New member question about orange coolant

Hi everyone.

I’m sure this has been covered, but I’m getting conflicting reports from Ford dealerships regarding whether I should be concerned about a shop possibly filling my 2001 Grand Marquis with orange coolant.

I have always taken good care of my car, as it belonged to my departed grandpa.

Recently, I asked a shop to drain and replace my coolant, as they were doing a lot of work and already had the car on their lot.

One of the first things I noticed: the ticket didn’t reflect the engine coolant drain/fill.

I purchased a tester, and the fellow at the parts store said either the shop did not change the coolant, or else they filled with the wrong type.

The shop reports that rust in my system accounts for
the color of the newly changed coolant. If so, I am fine with that and will change coolant again until I see improvement; however, the shop left an egregious amount of unfinished work, so I no longer find them a credible source of information.

At this point, I’m rooting for learning they simply never changed the coolant, especially since I won’t return there.

They left a new idler arm only finger tight and didn’t tighten my new ball joint to the control arm.

I’m not sure if the attached pics demonstrate anything conclusive. Is that orange coolant, or green coolant with rust?

Should I be concerned? And if so, what service should I request from a different shop?

I am a little averse to chemical flushes. Would a simple drain and fill with the correct coolant put me back in good shape?

I appreciate any reply from those of you more knowledgeable than myself.

Another pic:

I’m no coolant expert, but that doesn’t look like rust to me. I’m guessing it is just the color of the product. Whether that product is compatible with your car’s engine, don’t know.

I have flushed all of my car’s cooling systems with plain water, then the final refill is with 50/50 fresh coolant. I just use the standard Prestone-yellow product. The proper method and coolant product varies vehicle to vehicle of course.

What does your car’s owner’s manual say about what type of coolant to use?

Looks like someone at some point filled the cooling system with Dexcool.

I would have all the coolant replaced with the correct coolant using a flush machine.



If you google ford long life coolant, it will show motor craft orange. Same color as dex cool. I don’t know how you determine what is in there but seems to me you would go with the motor craft oem and get an extra gallon for topping off.

Owner’s manual says in all caps "DO NOT USE Ford Extended Life Engine Coolant (orange in color).

And near the coolant reservoir on the vehicle it says: “green coolant only.”

The Ford dealer where the car was purchased said not to worry about it.

The Ford dealer in the town where I live said flush ASAP.

Can you ask for a machine flush minus the chemicals?

Is that a thing?

I’m not interested in conditioners and solvents.

I just want the incorrect coolant cleared and the correct coolant filled.

Yes you can.

Chemicals aren’t used unless there’s an indication that there’s a buildup of corrosion in the cooling system.


Well there’s your answer. Flush out the IOrange and put in the green. Can’t explain why myself but if that’s what it says.


Ford has crazy assortment of requirements, 2001 all green

You coolant looks clear, orange tinted but clear. If it was rust, it would look like mud and you could not see through it. Not sure if I saw a hint of cloudiness in it, if there is then it is definitely time to change it, sooner than later, but if it is clear, then you can take your time and do what you think is right.

The green requires a change at 45k miles originally then every 30k after that. You can use the Motorcraft Gold (yellow coolant) which has a service life of 100k for the factory fill and 50k after that.

The shorter interval recommendations for the subsequent changes are based on a drain and fill and not on a flush machine. A drain and fill leaves some of the old coolant behind so the change has to occur more often to insure that it never gets fully depleted.

I personally don’t think the orange will do any harm, but the corrosion inhibiters in the orange don’t always play well with the inhibitors in the yellow or green coolants, especially the green.

If it were my car, I would drain out the orange, even though some would be left, and refill with the gold (yellow) coolant. They do mix better than orange/green would AFAIK. This is what I have been led to believe. So a little orange left behind will be OK with the yellow. I might do a drain and fill again in 30k and then every 50k after that.

BTW, between the 2002 and 2003, as far as I know, there were no significant changes in the metallurgy of the engines and cooling systems. In fact I don’t believe there were any changes in the drive train at all and very little in the model. The car was coming to the end of its production life so they do not invest in changes for a vehicle about to be discontinued. The yellow was the factory fill for 2003 and beyond.


Appt booked to service coolant system. Still considering whether to drain and fill, or flush with no chemicals.

I’ve always wanted to avoid flushes, but in this case, I’d also like to get the orange cleared out and have all one kind of coolant in there.

I went to two parts stores, and although the vehicle’s reservoir graphic points towards green, both parts stores recommend a Prestone Universal “All vehicles, Makes, and Years.”

The Prestone “All vehicles” anti-freeze recommendation is consistent across store websites too. It’s nearly all they had in the store that’s supposed to be compatible with my 2001 Grand Marquis, but I’m not sure if it’s a green, or yellow (like Keith recommends).

I looked for the ESE M97 544-a spec, per owner’s manual, but I could not find a jug stated to match that spec.

I understand the Prestone is a Phosphated Hybrid OAT (P-HOAT). Is P-HOAT okay for the 2001 Grand Marquis, as long as it’s not mixed with a different type of coolant?

Also, the garage said bring my own coolant. I bet the Prestone “All vehicles” is pretty near to whatever universal anti-freeze the shop already uses, but it would be nice to know exactly what goes in the vehicle, especially after this experience.

When taking your own anti-freeze jugs to an auto shop, does it make more sense to take pre-mixed or concentrated?

Thanks for all the good info in this thread.

I’ve always used Prestone in my vehicles, but the newest is 30 years old. Since your car is newer, IMO you safest bet is to purchase the coolant from a dealership. They’ll ask for your car’s make/model/year/VIN, then their database will know which coolant you need.

I’m a driveway diy’er & find it easier to use the concentrated version, and I expect your shop would prefer that as well. But either will do the job. No need to guess, just phone and ask.

I used to use the Prestone flush product on my 5 year old (at the time) Ford truck, but decided it might be wearing away the engine’s insides. For the past 45 years just been flushing the cooling system with plain water. Been working fine so far. I did develop a tiny pinhole leak in my radiator a couple of years ago, but 48 year old radiator, I patched it up, & no further complaints.

I think most stuff used now is pre mixed. It was always a hassle getting the right mix otherwise.

With all of the confusion, why not just buy it from the ford dealer?

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I’d personally buy and bring them the pre-mixed coolant, as it’s 50% coolant and 50% distilled water

If you bring them concentrate, you’d be hoping and/or assuming they have plenty of distilled water on hand to mix with the concentrate


Some car manufacturers specify a phosphate free antifreeze. If that is a requirement, then it will say so in the owners manual, usually in bold letters.

I NEVER buy concentrated coolant, only pre-mixed. I use universal long-life coolant in all my vehicles. Never had a problem doing that.

I buy the concentrated antifreeze because the cost is about the same for the 50/50 mix.


Per bing’s suggestion I called Ford dealer and ended up booking a flush there.

I asked if it would be advisable to flush and fill with a universal like Prestone All Vehicles.

They advise stickng to manual, which makes good sense to me.

So that’s the Ford/Motorcraft Power Coolant green ESE-M97B44-A spec. I guess that’s an IAT.

Will it be safe to fill with this stuff after the flush?

Secondly, online searching shows this Motorcraft green, especially the prediluted, is not widely available.

The dealer does not have any prediluted for sale, and no retailers in my town carry the Motorcraft coolant at all.

It seems like having a jug of prediluted in my trunk for topping would be good, especially since I am away from home a lot.

I don’t want to drive to a dealer if I see that my antifreeze needs topping.

Is scrambling around trying to find a jug of the correct coolant going to be my next PITA?

Check online for this antifreeze at your local auto parts stores and Walmart. At least one probably has it. If you have to order it, many stores have free delivery to the store and maybe to your home. I wouldn’t worry too much about it immediately. Unless you have a leak, you probably won’t need to top off for several months at least.