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Old 01-22-2014, 10:56 AM
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tockit tockit is offline
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Blown Freeze Plug

I went out to my boat the other night to make sure the light I had in the engine bay was still working and unfortunately, is wasn't.

To make matters worse, one of the freeze plugs on the driver's side was lying in the bilge.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have winterized it, but I live in North Carolina and the winters are normally fairly mild. Plus, I keep the boat in an enclosed garage. Now I'm kicking myself for being an idiot.

So far this year, we've had three or four nights in the teens, with a couple of nights down in the single digits.

I was wondering if anyone on here has had this happen to them? What are the chances of it "just" being a freeze plug? And lastly, how do I go about determining if other parts are cracked, etc?

Thanks
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:14 AM
cruiser cruiser is offline
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They are not really freeze plugs. They are plugs the engine mfr. puts in the hole after the sand casting process. Do they really pop out, sometimes. The pressure from water freezing pops them out. No way to really tell if you have a problem til you put it back in and run the engine. If you really want to safe guard the engine without winterizing, use two lights instead of one. Wire one direct and one on a dusk to dawn electric eye.( If the first bulb burns out the other will turn on automaticaly. I have seen this done and it works great. Make a box for the setup.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:45 AM
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JMLVMI JMLVMI is offline
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Bummer, I hope that everything is ok. I am in NC as well, and my boat is in an uninsulated warehouse. I "dry winterized", and even I am freaking out a little (probably unwarranted). This winter has been nuts.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:48 AM
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TresRiver205 TresRiver205 is offline
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Sorry to hear about that. My brother used to race antique cars. He had a rash of freeze plugs falling out (not properly installed during rebuild). If he lost one at the track he would stick in a Dorman Rubber Expansion Plug to keep running. If you can't reseat the old plug you could use one of them to lake test.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:49 AM
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barefoot barefoot is offline
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I'm going to be optimistic and say you'll be ok. I see a freeze plug popping as a sign it did its job. Like cruiser said, you won't know until you get the boat in the water if you've done any damage.

You'll able to pound the plug back in come spring. Crank it up and see if there are any leaks.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:54 AM
bsloop bsloop is online now
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Not usually good. As said, if a freeze plug pops its more like the turkey is done! (froze and broke) rather than blow off protection. Occasionally you get lucky however.......

Hard lesson likely. Light bulbs are not lay up protection. 1 or 10 light bulbs does no good in a power outage or if mysteriously cord gets unplugged, turned off, or fuse blows.
Drain at a minimum. Drain, AF, Drain is best.

I would run it on a hose, then under moderate load in the water. Check for leaks and look at the oil. Also check the trans fluid, freeze can damage the trans cooler as well. If all appears good, DRAIN. Check again every couple hours your first times out in the Spring.
Do it as soon as reasonably possible. I have a feeling there are going to be MANY stories like this. Get the repair process going as shops are going to be swamped in 2-3 months.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:13 PM
cruiser cruiser is offline
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I agree that light bulbs are only for trying to " Cheat ". We all take short cuts, if you want to protect the engine, winterize. From My experience i find that when i take a short cut it usually backfires. hope engine is ok.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:16 PM
MLA MLA is offline
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as noted above, the term "freeze plug" and its "there to pop out if the water freezes to prevent a cracked block" is inaccurate. They are casting holes. Ive seen more cracked blocks then popped plugs. Unfortunately, odds are the block froze and has cracked.

Have the plug re-installed and run the engine to see if there is an external leak, over heating and or water in the oil. Good luck.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:17 PM
MasterCraft 4 Ever MasterCraft 4 Ever is offline
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As a previous automotive mechanic and heavy diesel mechanic my suggestion is to never try to reuse an old freeze plug. They are cheap and the old one is cetainly distorted to some degree. It will fail you at the worst possible time. They usually are located in some horrible location that makes it almost impossible to get a straight shot at installing them. In fact buy a couple and you will have a spare in case it gets bent during installation. I always used a sealer on the edges of the plug and of course clean any rust or scale from the block. Hope it works out for you.
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  #10  
Old 01-22-2014, 12:18 PM
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mgs96ps mgs96ps is offline
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I have never done the light thing...but I always wrap my engine in heavy moving blankets under my dog house as a way of insulating it from the air temp in the garage. Of Course, I always drain as a minimum.
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