The Anti Freeze delima

Due to a slightly damaged head gasket I get air up through my radiator which forces antifreeze out via my overflow jug. Presently I am losing about a quarter to half a gallon a week. I keep up on it and top off the refill jug when it gets low. My question is, what is the difference is between the 50/50 antifreeze and full antifreeze and which would be better to go with? Price wise I have found the 50/50 to be cheaper, but not sure if it is the right type to use.

A gallon of straight antifreeze costs around $10 - $14. A gallon of pre-mixed, 50-50 antifreeze is about $9 -$12. So, you’re paying about 75% or more for half as much antifreeze and 2 quarts of water. Buy the straight stuff and mix it yourself with water. Even if you use distilled water, which is preferable to tap water, you’ll still only have $11 to $15 invested, and you’ll have two gallons instead of one pre-mixed.

I hate to say this, but you are going about this the wrong way. You need to fix the head gasket.

Note: I you live in WV you can ignore the above, just use straight moonshine to refill it.

A quarter to a half gallon a week? As you drive this your breech is growing via erosion. Uncorrected, it will grow until the combustion gasses are blowing more heat into the water jacket than the cooling system can cope with. And if it grows to involve an oil passage that’ll be even worse.

Do you plan to repair this headgasket? It’s a personal chaoice, but if not you might want to start the search for a replacement vehicle.

I am considering trying Steel Seal to see what that does. To do a full engine rebuild isn’t worth it as I only paid $450 for the car. If I put the overflow lid on as tight as possible the amount of loss would be much less, but I was told it would be better on the radiator (brand new just installed) not to tighten the overflow lid all the way. I am basically going to drive the car till it dies. A hardware store here in town has antifreeze (50/50) on sale for $5.95 so I am going to stock up, but wasn’t sure if you could mix your own, but down the road I will.

If it put the overflow jug lid on all the way I lose about a cup of antifreeze a week. The amount of loss has been consistant since I bought the car back in July (3200 miles ago) and the car is running real well getting great gas milage.

My Motorcraft #VC5 green antifreeze is $10.55 gal. When mixed with water to spec that’s $10.55 for TWO gallons of ready anti freeze.
Even on sale your pre mix is $ 11.90 for two gallons.

As much as you anticipate using, see if any of your local shops have antifreeze in bulk ( 55 gal drums or more ) and could sell to you even cheaper if you take your empty containers to fill.

In mixing, do you just pour half into one jug and then both the rest of the way with water? I have hard water, should I buy a gallon of distilled?

Yep, nothing high tech about it and tap water is just fine.
Using your empties to premix your own is the best way to ensure a proper mix with even the slightest top off. Read the mix ratio chart on the back of the jug to see if, given your area’s climate ( ours was down to +2 last night), you may be able to use a weaker mix to get even more out of each gallon.

Stop posting about your $450 car with the leaking head gasket. If it really had a bad head gasket it would have blown up a long time ago.

If combustion gas is blowing coolant out of the radiator, filling the overflow reservoir will do NOTHING. The radiator will STILL be low and getting lower on coolant and the vehicle will quickly overheat. The pressure in the cooling system NEVER goes negative to draw coolant back in…You must remove the radiator cap to refill the system… Why not just go to Jiffy-Lube and ask for the antifreeze they drain doing flush and fills…

Oldtimer, be nice. All posters are welcome here except for the impolite. The gentleman is extending the life of an old buggy and we’re happy to assist if we can.

“Why not just go to Jiffy-Lube and ask for the antifreeze they drain doing flush and fills”

That is a good idea for saving money.
However, I would caution the OP to inspect the stuff that they give him very carefully. Since Jiffy Lube is essentially staffed by poorly trained kids and/or incompetents, they just might wind up giving him old tranny fluid or motor oil instead of old antifreeze.

If the kids at J-Lube can’t tell the difference between a crankcase drain plug and a transmission drain plug, it is possible that they also might not be able to distinguish one fluid from another.

You can use clean rainwater-Kevin

Don’t waste your money on Steel Seal. This is just sodium silicate at an inflated price. Instead, contact your local pharmacy and order a bottle of sodium silicate, about $20.00 for the bottle. Much cheaper and works just as good. You can read about it here.


If it’s not a headgasket, what is causing presure getting into the radiator? If when the leak down test was done and air came out the tailpipe and the radiator overflow jug, what else could it be? Also I was told depending on how sever the damage is I could drive it for a good long while if I don’t push the engine hard.

I am not gifted enough to do the work myself, because you have to remove hoses, the thermostat and such. So my only option is going to the one place in town that will do the work and they use Steel Seal.

I commend you for doing the leakdown test. It does give you some idea of what you are facing. I have read that loosening and re-torquing the cylinder head bolts, and the intake manifold bolts, could help close a gap where the gasket leaks. It wouldn’t hurt to try.
I had a friend who had an old 1970s vintage Chevy V8. She lent me the car and said something about “engine water” (language problem). After work, I checked the coolant level and added a gallon of water. I drove the car, and for two miles (with a police car behind me), that car billowed a great plume of white cloud out the exhaust. Holy moley! Then, the plume stopped, and the car ran OK.
I figured that the engine block could only be filled about half full. She drove that car, still in that condition, for several more months! I never knew if it finally died dead, or, if she just got tired of it.
What does this story have to do with anything? Well, as Mark Twain reputedly said, “The news of my demise have been greatly exaggerated”.

Yes I know, but I think this is his 4th or fifth post about this car and so far he has not convinced me he has a head gasket problem anyway. I think the idea of getting used antifreeze for it is brilliant.

Indy stop cross posting. Fix as suggested by many well meaning folks or stop bugging us for free advice. We gave at the office. You are doing one of the most annoying things on these web sites. Just reposting hoping for a better answer. You got a bunch. Do them. If you can’t fix the car yourself then pay someone. If you cant pay some one then why repost here. The answer is still the same bud. You have a $450 car that you will not fix, despite advice either way so stop wasteing time. peace

How am I cross posting? I asked a question about antifreeze, I then answered questions that were presented. To me to ignore people when they have asked a question is rude.