Engine Coolant: New Prestone

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    Any comments on the latest new Prestone “Suitable For All” formulation being suitable for the Pierce-Arrows and other old iron-brass cooling systems? With the ’31 I am starting with essentially a new system: rebuilt engine, new radiator core.


    Hi Randy,

    I have been researching coolants for a PASB article and as yet have NOT found anything definitive that says any long life coolant (like Prestone All Vehicles) is safe in older cars.  The newer long life coolants (OAT technology) have a tendency to dissolve older gasket sealants and solder used in brass radiators.  I use water with Pencool 3000 (anti corrosive/ pump lubricant) in my Pierces.  Plain water actually transfers heat better than anti-freeze.  Also, in non-pressurized systems anti-freeze tends to foam and go out the overflow. Anti-freeze does raise the boiling point some.

    If you really want to use an anti-freeze, I would suggest going with the old style (IAT technology) anti-freeze.  Most auto parts stores still carry it and it is specifically label “Old Style” or something similar.



    I’ve been using old-style, partly because it seems to have a more known history, and partly that is what is recommended most by the Silver Shadow folks somit works for everything old. I run it in the Series 80 with no apparent problems.

    I am prepared to put water + corrosion inhibitor in the ‘31 but I have a lingering fear a moment of inattention could so easily result in disaster during a cold snap, although our winters tend to be mild and it has indoor storage with heat.


    I didn’t know it got that cold in your neck of the woods. Cold weather is a really good reason to run anti-freeze instead of plain water.  In my part of California, below 32 degree days are uncommon and if we have a cold snap (29-30 degrees) putting an old fashioned style trouble light on the floor under the engine provides plenty of heat to keep things from freezing.

    The only downside to the old style anti freeze that I can see is it should be changed more often.


    We have very mild winters typically but can have the occasional cold snap with a drop below freezing. It has been rare but not unheard of to have temperatures in the teens for a brief time. I am certain my fears are overblown, yet it is difficult to maintain perspective.

    One thing to remember about anti-freeze solution is that the freeze temperature they quote is a “slush freeze”, not a solid freeze. I run a less than 50% solution which still protects from any temperature we are likely to see in my area. There is a reduction in cooling due to antifreeze, but it is less than it would be with a 50% solution.




    David is correct.

    A COLD SNAP will not freeze the liquid in the radiator of your car stored in a garage.

    I store my Series 80 in a 16-ft by 60-ft, unheated storage garage, and because of adjacent heated units, mine never goes below 25-degrees in the midst of a Massachusetts winter where the temperatures range between; 0 & 20-degrees Fahrenheit for one to two months.

    I use NAPA-Cool, and my radiator never “slushes.”

    I believe that the PAMCC recommended the use of 50% solution of ETOH & H2O.

    I check my coolant level every start-up during months of operation and change the coolant every two to three years.

    I have no environmental concerns.

    My experience with using traditional antifreeze in the “non-pressurized” radiator of my Series 80, was that it FOAMED, and then began being sucked out of the radiator via the overflow pipe.

    That essentially reduced the amount of coolant in my radiator by 30% to 50%.  Thrilling!

    If you have a pressurized system in your ’31, then regular antifreeze may not be a problem.

    There are also non-toxic, environmentally-safe coolants on the market for Marine use, etc.

    If you are really worried, a properly placed heating pad might allay your concerns.

    I hope that this information helps.


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