for each of the vehicles, saving me time. But also at some point, I will be rationalized down to one coolant across the board. I know I can never get there with oil, though the least picky of the three will inevitably get some leftover oil from the other 2, and though likely possible to do so on these three with ATF, I have no desire to stray from the OE specs of TES-295, T-IV or WS for the respective vehicles. Coolant in my mind, is entirely different.
Though, I do like the specs on Peak Final Charge I would stick with FL22 (or, Ford Specialty Green concentrate) for my Mazda. I've been adding RMI-25 to it since the car was new and I actually intend to either never change it or do it at 200,000 miles if I keep the car that long.
Originally Posted By: Sayjac
If I had to pick one AF for the noted vehicles, it would be Peak Global Lifetime, preferably the concentrate. A Long Life, long service interval OAT (no silicates) AF with no 2eha found in DexCool and the universal Dexclones. Been using it in an older 3.4L Tacoma for a few years now, original radiator. A farther second choice, G-05.
PGL would be my choice. I had used it for many years in other vehicles I've owned and it was excellent. Never had a cooling system related issue
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