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Old 01-13-2009, 11:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation FROZEN RADIATOR need help quick

1989 toyota pickup, radiator frozen, what should i do, its about +6 out today.

i was thinking of heating it up by putting a heater in front, and using a hair dryer or something - open the rad drain plug, and just let it melt out, then replace with 50/50 coolant water mix.

any suggestions?

would there be ice inside the engine right now?

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Old 01-13-2009, 04:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You should be able use pretty much anything to warm the coolant although I would avoid an open flame. Yes, if the rad is frozen then the engine should be too. If it's really frozen solid rather than just slushy then you'll need to check for all sorts of leaks. Ice expands and can break seams and solder joints all over the rad. There should be freeze plugs in the engine block which may have popped loose as well. (That's why they're there, to give the ice a place to expand instead of cracking the block- not that they work 100%.) If ice is in the water pump you don't want to crank the engine. The heater core is a small rad so it could start leaking too. Hopefully you won't have any or all of these problems but don't just thaw it out, fill it up and take off because you may not get far. Best of luck, I'm not trying to freak you out but you need to know what to look for.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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so what should i do first?, just let the heater warm it up first?
i have this small block heater that gets really hot fast.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There's no where inside you can put it? A neighbor's/friends garage or something? The best bet would be to get it inside and heat it up over time. Then flush everything out, fill it up and look for leaks. If it is badly frozen I would expect issues.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've used heating pads - the kind you get at the drug store - to warm my engine. Be sure they're firmly pressed against whatever you want to warm. For the rad, you could wrap the pad & rad in a blanket. Yes, use your block heater - the heat will travel fairly evenly through the metal block and will melt the ice pretty effectively.

Yes, you might have leaks, but then again you may get away with it, depending first on how much antifreeze was in the coolant, and second on how cold it was last night.

As far as coolant mix - are you new to Calgary? Ask any mechanic or shop up there, they'll tell you you need to have more coolant than water if you want sufficient protection against the very low temps you'll experience. 65/35 or even 70/30 are safer bets up there in the frigid north. Be aware, though, that coolant doesn't transfer heat as well as water - not a problem when the weather is freezing, but in the summer you may have to thin it out a bit. Always use distilled water ONLY to mix with coolant - there's a lot in tap water that can cause an acidic condition to develop which will lead to corrosion.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just keep in mind that 70/30 is probably close to the limit. Read the directions. 100% antifreeze will freeze even in the milder weather here in Oklahoma. (Not as solid as 100% water but you definitely need a mix.)
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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if your radiator is frozen, so is your block... You can try to use the block heater, but they arent that powerful, so its gonna take a while. Also hopefully the freezing hasnt done other damage to the headgasket, freezeplugs, or other water jacket seals.

Never use 100% antifreeze, always 50/50 mix of water / glycol.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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well i just went through something like this with my friends 86 runner and it wasent frozen to the point that the block was frozen solid we let it sit insidee over night in s garage and change everything out in the morning. we took out the battery and put a space heater there and put a blanket over teh whole frint of the truck
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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These "freeze plugs" are not designed to keep the engne block from freezing and cracking, They are actually WELCH plugs. The purpose of the holes is in the manufacture of the casting. Imagine that there is a mould for the engine block. Then they put in a "core" (which is the opposite of a mould) that is made of compressed and bonded sand in the shape that forms the inner cavities of the moulded/cast product. In the case of an engine block, the core is what forms the areas known as the water jackets. Once the block (item) is cast, the Holes where welch plugs are eventually fitted, is where the core sand is removed from the internals of the casting, leaving behind the water jacket space. Then these holes are machined during the machining process and simple Welch Plugs are fitted.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The freeze plugs or welch plugs purpose is to be the weaker link in the sealed cooling system and sacrifice themselves to minimize the damage should the block freeze when the liquid expands. You may be lucky enough that the plugs 'give' prevented damage
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah, they arent actual freezeplugs, but they pop out quite easily when the block freezes
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Perhaps the reason they where dubbed and called (by most) freezeplugs...
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misha this pirate View Post
1989 toyota pickup, radiator frozen, what should i do, its about +6 out today.

i was thinking of heating it up by putting a heater in front, and using a hair dryer or something - open the rad drain plug, and just let it melt out, then replace with 50/50 coolant water mix.

any suggestions?

would there be ice inside the engine right now?
I have a 89 as well 3.0 and have never had a problem with it freezing or seezing up. the temp 45 mins ago was -6 started right up, i let it warm up for 5 mins or so, went for a 20 minute drive ran fine. I would say that replacing parts would be the way to go. radiator.hoses etc..could also be an engine problem.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Mine was subjected to -12celcius this winter, never had a problem!
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Calgary, being away from the moderating effect of the ocean and at over a thousand meters elevation, can get as cold as -35 to -40 or so, and a 50/50 mix will freeze at that temp. Running at least a 60/40 mix is a good precaution up in the frozen north. It gets a lot colder than -12C/+10F.

One winter in Quebec, a friend from the States had his Chevy truck radiator freeze solid at -30F, even though he had 50/50 in there. The problem is, as coolant gets old it gets tired, and doesn't provide the same level of protection as it did when fresh. Anyway, -30F is just about the limit for 50/50 under the best of circumstances.
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