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Old 10-22-2019, 11:15 AM #1
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Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?

Everybody says to use distilled water, but some people don't think it's a good idea. I also ran across this article from Hyperlube that recommends not using distilled.....and yea the info is questionable cause they are trying to sell a product..It kind of makes sense though. What do you guys think? Any chemical engineers?

Why You Should Never Use Distilled Water in Your Cooling System |


I don't really use distilled water and my 3rd Gen has 240,000 miles. Just tap water and green prestone. My cooling system is pretty damn clean. I don't trust any of the new red/orange stuff. I know OEM blah blah blah.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:30 AM #2
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In my older vehicle I run 50/50. Distilled/coolant, absolutely zero issues with corrosion.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:37 AM #3
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Well I think it kinda make sense what they wrote about “iron hungry water” but when that’s really the case how much iron it need to fed the water - minimal I guess.
I don’t think that even a Toyota engine lives long enough that it really would matter, so I keep using distilled water with quality coolant fluid in the right mixture!
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:59 AM #4
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LOL.... Toyota specifically says to use distilled water... I'd trust them over some company selling a product to 'fix' the problem with distilled water.

A few quotes from the '99 owners manual:

Quote:
Add only demineralized or distilled
water
to fill the radiator. And if you
spill some of the coolant, be sure
to wash it off with water to prevent
it from damaging the parts or paint.
Quote:
Checking the engine coolant level
Parts (if level is low):
* "Toyota Long Life Coolant" or equivalent
See Chapter 7−2 for details about coolant type selection.
* Demineralized or distilled water
Quote:
Coolant type selection
Use of improper coolants may damage
your engine cooling system. Your coolant
must contain ethylene−glycol type coolant
for a proper corrosion protection of your
engine that contains aluminum
components. Use "Toyota Long Life
Coolant" or equivalent.
In addition to preventing freezing and
subsequent damage to the engine, this
type of coolant will also prevent corrosion.
Further supplemental inhibitors or additives
are neither needed nor recommended.
Read the coolant container for information
on freeze protection. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for how much to mix
with plain water (preferably demineralized
water or distilled water). The total capacity
of the cooling system is given in Part 8.
We recommend to use 50% solution for
your Toyota, to provide protection down to
about −35°C (−31°F). When it is extremely cold, to provide protection down to
about −50°C (−58°F), 60% solution is recommended. Do not use more than 70%
solution for better coolant performance.
All the issues with distilled water causing corosion (true) are eliminated as soon as it is mixed correctly with coolant (which includes all the necessary corrosion inhibitors).

-Charlie
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Old 10-22-2019, 05:19 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CougarHound View Post
Everybody says to use distilled water, but some people don't think it's a good idea. I also ran across this article from Hyperlube that recommends not using distilled.....and yea the info is questionable cause they are trying to sell a product..It kind of makes sense though. What do you guys think? Any chemical engineers?

Why You Should Never Use Distilled Water in Your Cooling System |


I don't really use distilled water and my 3rd Gen has 240,000 miles. Just tap water and green prestone. My cooling system is pretty damn clean. I don't trust any of the new red/orange stuff. I know OEM blah blah blah.
Years ago, Prestone and others used silicates in their antifreeze. I believe they differentiated that from non-silicate antifreeze with color - green versus red. Silicates proved to be abrasive and would ultimately cause water pump seals to fail. I was a victim a couple of times. I don’t think silicates are used today, so color may not make a difference anymore.

I’ve used only distilled for a million-plus miles, no problems, radiators stay clean.
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Old 10-22-2019, 05:35 PM #6
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I run Toyota coolant, already mixed and recommended by Toyota. Not that expensive.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:48 PM #7
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Some photos. Notice the white powdery stuff on the housing and some pitting on the flanges. Probably normal given the age of the vehicle....but I decided to switch back to green. I usually like to keep it green, but whenever I get lazy and bring it to a mechanic, they always put the red stuff in.
Attached Images
Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_164335_resize_9_compress99-jpg  Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_165152_resize_12_compress37-jpg  Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_170818_resize_35_compress24-jpg  Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191022_223053_resize_70_compress13-jpg 
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:55 PM #8
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Photos of the flanges after some cleaning and resurfacing.
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Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_172416_compress4-jpg  Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_172408_compress21-jpg  Don't Distilled Water for Radiators?-img_20191021_164333_compress78-jpg 
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:09 PM #9
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I live in mass .. I had to replace 3 radiators in my 1983 buick. then when I purchased my 1996 chev Impala I used the distilled water and 65% anti freeze. ya its still running . no leaks heater core keeps my toes nice and hot .... when I drain the entire coolant system 4 yrs of use it looks like the new coolant.last year I had to replace the radiator last year , because the plastic tank on driver side had a small crack.. when I removed the 24 yr old radiator the internals looked like the new radiator could not believe how clean that 24 yr old radiator was so perfect.

I also still own a 2000 GM truck no problems coolant is perfect .
2016 runner I also own , I must use Toyota coolant its only premixed.. I would like to make the mix 35% distilled water and 65% anti freeze..used this mix for decades no problems.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:14 PM #10
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Several years ago, one of the local auto parts store...Pep Boys I think it was...was selling gallons of de-ionized water (I think by Prestone).

I think if you ask a chemical engineer, you really should use de-ionized water in your cooling system.

But since de-ionized water is so expensive ($10 per liter, I think) and hard to come by, the next best thing is distilled water...so that's what is recommended...good enough, I guess.

I've heard that tap water is fine to use except if you have hard water...like we do here in some areas of the South. You'll get hard deposits when the water evaporates.

Just a little note about hard water in my area...had shut off valve with the smallest leak...about 3/4 drops a day...eventually, after about a week, it stopped leaking. The hard water evaporated around the leak...leaving hard mineral deposits and sealing the leak. Hey, self-sealing water!

Last edited by swampdodo; 01-21-2020 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:23 PM #11
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It was something like this:

Redirect Notice

and this

Turbo Power Deionized Water, 3.78-L | Canadian Tire
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Old Today, 03:04 PM #12
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Using DI / Demin water in radiator

I am a Chemical Engineer in the power plant business however I don't know that it qualifies me to be an expert on this subject.... however I will weigh in.

Tap water can have a whole host of additional contaminants that can react with the heat to form deposits or contribute to corrosion. And not all tap waters are equal.... some are not too bad and some have a lot of minerals or other stuff in them that will be reactive. Mostly it will just shorten the life of the corrosion inhibitors in the anti-freeze.

Most ethylene glycol based anti-freezes (green) will chemically last indefinitely as a an "anti-freeze" property. The problem is that there are additives added which consist of lubricants (for the water pump bearing and seals) and corrosion inhibitors. Both the lubricants and the corrosion inhibitors do have a limited life and will eventually be used up. That is their purpose; to be sacrificially used to keep something from attacking your system. If you start with bad water quality you will use them up that much faster.

It is possible to add additional corrosion inhibitors and lubes to existing fluid but depending on manufacturer and brand you don't know exactly what you are getting.

I used to have a High School auto mechanics instructor who used to buy ethylene glycol in bulk and then would periodically add his own aftermarket corrosion inhibitors and lubricants and claimed that it was just as effective (and much cheaper)..... and he had many years of experience to back it up. Besides being a good mechanic he was very knowledgable with the science and engineering behind it as well.

The same philosophy goes with battery water as well.

In the lab we made no distinction between the purity of demineralized water and distilled other than the method they were made. Distilled was typically "theoretically" more pure but in the lab environment was much more expensive to use in bulk. So we used demon water.

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Old Today, 03:15 PM #13
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It's 2020 and there's still people trying not to spend $1 on a gallon of distilled water for their car. That cooling system isn't looking great.
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