For many years, most coolant hose failures were thought to be caused by heat cracking, cold cracks or yarn failure leading to radiator leaks. More recently, automobile service technicians throughout the country have been baffled by the unexpected failures of radiator, heater and thermostat by-pass hoses in passenger vehicle with relatively low-mileage. These failures most often occurred with little or absolutely no sign of exterior deterioration of the hose.
After many years of testing, auto engineers have acknowledged the primary reason for failure is an electrochemical issue with the tube compound used in upper radiator and hoses.?This occurrence known as electrochemical degradation, or ECD occurs because the hose, liquid coolant, and the engine/radiator fittings form a galvanic cell.?Microcracks in the hose tube are caused by this chemical reaction and allow the hose reinforcement to weaken. High heat and flexing can accelerate the development of pinhole leaks and ruptures. Generally, upper hoses show more instance of degradation than do the lower hoses.
Contributing factors of this phenomenon vary. Engine hoses that are subjected to extended stop and go, engine idle or on-off conditions show premature and more severe electromechanical damage. Older vehicles typically show electormechanical attack in the bypass hose. They are aggravated by the extremely high temperatures in the smaller radius hose. Lastly, a loose radiator piece on the radiator core may lead to flexing of the core and further radiator tube failure.
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