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Is Dexcool safe to use?

This is a discussion on Is Dexcool safe to use? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Just hear about this and wanted to know what you guys think about it ..................... GM Owners Still Steaming Over ...

  1. #1
    024mula 024mula's Avatar
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    Is Dexcool safe to use?

    Just hear about this and wanted to know what you guys think about it .....................

    GM Owners Still Steaming Over Dex-Cool

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    I have had zero issues with Dexcool in our Trans Am, Suburban or Cadillac. Any time I have serviced the cooling systems, the internals look great -- no corrosion or buildup at all.

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    024mula 024mula's Avatar
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    I don't have any issues with my Chevy pick up or my Formula both that use Dex-cool, I was just wondering if anybody else had a issue.

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    Senior Member raynor139's Avatar
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    Never have either but I've had a water pump go bad. But everything was clean no build up.
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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raynor139 View Post
    Never have either but I've had a water pump go bad. But everything was clean no build up.

    Something about that article bugged me, they only discussed a vehicles mileage, not its age when the problem happened. Also, if you run ANY cooling system low for 15-20k, things are going to go bad, especially if air pockets form.

    Most of the problems I heard from my mechanics when I worked for a dealership was when Dexcool had been mixed with ethelyne-glycol based coolants ( green), they would sludge up.

    Many of the shops I sold to ended up flushing Dexcool systems completely out and replaced them with Toyotas red coolant. Ive been out of the business for about 6 years, so I dont know if the results lasted.
    Last edited by Whamhammer; 11-27-2014 at 05:23 PM.

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    Member sjgreen6's Avatar
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    Used it on a freshly rebuilt 1971 455 Pontiac engine with new radiator, water pump etc. Lasted about 8 K miles before it ruined the water pump. Got through the seal and into the bearings. And it was a brand new GM water pump. Will never use it on a classic engine that wasn't designed for it again.

    On my 2002 I change the fluid every 2 years regardless of what GM says and have not had any problems. I think there are a lot of claims of longer service intervals that the manufacturers expect will help sell cars but also expect that the cars will change hands before it is a problem. I'm seeing too many non serviceable components like ball joints and even transmissions that are not equipped to be easily refilled on new cars.
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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    No issues here. ever.
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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Here's a question:

    Where I live, it gets hot in the summer (110 and over), and cool in the winter (in the 30s overnight). Often, in early fall, when the days are still hot but the mornings are cool, the coolant light comes on in my car (coolant has condensed over night). Once the engine is warm, the coolant light does not come on. I figure it's a matter of expansion and condensation with temperature.

    Does it seem like this type of thing could cause the problems mentioned in the article?

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    The overflow tank also need flushed when the cooling system is serviced - that is where the low coolant sensor is located.

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    ^^^ What Jeff said ^^^

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    Member RONS98TA's Avatar
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    Never had an issue with dexcool.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    that article is from 2006.......dexcool was the scapegoat for shitty GM gaskets and shitty GM engineering. Intake gaskets going out on a 3.1 or the 4.3.....I don't believe it. The information on dexcool is out there. Before you read all the negative stuff about it I would say first read the technical stuff and see what it's made of and then compare to every other "high mileage" antifreeze out there and see what they're made of. Results will surprise you.
    024mula likes this.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    I used it until I sold my 98 with 140k. Never had an issue. I flushed the whole system at 100k.

  14. #14
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    I didn't have any issues with mine. I use universal coolant now as the shop I worked at didn't have dex cool when I replaced my cracked radiator over two years ago.

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    2xSOM ninety6's Avatar
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    I actually DID have an issue with Dex-Cool. In my 1996 Camaro, with almost certainly original coolant, probably around 100k miles around 2003/4/5?. First thing that happened was that my heater core got clogged up so I lost cabin heat. I swapped that out, but the issue came back (I don't remember when). After i opened up the radiator, and it very gunky and brown, i need I had to swap out the radioator and heater core again. So i did, and flushed the lines with a garden hose, put it all back together and filled with universal. Sold the car shortly after.

    ON the other hand, I've also have the following that haven't experiences any issues:
    1993 Chevy K2500 (not sure if thats still dex cool or what)
    1999 Chevy Suburban
    2002 Camaro SS (18k miles, original dexcool - on the list for a flush next summer)
    2002 Camaro V6 (87k miles, have no idea if it is original or not)

    So, there definitely IS a real issue with DexCool, however, I've only had an issue in one of many cars that I've driven with Dex-Cool. I've never researched it, don't know the causes, but it has been a real issue for some people.

    I actually thought that dexcool was 10/year, 100k until recently -- was it always 5 years?

  16. #16
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninety6 View Post
    I actually DID have an issue with Dex-Cool. In my 1996 Camaro, with almost certainly original coolant, probably around 100k miles around 2003/4/5?. First thing that happened was that my heater core got clogged up so I lost cabin heat. I swapped that out, but the issue came back (I don't remember when). After i opened up the radiator, and it very gunky and brown, i need I had to swap out the radioator and heater core again. So i did, and flushed the lines with a garden hose, put it all back together and filled with universal. Sold the car shortly after.

    ON the other hand, I've also have the following that haven't experiences any issues:
    1993 Chevy K2500 (not sure if thats still dex cool or what)
    1999 Chevy Suburban
    2002 Camaro SS (18k miles, original dexcool - on the list for a flush next summer)
    2002 Camaro V6 (87k miles, have no idea if it is original or not)

    So, there definitely IS a real issue with DexCool, however, I've only had an issue in one of many cars that I've driven with Dex-Cool. I've never researched it, don't know the causes, but it has been a real issue for some people.

    I actually thought that dexcool was 10/year, 100k until recently -- was it always 5 years?
    also another car known to have coolant leaks (water pump) so there's no guarantee that your issue wasn't caused by either contamination or someone topping the coolant off with regular glycol antifreeze. If it gets contaminated or if it gets mixed it will sludge up....no doubt....but the idea that dexcool is evil has been spread across the internet based on factors other than the coolant itself. Again....look at what it's made of.
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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    ^^^1993, GM did not use Dex Cool. They used the standard for the day green ethylene-glycol coolant, which had a service life of 2 years/24k.

    GM was the first with a long life, OAT coolant (Dex Cool), at 5 yr/100k, revised to 5 yr/150k. I think first year for it was 1995?

    Ford started using HOAT in about 2002, it is a yellowish/orange color.



    Samuel in Bellville, Ohio experienced a similar problem with sludge in the cooling system of his car.

    "I have sludge in my coolant caused by Dex-Cool,' he wrote. "GM demands that the coolant be used. So far it's just the gasket that has to be replaced. I will see if further damage was caused," he told ConsumerAffairs.com.


    ^This guy makes no sense to me. How does he know the sluge was from Dex Cool? What are his maintenence intervals? Was his coolant low at any point?

    I've been working on cars/light trucks for over 25 years, and I've seen sludge build up in almost every car manufacturer, with heater cores needing flushed due to sludge build up. Many Ford products (Taurus, any other mechanics?)Camrys, Accords and yes GM trucks.

    And for people to say Dex Cool eats intake manifold gaskets on GM 3.1/3.4 engines, I say it's poor gasket or engine design. I don't know how many intake gaskets I've replaced on old school GM (Oldsmobile 307) 5.0 V8 engines, and they all used the ethylene glycol antifreeze.

    So to OP, yes Dex Cool is safe to use in engines designed for it, if you follow proper maintenence intervals and don't let it run continuosly low/exposed to air.
    pajeff02 likes this.

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