Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Two floating balls makes me happy (ish)....

I blogged a few days ago about my levels of concentration - not at work but in my engine cooling system.

Having identified I was lacking concentration and therefore exposing my engine to the possibility of a cracked block = fubarr'd engine I visitied my boat to add some much needed protection.

The weather forecasters had been raising the stakes with comments of -6 and add a fair few extra degrees if you are out in the countryside. I had calculated my protection was around -6 or just a bit below so action was needed.

The forecast was snow and as arrived at Fradley it started to snow as forecast. Any other time it would have been magical, light the fire kick back and watch nature at its cruelest. Problem was I'd come to do a job and it was an outside job(ish). It's times like this I'm pleased we have a semi trad with good covers as it means I can work in the engine hole with protection from the elements - in this case snow !

This is how it looked when I arrived.

I'd sought advice on the best way to get the antifreeze into the system from I did not want to do a complete flush as I did not have the time or inclination due to the weather, promising myself to do it fully in the summer I took off the top hose to the skin tank and dropped a fair bit of water into my bucket and then using a small suction pump drew out more water from the top of the skin tank. I then took off the bottom hose where it went into the engine and dropped some more water into my bucket. I was then able to back fill the tank via the hose - 5 litres of Halfords antifreeze went in. I then topped up the hose until water came back out of the top pipe on the skin tank. I finished by back filling the top hose and then pushing this back onto the top pipe of the skin tank. I finished by running the engine to clear any air locks.

The engine ran up to temp and I got two floating balls on my Halfords tester (I only got one before) Not the full three but knowing I had dropped in 5 litres of antifreeze and doubled the protection made me feel better about leaving my boat in what was being reported as possibly the coldest winter in 100 years !!

I checked the antifreeze in the central heating header tank and this was at the same two ball level (and was ice free when checked) so I am a lot more relaxed now.

I did check the other pipes and noticed some wear on the central heating pipe that runs across the engine so this will need attention soon. Its plastic 15mm so should be an easy replacement.

Top tip to check such pipes as my breakdown in Stone was due to a pipe running on the engine and being slowly worn into by the engine heat/vibration.

Bar the cold I quite enjoyed fiddling with my engine!

I dropped some rubbish off at the service block before leaving and took a couple of pics of a snowy Fradley Junction.


Oh - and I fed the ducks as it must be a grim old time for them - based on how close they came to me (on the bank) they must have been hungry.


nb piston broke said...

Glad you had second thoughts and fixed the problem sooner rather than later. From your description you might just as well have emptied the system and refilled it with a 30-50% and you wouldnt have had to do it for another 3 years. But anyway well done bet you really had fun in the cold.
Regards Paul

Nev Wells said...


I would have like to but limited time, very cold weather and also a limited amount of water to flush the system with and then top up made me opt for the easy fix.

It has given me the confidence to do a full job in the spring/summer when I'll do the oil and filters.