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Old 11-03-2017, 03:54 PM   #33
Aqua Puttana
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Default Re: Inspection tips for buying a used Sprinter T1N

This is a thought that I have for newer model NCV3 (906) BluTec (DEF fluid) Sprinter pre-purchase inspections.

There have been enough threads to indicate that DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid being mistakenly added to the coolant reservoir (radiator) is not uncommon. The DEF is very corrosive and can cause real engine issues if it is not flushed out in a reasonable time. ASAP is likely best.

My suggestion.
Do a sniff test of the coolant reservoir. If it has a smell of ammonia the chances are good that there is/was DEF in the coolant.
A pH test may still have some value for determining coolant condition.

Any pre-purchase inspection of a NCV3 (906) Sprinter using DEF should include a pH test of the coolant. What should the coolant pH be normally? Good question. I have no idea. Some owners with known uncontaminated DEF Sprinters may be able test their coolant pH. It may be as simple as using a swimming pool pH test strip. That may help to provide a baseline.

DEF may tend to drive the pH low. I thought that DEF (urea) will drive the pH low, but "dissolved in water, it is neither acidic nor alkaline". If it drove the coolant toward base I believe that it would attack aluminum in the cooling system. Pictures that I've seen to indicate that it causes damage to thermostat and other parts which are not aluminum.

Some general pH information is here.
What is coolant pH?

"Simply stated, pH is the measure of the degree of acidity or alkalinity in a coolant. The acidity decreases and the alkalinity increases as the pH goes from 0 to 14. The recommended pH range for coolants is on the slight alkaline side, from 7.5 to 11. Anything at 11 and above would be considered too high. Tests that range from 6.0 up to 7.5 would be considered too low. The pH of fresh coolant slowly decreases with time and use in a cooling system as acids are formed by the oxidation of ethylene or propylene glycol. At low pH ranges, certain metal surfaces are susceptible to acid corrosion, while at high alkaline pH, aluminum surfaces are susceptible to corrosion. Thus, it is important to check the coolant pH periodically to make sure that it is neither too acidic nor too alkaline."

General info.



Originally Posted by Archive
REBrueckner 09-18-2014, 06:54 PM
After being down and out [after a fall off a step ladder, badly bruised ribs, and a cold to cough,hack, and antagonize those painful muscles] got outside today and did a test.

Short Answer: Swimming pool PH test strips DO work for engine coolant with antifreeze.

My test: Checked my old Taurus coolant: acidic as I suspected,based on test strip color change; it's due for a changing as soon as I can lie dwn and get back up.

Control: Made a 50/50 mix of unused, new, coolant and water out of a new container: It shows
basic, rather than acidic, as it should, according to color change.

We will use this as a preliminary test on engines and gennys in a prospective purchase.
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Last edited by Aqua Puttana; 12-21-2017 at 12:27 PM.
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