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MG MGA - antifreeze now a problem?

A short article in the March issue of Classic & Sports Car cautions classic car owners on the use of newer antifreeze products. The problem was stated by the Chairman of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs. I don't know anything about this organization, but he seemed to speak with some authority on the subject. He states that if the antifreeze container is a "new long life formula", it might contain corrosion inhibitors incompatible with, "and likely to attack", silicone based hoses and seals, and it might be bad "should it come into contact with engine components". The article stated that these newer coolants often carry an orange, yellow, or pink dye. The recommendation was to stick with older inorganic additives as found in green or blue antifreeze mixes. Has anyone else heard of this potential problem? (and what next...?!)

G Goeppner

That seems unlikely, considering the wide use of silicon based sealants. Some coolants should not be used in systems containing aluminum (blocks, heads, etc) however.
Del Rawlins

The longlife coolants are designed to prevent corrosion in both iron and aluminium and are certainly compatible with silicon hoses and seals, which are used extensively on modern engines.

I would, however highly recommend a genuine OEM branded or approved product to ensure quality.

Sounds like this guy got it backwards?
Neil McGurk

So, how about the MG Owners Club ForLife antifreeze? Any thoughts on its suitability, particularly for a Twin Cam engine.
Bruce Mayo

If in any doubt, I would check with the MGOC the supplier of the antifreeze and its approval for use (previously by Rover for example for use in their engines). The point is that if it meets the requirements for more modern vehicles, it should be fine for our older cars including the twin cam!

Neil McGurk

Putting "OAT antifreeze problems" into Google comes up with lots of reported problems when using OAT in older engines. Of course, lots of these will be apocryphal, that's the way of the web, but there are some warnings from groups such as the American Radiator Manufacturers and repairers trade association that need to be given more weight.

Also, Bluecol 5 year antifreeze which is OAT is specifically labelled as "not suitable for classic cars". It doesn't say why.

I know personally of one case where after changing to an OAT antifreeze the sealing rings on a wet liner engine failed. It could have been coincidence but I don't think so.

There seems to be enough evidence to say that some makes of antifreeze using OAT can cause problems with engines with some types of silicone seals.

The Federation of British Historical Vehicle Clubs is an umbrella organisation mainly concerned with scrutinising new legislation that our dear leaders both in the UK and Europe keep foisting on us to see if it affects the old vehicle fraternity.
Malcolm Asquith

I use the stuff. You may recall that I have just had my thermostat housing leak problems (catalogued a couple of weeks ago on this BBS). Any connection? I doubt it, but that's how stories start I guess.

Steve Gyles


Read about "Organic Acid Technology"
Geoff Everitt

I generally live in the TD/TF discussion group. I tracked down information about the newer antifreeze products last fall. For a summary, please see:

You can see the full discussion thread by searching the TD/TF archives for the phrase "Coolant (again)".

Larry Shoer

A recent FBHVC newsletter referred to this and confirmed that they are doing more work on it. In the meantime they recommend sticking to the original blue antifreeze and avoiding the orange and green varieties.

Newsletter can be viewed at:

Malcolm Eades

This thread was discussed between 30/03/2010 and 01/04/2010

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This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.