Washer fluid as coolant? implications?

it's something I've just kind of wondered about for a very long time.. nearly a decade ago, I worked at a gas station.. we had no antifreeze, but lotsa washer fluid!
one day a guy strolls in from a truck aparently overheating in the street.. wanting 2 gal of washer fluid.. to pour in his radiator. I thought it was nuts, but I suppose he was in a pinch.. but I always wondered, would it really hurt anything?
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snipped-for-privacy@ifyouwantit.com says...

Washer fluid contains detergent, which will tend to foam a lot. Long term use would be a bad idea, as it would tend to dissolve internal metal in the engine. Probably will not conduct heat quite as well as glycol solution, and does not have the corrosion inhibitors common to modern antifreeze formulations. But in an emergency, just about any liquid with similar viscosity will work.
Used to be a farmer nearby had an old Farmall tractor with a cracked cylinder that he didn't want to spend any money on, so he put diesel fuel in for coolant. Didn't use it for heavy pulling, just putting around the farmyard moving wagons, scaping manure, etc. He used to joke that if it caught on fire he'd just drive it away from the buildings and let it burn. Worked fine for years.
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Alcohol is what they used to use before the 50's. It needed to be checked and replenished regularly and inhibitors were added. I remember it as blue too just like the washer fluid. You could do the same thing today in a pinch. PS> I don't think there is much detergent in the fluid. I can shake up a container here like crazy and there is no foam produced whatsoever. Rubber parts in the washer pump and lines are not damaged by it either. Corrosion from lack of inhibitors would be the main concern and damage with todays engines would happen soon.
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snipped-for-privacy@mcpmail.com says...

Then I must be doing something wrong. I use cheap washer fluids such as 20/20 and it foams so much when adding it to the reservoir I can't see the fluid level while it's being poured.
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In deed you may be getting cheap fluid. Detergent on your window is not the greatest thing to have either. Ever spray soapy water or blow bubbles as a kid? Think what that would look like when it atomized out of your washer nozzle. Yet it comes out as a firm spray with no bubbles. Guess why?
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A good friend of mine bought an '89 Cougar - one of the first with 22" wipers. It was in the dealer for all sorts of work to keep the wipers from chattering so much they wouldn't wipe. I think almost every part was replaced 2-3 times. Finally the shop foreman pulled my friend aside and suggested he add a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid to the wash fluid. As soon as it worked thru the lines the chatter stopped. One good squirt was really all it took and even worked in heavy rain. No bubbles, tho...
PoD

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I bet he just dumped it out and used the containers for water....thats what I would have done.
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On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 02:03:19 GMT, "Shoe Salesman"

Alcohol was used as antifreeze for MANY years - prior to "permanent antifreeze"
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On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 21:47:31 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

forgot to note - can NOT use alky in a pressurized system, and it DOES boil off. Not a good idea to use today as much better is available, but I'd use it in a pinch if necessary - keep engine from freezing up.
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Washer fluid is flammable when heated to engine temps.
Frank.

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Windshield washer fluid has a flash-point in the area of 100-140 degrees F. Anti-freeze has a flash point that is over 225 degrees F. The flame from washer fluid is almost invisible in daylight.
Frank

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