Distilled/Demineralised water - rg
Hello Folks,

A recent premature failure of a radiator on my Citroen XM (3 yrs 35K) prompts me to consider using strictly only demineralised/distilled water for both replacement and top-up.

Does anyone know of a decent bulk source? I really do not want to buy bijou litre "battery top-up" bottles from Halfords at £££.

My Dad used to collect it in 40gal plastic drums from Castle Donington Power Station for BAC 1-11 aircraft operating out of EMA. A water-methanol mix boosted take-off power.

(Can't get any there anymore...)

Distilled/Demineralised water - martint123
I got a 25 liter 'barrel' from our local motor trade supplier.

But I do wonder why you had a problem if you included antifreeze with corrosion inhibitors. The only nasty in tap water that I can think of is lime and filling a rad is only a one shot - it's not like refilling a kettle and boiling it off, leaving the lime behind each time????.

Distilled/Demineralised water - Aprilia
I buy demineralised from a local factor in 5l can for about £2.50

Using tap water will deposit some limescale in the system, but shouldn't cause corrosion. Did you use the right amount of antifreeze.
Distilled/Demineralised water - Peter D
Yep the water is important but the anti freeze you use if more important than the water and use plenty of it. Regards Peter
Distilled/Demineralised water - rg

Just extreme measures as even a mix of decent A/F and water still does not seem to stop some French radiators and heater matrices from failing.

Maybe they are just victims of poor qualilty assurance.

Problems are well documented on other forums, but no-one seems to come up with an answer.

I would just find it easier to be a bit precious with the water than fork out for yet another radiator. The XM has two plus the heater.

Forte stop leak stuff stopped the leak on my radiator today. My Cit indie swears by it. It's "trade only" however, so I understand..

Distilled/Demineralised water - rg
Further to my last, yes, the XM is one-owner FSH with decent anti-freeze (unknown make - indie will know and has known Citroens since 1972....

Plus, with the rate of leaks and replacements, it's getting changed at around 12 month intervals or less!

(Strange - My Pug 405 radiator and matrix went to over 200K...)

Distilled/Demineralised water - Sooty Tailpipes
I use a Brita water filter jusg for the coolant and screewash. I never get a trace of any deposit in the kettle, so I asume it's pretty pure enough for these applications, but maybe not a battery!
Distilled/Demineralised water - M.M

Our local town car shop sells 5l for £2, about the same price as the trade 25l. Always use it on sensitive vehicles....ie Citroens. Get through a fair bit as it gets nicked for the iron as well!

Funnily enough this year I've had two new OE Citroen rads fail, one at 11mths and one at 6mths. No problem getting FOC replacements but a pig to have to do the job again.

Distilled/Demineralised water - kennybase
Hi there

I\'m not sure if you have already managed to get any of the distilled water yet, but have you got a university with a chemistry department nearby?

I work at Sussex Uni, and they have distilled water on tap running through the building, and anyone with a bottle can just go in and fill up. If possible it may be worthwile just popping down there and asking someone if you could just have a containers worth.
Distilled/Demineralised water - CMark {P}
in West Africa I couldn't buy distilled water anywhere so I used to collect the condensate from our new domestic air-conditioners in a mineral water bottle. The problem was that the air was so dry during the 6-month hot season (when topping up batteries was most required) that no condensate was produced!
Distilled/Demineralised water - terryb
Sorry to hear about the XM - can't say I ever encountered this with any of my Cits.

If you're desperate you could always offer to defrost SWMBO's fridge and freezer and keep the thawed ice. Of course you may have to filter out the odd pea, bit of sweetcorn etc...:o)

Distilled/Demineralised water - rg
Hello Terry!

Thanks for the advice.

And thanks, all, for the kind suggestions.

Forte "Gloop" seems to have sorted the leak for now.

Has anyone got experience of their coolant conditioner?

Apart from that, the XM is superb and the 2.5 seems to have been designed with autobahn speeds in mind, both in respect of engine and suspension. It seems at it's most accomplished at motorway speeds (and occasionally autobahn speeds.(I imagine))

6-hour return trips to Edinburgh from Teesside along fast A-roads don't leave me whacked.

Plus I can get 750kgs in the back with no problems.

Citroen addiction has struck deep, I'm afraid.


Distilled/Demineralised water - PaulF
I've always used the water collected in a dehumidifier. We use it for drying wet washing over night(although not much point over the past summer!)
This water has been used in 3BXs a ZX and a Synergie.
Coincidence or not but I've never had a radiator/matrix problem with any of them - just make sure you change the coolant at the regular intervals ensure the system is thoroughly bled afterwards.
Distilled/Demineralised water - DL
I saw a Peugeot/Valeo TSB the other day detailing the use of a certain coolant additive in their systems to aleviate water erosion in the tubulators(??) in the heater matrixes.....

Will see if I can dig it out again
Distilled/Demineralised water - rg

A-ha! I suspected just such a problem. That would be very useful if you could dig it out.


Distilled/Demineralised water - v0n
Forget about distilled water. Every year in spring fill up your cooling system with 50:50 mix of tap water and cheapest vinegar and drive (with mix in the system) for a week. After that fully flush the cooling system (e.g. with garden hose). Vinegar will dissolve lime scale and most of calcium residues, the radiator, hoses and pump will be shiny and clean just like kettle after similar treatment.
Distilled/Demineralised water - Aprilia
LOL...Not on any car I own!
It certainly will dissolve deposits.... You are making a weak acetic acid mixture. Acidity roughly doubles for each 9 deg. C. rise in terperature (the Arrhenius Equation). You've certainly got a nice acid effect in a hot engine - watch that alloy dissolve!
Distilled/Demineralised water - v0n
Acidity roughly doubles for each 9 deg. C rise in terperature (the Arrhenius Equation). You've certainly got a nice acid effect in a hot engine - watch that alloy dissolve!

Alloy dissolve? Just how strong do you think diluted vinegar is? Even if you heat it up to 80-90 deg C it's still weaker than most of acid mixtures you can buy from car shops for the very purpose of flushing cooling systems?
Distilled/Demineralised water - doctorchris
Just drive up to Glagow and use the tap water there, softest water in the world could even be used in batteries at a pinch.
Distilled/Demineralised water - John F
I don't think the water has anything to do with radiator failure. Much more likely is a manufacturing weakness. I had a 1980 Fiesta fail after 2yrs 'bottom corner, is it, squire? - they all do that.'
My 1980 TR7 radiator and heater element are original [apart from recondition following stone-chip damage around 1986ish -primeval British road-repairing] as are all the hoses. [the water pump failed last year - bearing, not O rings - I saved and reused the coolant]

I work on the theory that using Bluecol antifreeze at 50/50 and NEVER CHANGING IT means that when what little oxygen in the water has done its damage, there will be no more corrosion. This policy has served me well in all my cars, three of which have gone to around 150,000 and beyond before disposal with no incontinence or head problems. Simple inorganic chemicals do not 'wear out' or 'go off'.

If it works, don't mend it!
Distilled/Demineralised water - eMBe {P}
Although I would agree with John F's general philosophy [ "don't fix it if ain't broke" ], in the case of antifreeze I would personally change it at least once every 5 years. I will requote my reply from another thread:

Check out HJ's FAQs - Q33 tells you all you need to know.

Note: Aprilia is someone who HJ trusts enough to use on his FAQs.

Ask Honest John

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