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Barquito
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This cold snap has caught me with my Atomic 4 pants down. Couldn't get out to the boat to winterize b/f the water froze in muffler. Is there any safe way to heat the engine compartment while I am away overnight. I don't want to return to the yard to find the boat all blowed up!
 

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The area is closed in. One suggestion is to stuff a few 100 watt light bulbs into the compartment, and run them 24 hours a day. I also assume you are out of the water and the temperature isn't going too much below freezing, and only for a short period of time.
 

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This cold snap has caught me with my Atomic 4 pants down. Couldn't get out to the boat to winterize b/f the water froze in muffler. Is there any safe way to heat the engine compartment while I am away overnight. I don't want to return to the yard to find the boat all blowed up!
Assuming you have properly grounded shore power there are all kinds of small space heaters, without fans or flames, similar to base board heaters, or upright oil or coolant filled heaters. Not sure how much they draw? We have a baseboard heater, filled with coolant that can run on 500, 1,000, or 1,500 watts.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=oil+filled+heaters

Don't know how your boat is wired, but if it is not capable of those loads a good heavy grounded cord would probably be safe enough, assuming the shore power is protected with breakers or fuses.

Paul T
 

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Perhaps the safest heaters these days are the oil filled radiator type. I don't see why you couldn't run one on a properly sized extension cord without even bothering with the ship's internal power.
 
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Perhaps the safest heaters these days are the oil filled radiator type. I don't see why you couldn't run one on a properly sized extension cord without even bothering with the ship's internal power.
I don't think even those are safe in an engine compartment with a gasoline engine. The issue is not so much fans, it's the thermostat. That can create a spark when it cuts in and out.
 

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use a heater with blow/fan and connect length or flexible heating duct. The heat set to low (500w) will warm the engine compartment while the heater is in the open away from the engine and gas. Used to use one like this to pre heat my airplane.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Remove the drain plug in the muffler, and hope for a warm spell.

It seems to me that if you haven't already damaged the muffler with the cold temps (+7º !) then it won't get damaged. If it has been damaged, you will already have to replace it. At least you aren't risking blowing up the boat, or burning down the marina with an electric appliance.

Move to Florida!
 

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I don't think even those are safe in an engine compartment with a gasoline engine. The issue is not so much fans, it's the thermostat. That can create a spark when it cuts in and out.
Interesting thought. Not sure if the new ones have a mechanical thermostat?
In any event the OP's insurance company, if he is insured, may have some input on the subject.

A portable GFCI, at the outlet side of the cord may offer some protection:

GFCI Protection | Blue Crest Electric LTD.

PaulT
 

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Barquito
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input guys. Opening drain plugs, even if frozen inside, should have been a no-brainer. It is supposed to stay above freezing for a couple days this weekend. See how it goes.
 

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If your muffler froze, wouldn't your block have froze also!? You can use an infrared heat lamp! No circuit cut in and out! Infrared penetrates, and warms, to the point of getting uncomfortable to hold on to after 5 min or so, but not to the point of can't touch. Why not just take a hose off and add isopropyl alcohol to it!?
 

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I don't want to return to the yard to find the boat all blowed up!
You are probably safe with whatever you do. An engine won't crack even if water in the block slushes or freezes over a few nights.

Depending on where you are, it is likely to get into the 40's this weekend. If you do anything to bring the temp in the inside of the boat up above ambient, you are not likely to have any damage.

But, get some anti-freeze into that engine as soon as you can.

We are (sound of my head shaking) beyond Indian Summer at this point!
 

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"you are not likely to have any damage." I would say the opposite. When water freezes, it expands the most in the first few degrees below the freezing point. So I suggest you start the next season believing there is a leak somewhere.
 

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Cracked the aft block in my old raw-water-cooled Volvo MD17C about a decade ago.
I let it freeze like a jolly silly boat owner would do.
I had moved from salt to fresh water and assumed that nothing would change, and plenty did.
All the core plugs blew out and I reckon they saved the motor from complete oblivion.
The block weeks about a drop every 30 seconds or so, and it is not worsening.
A lesson learned.
 

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This cold snap has caught me with my Atomic 4 pants down. Couldn't get out to the boat to winterize b/f the water froze in muffler. Is there any safe way to heat the engine compartment while I am away overnight. I don't want to return to the yard to find the boat all blowed up!
It is not the muffler you are worried about, it is the engine..... The muffler will always have room on top of the water for expansion and have less risk of damage than the engine. The engine block, not so much.... Seen enough engines with spit freeze plugs and block cracks to make you sick to your stomach.. If your engine holds 20 cups of water when it freeze the water now takes up the space of approx 22 cups.... This expansion can exert upwards of 100,000 PSI on the engine and componenets......

Get some AF into that engine ASAP.... A small Pelonis ceramic disc type heater strategically placed will thaw her out eventually...
 

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My buddy and I both froze our A4s last Fall. Long day and early business trip the next day is my excuse. Not sure what his excuse was. Anyhoo he blew 2 frost plugs while my exhaust manifold cracked. I thawed it out with a 100 watt trouble light but was very careful not to break the bulb. Then I filled the engine with antifreeze by hand cranking the engine. I inspected for any other leaks and checked the oil dipstick for water/antifreeze. None. In the spring I removed the manifold, ground it out then filled crack with JB weld (2 part epoxy). Put it back on, crossed fingers and started engine. I had no idea what to expect. I was lucky as was my buddy. No other leaks or cracks. Good luck
 

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After you stop kicking yourself you may be relieved to know that white pepper in the cooling system may give temporary relief to drips in the cast. Bigger drip ,cinnamon and on up to oatmeal for major indiscretions .Hard to apply in raw water cooled systems . Welding/brazing cracked cast used to be my forte Not too tricky.
 
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