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Old 05-29-2009, 09:51 PM   #1
Emrys
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Default isopropyl alcohol in coolant system? lol

It doesn't sound very likely but me and buddy changed my coolant to straight DI today for race prep and got on the discussion of it being possible to run isopropyl alcohol in the coolant system.

Obviously this can't be the first time someone has thought of this. I'm just wondering why it isn't possible or if it would actually work.

Rob
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:01 AM   #2
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So why would this be any good?
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:53 AM   #3
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well, most will agree that water seems to be one of the best heat moderator out there. The only seemingly better heat moderator is alcohol. But, from what the all knowing internet has taught me, ethanol is the preferred choice for alcohol cooling. If you go to advanced auto, they even sell a product called "water wetter" which i believe is some alcohol based solution.

So, this is where the debate was brought up on whether isopropyl alcohol will work just as well.

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Old 05-30-2009, 07:20 AM   #4
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Default another mostly off topic rant ....

most of your "coolant helpers" like water wetter and purple ice and whatnot are accomplishing their job by helping to eliminate cavatation and breaking surface tension in poorly designed areas of the cooling system.

in the OLD days folks would run restrictors in the cooling systems and they THOUGHT they were "slowing the coolant down"

what was really going on was the restrictor was building pressure in the block and preventing boiling / cavation in the hot spots

If you can find the Stewart Water Pumps technical page, which I have no link to, you can learn a LOT about cooling system myths and truths ....
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Better hope you don't have any head gasket problems down the line or BOOM!!

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Old 05-30-2009, 12:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnylovely View Post
Better hope you don't have any head gasket problems down the line or BOOM!!

+1 to that
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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Well, here's the thing - propylene glycol, and some of the other alcohol variants used in antifreezes and cooling system additives have a low vapor pressure and a high boiling point, and have the affect of raising the water's boiling point as well. As well as to lower the water's freezing point.

The problem with lighter alcohols like isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, is that they have a high vapor pressure, and a low boiling point, which would make cooling system internal pressures even worse than with just straight water. Both are also very corrosive, and would probably lead to an early radiator failure, as well as plugged coolant passages over time.

Isopropyl alchohol might be used as a trace ingredient in some of the cooling system additives, but if you were to use it straight in any significant quantities, your are likely to have problems.
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Old 05-30-2009, 02:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Tee View Post
Well, here's the thing - propylene glycol, and some of the other alcohol variants used in antifreezes and cooling system additives have a low vapor pressure and a high boiling point, and have the affect of raising the water's boiling point as well. As well as to lower the water's freezing point.

The problem with lighter alcohols like isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, is that they have a high vapor pressure, and a low boiling point, which would make cooling system internal pressures even worse than with just straight water. Both are also very corrosive, and would probably lead to an early radiator failure, as well as plugged coolant passages over time.

Isopropyl alchohol might be used as a trace ingredient in some of the cooling system additives, but if you were to use it straight in any significant quantities, your are likely to have problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mod4 View Post
most of your "coolant helpers" like water wetter and purple ice and whatnot are accomplishing their job by helping to eliminate cavatation and breaking surface tension in poorly designed areas of the cooling system.

in the OLD days folks would run restrictors in the cooling systems and they THOUGHT they were "slowing the coolant down"

what was really going on was the restrictor was building pressure in the block and preventing boiling / cavation in the hot spots

If you can find the Stewart Water Pumps technical page, which I have no link to, you can learn a LOT about cooling system myths and truths ....
Tee and mod4 are dead on...

Try looking here...

http://www.stewartcomponents.com/Tech_Tips.htm

Last edited by flyin low; 05-30-2009 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:36 PM   #9
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Damn. VERY informative answer.

Never really thought about it that way but it does make sense. I've heard about cavitation and boiling being a problem with high grade cooling systems on a much larger/hotter scale. I didn't think it would be a problem for our bikes considering my bike runs about 180-190 on a hot day down the road. Not to mention the coolant system is under pressure, which raises the boiling point even further.

My only guess is that the boiling occurs while it's passing through the channels of the block. Not much you can do about that though except turn the engine off.

Rob
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