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Discussion Starter #1
2016 F-350. Back when the truck hit close to 36,000 miles the “check coolant additive” message came on. Took it to Ford and they said “We don’t ever actually them the coolant until the truck is out of warranty.” Seemed a bit odd, but I figured they SHOULD know.

Truck now has around 57,000 miles and the message is displaying again, it appears it’s going to need a coolant additive check in the not too distant future. I went looking in here for “coolant additive” and found a bunch of topics that contradict one another... One says ignore it 'til 100K, one says just dump what you can and add new 50/50 coolant without any additive, another says go through what looks like a major PITA process to flush everything from everywhere and NEVER EVER use the 50/50 coolant. And yet another says just dump in a "maintenance" level of additive and forget about it.

So what DO I need to do at 60,000 miles? If it's just check the additive, is there a kit available at a reasonably priced kit available so I can check it myself? Which kit and from where?
Or do you just add a “maintenance” volume of additive? WHICH additive? It doesn’t appear to be Motorcraft VC-8? Is it VC-12? Or something else? Every time I search for 2016 f-350 coolant additive I get those two... Same for searching for "Ford 6.7L diesel coolant additive".

And if the chances are high that you’re going to have to dump coolant additive in, why bother checking it?

It seems like this should be trivial, but so far it's not real clear exactly what's needed... Can somebody clarify this process?
 

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I don’t know that this is the exact strip for our trucks but you can just buy something like this and check it if it will give you piece of mind.

$8

Hang on and I’ll make sure that’s the right one.
 

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It is not a coolant additive check but a test of the coolant to make sure it is ok or needs the additive or needs a flush and refill. The message is programmed to be displayed approx. every 22,500 miles.

you can get the test kits/strips here

https://www.acustrip.com/cgi-bin/proddesc.cgi?s=328-2050

and

https://www.acustrip.com/cgi-bin/proddesc.cgi?s=4048

or

https://www.acustrip.com/cgi-bin/proddesc.cgi?s=328-071ELC

The first one test for absence of nitrates (you want zero nitrates in the coolant) and the second one tests for purity and contamination.

Depending on the results, you either wait till the next message and test again or add the reguvinator additive or flush and refill with fresh coolant.

VC-12 is the orange coolant reguvinator

https://www.fcsdchemicalsandlubricants.com/Products/List?cid=10

https://www.vasa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2012_07MS.pdf

DEX-Cool is the same as the Motorcraft Orange coolant.
 

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I don’t know that this is the exact strip for our trucks but you can just buy something like this and check it if it will give you piece of mind.

$8

Hang on and I’ll make sure that’s the right one.
those strips only test for nitrates and does not test the coolant for contamination.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies...

I (sort-of) understand the "coolant additive" that's supposed to be for anti-corrosion (at least that's what the dealer told me). And that it's supposed to be tested periodically. I just brought the manual(s) in from the truck, and the Diesel Supplement (which I THINK I forgot to check when laying out the maintenance schedule) says "Check the coolant concentration (freeze point protection) and additive (corrosion inhibitor) strength. Add coolant additive if necessary." I periodically check the freeze point (most recently after the dealer theoretically flushed the cooling system when they changed the engine block heater (the worksheet showed 15 qts of antifreeze) at 48,000 miles).

I don't have any problem getting two different test kits and checking both nitrates and anti-corrosion, but if I DO find nitrates in the coolant what does that indicate?

The supplement says the coolant should be flushed at 100,000 miles or if towing (which we do) at 60,000 (this would be the piece I missed) and NO coolant additive should be added... So, I think it's moot since when I get home I'm going to have to flush the cooling system(s) anyway... But I'll buy the test kits just to have for future testing.

Is there ANYTHING special about the antifreeze for this truck? Can I just get any reputable brand of anti-freeze concentrate or is there some special anti-corrosion additive in the Motorcraft stuff?
 

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You will need an Orange coolant such as the Motorcraft or DEXCool or any of the other Orange ELC coolants.

This is from the Motorcraft side

Meets or exceeds the requirements of WSS-M97B44-D, GMW 3420 (superseded GM 6277M) and ASTM D 3306...

GM = DEXCool

https://www.fcsdchemicalsandlubricants.com/Products/Details?cid=10&pid=325

If any of the above specs are on the jug, it will be ok with no concerns. Most say buy concentrated coolant and a unch of purified water and mix your own. If you have access to one of the vacuum fill devices or can rent it from one of the parts stores, it will make the refill easier.



You know the 6,.7 has 2 (two) cooling systems?
 

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My understanding of this issue:


Checking Coolant Corrosion
Inhibitor Additive Strength


At specific mileage intervals of 15000 miles (24000 km), as listed in the scheduled maintenance information chapter, the coolant corrosion inhibitor additive should be checked. The optional information display, if equipped, will also display the message CHECK COOLANT ADDITIVE at this time. The purpose of checking is to verify the correct engine coolant concentration (freeze point
protection) and corrosion inhibitor additive level (strength) of the coolant for maximum engine performance and protection.



Motorcraft Specialty Orange Engine
Coolant Revitalizer –

Additive to boost the corrosion inhibitor level based upon the test results of the Antifreeze Coolant ELC Contamination Kit. The Revitalizer may be added two times over the life of the coolant. If additional dosages are required, the cooling system must be flushed and refilled per the instructions in the Workshop Manual.


SO if the testing shows you need more Revitalizer, I'd say you have two options: Add a dose till it's testing fine, or just do a flush and fill.
 

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An option is to go to your dealer and get it checked. My local shop has a separate building for Super Duty and up trucks. I just drive in and they'll do it while I wait at no cost. I do, however, buy parts from them so that helps in the "scratch my back" department.
The indicator pops up every 22k as said, or xxx hours. I am at 51,000 miles and the last check was at 50k. It was borderline so they dropped in a revitalizer in the main system. By this time next year it will be due for a flush, I believe. The manual says 5 years (maybe 6?) max time regardless of miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I"d be more confident about having the dealer check it if they weren't the one's that blew it off at least twice. And about the time it would have gotten checked at 45K the dealer replaced the engine block heater and had to put in, in theory, 15 qts of coolant. I'm sure I"m wrong now, but it would seem like they would check it at that time to make sure what they did was correct, but I suspect I'm presuming far too much...

I'm aware the truck has two cooling systems though I haven't gone any further than that. Back in my mis-spent early adulthood (way, way back in the 70s), when I worked as a dealer mechanic, I NEVER saw a truck much less a diesel, so my knowledge of them is minimal at best. Which is one reason it's a bit daunting when I read the topics in forums that go on for pages, removing thermostat housings and disconnecting heater hoses to flush the thing... In my world, you opened the pet**** at the bottom of the radiator, took the cap off the reservoir, and everything ran out into the catch pan. Put in water and, if desired some cleaner, filled it, ran for 20 minutes, dumped it again, flushed with water and filled it with concentrate. The water left in the system did the diluting. Check the freeze point a day or 2 later, and done. Hopefully, other than having a main and a backup cooling system, this thing isn't a whole lot more bizarre (which absolutely guarantees someone is now going to tell me how incredibly convoluted, time consuming and painful the process is on these trucks)...
 

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Some people will make it like brain surgery, rocket science, and landing on the moon.

Others will just pull the lower hoses, drain out whatever comes out, refill with the OEM coolant, test the levels, and close the hood.
 

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I'd find a different dealer. If they lost all the coolant in the main circuit putting a block heater in they need help. Lol. I think I lost 13 ounces. Just topped it up with distilled water.
As long as the system is good and only tests low on freeze point or nitrates then dump what you can from a hose on each circuit and fill er up.
 
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