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Another winterization question


Nando
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When winterizing my boats, I've always run antifreeze through AND drained everything. I used 2 gallons of antifreeze and all that came out when draining was antifreeze. This year, mainly because the block plugs on my 196 are so difficult to get at, I decided to fill everything with antifreeze and leave it. I used 4 gallons and did drain the water pump and manifolds, mainly because I wanted to make sure any scale came out (virtually none). What came out of the manifolds and water pump was pure antifreeze. Now I'm afraid of cracking my block. Will it be safe? Was 4 gallons adequate? Should I climb back in and drain the block?
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How much went into your block and how much went into the exhaust manifolds. There are a few different routings that marine raw water cooling can be piped.

 

However the general architecture on a boat is, raw water pump pushes water into thermostat housing, there is a bypass that goes to a J tube to the recirculation pump and the block. That pump pushes fluid through the block where it is restricted from exiting by the thermostat.

 

The rest of the fluid goes through the tubes from the housing to the manifolds and exits with the exhaust.

 

So when you want to push pink juice into the block you really need to make sure the block is either empty (drained first) or that the thermostat is open (engine hot) otherwise what can happen is that the raw water pump will push most of your antifreeze out into the manifolds and exhaust and there can be a "charge" of water that was held into the block by the thermostat. So that's your risk really is that if the thermostat was not open most of the juice gets bypassed. Where as if its drained first it will pull pure pink juice into the block.

 

If it is hot enough for the thermostat to open the engine only holds a few gallons of fluid and the return will initially get diluted and some pulled back through from the circulation pump. But as you continue to add new that improves.

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So I always understood that you needed the engine at operating temp before sucking the antifreeze through. If the block and manifolds have been drained before am I now correct in understanding that warming the engine up is not necessary? I've been draining the block and manifolds at the boat launch, sucking 1 gallon through the intake, fogging it, and then filling the manifolds and block from the top with a funnel. If I don't have to worry about heating the engine up as long as the block and manifolds were drained I'll go back to just sucking 5 gallons through the intake hose. Any suggestions appreciated.
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@WBLskier -your current protocol is good, but you probably have an empty block.

 

If you are going to pull AF from a bucket via a hose connected to the intake at the water strainer, yes you want it warmed up to ensure the thermostat is open and routing AF to the block. Make sure you rinse off the impeller after as the AF will cause it to swell.

 

I would not trust using the AF to force out the water as there will be mixing and churning in both the block and the manifolds - leaving you with an unknown dilution % of the AF.

 

What I do (after draining) is use the hose that sends water from the block to the exhaust manifold to pour the AF in (backwards) into the block.

 

You can verify it is hitting the block by leaving the drain plugs loose as you start to pour, you will find one side fills before the other.

 

Getting AF in the block is a good extra measure, but the most important step is fully draining the water out - regardless of how you get the AF in there.

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Boat was warmed up, pulled intake hose off water strainer and poured 4 gallons into intake hose while running engine at about 1500 RPM. I figure that with a warm engine if it was pure antifreeze coming out the exhaust, I’m good, but there’s this lingering doubt...
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@Nando - how cold does it get where you are?

 

In regards to “pure” AF coming the exhaust, how do you know that?

 

I sleep better at night knowing my block is safe, yes accessing the drain plugs on the block is a pain, but not nearly as painful as replacing the engine, unless you really wanted the 6L with Zero off anyways :smiley:

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This is how I have seen it done at the dealer:

 

1. Warm engine to full operating temperature using flush suction cup installed on raw water intake and connected to water source. Shut off and remove flush suction cup.

2. Drain block by removing drain plugs on both sides of engine (or opening automotive radiator drains, if installed on block).

3. Drain risers/manifolds by disconnecting the garden hose union from the riser/manifolds that is located at the back of the engine.

4. Remove circulating pump hose and allow excess water to drain.

5. Remove water hose to transmission cooler and allow excess water to drain. Use finger to ensure transmission cooler is free of debris and not retaining any water.

6. Drain heater by disconnecting the heater lines from the engine and blowing low pressure (max 10 psi) air through the disconnected heater lines (I have radiator flush tees on my heater hoses, so just need to remove those caps to drain and flush with air). Reconnect heater hoses (or close flush tees).

7. Open shower head and run shower pump to remove excess water from that system. Shut off shower pump when water no longer emerges.

8. Run engine for 10 seconds max to push any remaining water through pump and through engine.

9. After all drains no longer have water running, close drains and shower head.

10. Connect antifreeze source (7 gallons for engine, heater, shower) to flush suction cup, install flush suction cup to raw water intake, and start engine to draw in antifreeze with raw water pump.

11. Open shower head an run shower pump until antifreeze emerges. Shut off shower pump and close shower head.

12. Check exhaust for antifreeze to emerge. Turn off engine when antifreeze source is exhausted and ensure it does not run dry beyond the available antifreeze source.

13. Change oil and filter.

The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

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The most important step is 2a which is stick a screwdriver in the block drains a few times to make sure they are not clogged with rust flakes. When i winterized the inlaws lxi yesterday it happened again that one side acted empty and then gushed after the screwdriver treatment.
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@Drago thats the Medallion gauges pressure transducer not PP related. In those boats PP only gets speed from a paddlewheel. But yes if you still have a working medallion gauge system drain that and replace it with a short length of tubing then an aquarium filter so water doesnt destroy your box.
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@Jmoski- cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. In South Canada. My boat came from real Canada (though south of me) and has a thermostatic marine heater in the bilge that would prevent freezing, except there's no electricity where I store it. Ironically, the location of that heater is one of the reasons it's so difficult to get to the block plugs. I had also thought that keeping antifreeze in the block would help prevent corrosion, to some degree.
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@Nando - have you considered removing the heater since your not using it anyways? Or do you have power at the dock to let you run late in the Fall?

 

If it was my boat, I would drain the block to be 100% sure, especially given the prolonged cold your boat will be exposed to.

 

Out of curiousity, what was the freeze protection level (-50, -100) of the AF you put in? If you used the -100 F I’d say your good as that can be diluted and still give you enough protection.

 

Starbrite makes a -200 F AF with corrosion inhibitors- that might be the trick for you...

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@BMG73 I used to only drain and noticed large amounts of scale over the years. One year water did not drain from a manifold due to that scale me thinks and I got to replace a cracked manifold. Now I drain then fill with anti-freeze. Scale problem is pretty much nonexistent now.
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As @thager said, the engine block will scale if you don't refill with 50/50 mix of antifreeze. Plus, if you do, your boat is nearly ready to go come good weather. Hoses connected, plugs in.

Unless, like me now, you live in the south and only drain for brief periods.

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