Engine Coolant Testing

The value of oil sampling and testing was discussed in Section 10, Oil Sampling - All Models. It is also as important to periodically sample and test coolant. To explain the value of sampling and testing, a little information on coolant and anti-freeze is required.

Coolants for MCI coaches are normally a 50/50 mixture of water and anti-freeze. Anti-freeze performs several functions other than preventing the water in the radiator from freezing in cold weather. Other requirements of anti-freeze are to prevent corrosion to engine components, prevent the formation of scale or sludge deposits in the cooling system, and to be compatible with the hoses and seals in the cooling system.

To perform all these functions, anti-freeze contains supplemental coolant additives (SCA) in specific quantities. Engine heating and cooling over time causes these quantities to fluctuate, degrading coolant performance and potentially degrading and/or damaging the cooling system. By performing periodic coolant sampling and testing, the additive levels can be monitored and modified accordingly.

Coolant test kits are available from MCI Service Parts. Kit number CTK5029 includes complete instructions and 50 test strips. Each strip measures freeze point, nitrite and molybdate levels. Because the test strip is self-contained, there's no need to mix or measure solutions. A color-coded chart profiles the condition of SCAs and works with any conventional coolant formulation. A smaller kit, part number CTK5029-4 containing only 4 test strips, is also available.

As a word of caution, all engine manufacturers have recommendations or requirements for the anti-freeze used in their engines. Consult with them to determine what should be used in your coach.

If you need further assistance, contact the MCI Customer Support Center at (800) 241-2947. If you would like to purchase a coolant test kit, contact your MCI Service Parts sales representative or call (800) 323-1238.

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