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Engine Coolant

This is a discussion on Engine Coolant within the Drag Racing forums, part of the Racing Forums category; Is there some rule, or does drag racing etiquette require, that we run our cars with only water in the ...

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    Engine Coolant

    Is there some rule, or does drag racing etiquette require, that we run our cars with only water in the engine cooling system? There was an incident at the local track a few weeks ago and I am not quite sure what to think. A guy made a run with antifreeze leaking from his car. Several people tried to get the starter's attention to shut him down but were unsuccessful. The driver was then ejected from the track. I understand that it poses a safety hazard, and slows things down during the cleanup process, but it was on a Test & Tune day. I'm just a little confused over this one...

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    It's more of a courtesy than anything. Although more and more tracks are cracking down on oiling the track it seems. They have been fining the NHRA top teams for oil downs for quite some time now.

    I've never been asked if I had straight water in any car I've ever raced. Quite frankly I run a 50/50 mix and don't worry about it. I'm not flushing the cooling system in a street car just for a day of racing only to have to reinstall antifreeze. And I think most tracks will share that sentiment and not go through the trouble, and possibly take a chance of chasing money away. Especially on a test and tune night.

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    Senior Member Z28Thunder's Avatar
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    I had the starter have me stop in the Pre-stage lights. He came to my window and yelled I was leaking antifreeze. He then had me backed off the line. I got to the pits to find someone had unscrewed my radiator cap. It was sitting in place just not screwed on. I fixed it went back to the line and was able to race.

    I blew my 10 bolt on the line. I knew something was wrong ASAP and just pulled over. The announcer said over the PA now that's how you handle a break down. Pull over asap and stop.. Many people oil the track from the line. I will say like Firebirdjones has said. Many tracks are cracking down on oiling the track. The down time cost money and can cost events... FYI my 10 bolt while broke was not leaking. I got out and walked in the sticky as all get out VHT and looked under the rear. I could see nothing but I was sure it was what let go..

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    That makes sense. I would not want to run straight water in our car and like FBJ said, changing back and forth for a track day would be a bit of a pain. Thanks guys!

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    If you ever do decide to run straight water, DO NOT take it from your tap or garden hose.

    Make sure that you put in RO'ed water, since there are no minerals(think calcium) in RO'ed water that will foul your radiator.


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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z28Thunder View Post
    I blew my 10 bolt on the line. I knew something was wrong ASAP and just pulled over. The announcer said over the PA now that's how you handle a break down. Pull over asap and stop.. Many people oil the track from the line.
    That's another good point that is a pet peave for track officials. If you sense something is wrong, or the car breaks for any reason, pull out of the groove just in case. Officials really appreciate it.
    It seems like common sense to most of us, but it's surprising the amount of people at the track that don't do it.

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    At most tracks, if you're a street car regular coolant (water/antifreeze) is ok as long as the coolant recovery system works. If you're a dedicated race car or a bad azz mostly race & sometimes street car then water only is the rule & mainly because it's a lot like oil once down on the track & requires real clean up as opposed to water which will evaporate.

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    Boosted Fredneck Mark98SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    That's another good point that is a pet peave for track officials. If you sense something is wrong, or the car breaks for any reason, pull out of the groove just in case. Officials really appreciate it.
    It seems like common sense to most of us, but it's surprising the amount of people at the track that don't do it.
    I was at Mason Dixon one day, Nate Pritchett (Pinks techie guy & really does know & participate in drag racing) blew a trans cooler line, spun the tires in the oil & almost hit the tree. He proceeded to slowly drive straight down the track to the very end with a major oil slick trail behind him. When the car stopped moving on the return road he realized something was wrong. Everyone there was raggin on him, was epic at the time.

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    Out of curiosity, are there any non-antifreeze corrosion inhibitors that are track friendly?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Yes, never run straight water without some sort of rust prohibitor that also acts as a lubricant for the water pump.

    I used redline water wetter. Ran that with straight water when we had a drag car years ago. There are other similar products from different manufactures also.

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    Member Frozen WS6's Avatar
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    What about the safety aspect of the coolant getting on your tires at speed. Coolant on my garage floor is slick as shit and I almost fell when I slipped. Or that if the hot coolant somehow sprayed you as you were racing you'd get burnt by it (yes getting burnt by it can also happen with water).
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Yep, coolant is slippery and it is a safety issue if you drive over it. Not only that but it's hard to clean up. That's why it's become somewhat of a concern with bigger tracks.

    But all oily substances are the same way, tranny, rearend, engine oil, PS fluid, etc...it's all part of the game.
    You can break any one of those items and still drive over it as well.

    Several years ago antifreeze wasn't that much of a concern. Reason being, you rarely saw too many antifreeze spills, and overflow tanks have been mandatory items on all cars as part of tech inspection since I can remember. The only time you saw an antifreeze spill was when someone scattered a block all over the track,,,and with that you had engine oil anyway,,,so at that point you already have a mess.....
    You are more likely to see a rearend scatter, or a trans scatter than you are to see an antifreeze spill all by itself (without another major cause of breakage to bring forth the antifreeze spill).

    So to be quite frank about it, I think the antifreeze issue is more hyped up than it really needs to be.

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    Senior Member Z28Thunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Yep, coolant is slippery and it is a safety issue if you drive over it. Not only that but it's hard to clean up. That's why it's become somewhat of a concern with bigger tracks.

    But all oily substances are the same way, tranny, rearend, engine oil, PS fluid, etc...it's all part of the game.
    You can break any one of those items and still drive over it as well.

    Several years ago antifreeze wasn't that much of a concern. Reason being, you rarely saw too many antifreeze spills, and overflow tanks have been mandatory items on all cars as part of tech inspection since I can remember. The only time you saw an antifreeze spill was when someone scattered a block all over the track,,,and with that you had engine oil anyway,,,so at that point you already have a mess.....
    You are more likely to see a rearend scatter, or a trans scatter than you are to see an antifreeze spill all by itself (without another major cause of breakage to bring forth the antifreeze spill).

    So to be quite frank about it, I think the antifreeze issue is more hyped up than it really needs to be.

    What kills me is the cars that you know the driver knows something is wrong. Yet they keep oiling the track down with whatever. Do everyone in the staging lines a favor... Pull the heck over and stop... Less clean up time.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z28Thunder View Post
    What kills me is the cars that you know the driver knows something is wrong. Yet they keep oiling the track down with whatever. Do everyone in the staging lines a favor... Pull the heck over and stop... Less clean up time.
    Ya sometimes you see some real pieces of work roll through

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    Senior Member Z28Thunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Ya sometimes you see some real pieces of work roll through
    I have only been racing since 81. But to me it has just gotten worse and worse in the last 10 ish years... I remember oil downs back in the day. But not as many and not as often.

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    Member Frozen WS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Yep, coolant is slippery and it is a safety issue if you drive over it. Not only that but it's hard to clean up. That's why it's become somewhat of a concern with bigger tracks.

    But all oily substances are the same way, tranny, rearend, engine oil, PS fluid, etc...it's all part of the game.
    You can break any one of those items and still drive over it as well.

    Several years ago antifreeze wasn't that much of a concern. Reason being, you rarely saw too many antifreeze spills, and overflow tanks have been mandatory items on all cars as part of tech inspection since I can remember. The only time you saw an antifreeze spill was when someone scattered a block all over the track,,,and with that you had engine oil anyway,,,so at that point you already have a mess.....
    You are more likely to see a rearend scatter, or a trans scatter than you are to see an antifreeze spill all by itself (without another major cause of breakage to bring forth the antifreeze spill).

    So to be quite frank about it, I think the antifreeze issue is more hyped up than it really needs to be.
    Very well put.
    I guess I've just seen alot of hacked cars and old radiator hoses pop or someone forgot to tighten there hose clamp, up here. So my track (the only real track up here) is very strict on this rule. The only time they really allow it is with test and tune cars.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen WS6 View Post
    Very well put.
    I guess I've just seen alot of hacked cars and old radiator hoses pop or someone forgot to tighten there hose clamp, up here. So my track (the only real track up here) is very strict on this rule. The only time they really allow it is with test and tune cars.
    I hear ya. You are right, I've seen the same thing, especially on a busy test and tune night. Alot of hacked cars and shoddy workmanship makes it bad for all of us. But they are all allowed to race so what do ya do?
    Seems the tech inspections are hit or miss too which isn't helping. Sometimes they don't even open your hood, other times they are checking snell ratings on helmets and crawling around my car looking for grade 8 bolts holding the blowproof in. Most times though, they are rushing cars through tech to keep the line moving. I think they miss alot. I would think that a ratty looking car coming through "MIGHT" raise a red flag And maybe they would go over the car more closely?? I'm guessing not all the time though. Just my thoughts.

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