Topping off Coolant Reservoir - Need to add distilled water? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
aberrant
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Topping off Coolant Reservoir - Need to add distilled water?

I topped off my coolant reservoir the other day in my '01 TJ with some Zerex G05, which is not pre-mixed with water. I only needed to add a few cups I'd say, but didn't add any water with it because the guy at the parts store said I wouldn't need to. Is this correct? I'm assuming I'd only need to add distilled water to it if I'm putting in a bunch of coolant. When topping off the reservoir, is it okay to just add the coolant itself or should I add distilled water only instead? Also, since I've already added the coolant straight, should I be concerned or go add some water to it?

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:01 PM
engine351
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Do what the label on the bottle says to do.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engine351 View Post
Do what the label on the bottle says to do.
There was nothing on the label mentioning topping off the reservoir. I only put in a small amount and the instructions for mixing with water were for adding coolant by the quart.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:10 PM
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You put a couple of cups in a system designed to hold 9 (2.5 l) or 10.5 (4.0L) quarts. The percentage of coolant to water won't make that big a difference with such a small amount. Leave it alone.

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post #5 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
aberrant
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Curly, okay thanks. For future reference though, would you add just distilled water to the reservoir to top it off, coolant only, or both? I'm not leaking any coolant and the radiator is new so I don't expect to have to add to the reservoir that often, but just wanted to know.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:19 PM
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you know that water is the best coolant right?

the antifreeze you add is so it doesnt evaporate or freeze. it decrease the freezing point of water so it doesnt freeze in climates where the temp is below 32F.

if you want to top it off then just add some distilled water. if you live in a mild climate you might not even need much antifreeze.

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post #7 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:19 PM
engine351
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I would do both. The water will burn off quicker than a mix or concentrate. But like Curly said,,,,unless you're totally refilling the system, its not that big a deal.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:25 PM
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I add whats handy. If I'm in the driveway and the hose is nearby, I'll use that. I run my own vehicles about 60% coolant. I only use distilled water in the battery. The tap water where I live is very hard, lots of calcium, but every shop in town that I know of uses tap water to fill cooling systems.

When I was wrenching for a living, I would top off a customers car (oveflow) with coolant because most folks were running around 30% coolant,70% water.

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post #9 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aberrant View Post
I topped off my coolant reservoir the other day in my '01 TJ with some Zerex G05, which is not pre-mixed with water. I only needed to add a few cups I'd say, but didn't add any water with it because the guy at the parts store said I wouldn't need to. Is this correct? I'm assuming I'd only need to add distilled water to it if I'm putting in a bunch of coolant. When topping off the reservoir, is it okay to just add the coolant itself or should I add distilled water only instead? Also, since I've already added the coolant straight, should I be concerned or go add some water to it?
If you add water, make sure that it's distilled water. You can always check the antifreeze balance with a hydrometer...
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-25-2010, 09:53 PM
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..........what if its bottled dasani water?
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-26-2010, 05:56 AM
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Check it (prefer refractometer) and add whichever is apprpriate. A few cups here or there may not make such a big difference but how often are you adding coolant? Be careful, it can add up.


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post #12 of 19 Old 09-26-2010, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeggernaut View Post
you know that water is the best coolant right?

the antifreeze you add is so it doesnt evaporate or freeze. it decrease the freezing point of water so it doesnt freeze in climates where the temp is below 32F.

if you want to top it off then just add some distilled water. if you live in a mild climate you might not even need much antifreeze.
I believe the antifreeze also raises the boiling point and provides corrosion protection internally. If the temperature is below freezing, or likely to drop below freezing in the near future, I wouldn't add plain water. It may freeze in the reservoir and crack it.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-26-2010, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly5759 View Post
I add whats handy. If I'm in the driveway and the hose is nearby, I'll use that. I run my own vehicles about 60% coolant. I only use distilled water in the battery. The tap water where I live is very hard, lots of calcium, but every shop in town that I know of uses tap water to fill cooling systems.

When I was wrenching for a living, I would top off a customers car (oveflow) with coolant because most folks were running around 30% coolant,70% water.

Curly
That hard water will build up in your radiator tubes and act as an insulator. Once it starts, it'll continue to build up and eventually plug the tube. Distilled water is cheap, I always keep a few bottles around. If your not concerned about the radiator, then why worry about the battery?

Two reasons I never want the folks at the shops to top off any of my liquids. One, they always use the wrong thing, in this case tap water and two, if I'm losing fluid, I want to know.
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-26-2010, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dryseals View Post
That hard water will build up in your radiator tubes and act as an insulator. Once it starts, it'll continue to build up and eventually plug the tube. Distilled water is cheap, I always keep a few bottles around. If your not concerned about the radiator, then why worry about the battery?

Two reasons I never want the folks at the shops to top off any of my liquids. One, they always use the wrong thing, in this case tap water and two, if I'm losing fluid, I want to know.
I'm going to disagree with you on the hard water causing problems. I have never seen a radiator fail (30 + yrs here) due to hard water deposits UNLESS the owner was using only straight water with no Coolant of any kind. We see a lot of that here because it never gets that cold (no freeze) and it is usually in the beater cars.
I have seen lots of radiator failures due to failed tank seams, but that has nothing to do with the hard water.

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post #15 of 19 Old 09-26-2010, 09:09 AM
Stu Olson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly5759 View Post
The tap water where I live is very hard, lots of calcium, but every shop in town that I know of uses tap water to fill cooling systems.
That's because tap water is essentially free.....the shop owner has to buy distilled water. They are not doing it because it is the right thing to do nor because it doesn't harm the cooling system.....they are using tap water because it doesn't cost them more money out of pocket. Think about it.


Edit: And yes, I have seen radiators that are internally plated with mineral content buildup.

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