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Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:07pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Tony, Can you give me advice on the best way to replace antifreeze/water mix in my engine cooling system (skin tanks), taking into account any environmental issues. Is this something I can undertake or is it best left to the experts? I know the mix ratio is ok, however it has been in the system for 3 years and so any anticorrosive properties will probably have expired. Thanks Duncan

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:34pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Dear Duncan, Antifreeze is supposed to be disposed of in the correct manner. I believe it may be classes as a hazardous substance. However, having said that when I asked at my local council recycling centre for antifreeze disposal the staff were not able to be much help, so goodness knows where that leaves ordinary boaters. If you are in a marina with a workshop they should have proper disposal arrangements as may your local garage. As long as you can sort out the disposal (it will not hurt you as long as you do not drink it)and know how to refill your particular cooling system and bleed any air from it it's a fairly simple job. Twin skin tanks may present a draining problem but not if they have been properly constructed and fitted. If either do not have a low hose connection through which you can drain the tank then there should be a drain plug - possibly in any pipe that may be linking the two tanks but I can not know without seeing the boat. Tony Brooks

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Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:19pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Tony, Thanks I will make enquiries at my marina, as they have comprehensive workshop facilities. From your reply I am assuming that if fitted correctly I should be able to drain by gravity and not have to pump the cooling from the system, is that correct? Thanks again Duncan

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:25pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Yes, on a single skin tank boat you take the lower connection off the tank or (more likely) take the engine end of that hose of and push the whole hose into the bilge. Then, if it has one drain the engine block via the drain plug or tap. In realty ignoring the last step will probably be fine. Refill with at least a 30% mixture but I would advise a 50% mixture so you can top up with water without over-diluting the antifreeze. TB

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Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:19am

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Tony, Apologies for my ignorance, but having drained the antifreeze water mixture into the bilge how do I dispose of it? Do I now need a pump of some sort to move it from the bilge into a container, to enable it to be disposed correctly? Duncan

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:24am

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Most narrowboats are fitted with an electric bilge pump. I would use this. Either disconnect the outlet hose from the hull fitting or fit another length of hose to the pump outlet and use that to get the bulk of the liquid out. It is perfectly safe to sponge the remaining liquid out - just do not suck your fingers while doing it!

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Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:09pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Tony, Thanks, one last (I hope) question. Can you buy testers that measure the actual concentration of antifreeze/water mix, as all the one's I have seen advertised, only measure the temperature at which the mixture will freeze. Are they one and the same? Duncan

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:32am

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Yes, you can but they will cost being commercial ones. However if you make sure the tester has 6 balls or disks in it each is worth about 10% TB

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Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:17pm

Post Subject: Replacing Antifreeze mix in skin tank

Tony, Thanks, I have located a tester as you suggest, and come early spring I will attack the job. Duncan

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