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Old 20-02-2015, 08:13   #1
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Froze My Engine Last Night

I'm not too concerned since I have been planning on repowering this spring and wrote a check last week for a new one.

Anyway, it was awful cold last night and when I hit the engine this morning with the infrared thermometer it came back at 26 F and there were little chunks of ice floating in the water in the bilge pan.

For a moment I thought about hitting the start button curious to see if I could get it to turn over but decided against it since ultimately it doesn't matter and I didn't really have time to mess around with it.

Gets me wondering though, just exactly what are you supposed to do when you freeze your un-winterized engine?

Something tells me I might not be the only one who is wondering about this right about now.

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Old 20-02-2015, 09:00   #2
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

Inspect your sea water cooling system carefully for any cracks, bulges, split lines etc. Same thing with your exhaust system. Check the plate on your water pump for same.

If no damage is visible you should be okay. 26 really isn't all that cold, there's a good chance things are not frozen solid inside.

Hopefully you haven't done any damage at all.

A few weeks ago a tug at my marina froze their exhaust system (-25 c in fresh water). The damage was readily apparent to the naked eye, because the tug sank.

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Old 20-02-2015, 20:25   #3
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

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Gets me wondering though, just exactly what are you supposed to do when you freeze your un-winterized engine?
Let it thaw. When it thaws out you'll see water weeping and flowing out of cracks in the block and accessories and you can assess the damage.

Then you are probably supposed to scrap the engine.

Minor cracks in the cast iron can sometimes be repaired. It's specialized work. I've seen it done.
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Old 21-02-2015, 02:24   #4
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

I kind of doubt one night at 26 cracked his block. If it did it did, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it until you know it did.

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Old 21-02-2015, 04:23   #5
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

Antifreeze?

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Old 21-02-2015, 07:58   #6
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post

Gets me wondering though, just exactly what are you supposed to do when you freeze your un-winterized engine?
you already did it, wrote a check

but if you didn't winterize your engine you should expect this
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Old 21-02-2015, 08:11   #7
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

26F, you're probably OK. I doubt the salt water froze solid inside the block since the freezing temp of seawater is around 28F. Hopefully, you had the thermal mass of the block working for you. Wait till it thaws and let us know what happened.
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Old 21-02-2015, 08:26   #8
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

It depends on whether the engine is fresh or raw water cooled. If it's fresh water cooled and you have antifreeze running through the block (as you're supposed to) the engine should be fine but you should check the heat exchanger for cracks and leaks. If it was a real deep freeze, also the raw water pump, waterlift, exhaust elbow, and the hoses.

If the engine is raw water cooled and the temperature was really low, there is a possibility of damage to the block. Many car engines have sacrificial freeze plugs that are supposed to open up first if the coolant freezes. Marine engines might have something similar. I'm not sure if my old Bukh had freeze plugs.
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Old 21-02-2015, 08:32   #9
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

What the other Canadians have said . I really doubt if a measly -3C (~26F) would have any impact. Certainly not the block. Perhaps the heat exchange, but even that is unlikely unless there were already problems.

Actually, you're more likely to have problems with water pumps and plumbing than your engine. Probably still OK with that minor freeze, but I'd check any pumps, hoses and tanks for damage ... but warm things up first before trying them.

The answer to your question is: Don't. Don't freeze your unwinterized engine, or other boat bits. It's not hard to winterize things, or keep some sort of heat source on.
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Old 21-02-2015, 08:38   #10
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

do not like the sound of ice chuncks in the bilge, suggest might of got a little cooler
however as stated above alot depends whether you engine is raw or fresh water cooled,
might want to think about placing a heater on the boat
also if your boat has a water heater, might want to check that as well
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Old 21-02-2015, 09:00   #11
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

Just had a quick look and it is back to about 41 degrees. The engine is an old Universal 44hp with freshwater cooling. I'll have time for a closer look later.
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Old 21-02-2015, 09:08   #12
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

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Just had a quick look and it is back to about 41 degrees. The engine is an old Universal 44hp with freshwater cooling. I'll have time for a closer look later.
My engine. When you pull it, let's talk. I might take some parts off your hands.

At 26 degrees you should be fine. At that temp and for that duration you should be most concerned about hoses, seals, and connections. I sincerely doubt that there would be any internal damage in the exchanger or pump.
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Old 21-02-2015, 09:15   #13
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

You're welcome to anything that comes off of it. I'll let you know when it gets to that part. I want to try and pull it while I am at the dock before it goes to the yard so will be trying to strip as much as possible to reduce weight.

The stuff is all yours with the caveat that things could get ugly as to date it hasn't been the most cooperative engine to work on as far as seized bolts and whatnot goes.
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Old 21-02-2015, 09:31   #14
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

There is a great story of David Cowper returning to the Arctic were he left the wooden hulled lifeboat Mabel E Holland over winter. On his return he emptied the oil out of each engine and used his largest pan on the gas stove to heat up the oil before pouring it back into the engine and starting each in turn. Oh and a hungry Polarbear ripped up his liferaft whilst this was going on

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ross-86-88.jpg

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Old 21-02-2015, 09:51   #15
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Re: Froze My Engine Last Night

Sweet old ski doo.

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