Coolant Questions Answered

I was introduced to this forum today. I did a search on “coolants/antifreeze” to see what people were talking about and was floored at the number of topics on this subject. I knew that high temperatures were a problem in four-strokes, but not this bad. So, I thought I would give you all some insight as to what coolants actually are and what their true purpose is.

Now, being from Engine Ice, I am a bit biased and I admit it. However, most all of the products on the market are excellent products, but each has various uses and applications for them. We produce Engine Ice for specific high intensity and high heat applications. It really is not designed as an “everyday” coolant; it is for racing applications.

There are two basic types of coolant/antifreeze, Ethylene Glycol (EG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) and then there are surfactant products such as Water Wetter from Red Line for example. All of the products mentioned are good products, just offering different things.

Ethylene Glycol (EG) – This is basically your “Prestone” type of products. Maxima’s Coolinol, Pro Honda Coolant and Spectro Coolant are examples of this type of product. It is basically the same as the coolant/antifreeze product you can buy at the auto parts store, but “silicate-free.” This is important, don’t get the stuff from the auto parts store unless it’s silicate free. Most are pre-diluted for easy use; they are diluted with a more pure distilled water or deionized water (deionized water is explained below). This is better water than what you can buy at the grocery store. You really shouldn’t call an EG-based product a “coolant,” an “anti-boil” product would be more accurate. EG is made very cheaply and its primary purpose is to eliminate boil-over and to keep your system from freezing up. That’s basically it. It is not designed to actually reduce temperatures. If you are driving a car or a cruiser-type bike that does not have a temperature issue, these are fine products.

Water Wetter - It is an additive product. Water Wetter is what is called a “surfactant.” What this means is that it reduces the surface tension of the water or in other words, it allows the water/fluid to “rub” closer to the metal allowing it to better draw off heat. Water Wetter works and it is good stuff. However, if you add it to an EG antifreeze product your results are minimal. Added to water, you will see a significant difference in temperature reduction. But it will not raise the boil point of the water nor does it offer any antifreeze protection. So your engine may run a bit cooler, but when it gets hot it will “spit out” the coolant before other products do. That is not good, because now you’ll have less coolant in the engine. Using more than the recommended amount (4 capfuls to a quart) is a waste and it will not make any difference, only use their recommended amount.

Propylene Glycol (PG) – This is what Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant and Evans Coolant is made of. Evans is 100% PG and has an extremely high boil point of well over 300oF. They recommend you make some mechanical changes to your system in order to use it. So, we will eliminate them from this discussion. Engine Ice is a diluted ratio of PG and Deionized water. The process of de-ionizing water eliminates all of the impurities that can do harm to your cooling system. Regardless if you are using tap, bottled, distilled, spring or R/O (reverse osmosis) waters, it can still contain minute particles of iron, magnesium, rust, lime and calcium. Many of these waters also contain chemicals, such as chlorine, fluorides and acids. Want proof? Take two different brands of distilled waters and perform your own taste test. They each taste different don’t they? If water were water, why would they be different? It’s because of the varying amounts of chemicals and minerals in these waters. These minerals and chemicals are what is the cause of scarring, scaling and mineral build-ups in your cooling system. Many also attribute these minerals and chemicals to water pump seal and gasket failures. Engine Ice was developed and tested in the heat and humidity of Southern Florida. Tests have proven to reduce operating race temperatures by as much as 50oF in some situations. PG is a lubricant and is a surfactant in itself, meaning it has more capability to draw away more heat than EG-based products and even Water Wetter. It is biodegradable and non-toxic. It will not kill your dog, nor will it kill the plant life at your favorite track or trail. It is also legal in AMA, CCS, FUSA and WERA road racing.

Engine Ice has won over 200 National Championship Titles over the last year and a half including the AMA 125cc West Supercross Championship with Ernesto Fonseca on the Yamaha of Troy YZ250F. You can bet that Yamaha Motor Corporation did extensive testing on Engine Ice prior to putting in into their premier bike in its debut year. It is also used an endorsed by the American Suzuki Amateur Motocross Program.

I would put our web site address on here, but I don’t want to look like I am trying to push our stuff too much.

I apologize if this appears to be a spam, it was not meant to be such. Only educational.

Thanks for the info. I for one have been interested in what I should use in my bike. I also know that there seemed to be a lot of different opinions (as with the ongoing engine oil debates).

I'm sure that most everyone here can read through any bias and learn something from your post. I did.


Steve T

[ November 01, 2001: Message edited by: skthom ]

Prestone Low-Tox (yes, the "pet-safe" stuff) coolant/anti-freeze is also propylene glycol. And it's available for $6 a gallon.

You are correct MXTuner, it is similar to Prestone Low-Tox...However we go a couple of steps farther with the anti-foam and anti-corrosion properties, as well as the pre-dilution with Deionized water.

It is our goal to allow you to keep the cleanest, most pure fluid possible within your system for optimum results. In a car, minor amounts of impurities is no problem, but in a motorcycle with a small coolant capacity, it becomes more crucial. can't swing a dead cat without running into to salesman on the internet. Just kiddn your info...

I've never seen a bike foam up any coolant mixture.

Nor have I ever seen any corrosion related problems except from dissimilar metal electrolisis(sp?) or else on an old (10+years) Honda where the aluminum corrodes at an alarming rate due to total lack of care.

Most all coolant products have an anti-foam additive. Foam reduction time is actually an SAE and ASTM test parameter. We went a step further because of the bouncing an mx bike takes and the high rate of speed that the fluid is circulated at.

As for the anti-corrosion, aluminium wasn't our primary concern, it is magnesium and other exotic metals.

Within the State of Florida, we are required to have our product tested, by the state, for many different things including foam reduction time, PH Balance and corrosion protection for aluminium, magnesium, lead, lead solder, copper, copper solder and more as well as mamy other tests. It is a very rigorous test.

Good info, but Im a little confused on when you said, "We produce Engine Ice for specific high intensity and high heat applications. It really is not designed as an “everyday” coolant; it is for racing applications." so do you mean that engine ice should not be used for everday use? or just that it was designed for racing, but ended up working for both racing and playriding?

We designed it for high heat applications, but it is applicable for everyday use.

well, i'm just wondering what it costs/ gallon???i'll do my own comparison with a stick on thermometer that i have, we'll

just to let you know, The stick on's are not that accurate...

Best is an infrared temp gun...have a buddy at the track exit and have him shoot readings.

They're cheap also...about 100 bucks.

[ November 05, 2001: Message edited by: mikeolichney ]

Originally posted by screamin426:

well, i'm just wondering what it costs/ gallon???i'll do my own comparison with a stick on thermometer that i have, we'll

If you measure temperature, be sure you measure Engine temp, not radiator temperature. A better coolant (one that increases the heat flow away from the engine) will actually be HOTTER in the radiator than a worse one. A hotter radiator means more heat transfered to the air, and a cooler engine (imagine the coolant was air, the radiator would be cool but the engine would overheat. Now imagine a perfect coolant, the engine and radiator would be the same temp, the radiator higher than with a normal coolant and the engine cooler than with a normal coolant). See Sunruhs post for details, but the radiator temperature experiment shows that Engine Ice is over four degrees higher on average than water, and over a degree higher than Prestone.

Now there are three questions:

1. Are the differences measured by the kids experiment statistically significant?

2. How much cooler will the bulk engine temperature be if the radiators are a degree hotter?

3. If the engine is cooler, does this mean the engine will be more powerful, last longer, etc?

The answer to #1 requires analysis of variance (ANOVA) to be run, but just looking at the data I would say that there is a pretty good chance the difference is statistically significant.

The answer to #2 is that there is not enough info to determine how much lower the engine temperature will be per degree of radiator temperature, but it will most certainly be lower.

3. The answer to number three is quite complex, and there just is not enough info for that either. I would GUESS that lower engine tempertures would equate to more power. If I had to figure this out, I would do the same test the kid did, but do it on a dyno with a fan blowing air on the radiator. I would also think that cooler engine temperatures would equate to lower engine wear. Wear on metal parts is usually directly related to temperature.

Wear is a funny thing. Hard to tell exactly when it is occuring. If you don't have enough heat, wear is accelerated. If you have too much, I don't know if wear increases. Obviously, if you go to the extreme of meltdown, wear increases but during normal (even in extreme conditions)operation, I don't think wear is accelerated. Please note this is speculation on my part and in no way meant to be factual. Just my experience.

I am reminded of my old air cooled 125 monoshock. That thing went through top ends at an amazing rate. I am sure that the ceramic cylinder coatings and improved metallurgy have something to do with why modern 125 top ends last alot longer, but I bet the lower temps due to water cooling are also a big part of it.

The lower temps are a much smaller part of it than you'd imagine.

Heya EngineIceDave!

Ya gonna send me some of that EngineIce to try in my yamahoss, or not? I'm anxious to give it a try! Thanks!


Good points.

I was always under the impression that maintaining the ideal temp for the engine mixture and design was the goal, and not that of running the coolest.

I think this additive stuff can sometimes help with consistencies.



About engine temps and wear, another case I can think of is old Porsches. Before I got into bikes had a couple with that oil-cooled boxer engine. I had a 1980 911, those things would last a long time, over 100k miles when I bought it, with great compression. I sold it and got a 1977 930, same engine but turbocharged, not intercooled. Turbos add alot of stress to the engine, but also alot of heat if not intercooled. That thing needed a rebuild every 30K miles-rings, pistons, valves guides, all shot. Once Porsche started intercooling those turbo engines in 1978, the longevity was greatly increased. Porsche pretty much admitted that the engine just got too hot, hence the intercooler. So my point is at least in the extreme, even a well designed engine wears quickly if allowed to get too hot.

DaveJ's point is probably correct though. Engines are designed for a certain temperature, mainly because of thermal expansion. An aluminum piston will expand at a different rate than a steel sleeve. The designer has to pick a temperature to design to, so that the proper tolerances are achieved under normal operation. A reason why people "warm up" engines before WOT. Wear could theoretically be higher under cooler temps if proper clearances are not maintained, I will agree to that.

Our bikes have to work on a 100 degree day as well as at a winter race. The radiator will dump more heat on a cool day than on a hot one, all else equal. So the engine temp will be lower in the winter than summer. A range of temperatures must be accomodated by the designer. Assuming that the designer set 70 degree or so ambient as the middle of the specification, I guess one could argue that a better coolant is more important in the summer. Seems intuitively obvious, I guess.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now