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?
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.
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.
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?
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...
On Thu, 15 Dec 2005 21:47:31 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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