don't let the motor freeze.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-15-2019 Thread Starter
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don't let the motor freeze....

A lesson, a simple one, but don't learn it the way I did.
When you have a raw-water-cooled engine like the (cast-iron) Volvo MD17C that you normally kept in salt-water and then moved to freshwater, do not make the assumption that the motor will not freeze when full of freshwater just like it didn't freeze when in salt water.
Canals have freshwater.
Mine froze in a sustained cold spell - not cold in USA terms, but cold for the UK.
When I arrived back after things had warmed up again, all of the freeze plugs had blown.
I tapped them all back and they held, but one modest cylinder crack remained to remind me.
It was stable for more than a decade but now has decided to leak more aggressively.
I will fix it.
.
Be warned though.
Drain a raw water engine at the first of the autumn frosts.
Some say put anti-freeze in there, but the coolant entry ports (4 of them per cylinder) look too small to me, so i drain the 3 cylinders.
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-15-2019
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Most of us just take the hose off the through hull and stick it in a jug or bucket of AF and run the engine till it comes out the exhaust. If you're in the water you have to use the nontoxic kind. Been doing it that way here in Michigan 30 years and never had a freeze up.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

Capt :

Even if I take the thermostat out, I cannot be sure that the AF is getting in to the gap between the cylinder and cylinder liner.
Within seconds, the AF will be coming out of the exhaust, but how much is diffusing in to the aforesaid gap.
The coolant entry points are rather small.

I can only be certain if I drain the whole system - then it can't freeze.
Then it can't freeze.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

Keeping vessel in the water without some kind of heat can allow the thru hull to freeze. Water outside at that depth is relatively warm compared to the temp inside the hull. Flushing AF down sink/head /engine and shutting valve midflow should trap some on both sides of unit.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

Good thinking there Len.
I will pour a little AF down the sink against a closed seacock.
Also the head.
It rarely gets too cold here in Scotland, but it is apparent that even a brief visit to the freezer can crack a motor block.
I have seen air temperatures of -11 C, 12 F.
Trapped ice takes no prisoners at that temperature.
I am reminded that it wishes to expand by about +9% when it freezes, and that it is very stiff indeed (moderate bulk modulus), and that there is no way a (cast iron) container can compete with it.
The cast iron can take a little deformation, but if it tries to compete, it gets overwhelmed.
2 out of 3 of mine managed to survive it.
One nearly did.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

-11 C is November weather here (Central/East Canada) Full size trucks are driving on the canals by December, ice fishing huts don't get hauled off the ice (by trucks and SUVs )until Mid March.

Agree with all advice above I think. Currently have an outboard, but on previous inboards, remove seawater intake hose from closed seacock. Pump a couple of gallons of -50c antifreeze through system until spitting out the exhaust. I use the pink RV food safe stuff.

Then take out drain plugs if necessary.

Think the antifreeze displaces water in low lying areas that don't drain easily.

That method has always worked for me so far.

Last edited by Arcb; 01-16-2019 at 05:10 PM.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

Arch, what's the SG of AF? Out here in the good land it doesn't freeze so often but when it does it catches the unaware by surprise. As a yout I specialized in auto engine swop or oatmeal down the rad ;whatever it took.Drove some pretty good looking cars got cheap. Just so much better to understand the gravity of the physics and preempt the damage.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

I am not sure what the specific gravity is. It's -50 celcius rv antifreeze.

We rarely get less than about -25 Or -30 here, so it's cold, but not crazy cold.

Here is a pic. The liquid is actually pink, but I have a blue tarp over my boat.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

Low and high point in any hose system will vary but AF is only bit heavier than water (1.04 to 1.07 or so) .Depending on a passive displacement of water in the low points will probably work most of the time. A straight down from sink will always get to the bottom to protect what it's supposed to. Hose usually handles the freezing ok, its the fittings what burst.
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Re: don't let the motor freeze....

As Arcb says, we of the frozen eastern Canadian lands are well used to dealing with cold weather. Iím actually a little surprised you saw such damage with only -11C temps. I suppose if it is sustained at that temperature you could see damage, but thatís not typically what we call a Ďhard freeze.í

Iíve always hauled my boats out for the winter, and always used the antifreeze route. Run it through until the exhaust spits out all the water. I test the outflow with a hydrometer to make sure whatís coming out is devoid of water.

After nearly two decades Iíve have had zero problems with the engine using this method. But I donít know your engine. Might be differentÖ

BTW, Iíve never (yet) had any freeze damage to my engine, but I have lost at least on pump due to poor winterizing. And Iíve seen engine blocks cracked by winter freeze. Itís not to be taken lightly.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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