Bill's Ineffable

Automotive Anecdotes

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High-test Gasoline

     If your car runs O.K. on regular gas, you're wasting your money using high-test. It doesn't clean out your engine, which runs as clean as a whistle on modern no-lead fuel anyway, and it actually gives you a bit less power per cylinder explosion than regular does. It burns slower, which helps it resist "ping" -- that's what makes it "high-test" in the first place, so, if it's not pinging, save your dough & buy regular.


Antifreeze. How much is enough?

     A 50 % solution of antifreeze & water is an adequate coolant mixture for anywhere in the lower 48 states. It may get a mite slushy at 45 below, but will still circulate and keep the innards from being damaged, and since the internal combustion engine is woefully inefficient, it will rapidly pick up enough heat to become a happily flowing fluid long before the dash gauge gets off the bottom.
     If you're planning a skiing trip to Nome you might want to up it slightly, but never more than 60%, since if you go any stronger than that the freezing point starts coming back up. Pure ethylene glycol freezes at around -17 deg. F. (Note: I'd have to verify that freezing point; I got my info from a refrigeration engineer who got into trouble by using pure glycol in a fancy hydraulic thermostat control system. He assumed, as many do, that the more the better. That's the American Way, after all.)

I finally gave up on my own resources, including the internet, although I'm sure it's on there somewhere. Luckily, the local library has a lovely set of Technical/Chemical Encylopedia that came up with what I was looking for in about five minutes.

Note: It's worse even than I thought. Pure ethylene glycol freezes at -13 degrees, not -17, but that's in celsius, not farenheit. In good old-fashioned degrees it freezes at 8.6 deg above zero. (Since commercial antifreeze does contain small amounts of other stuff, inhibitors, dye, etc., it may be good for a little better than that, but likely not much.) No problem with boiling, however; the stuff boils at 387.7 deg. f., even without a pressure cap.

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