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97 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport 4.6L V8
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new to me 97 Thunderbird 4.6 is low on coolant and doesn't have the regular green type that was originally spec'd for it. It has a yellow type, is this the Ford Gold that can also be used in our 4.6 TBirds?
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It only needs to be topped up maybe 1/2 a quart or so, can I use the Prestone All Makes universal coolant to top up? Don't really want to buy a whole bottle of another coolant for a little top up. Here's the Prestone stuff, its a very light green and supposed to work with any other coolant no matter what color :
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1996 Cougar 4.6
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If the coolant is low it may be leaking somewhere. If you can you should look over it and see if theres any noticeable leaks in the engine bay. Then go from there and figure out if just topping it off is all you need
 

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Check around the intake manifold. Put cardboard under the car when you park it.

Not sure how new the vehicle is to you, but a drain and refill may be a good idea anyway, after you find where the antifreeze is going.

Al
 

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You do NOT want to use any of the Organic Acid Technology (OAT) coolants, like Dexcool and others which are often orange or yellow in color. The Ford Gold coolant is available in the aftermarket as Xerex G05. I'm not familiar with this particular Prestone coolant, but the fact that the label says 10 years makes me suspect it is an OAT product. You can get a good conventional green premix coolant at O'Reilly's Auto Parts.
 

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The Prestone he has in the pic is what the new Prestone label looks like. They only sell one type AFAIK. I have an older bottle and it does say "all makes, all models", but it's more at the bottom of the bottle.

Al
 

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1994 Black T-Bird 4.6 DOHC TR-3650
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You do NOT want to use any of the Organic Acid Technology (OAT) coolants, like Dexcool and others which are often orange or yellow in color. The Ford Gold coolant is available in the aftermarket as Xerex G05. I'm not familiar with this particular Prestone coolant, but the fact that the label says 10 years makes me suspect it is an OAT product. You can get a good conventional green premix coolant at O'Reilly's Auto Parts.
Why you don't recommend orange prestone ?
 

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Dantb94,

I specifically don鈥檛 recommend the OAT type coolants, many of which were orange when first introduced. We did testing at Ford in the late 90鈥檚 / early 00鈥檚 which showed significant damage to radiators when mixing the OAT type with conventional (green) coolant. There were also issues with gasket materials in the then-current production engines, including the 4.6 modular. So, in pursuit of longer coolant life, we introduced the 鈥済old鈥 G05 formulation, which was fully compatible with conventional coolant. I have only ever run conventional green or G05 in my cooling system, and have experienced no coolant-related issues.
 

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Speaking of coolant, I've been hearing lately that using distilled water may not actually be better than tap water, supposedly it leaches electrons?

I've been using distilled water/antifreeze mix for quite a while, and on both my cars, the aluminum water neck looks nasty on the outside where the hose clamps on. There is a thick layer of corrosion. On the Toyota, it was so thick I could hardly get the clamp off (disgusting pic below). I thought I had corrosion problems on that car, but the T-Bird's was no prize either. The rest of the cooling system seems fine on both cars.

It could be unrelated to the distilled water "leaching", but I don't recall seeing it that bad before. Both cars have the coolant replaced regularly, and that hose removed.

Al

20200120_185645.jpg
 

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T6Rocket,

I don't know what happened to that Toyota water outlet, but that is disgusting! When not using premix, I have used distilled water to mix with coolant, and again, have never seen a problem. Tap water often contains minerals that can form deposits inside the radiator.
 

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Yes, it was disgusting! The one on the T-Bird had a little, but it was a darker color. Not sure how anything seeps under there anyway, both cars use the nice squeeze on clamps, and no leak there either.

Al
 

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1996 Cougar 4.6
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T6R did you use any grease or something similar to help the hose slide over the fitting? :unsure:
 

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1996 Thunderbird LX
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The water here is pretty hard so maybe I should go with distilled water from now on. I just replaced my radiator and the water pump is on the way so I am starting fresh.
 

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1994 Black T-Bird 4.6 DOHC TR-3650
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Dantb94,

I specifically don鈥檛 recommend the OAT type coolants, many of which were orange when first introduced. We did testing at Ford in the late 90鈥檚 / early 00鈥檚 which showed significant damage to radiators when mixing the OAT type with conventional (green) coolant. There were also issues with gasket materials in the then-current production engines, including the 4.6 modular. So, in pursuit of longer coolant life, we introduced the 鈥済old鈥 G05 formulation, which was fully compatible with conventional coolant. I have only ever run conventional green or G05 in my cooling system, and have experienced no coolant-related issues.
Thanks for those explanations. I currently use orange Prestone (Dexcool compliant) 50/50 with water in my Teksid block recently refreshed. So if I ever see something wrong, I will flush and fill with Xerex G05, 50/50 with water.
 

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97 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport 4.6L V8
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the reply's, will check for leaks and just top off with distilled water for now. Just picked up the car a few weeks ago and am insuring it for tomorrow for the spring and summer.
Will be doing a flush and fill in a few weeks and going with the conventional green spec'd by Ford. Found a Ford document on their website showing what coolant to use for their vehicles and snipped this for the TBird :
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Dantb94,

I specifically don鈥檛 recommend the OAT type coolants, many of which were orange when first introduced. We did testing at Ford in the late 90鈥檚 / early 00鈥檚 which showed significant damage to radiators when mixing the OAT type with conventional (green) coolant. There were also issues with gasket materials in the then-current production engines, including the 4.6 modular. So, in pursuit of longer coolant life, we introduced the 鈥済old鈥 G05 formulation, which was fully compatible with conventional coolant. I have only ever run conventional green or G05 in my cooling system, and have experienced no coolant-related issues.
Us "old timers" are on the same page....I worked in the aerospace industry for a bit (the largest electronics mfg in the world at the time- all cutting edge tech including laser, lidar, brushless motors, medical research- and this was in the 80's), when one of the "guys" (high end engineer/research type who worked on the f14, F15, F18, FA18, B1, Be programs) who was a car "guy" got to talking with me about cooling system protection.... wouldn't ya know, he showed me how to set up (homemade) cathodic protection in my radiators..... I rarely flush or change the coolant unless my annual testing shows degradation...and typically I get about 10+ years before I have to flush & change... and yeah, I just use the "Good for Everything" prestone........ not a water pump failure (knock on wood) or a hose failure since that time. My wifes 1997 Cougar Sport (bought it new), finally had to replace the radiator at 17 years...only because the plastic part started fracturing!

The basic laws of science, seems to overcome PR !!!! 馃ぃ
 

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T6R did you use any grease or something similar to help the hose slide over the fitting? :unsure:
If it's a tight fit, I use a touch of motor oil.

The thing that bothers me about distilled (other than the leaching claims) is how cheap it is, like 89 cents. Who knows what is really in there, they could have mixed the labels up with the drinking water. Maybe if it was $5 I would feel better about it being something special, lol!

What did you use for cathodic protection? I see conflicting recommendations to ground, and never to ground a radiator.

Al
 
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