Engine Winterization Question - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-02-2011 Thread Starter
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Engine Winterization Question

Is it important to have the engine cooling water passages filled with antifreeze over the winter? Or is it OK to have the cooling system partially drained?
I have a 1981, 13 hp Volvo diesel. It is raw water cooled. Iím concerned that a partially drained system will promote internal corrosion. And I ask because if I use the raw water pump to winterize the engine and then remove the raw water pump impeller, much of the antifreeze drains out. I could first remove the thermostat and the impeller and use a pump to pump the antifreeze through the engine but that is more work and could possibly end up forcing water back into the exhaust.
Thanks, harbin2
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-03-2011
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Ok to drain

Here is what I do:
  1. Drain the water from the muffler
  2. Run motor and put the anti-freeze through raw water pump until you see good flow of it in the exhaust stream
  3. Shut off engine and drain muffler
  4. Crack open impeller pump and drain the anti-freeze

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post #3 of 19 Old 12-03-2011
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You can partially drain the antifreeze if you like, but I would use -100 deg, which can be partially dilluted and still protect. Some nooks and crannies might not fully displace the water. However, I would just leave it fully charged with anti-freeze.

I leave my impeller in all winter. It's good motivation to change it each spring.


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 12-03-2011 at 06:30 AM. Reason: Misunderstood question.
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-03-2011
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I agree with Minnewaska. That way you have antifreeze through the engine and muffler all winter. There are anti corrosion elements in the antifreeze which protect internal parts which would otherwise start corroding when exposed to air. Keep the impeller in and change impellers in the spring if desired.

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post #5 of 19 Old 12-03-2011
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You are wasting your time. Drain it completely.

Why, why, why?
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capnblu View Post
You are wasting your time. Drain it completely.
I fully drain fresh water lines by blowing them out. Some minute water does remain, but if more than I thought, it will cost me $20 in hose. Make that mistake with your engine and you could be buying a new one after cracking the block. For me, antifreeze let's me sleep.


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post #7 of 19 Old 12-04-2011
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Anti freeze does have anti corrosion additives and will help the engine over an extended time.
A few years back, a couple buddies of mine decided not to winterize their engines and instead, put a small heater in the boat to keep the engines from freezing.
When spring came and they fired up their engines for the first time, the exhaust water was so thick with rust and corrosion, it looked like mud coming out of the exhaust port.
After seeing that, I promised myself that I would ALWAYS use antifreeze when winterizing and never just drain the water or use an engine room heater.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-04-2011
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Use the drain plugs and drain the barrel and exhaust manifold completely. I would not trust the anti-freeze trick, as I can never be sure it's getting into the jacket(s). It will go through the exhaust OK, but it will only get into the jacket(s) if the thermostat is open, and it probably won't be.
Take the gearbox coolant line off and blow the remaining water out of the gearbox and the water pump.

I very nearly lost my MD17C about 5 years ago when it froze solid. All the core plugs blew out and saved nearly all. I have a wee crack in the aft barrel, and it weeps very slowly, perhaps one drip every 30 seconds when warm. I live with it.

Be careful.

Rockter.

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
Use the drain plugs and drain the barrel and exhaust manifold completely. I would not trust the anti-freeze trick, as I can never be sure it's getting into the jacket(s). It will go through the exhaust OK, but it will only get into the jacket(s) if the thermostat is open, and it probably won't be.
Take the gearbox coolant line off and blow the remaining water out of the gearbox and the water pump.


.
So take out the T-stat first and then you don't have to worry if it is opened or closed.
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harbin2 View Post
Is it important to have the engine cooling water passages filled with antifreeze over the winter?
Follow the instructions in your manual. My Vetus manual states as follows:

"To avoid corrosion the internal cooling system must be completely filled during lay up...[pour a litre anti-freeze in the filter and]let the engine run untill [sic] the anti-freeze has disappeared into the cooling system..."

Thus, Vetus recommends changing the coolant in the engine and filling the raw water portion of the heat exchanger with coolant, rather than leaving it empty after a flush.
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