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Old 09-28-2009, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default Are you guys grounding your aluminium radiators?

To prevent galvanic corrosion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dynodragon View Post
The fellow at Absolute pointed out that there are instructions on the invoice. There is, in small print, 5 points, including a recommendation to install a ground strap on aluminum rads.

I recommended that they include a separate instruction sheet...
Koyo Rad leaking - MX-5 Miata Forum
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:32 PM   #2
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I think its cool how people make up stupid crap like this. It makes me want to ground my windsheild washer tank.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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I didn't ground mine. Never heard of this before.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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No sense this makes
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:36 PM   #5
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Hey ******* I ground my radiator, bite your tonque! Course I did it cause I ground my fan to the rad and the rad is a shitty ground (rubber mounted).
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:39 PM   #6
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im pretty sure my radiator is bolted to the frame....
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
im pretty sure my radiator is bolted to the frame....
yeah, via rubber grommet things...

galvanic corrosion is a possibility, but my koyo ate its own drain plug.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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on the bottom two mounts to hold it steady yeah. but it has two bracket bolted to the side and completely contacting the frame.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
on the bottom two mounts to hold it steady yeah. but it has two bracket bolted to the side and completely contacting the frame.
Mine too, but stock has rubber isolators at the top as well.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:01 PM   #10
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fine...then my IC is grounding it, lolz

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Old 09-28-2009, 06:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
on the bottom two mounts to hold it steady yeah. but it has two bracket bolted to the side and completely contacting the frame.
Same here on mine.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:11 PM   #12
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Betcha the radiator was filled with antifreeze plus tap water instead of antifreeze plus distilled water. The tap water down here will eat through the copper pipes in your house in the first ten to fifteen years. After that they replumb it with pvc.

Dissolved minerals in tap water = electrochemical reaction between dissimilar metals. That is as basic as the two plates stuck in a lemon making electricity. Anybody with a saltwater boat should have a story or two to tell about this phenomenon, too.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:23 PM   #13
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No sense this makes
you tell'em Yoda
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:32 PM   #14
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uhm, wouldn't grounding the radiator accelerate electrolysis?

take a voltmeter, open rad cap and hold the + lead in the coolant. put the - lead to ground. report findings.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
uhm, wouldn't grounding the radiator accelerate electrolysis?

No, because it is the -difference- in current that causes corrosion.


In most cases, I think it is not a worry, but then again, I don't use water in my cooling systems.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
uhm, wouldn't grounding the radiator accelerate electrolysis?
I was just about to say the same thing. If two dissimilar metals are isolated from one another except by the electrolyte solution, then no current will circulate between them.

And yeah, pure distilled water, plus glycol, should be a pretty ****-poor electrolyte.

From the site linked to in the M.n posting:
In cases of electrolysis, a defective or missing ground on an electrical device causes the electricity to seek the path of least resistance whenever the component is energized. Sometimes the path of least resistance is a radiator or heater hose, or the radiator or heater core. As the current draw of the poorly grounded accessory increases, so does the destructiveness of electrolysis.
Ok, so first off, this presupposes that the heater core or radiator represent a path to ground. In the Miata (and most other modern automobiles) neither one of these are connected to ground in any way.

Skip Cannon correctly refutes this asinine idea by quoting the following:
Early on, when electrolysis first cropped up as a problem in cooling systems, many mechanics attempted to solve the problem by grounding the heater or radiator in order to "collect" any stray voltage and route it to battery ground. But mechanics soon discovered that grounding a heat exchanger to "collect" stray current merely accelerated the damage to the heat exchanger.
The thing is, with pretty much every modern automobile using an aluminum radiator these days, and a pretty large number of 'em still shipping with iron blocks, how many OEMs do you see attaching ground straps or hanging sacrificial zinc anodes inside the cooling system, or other such insanity?

And no, it isn't a conspiracy to force everyone to buy new radiators.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fahrvergnugen View Post
No, because it is the -difference- in current that causes corrosion.
There's no such thing as a "difference" in current. You can have a difference in voltage potential, and if two members with different potentials are connected via a conductive path (such as a ground strap), then you will have current flow.

Think about a simple battery. You have two plates of different material, bathed in electrolyte. Between the two plates there is a difference in voltage potential, but no current flows. It's not until you attach a load between the two plates that you get a flow of current.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post

Think about a simple battery. You have two plates of different material, bathed in electrolyte. Between the two plates there is a difference in voltage potential, but no current flows. It's not until you attach a load between the two plates that you get a flow of current.

That makes sense.


Then let me ask you this; why do you think Vanagons were so likely to corrode inbetween the cylinders and the heads (they are both aluminum)? A sacrificial anode did away with this problem. In that case, the engine is well-grounded, but those engines were expected to fail about every 80K miles, due to corrosion.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahrvergnugen View Post
That makes sense.


Then let me ask you this; why do you think Vanagons were so likely to corrode inbetween the cylinders and the heads (they are both aluminum)? A sacrificial anode did away with this problem. In that case, the engine is well-grounded, but those engines were expected to fail about every 80K miles, due to corrosion.
I'm going to say... because it's a volkswagen. And they probably used a coolant solution loaded with phosphates.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
I'm going to say... because it's a volkswagen.
That would explain what it is not fun to fix, not why it fails.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fahrvergnugen View Post
Then let me ask you this; why do you think Vanagons were so likely to corrode inbetween the cylinders and the heads (they are both aluminum)?
They died from shame.

Seriously though, I'm not intimately familiar with the wasserboxers, as I only ever owned Beetles.

Were the cylinders in fact the same material as the heads? The engine case itself was made from a high magnesium alloy, and I always assumed that the jugs were as well.

Of course, they've got steel liners in them, not sure if that's part of the equation. (Were the liners wet? I've never seen one removed.)

If I recall, the wassers did use head gaskets. Possible contributor?

Too many variables, and my knowledge of that particular engine is pretty limited. On the other hand, consider that those long studs, going all the way from the head, through the jugs and into the case, is electrically similar to a ground strap.
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