Filter Manufacturers Council – Heavy Duty Coolant Filters

Heavy Duty Coolant Filters

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do the liquid and solid additives last the same amount of time?
A: Yes, when equivalent amounts of supplemental coolant additives (SCA) are added.

Q: How often should system maintenance be performed?
A: This is dependent on the type of SCA you have chosen to use. Refer to engine and additive manufacturer recommendations.
Reference FMC TSB 02-1 for further details.

Q: How can I obtain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for coolant additives?
A: MSDS information is available from the coolant additive manufacturer or your filter manufacturer.

Q: Are there environmental hazards to not treating a coolant system properly?
A: There are no “environmental” hazards. There are definitely mechanical hazards related to incorrect coolant system maintenance procedures. (Water pump failures, wet sleeve cavitation erosion and pre-mature catastrophic engine failures.)

Q: Why doesn’t a coolant filter come factory installed on some engines?
A: Due to various engine designs, some engine and equipment manufacturers do not require coolant filtration. Coolant filtration can be added to these systems to prolong water life and/or aid with coolant maintenance.

Q: Is regular tap water all right to use in coolant systems?
A: Most tap water does not meet engine manufacturer’s specifications for use in coolant systems. Please refer to OEM guidelines and consider a coolant analysis program to determine suitability when in question.
Reference FMC TSB 88-1R3 for further details.

Q: How can I convert “normal” additives to extended drain or extended service additives?
A: Each additive manufacturer offering extended service interval products can provide advice.

Q: I’ve never had cooling system problems. Why do I need coolant additives and filters?
A: It is very rare that a gasoline or diesel engine has “never” experienced a failure of a cooling system component, or a related part that couldn’t have been prevented with the proper use of SCA’s and a coolant filter. Both the short term and the long term economic benefits of properly utilizing SCA’s and coolant filtration far out weigh the low initial investment for the appropriate coolant products and their installation.

Q: How often do I need to monitor the system? How do I control monitoring when vehicles are traveling nationwide?
A: Monitoring, or testing, SCA levels are critical to the over all success of any coolant system maintenance program. SCA level monitoring can be done very easily by using coolant testing. Testing should be done at the maintenance interval for the type of SCA being used to determine if more additives are actually needed to accurately track SCA depletion rates. Testing can also be done at any time between maintenance intervals.

Q: Can liquid SCA’s and filters with SCA’s be used together?
A: This depends on the total capacity of the cooling system. Most system capacities are of the size that either the liquid SCA or a filter with solid SCA is utilized. In larger capacity systems, however, both products are used for proper maintenance. Initial installation and maintenance instructions should always be consulted for proper product usage.

Q: What is the difference between filters that are the same physical size and have the same thread size?
A: The differences in products that “look” alike are whether or not the filter contains SCA and, if it does, the type and the cooling system volume it will treat.

Q: What is the difference between extended drain and extended service products?
A: If the SCA has the correct chemical formulation, the time required between total coolant system drain intervals can be extended beyond normal recommended intervals. The maintenance intervals to keep this product working effectively are not extended. Extended service interval products allow the service interval of the SCA to be extended beyond normal.

Q: What is the correct water and antifreeze mixture to be used in coolant systems?
A: The ideal mixture is 50% water and 50% antifreeze. The coolant mixture should never contain less than 40% antifreeze or more than 60% antifreeze. The water used must meet engine manufacturer’s guidelines for use in their coolant systems.

Q: Coolant seems to disappear from my system. Where does it go?
A: Coolant can seem to “disappear” from the system due to the lack of a coolant recovery system, evaporation, hose and clamp leakage or seepage, water pumps and/or thermostats not functioning properly, improperly sealed, cracked or broken head gaskets, cracked cylinder heads or engine blocks, and leaking or seeping radiators, heater cores or oil coolers. The consistent use of oil analysis can help pinpoint some of these problems and help avoid catastrophic failures.

Q: Why does my coolant foam?
A: Foam in coolant is usually the sign of trapped air in the system, a leak on the suction side of the water pump, an improperly functioning water pump, low or no coolant in the coolant recovery tank, the lack of a coolant recovery system, the coolant system lack of appropriate SCA’s or the combining of incompatible chemicals in the coolant system.

Q: What happens if the coolant system is overcharged with additives?
A: Over charging or over concentrating a coolant system with additives will result in the formation of solids. These solids will form deposits that drop out and clog passage ways in the system preventing proper heat transfer. These solids are also very abrasive and will permanently damage surfaces they come in contact with. If a coolant filter is in use, it will be quickly plugged up.

Q: Should I consider using coolant filters on gasoline engines?
A: Yes. The overall up time and usability of gasoline engines can be greatly increased by treating the coolant systems used with gasoline engines the same way diesel systems are. Due to the total capacity of most gasoline engine coolant systems, the use of a liquid SCA and an additive free filter is recommended.

Q: Are additives and filters with additives compatible with long life / extended life coolant?
A: Check with additive and coolant manufacturer for recommendations.

Q: What is the best way to determine the freeze point of the coolant?
A: The most consistently accurate method to determine the freeze point of the coolant is the use of a refractometer. Alternative test methods can also provide an estimate of freeze point.

Q: How often should I change my antifreeze?
A: Antifreeze should be changed based on original equipment engine manufacturer’s recommendations or with the use of full laboratory coolant analysis.

Q: Can I use a liquid SCA in either a gasoline or diesel engine with no coolant filter?
A: Yes. However we do recommend the use of an additive free filter on all coolant systems to remove all solid and liquid contamination. Coolant system maintenance should always be done as a complete package to be most effective.

Q: Is it better to use a filter with coolant additive or a liquid SCA with an additive free filter?
A: Which coolant maintenance set-up to use is entirely determined by user preference. When properly installed, pre-charged and maintained, both filters with SCA’s and liquid SCA’s used with additive free filters will offer the coolant system identical levels of protection.

Q: Why can’t I use a bigger filter with SCA’s?
A: Coolant filters with SCA’s are different physical sizes because they may contain different amounts of additives. The proper amount of SCA to be used to either pre-charge or maintain the additive level in the coolant is determined by the total capacity of the coolant system. Using the incorrect filter can result in an under-charged or an over-charged system. Both of these situations result in improper coolant system performance and could lead to pre-mature failures.

Q: Will adding SCA’s to a coolant system postpone or cure existing corrosion problems?
A: No. If the system is already in poor physical condition, it should be thoroughly cleaned and flushed before the introduction of SCA’s. Once it is clean, the SCA’s will keep it that way provided proper maintenance intervals are followed.

Q: What types of coolant cleaners / flushes should be used?
A: Original equipment engine suppliers should be consulted to determine what cleaning/flushing products they recommend for use in their systems

Q: If I change vehicles or equipment, can I use up my existing filters with SCA’s?
A: The total capacity of the coolant system is the sole determining factor as to which filter with SCA’s is to be used. If the new system’s capacity matches the usage specifications of the filters you already have, the antifreeze being used is suitable for use with the filters in question and the filters are still in their original factory packaging, they can be used.

Q: How do I find out what the total coolant capacity of my system is?
A: The original equipment vehicle, engine or equipment manufacturer has this information available.

Q: Do supplemental coolant products work with recycled antifreeze?
A: The vacuum distillation recycling method is the only method accepted by original equipment manufacturers. Some processes return the antifreeze to the customer with SCA’s already added. Before installing any products on the systems using recycled antifreeze, you must know whether it contains any SCA’s. If it does, an additive free filter is all that is needed until the first service interval is reached. At this point to properly treat the system, you must know what type of SCA was used by the recycler.

Q: Do you really need to test between service intervals?
A: Yes. Leaks in the system could develop, other components that could allow contamination into the coolant system could fail, foreign substances or incompatible fluids could be introduced to the system or coolant system components such as the thermostat or water pump could fail. All of these situations will directly affect the ability of a properly treated coolant system to perform correctly. Periodic testing with test strips can help avoid the potentially catastrophic results of a system that is not protected.

Q: What does the additive actually do while circulating in the coolant system?
A: In a clean, properly treated system, the additive physically coats the metal components and protects them from scale build up, corrosion and cavitation erosion (liner pitting).
Reference FMC TSB 88-1R2

Q: Which brand of antifreeze is low silicate type?
A: Any antifreeze that meets GM-6038M or ASTM D-4985 specifications is considered low silicate antifreeze.

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