Coolant in bilge - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-07-2009
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do you have a jug of antifreeze sitting out somewhere that could be the culprit?? or is this definitely coming from the engine????
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-07-2009
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Al, do you have a hot water heater that is tapped into the engine coolant system? If so, another poster mentioned the possibility that this could be the source of the leak. It bears investigation. I have never been so lucky as to have a leak cure itself.


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post #13 of 16 Old 05-07-2009
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I have red dot heaters that are attached to the cooling system in addition to the engine attached hot water heater, so there are lots of hoses and connections associated with this plumbing and any of them can leak. Plus these hoses sometimes lie against the bottom of the boat, and they can derteriorate there, and tend to be ignored.

So you need to see if there is more to your closed cooling system than just the heat exchanger and the water pump. Follow the hoses into the pump and out of the thermostat and see if there is more to your cooling system hiding in other parts of the boat.

In my case I had a leak that dripped when the engine is running were the hose went into the heater because of a size mismatch. (3/4" hose, 5/8" barb.) The slow coolant leak pooled above a fiberglass stringer, and when it rained, water that leaked through loose stanchions filled the pool and pushed the coolant into the bilge.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-07-2009
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Could it be your water system leaking and not an engine? It is quite possible that drinking water tank was winterized with safe albeit green colored antifreeze.
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-08-2009
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It does not sound like there is anything wrong at all. Were you there for the winterising process?

When an engine is winterised, antifreeze is run through the cooling system. The antifreeze is mixed with water - 50/50, 60/40, maybe even 70/30. The antifreeze that a lot of people use for diesels (and never for water systems) is GREEN. When it's mixed with water it is WATERY GREEN.

When the cooling lines are full of antifreeze, the impeller and the thermostat are removed for the winter and their covers are replaced. During this process, some of the WATERY GREEN solution falls into the pan under the engine.

When the engine's cooling system has been filled with antifreeze, a lot of people will the pour the remaining anti-freeze into the bilge, and pour some more into the engine pan.

This could be the watery green mixture used in the engine, or it could be a dilute of pink or orange antifreeze as well. The pink stuff is okay to use in potable water systems, the orange and green stuff (ethylene glycol based) are not.

I think your engine is fine and that your boat was winterised properly. Do the same thing next year.

Either you have to go down to the boat every 24 hours and keep the bilge BONE dry or you have to put a goodly layer of antifreeze into the bilge for the winter.

The one thing that you don't want to do is allow two or three inches of water to lie there and freeze and thaw and freeze and thaw the whole winter long.

It damages the boat.

Good Luck !

Last edited by Sailormann; 05-08-2009 at 12:35 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-08-2009
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Boon, try this. Disconnect the overflow hose from the coolant bottle, and stick it in a jug or something, so any fluid coming out of the overflow hose is contained.

Then take a good plastic bag and BAG THE OVERFLOW BOTTLE from the bottom. Fill the bottle with anything. Go away for a day and see if the fluid is seeping out some invisible pinhole or crack in the bottle.

Sometimes you get lucky and it is that simple--just a failed plastic with a pinhole so small you aren't seeing it.

If that doesn't work, you clean and dry and spread pads--or talc--under the engine, water pump, cooling lines, water heater, anything the coolant travels through. Come back the next day and look for the drips--or for where the talc has been washed away. A black light may help, the coolant may have a UV trace in it, If not, you can easily add one, the engine/auto shops sell it.
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