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Old 11-16-2014, 12:28 AM   #1
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More on antifreeze

First time winterizing this boat -- and any boat I've owned this far north (near Philly). I bought a refractometer and got a few surprises today when I read the "antifreeze" values.

Issue #1: The reading on the starboard Lehman 135 coolant was about +15 F (port was about -20F). I drained some coolant from the block so I could add more AF but the level didn't fall much at the filler cap. Could the thermostat be holding the level constant? Any thoughts on how I can increase the AF concentration with the boat already on blocks? Not sure how I can circulate/mix anything I add without starting the engine.

Issue #2: the RV antifreeze I ran throughout the raw water systems of the engines, genny, AC and freshwater systems reads about +23 to +27F. I ran a LOT though these systems, waiting 30 seconds after seeing pink before shutting down the engines or pumps. I found after the fact that it's faux propylene glycol with a lot of alcohol in it, so I'm draining every system, strainer, heat exchanger and muffler I put this crap in and will blow the freshwater lines out. (I also brought some of the EG and "PG" mixtures home and put them in the freezer just to see what will happen.) live and learn, I guess.

Anyone who blows out their freshwater system with a compressor: do you hook up the air at the faucets? Any guidance on your technique would be appreciated.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:13 AM   #2
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Anyone who blows out their freshwater system with a compressor: do you hook up the air at the faucets?

The most common is after the FW pump, it is drained , or filled with the pink crap.

A compressor must run for an hour or so after the water looks >gone< to get the rest of the moisture , which will collect at a low point after the pump is secured..
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:44 AM   #3
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Thanks Fred.

Just checked the 3 samples I left overnight in the freezer on coldest setting. Engine coolant was still liquid. The RV AF I scooped out of the shower sump was a soft gel or slush, as was the "pure" RV AF out of the jug that I put in as a control. Neither had expanded which, I guess, is the "burst protection" they advertise. Now I just have to find out what the freezer temp is. Still going to blow it out today.

If anyone has advice on how to increase the AF concentration throughout an engine block while the boat is on the hard, I'm all ears.
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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If anyone has advice on how to increase the AF concentration throughout an engine block while the boat is on the hard, I'm all ears.
Take the raw water impeller out and fire up the enginewhile watching the temp gauge. It shouldn't over heat so fast that you cant get the coolant to circulate through the system for a few minutes. You could even remove the thermostat if you feel the need.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:00 AM   #5
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Anyone who blows out their freshwater system with a compressor: do you hook up the air at the faucets? Any guidance on your technique would be appreciated.

We attach our compressor to the shore water inlet. I made up a short length of hose with a garden hose fitting at one end (connect to the boat) and a screw fitting with barb on the other end (connect to the compressor hose).

This after draining the freshwater tanks and the water heater, and disconnecting the short line from the tanks to the filter/pump/accumulator system.

I usually run the compressor at just under the water inlet pressure regulators rating (35 psi, in our case) and open taps, first farthest to closest, second closest to farthest, third all taps. Since I don't have to standing there watching it very much, it's all relatively easy.

Once that's all done, I bump a few seconds worth of pink AF through the onboard freshwater filter/pump/accumulator. Happens some of that lands in the water heater, but that's easily drained (first) in Spring.

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Old 11-16-2014, 08:14 AM   #6
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That's what I needed, Chris. Many thanks. Stella's wintering in Delaware City, so I'm thinking our temps are similar.

Bill, thank you, too. I may try that today.

The starboard engine had been running a little hotter than port since I bought the boat--maybe 5-10 degrees at 1850 rpm--and would overheat after a few minutes at full throttle. I cleaned the heat exchanger and strainer and replaced a bad impeller, but it's still warmer than port. Now I'm wondering if weak AF concentration in the coolant is the cause.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:30 AM   #7
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If you just bought the boat, you would be better off replacing the engine coolant entirely than trying to analyze it. You don't know how old it is and there are other reasons to replace it on a regular basis. For the raw water portion, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

For blowing out the potable water system, connect the air source at the beginning of the system and be sure to open all the faucets so water can escape. Don't forget the transom shower if you have one.

Drain as much water as possible from the water tank and water heater tank. Empty the shower sump if you have one. Empty the holding tank as much as possible. Winterize the head(s) according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:38 AM   #8
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Agree on changing it out, Ron. Even though it looks very clean and fresh, finding that relatively weak concentration was surprising. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #9
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Now I'm wondering if weak AF concentration in the coolant is the cause.
No. Antifreeze is not as good a conductor of heat as water. So to low a concentration should not be an issue. You should clean out all your coolers. Then check the temps. with an IR gun. Some times one engine just wants to run a bit hotter than another. Or the electric gauges read high. If it doesn't want to over heat at high or better yet max rpm it's no big deal.
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Old 11-16-2014, 04:56 PM   #10
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I've heard differing opinions on using a compressor to blow the water out of the fresh water system. It's impossible to blow all the water out with a compressor and enough remaining water may collect at a low point to cause problems.

I emptied the freshwater tank, then disconnected the hose from the tank, put it in a bucket of pink stuff and ran the freshwater pump until pink stuff came out all the faucets, showers, ice maker line, etc. Before doing this I drained and by-passed the water heater.

No worries about not getting all the water out with a compressor.
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Old 11-16-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
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I've heard differing opinions on using a compressor to blow the water out of the fresh water system. It's impossible to blow all the water out with a compressor and enough remaining water may collect at a low point to cause problems.
Two things come into play, one- how cold does it normally get where you store the boat? Maine and North Carolina would be quite different.

Two, is your boat plumbed with hose or PEX or is it plumbed with copper or PVC. Hose and PEX can stand some light freezing while copper or PVC cannot.

It's tough to get the taste of the antifreeze out of a water system.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:18 AM   #12
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Two things come into play, one- how cold does it normally get where you store the boat? Maine and North Carolina would be quite different.

Two, is your boat plumbed with hose or PEX or is it plumbed with copper or PVC. Hose and PEX can stand some light freezing while copper or PVC cannot.

It's tough to get the taste of the antifreeze out of a water system.

Boat stored in mid Chesapeake. I'm planning on temps no lower than 0F.

Once you get a good freeze perhaps below 20 F it doesn't really matter how much colder it gets if your plumbing is not protected.

My plumbing is plastic but all plumbing is full of pink stuff.

I emptied the fresh water tank to a point where the supply hose connects to the bottom of the tank. There is perhaps 5-10 gal remaining in the 70 gal tank. I put no pink stuff in the tank, just in the plumbing hoses. We don't drink the water from the tank but since no pink stuff in the tank or hot water heater we shouldn't have a problem with smell or taste.

I also emptied the hot water heater but put no pink stuff in it. The small amount of remaining water in the fresh water tank and heater should have plenty of room to expand when it freezes.

That's my theory anyway.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:27 AM   #13
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My boat's on upper Delaware Bay. Mostly copper freshwater plumbing. After I added drained the water tanks as low as they'll go, I put a gallon of pink stuff in each. FW system was flushed heavily with pink stuff (as was the raw water systems for the mains and genny). But the high protection readings I got from the refractometer (up to +27F) I decided to drain and blow out all the pink stuff I could.

Now my major worry is the Naiad stabilizer system (see separate post). Hope I'm not over-thinking this.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:43 AM   #14
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The cheap pink stuff I got at WM is good to well below any temps I'm expecting. I don't know how the pink stuff works with a refractometer but the pink stuff does start to gel well above it's protection temp but does not expand.

A TF member posted some good info on this pink stuff about a month ago.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:02 AM   #15
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2 things...
The consensus seems that tanks, both fresh water and water heater are OK just draining. I have never had an issue or have ever heard of one. Makes rinsing out the system easier and eliminating small or taste.

The problem with pink stuff is while it is designed to slush up but not expand, it doesn't seem to tolerate dilution even a little. So be generous if you are having difficulty getting it into and through a system...you wan'the it to displace just about all the water.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:14 AM   #16
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2 things...
The consensus seems that tanks, both fresh water and water heater are OK just draining. I have never had an issue or have ever heard of one. Makes rinsing out the system easier and eliminating small or taste.

Thanks I'm really glad you posted that.

The problem with pink stuff is while it is designed to slush up but not expand, it doesn't seem to tolerate dilution even a little. So be generous if you are having difficulty getting it into and through a system...you wan'the it to displace just about all the water.
Very good warning
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