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Schadenfreude Connoisseur
13,280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you have tried running 100% water with 2 bottles of water wetter in lieu of the standard 50/50 water/coolant mix? Does it make a difference?

Premium Member
2,120 Posts
Doesn't coolant though provide corrosion resistance? Also does water wetter drop the boiling point of the water in your cooling system??

Schadenfreude Connoisseur
13,280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ive been poking around the web to find answers and I found an excellent article:
Water Wetter. Ive pasted it here but heres the link (if you want to see the graphs)

Red Line Water Wetter is designed to provide improved metal wetting and excellent corrosion inhibition when added to plain water or a glycol coolant. The most poorly maintained system in an automobile is usually the cooling system. Maintenance is quite simple and only required once each year, but most vehicle owners never routinely change the coolant or replenish the corrosion inhibitors which are required for trouble-free operation. Proper cooling system maintenance is very critical for most modern engines which utilize more aluminum. Aluminum has a very high corrosion potential, even higher than zinc, which is very widely used as a sacrificial anode. The only property which enables aluminum to be used in a cooling system is that it will form protective films under the proper conditions which will prevent the uncontrolled corrosive attack of acids or bases. Poor aluminum corrosion inhibition will cause the dissolution of aluminum at the heat rejection surfaces, weakening the cooling system walls and water pump casing and weakening the head gasket mating surfaces. These corrosion products will then form deposits on the lower temperature surfaces such as in radiator tubes which have very poor heat transfer properties, causing a significant reduction in the cooling ability of the entire system. Red Line Water Wetter will provide the proper corrosion inhibition for all cooling system metals, including aluminum, cast iron, steel, copper, brass, and lead.

Water has twice the heat transfer capability when compared to 50% glycol antifreeze/coolant in water. Most passenger automobiles have a cooling system designed to reject sufficient heat under normal operating conditions using a 50/50 glycol solution in water. However, in racing applications, the use of water and Water Wetter will enable the use of smaller radiator systems, which means less frontal drag, and it will also reduce cylinder head temperatures, even when compared to water alone, which means more spark advance may be used to improve engine torque.

Doubles the wetting ability of water
Improves heat transfer
Reduces cylinder head temperatures
May allow more spark advance for increased torque
Reduces rust, corrosion and electrolysis of all metals
Provides long term corrosion protection
Cleans and lubricates water pump seals
Prevents foaming
Reduces cavitation corrosion
Complexes with hard water to reduce scale
The conventional spark ignition gasoline engine is not a very efficient powerplant. A considerable amount of the available fuel energy must be rejected from the metal combustion chamber parts by the coolant and dispersed to the atmosphere through the radiator. This heat rejection is necessary in order to prevent thermal fatigue of the pistons, cylinder walls, and the cylinder head. Another problem is that the combustion chamber must be cooled enough to prevent preignition and detonation. The higher the combustion chamber temperatures, the higher the octane number required to prevent preignition and detonation. Since the octane of the available fuel is limited, increasing temperatures in the combustion chamber require retarding the spark timing which reduces the peak torque available. Higher inlet temperatures also reduce the density of the fuel/air mixture, reducing available torque further. For these reasons reducing the flow of heat to the coolant usually reduces the efficiency of the engine. Figure 1 shows a typical heat balance diagram for a spark ignition engine. This diagram demonstrates that the coolant in an automobile engine must absorb and reject through the radiator 2 to 3 times the amount of energy which is converted to brake power.

Water has amazingly superior heat transfer properties compared to virtually any other liquid cooling medium - far superior to glycol-based coolants. As shown in Table 1, water has almost 2.5 times greater thermal conductivity compared to glycol coolants. Mixtures of glycol and water have nearly proportional improvement due to the addition of water. Most heat is transferred in a cooling system by convection from hot metal to a cooler liquid as in the engine block or from a hot liquid to cooler metal surfaces, as in the radiator. The convection coefficient of liquids in a tube is a complicated relationship between the thermal conductivity, viscosity of the liquid, and the tube diameter which determines the amount of turbulent flow. Since 50/50 glycol solution has about 4 times the viscosity and only 70% of the thermal conductivity of water, the thermal convection coefficient for a 50/50 glycol solution is approximately 50% of the coefficient for water. Water in the cooling system is capable of transferring twice as much heat out of the same system as compared to a 50/50 glycol coolant and water solution. In order for a 50/50 glycol mixture to reject as much heat as water (amount of heat rejected is independent of the coolant), the temperature differentials at the heat transfer surface must be twice as great, which means higher cylinder head temperatures.

Table 1
Thermal Properties of Cooling System Materials
Material Density
g/cm3 Thermal
Watt/m · °C Thermal
Watt/m · °C Heat
cal/g · °C Heat of
Water 1.000 0.60 1829 1.000 539
Glycol 1.114 0.25 ------ 0.573 226
50/50 1.059 0.41 897 0.836 374

Aluminum 2.70 155 0.225
Cast Iron 7.25 58 0.119
Copper 8.93 384 0.093
Brass 8.40 113 0.091
Ceramics 1 - 10
Air .0013 .026 0.240

Red Line Water Wetter can reduce cooling system temperatures compared to glycol solutions and even plain water. Water has excellent heat transfer properties in its liquid state, but very high surface tension makes it difficult to release water vapor from the metal surface. Under heavy load conditions, much of the heat in the cylinder head is transferred by localized boiling at hot spots, even though the bulk of the cooling solution is below the boiling point. Red Line's unique Water Wetter reduces the surface tension of water by a factor of two, which means that much smaller vapor bubbles will be formed. Vapor bubbles on the metal surface create an insulating layer which impedes heat transfer. Releasing these vapor bubbles from the metal surface can improve the heat transfer properties in this localized boiling region by as much as 15% as shown in Figure 2. This figure demonstrates the removal of heat from an aluminum bar at 304°F by quenching the bar in different coolants at 214°F under 15 psi pressure. Compare the time required to reduce the temperature of the aluminum to 250°F, or the boiling point of water at 15 psi. WaterWetter required 3.2 seconds, water alone 3.7 sec, 50/50 glycol in water required 10.2 sec, and 100% glycol required 21 sec. Water alone required 15% longer, 50/50 glycol 220% longer, and 100% glycol required 550% longer.

Dynomometer tests performed by Malcolm Garrett Racing Engines showed significant improvements in coolant temperatures using Water Wetter. These tests were performed with a Chevrolet 350 V-8 with a cast iron block and aluminum cylinder heads. The thermostat temperature was 160°F. The engine operated at 7200 rpm for three hours and the stabilized cooling system temperature was recorded and tabulated below:

Cooling System Fluid Stabilized Temperature
50% Glycol/ 50% Water 228°F
50/50 with WaterWetter 220°F
Water 220°F
Water with WaterWetter 202°F

These numbers are similar to the temperatures recorded in track use and heavy-duty street use.

Under moderate load conditions, each percent glycol raises cylinder head temperatures by 1°F. 50% glycol raises head temperatures by 45°F. This increase in temperature will raise the octane required for trace knock levels by typically 3.5 octane numbers. A car equipped with a knock sensor will retard the timing to compensate for the increase in octane requirement by approximately 5°, which will reduce the maximum brake torque by about 2.1%. Racing vehicles not equipped with knock sensors can advance timing for increased torque.

Performance Properties of Coolants
Water +
Red Line 50% Glycol 70% Glycol
Increase in Cylinder
Head Temperature Baseline +45° +65°
Increase in Octane
(RON) Requirement Baseline +3.5 +5.0
Change in Spark Timing
for Trace Knock Baseline -5.2° -7.5°
Change in Torque Baseline -2.1% -3.1%

Red Line Water Wetter does not significantly increase the boiling point of water; however, increasing pressure will raise the boiling point. The boiling point of water treated with Red Line using a 15 psi cap is 250°F compared to 265°F at 15 psi for 50% glycol. Increasing the pressure by 50% to 23 psi will increase the boiling point of water to 265°F. Because of the doubling of the ability of the radiator to transfer heat, boilover using Red Line treated water is not a problem as long as the engine is circulating coolant through the head and the fan is circulating air. Sudden shutdown after very hard driving may cause boilover.

Red Line Water Wetter does not significantly reduce the freezing point of water. If the vehicle will see freezing temperatures, an antifreeze must be used. Water expands approximately 9% upon freezing which can cause severe engine damage. Even in summertime, the use of air-conditioning can blow freezing air through the heater and cause freezing of the heater core unless approximately 20% antifreeze is used.

Modern automotive engines now use aluminum for heads, radiators, water pump housings, and nearly all hose fittings. These engines require significantly greater corrosion protection than their cast iron counterparts of the past. Aluminum is such an electroactive metal that it requires an impenetrable corrosion inhibitor film to prevent rapid corrosion. Acid neutralization capability is very important. Coolant which has been left in a cooling system for several years has probably become acidic from the oxidation of the glycol to acids. Also, keeping the glycol concentration in the cooling system below 50% will help stability.

Red Line also provides excellent protection from cavitation erosion in the water pump and cylinder head. Localized boiling in the cylinder head forms vapor bubbles which collapse when they come in contact with cooler liquids. This collapse creates tremendous shock waves which removes the inhibitor film from the aluminum surface and can cause catastrophic erosion of the aluminum if the inhibitor does not reform the film quickly. Another problem created by cavitation erosion is the deposition of the removed aluminum as a salt with poor heat transfer properties in the lower temperature radiator tubes. Red Line prevents this corrosion through effective film formation and smaller vapor bubble formation, which has a less violent collapse. Foam control is equally important since entrained air will cause cavitation erosion due to the collapse of foam bubbles. Red Line provides excellent control of foam with water alone and glycol solutions.

Most coolants additives on the market provide only protection for iron and perhaps moderate protection for aluminum. The milky soluble oil types can actually impede heat transfer by wetting the metal surface with oil and this oil can swell and soften rubber coolant hoses. Table 3 shows the many tests which the Red Line formula will satisfy and how it compares to a standard antifreeze.

Red Line Water Wetter does not alter the frictional property of tire rubber and water on a pavement surface. The chart below shows the static and dynamic friction of pavement wetted with different coolant types. Higher friction indicates less slipperiness. The dynamic friction indicates the increase in slipping which occurs after the tire begins to break loose. Water and water with Water Wetter reduce the friction relative to dry pavement about 50%, but it is much less than the reduction in friction caused by ethylene glycol and even more slippery is propylene glycol.

One 12 ounce bottle treats 12- 16 quarts of water or a 50% ethylene or propylene glycol solution. In smaller cooling systems, use 4 - 5 caps per quart. Add directly through the cooling system fill cap into the radiator or into the overflow tank. Do not open a cooling system while hot. For best protection for aluminum, replenish or replace every 15,000 miles. The anti-scaling ingredients in Red Line Water Wetter allow its use with ordinary tap water. However, using with distilled or deionized water will accomplish some scale removal in the cylinder head area. For maximum temperature reductions use the most water and the least antifreeze possible to prevent freezing in your climate. Even in summertime the use of air-conditioning can blow freezing air through the heater and cause freezing of the heater core unless approximately 20% antifreeze is used. Red Line Water Wetter is available in 12 ounce containers.


10,727 Posts
Smoke...If you have an aluminum radiator, corrosion isn't much of an issue for you anyway...most corrosion is galvanic due to the rad being copper, and the motor being alumnimum...

Last summer I saw a C5 that ran all water, and a small bottle of corrosion inhibitor...Didn't catch the brand name...but as long as your coolant is not going to freeze and you have sufficient corrosion protection, running damn near all water is the best way to cool...

10,727 Posts
I run 60/40 with two bottles of water wetter...If I lived back in Houston, I'd be running all water...with a corrosion inhibitor...

That Zerex looks bad ass...use only 10% by volume...the stock rad holds 3.22 gallons...You certaintly can't hurt anything by trying it...You probably need additional cooling down there with your huffer...Just be sure to get all of the old Glycol out...block drains, etc...

And fill the system under vacuum so you have no trapped air...and report how much cooler you run...water transfers twice as much heat as the glycol mix...

You mean Shenanigans
4,979 Posts
In my road race car I run DI water, one bottle of watter wetter and half a gallon of coolant. Seemd to stay plenty cool, but that's pretty much the only way I've driven it.

I've found a manual fan switch is ultimately the best way to control coolant temps. On bottom-breathing cars, it's the airflow through the radiator that keeps the temps down.

Schadenfreude Connoisseur
13,280 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gerald do you know how important it is to get all the glycol out of the car? The block is going to have water in it no matter what.

Stow-N-Go, Baby!
10,462 Posts
1) On the VCA website, I remember seeing several posts saying that water wetter did not appear to reduce their temps. I'd do a search.

2) I remember one very detailed post on Viper corrosion. May have been by the guy that has "-FGOR" (fluids geek of the realm) in his sig. He explained in detail what was best for long term engine protection.

3) Sean Roe makes a sacrificial anode. I seem to remember someone saying that it wasn't really necessary, but it was cheap enough to say "why not."

10,727 Posts
I use watter wetter, if for nothing else, corrosion inhibitor...

Smoke has an aluminum rad...substantially less corrosion than stock...

Smoke, you'll get most out with the block drains, and the lower rad hose...95%...then run a few weeks, and have the rad serviced again to ensure you get all the glycol out...
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