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Unread 12-07-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
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Exclamation My car's frozen!!!

Got up this morning to drive the girlfriend to work and noticed that my water bottle inside the car was frozen.
Popped the hood and found the radiator and hoses to have the same fate.
I'd been running water in it all summer because of a leak. I finally bought some antifreeze yesterday but looks like I'm a day late.
It's a 69 Ford falcon and I'm kinda freaking out.

Any suggestions on how to thaw it? It doesn't seem that the radiator is frozen solid, but it looks like the hoses are.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #2
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Put a space heater blowing on it.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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HI

You're right, it might be too late.

To thaw the engine you need to get some heat circulating around the engine. If you can't just push it into a heated garage you will need to thaw it outside. Cover the hood and grill with heavy blankets, then, if you have some carpets, lay them over top too. If possible, have them drop down to the ground to seal off the engine from the cold surrounding air. Place a small heater under the engine. It may take a couple of hours until it's thawed. You will then need to drain as much of the water from the cooling system as possible and then run some 50/50 anti-freeze and water through it.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 01:09 PM   #4
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Well. Let's try it.
I just put every blanket I own covering the hood, front end, and wheel wells. I've got pillows stuffed under the car at rear of the engine compartment. Folding tables all around and thick foam under the front end.

Naturally this is one of the windiest days to try this. but I've got a little bathroom heater goin on high.

I'll head back out in 2 hours and hope it works.

If I try to start it and the water pump is still iced up. how much damage are we talkin?
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Unread 12-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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I wouldn't leave it un-attended. Even though the chance is very slight, you don't want a fire under the hood from blankets/pillows.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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I peak out the window every few minutes. The heater's about a foot away from the nearest piece of blanket.

I just hope it works.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 01:55 PM   #7
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If there's ice in the water pump, there's three options:


1: Your water pump becomes a slushy maker and survives....for now. But you'll damage the blades of the impellor itself, it may not work as well as it should, and you'll severely shorten the bearing life.
2: The ice has penetrated the bearings and rendered the water pump fubar. Starting it will only destroy it further.
3: The ice is so well frozen to the impellor that it's locked it in place. You'll likely slip the belts.


Personally, I'd be more worried about the engine itself. Freezing water inside the block can crack cylinder heads, crush the cylinders themselves, and burst through water jackets. When it thaws, the water pisses everywhere it's not wanted. Freeze plugs do tend to prevent that, giving the water room to expand as they pop out, do you know if they did their job?
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Unread 12-07-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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I didn't even look at the freeze plugs. I'm not gonna take those blankets off for a while.

I'm guessing at the very least my minor head gasket problem got alot worse.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 02:15 PM   #9
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I'd check them as soon as it thaws. IF they all popped out, you shouldn't have to worry about it internally. If they're still in there, either you got really damn lucky and it all expanded out the lower rad hose, or it cracked some things in there.
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Unread 12-07-2009, 02:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gremson View Post
I didn't even look at the freeze plugs.
When the engine thaws, if the block is cracked, or the freeze plugs are popped, you will likely have water trickling down.

Once you get it defrosted, check the coolant level. I'd not put anti-freeze in it straight away, just get it running first to ascertain that all is still good. Watch for leaks and overheating while it's warming up. If the water pump is gone then it will overheat fairly quickly. Check the heater hoses for warming up right after starting. these get warm first if their is circulation. If it's been running a few minutes and the hoses are not getting warm the water pump is not pumping.

After you've warmed it up drain it and refill with anti-freeze mix. No sense in going further if it's done in.
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