Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Orland Park, IL
They are wrong in their statement about it being rusted. Corroded would be the correct answer if there is an issue with the aluminum radiator. There is always the possibility that they did not manufacture it correctly or it could be directly related to the use of distilled water. How long did the car sit before it was brought up to operating temperature once you added the anti-freeze and distilled water? What ratio did you use? How long does the car sit in between driving times?
Distilled or demineralized water should only be used if it is going to be mixed with at least a minimum of 35% coolant to 65% water ratio. The coolant is required to neutralize the aggressiveness of the mineral hungry water... Food for though.
Passive surface films must be created to properly protect the soft metals in the cooling system. The passivation process requires heat and flow in the system to effectively develop these surface films. If the car was run up to operating temperature once you added the coolant mix then there is less of a chance the distilled water would have an effect.
The key is to immediately run the vehicle once the radiator has been filled. Storing a new radiator with only water, particularly distilled, and anti-freeze may allow for bacterial growth and/ or corrosion of the untreated surfaces, both of which may result in leaks, or damage to the radiator. Using distilled water will increase the radiator's susceptibility to damage as distilled water is not electrochemically balanced; it is stripped of impurities and therefore ionically hungry, which will cause it to attack soft metals more aggressively.
It's been awhile since I messed with metallurgy issuesbut thought I would through in my .02. This is not to say that using distilled water caused the issue but something for everyone to research and think about. I'm in the process of looking at radiators now so I too would be interested in pics of the leaks and who the company is. Good luck, Jim
Do your own research, I'm just a work in progress