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December 2008 Homepage (UK/Europe)

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'Anti-freeze' and Your Series Land Rover

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The Series Land Rover engine is well known for its ability to run relatively cool for long periods of time, due to the efficiency of its cooling system. This infact was a design feature since Series Land Rovers were originally expected to become farm-based; they were designed to have the ability to remain stationary and power a range of optional belt driven equipment via a Power Take-Off facility at the rear. This is the reason for the extra large radiator that the Series Land Rovers generally have.

Filling the cooling system of a Series Land Rover with water only, does nothing to slow water chamber corrosion. But 'anti-freeze', to coin its commonly used name, suggests that it is required only in cold climates. It does however, contain a range of chemicals and additives which inhibit corrosion, prolong the life of rubber hoses and reduce cavitation around the water pump impeller (which increases stress and accelerates corrosion). So 'anti-freeze' is rather better referred to as engine coolant.

Water molecules are better able to carry heat around than the main chemicals used to make antifreeze. So there is a trade-off. If you use the correct manufacturer's recommendation for the water:antifreeze mixture then the boiling point of your coolant mixture can be as high as 130C (under pressure), but if you add too much antifreeze then heat is not carried around efficently enough and overheating can result. So follow the instructions and don't be tempted to add extra thinking it will be of benefit. It won't.

'Anti-freeze' has developed along with the Land Rover and a range of varities are available now, most easily differentiated by colour. It's important to note that a Series Land Rover has traditioanlly used the ethylene glycol based liquid which is coloured green. Other varieties, e.g orange and red have different additives and manufacturers state which type of antifreeze should be used with each particular vehicle. Unfortunately the non-green types do not contain the correct additves for preserving the older type of rubber hoses and some of them contain chemicals which can actually erode the lead based solder of the original Series Land Rover radiators. So if you own a Series Land Rover and a more modern marque then you shouldn't share antifreeze between them.

Finally, it is all too easy to put anti-freeze in the cooling system and just top it up occasionally. But to be effective, the system should be drained every two years and replaced (at least for Series Land Rovers - more modern marques, using the non-green varieties can be changed less frequently).

Series Land Rover radiator

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