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Old 10-28-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
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Any Truth About Alcohol In Antifreeze

This last Saturday I was at my dealer picking up my 19H. Another costumer in the service department asked them why they were selling antifreeze for $4.98 when they can go to Walmart and get antifreeze for half that. The man behind the service desk replied that the Walmart brand has Alcohol in it. That's why it has a warning for being combustible on the label. When he was at one of the trade shows, the pluming makers told him that antifreeze with alcohol could damage seals over time.

At least the person behind the counter did stress the "could" part, and said to be honest, he did not know if it would, or how long it could take to do so. He also said to him, he liked the idea of having nonflammable antifreeze in the units.

Does anyone have a solid answer on this? I know there are some people that will winterize, and it might be two years before they flush the system and use it again. Has anyone see degradation in any pluming or pump parts that may be alcohol related?

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Old 10-28-2013, 04:40 PM   #2
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All I can say is "H---e P--p" to be nice. I have gotten brand name RV antifreeze at 1/2 the price that a dealer wants at numerous places, Tractor Supply, Menards and Home Depot. Have been doing that for over 40 years.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #3
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There IS truth to the fact that ethanol will degrade some plastics, and contains some small grit particles. How do I know ? I used regular gasoline with 10% ethanol in my riding lawnmower until the the plastic gas-proof pick up tube degraded and fell off inside the tank. The part with the clamp above the break stayed on the nipple, but the rest, exposed to ethanol (alcohol) simply separated and fell off. My dealer told me absolutely that gas containing ethanol will do that over time, and I should use ethanol-free gas in any engine not designed for flex fuel.

As for the grit, another mower ran fine on 100% gasoline, but I accidentally filled the tank 3 times with 10% ethanol, and then let it sit for about 1 month before trying to use it again. It refused to start. The local dealer checked it, and cleaned out the carb. He then showed me the grit that he cleaned out of the tiny passages in the carb. According to him, the ethanol in the gas not only attracted water and caused some corrosion of the aluminum, but also plugged some of the passages with grit. Now the mower has run many hours on 100% gasoline with no further problems.

Bottom line, I would never use any RV antifreeze with ethanol added. Ethyene glycol, on the other hand, is not a problem. That is another type of alcohol that has been used for many years in car radiators without a problem, other than boiling away after a time. For the record, both ethanol and ethylene glycol are alcohols, but they are chemically different, and have different reactions with plastics found in mowers and RV pipes.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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All propylene glycol antifreeze has an alcohol component to it. Some have better corrosion inhibitors in it than others, but that is about it.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
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I call B.S. on this one. RV antifreeze contains water, ethyl alchohol, glycerine, denaturants, and dye. The label states Combustible. According to the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook, a flammable liquid is one that has a flash point of 60C (140F) and lower. A combustible liquid has a flash point of greater than 60C and below 93C (200F). U.S. regulations permit a flammable liquid with a flash point between 38C (100F) and 60C (140F) to be reclassed as a combustible liquid. Reclassifying it as a combustible liquid most likely has financial advantages those who transport and store the material.

The RV dealer sells antifreeze for $4.98 a gallon because the uninformed are willing to pay it. Simple as that. I've never heard of anyone having problems with the product when used according to label directions.

Just don't use automotive antifreeze in your potable water system.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:11 PM   #6
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I looked at the jug, and its advertising ethyl alcohol free.

Too bad you can't put Seafoam in the water lines lol.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mcfarmall View Post
Just don't use automotive antifreeze in your potable water system.
x2 That's because the automotive stuff is very poisonous. RV / plumbing antifreeze is not, and will say so on the label.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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I have used RV antifreeze bought at the big box stores for years, the last trailer I owned for 13 years and used it. I have never had a problem, the only thing I ever had to replace were the washers in the faucets and that was once.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Any Truth About Alcohol In Antifreeze

Sounds like a BS sales tactic to me.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
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Methanol is what is known for doing damage to gaskets and seals. It also absorbs water from the atmosphere, and is very expensive. Isopropyl alcohol is much cheaper, and is easier to handle.

I did notice this year some RV antifreeze manufactures are using an alcohol. I normally buy Isobar brand, but do to an accidental dump of a bunch out on the ground, I when to the local store to buy some more antifreeze. That store carried Peak brand. When I put it in the system I had a strong isopropyl alcohol odor. Isobar has no odor. As for damage, I do not expect it will do any. But I may have to flush the system for a little longer in the spring.

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