Alcohol based winterizing antifreeze

AlswaggAlswagg Member Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭✭
This is an example why you never use alcohol based antifreeze in marine applications.  Aka RV antifreeze, the cheap stuff.   This is a sea water strainer that is stressed cracked , just waiting to collapse and fall apart     Many of these are under the water line and can create a huge leak 

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Comments

  • Liberty44140Liberty44140 Bay Village & Marblehead, OH.Member Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting on all the cracks! Ive heard that pretty much any anti freeze will turn those plastic bowls gray, but the cracks from alcohol are something else. 
    07' Cruisers 390 (Previous Rinker's: 06' 342EC & 01' 310FV)

  • AlswaggAlswagg Member Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭✭
    We see this often from owners who perform their own winterizing.   I normally see these in the spring but thought I would share this one we found this fall to alert others   
  • GrahamuGrahamu Lefroy, Lake Simcoe, ON, CDAMember Posts: 430 ✭✭✭
    Agree with @Alswagg, one year because of a supply issue a cheaper brand was used and come spring had to deal with a number of boats with corrosion on sink and shower fittings under warranty. Don't cheap out with antifreeze.
  • randy56randy56 Newburgh INMember Posts: 3,609 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've seen those sea water strainer that is stressed cracked. And had them crumble in my hand removing them. But never Knew the cause. Thanks
    Boat Name : 

  • Pat310Pat310 Port Washington Long Island NYMember Posts: 331 ✭✭✭
    Exactly what mine looked like when I got the boat. Figures it was cheap antifreeze. Seems everything PO did was as cheap as possible. Replaced them all. Thanks @Alswagg   great tip
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAMember Posts: 4,725 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I know that my ac strainer has those cracks in it. I wish I knew the size to replace it with. 
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA "Blue Ayes"
    Go Steelers!!!
  • goalie59goalie59 Port DoverMember Posts: 226 ✭✭
    I could be wrong but I think most of that stuff has propylene glycol in it with has some alcohol in it. might be best to drain the sight glass after running any form of antifreeze through. Thanks Al. 
  • davidbrooksdavidbrooks GermantownMember Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭
    @Alswagg is there a brand you recommend? With so many knock off brands out there and prices between $3.40 a gal to upwards of $24 a gal it's hard to determine a safe brand. The one I got was on the cheaper side. 14gallons still adds up though. They also don't list alcohol as an ingredient but do list propylene glycol.  The post got me thinking about corrosion in the ice maker tray, water faucets, screens etc.  In my case. The boat stays winterized for about 4 months. So it is just sitting and soaking in the stuff. 
    It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere!
  • davidbrooksdavidbrooks GermantownMember Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭
    I found the west marine brand specifically calls out using non recycled propylene and also putting in additives for rust and corrosion.
    It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere!
  • boatman37boatman37 Member Posts: 610 ✭✭✭
    I just winterized my AC today and after reading this the other day I pulled my filter cup off and dumped it after I was done. Then blew all the AF out of my water system with compressed air (25 psi). I have a fitting with a tire valve on it to add air into the system. This is how I used to do it but with this boat I started using the pink stuff
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXMember Posts: 948 ✭✭✭
    Because this is the first I’ve heard from this. Is the alcohol based RV antifreeze causing because of the alcohol, or is it freezing and cracking it?
  • AlswaggAlswagg Member Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The alcohol attacks the plastic bowls.   It say directly on the bowls, Do not use with alcohol. This is so common with DIY boaters.   Why use the cheap stuff?   A boat is a huge investment 
  • Liberty44140Liberty44140 Bay Village & Marblehead, OH.Member Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 12
    So I've just assumed that the RV/Marine -50  antifreeze that I've used for years for less than $3/gal was alcohol free as the ingredients are usually ethylene/glycol or propylene glycol and the bottle always says safe for plastics, metals and rubbers. Most of the cheap stuff, which I've used yearly for a decade, is ethylene or ethyl glycol which is ethanol. I just read the safety data sheet for the $2.70/gal menards stuff I bought and it is ethanol based.  All good right? Nope. Here is the thing -  ethylene/ethanol is alcohol so I have been using alcohol for a decade and most likely most of you have also. 

    When I bought my 342 the a/c bowl was gray like Al's pic, not crazed, but gray and my dad told me that was from antifreeze, so I bought a new clear one and every year after haul out I would dump the pink stuff out and wipe it dry. With no antifreeze in it all winter, it stayed nice and clear for years. 

    From what I can see, these cheap ethylene/ethanol (alcohol) antifreezes will not harm the more common plastics used on our boats which is polyethylene and polypropylene. All of those red and blue water lines and their fittings are polyethylene. But those clear bowls are most likely acrylic since they are clear and indeed alcohol will damage acrylic quickly.

    Al is right, for another $3 per gallon you might as well use the alcohol free stuff and be safe, from what I can see the cheapest alcohol free option is West Marine's -50 engine antifreeze for $6.50 a gallon. West's water system antifreeze for $4.50/gal does have alcohol in it as does most of the antifreezes I can find for under $5/gal. Menards has a $4/gal alcohol free pool antifreeze but good luck finding it in stock. 

    I blow out all of my water lines with air and I only use the pink for a/c units, sink drains, sump tank, and the holding tank, so I will probably still use the Menards ethanol based product that I bought, but my strainers are glass and not acrylic. 
    07' Cruisers 390 (Previous Rinker's: 06' 342EC & 01' 310FV)

  • GrahamuGrahamu Lefroy, Lake Simcoe, ON, CDAMember Posts: 430 ✭✭✭
    I use Mercruiser -50 for plumbing and -100 for engines and genset About 10 gallons in all. Yes i could buy cheaper stuff but is saving maybe $20 worth it, not to me. As Alswagg said "a boat is a huge investment".
  • YYZRCYYZRC Georgian BayMember Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 12
    Bay Port wants $10/gal for Merc AF. 

    I did all the plumbing, AC, shower sump and genny today. Took 12 gallons but I filled and then drained the water heater so lots of waste. 

    I made up this handy hose with the correct fittings to allow me to do the anchor washdown and the fresh water system without filling the fresh water tank with AF. Just stuck one end in the AF bottle and let the pump do the work. Worked great!


    Post edited by YYZRC on
    2008 350 EC on Georgian Bay
  • GrahamuGrahamu Lefroy, Lake Simcoe, ON, CDAMember Posts: 430 ✭✭✭
    Merc list price is $9.20 CDN. I never put antifreeze on the hot water tank, just drain it.
  • YYZRCYYZRC Georgian BayMember Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 12
    I need a new strainer for the AC. Almost 15 years old so nothing owed! Others are fine.  


    2008 350 EC on Georgian Bay
  • YYZRCYYZRC Georgian BayMember Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 12
    Grahamu said:
    Merc list price is $9.20 CDN. I never put antifreeze on the hot water tank, just drain it.
    How do you winterize the hot water taps? Bypass the tank? Maybe I will add a bypass next year, but it was really easy this year with my cheater hose. @aero3113 thank you for the genny tip, I just disconnected the intake at the strainer and sucked two gallons of AF in. Worked like a champ. 
    2008 350 EC on Georgian Bay
  • aero3113aero3113 Long Island, NYMember Posts: 7,252 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Glad to help @YYZRC . I use a hose connected to the pump and suck out of the jug also. When I remove the hose from the pump, I just stick it into the bilge and the tank drains out. Never had an issue with the little bit of water left in the tank. 
    2008 330EC
  • GrahamuGrahamu Lefroy, Lake Simcoe, ON, CDAMember Posts: 430 ✭✭✭
    @YYZRC my 342 FV has a hot water tank bypass built-in. On other boats disconnect the in and out hoses and join together. Then open hot and cold faucets until antifreeze comes out. Most hot water tanks have a drain valve open it and close after draining. When done turn off pump and re-connect hoses to tank. 
  • YYZRCYYZRC Georgian BayMember Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭✭
    @Grahamu could you post a pic of the bypass next season? Could be helpful. Thanks!
    2008 350 EC on Georgian Bay
  • GrahamuGrahamu Lefroy, Lake Simcoe, ON, CDAMember Posts: 430 ✭✭✭
    I'll be winterizing the plumbing systems this weekend, I'll post a pic.
  • boatman37boatman37 Member Posts: 610 ✭✭✭
    This year I drained the block and manifolds, removed my seawater pump cause I plan to replace the impeller this spring and have no drain plugs on the pump. Then pulled all hoses off the front of the engine and poured AF in them until they drained back out of the block to make sure I didn't have any blockages then left the engine empty. Blew AF through the AC unit but then pulled the sight bowl off and emptied it. Hooked the fresh water pump into a jug of AF and turned the pump on and sucked AF through all water lines then connected my fitting to my city water hookup and blew compressed air through all of my lines to blow the AF out and left them empty. I have a bypass on my hot water so nothing to do there. Poured AF in all of my drains and toilet.
  • rmrstlmormrstlmo Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭
    This is my first year of winterizing myself.  Thanks for the alcohol free AF tip Al.  I think I have the fresh water system figured out except for the ice maker.  What is the best / easiest way to winterize it?

    Ray

    2006 390

    Previous 2000 340

  • Liberty44140Liberty44140 Bay Village & Marblehead, OH.Member Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For the ice maker look for the valve just behind the grill at the bottom. You will see a larger 1/2" line going in and a smaller 3/8" line going out. Pull both off and run the antifreeze (or compressed air in my case) to the larger 1/2" line. Once that is clear/pink reinstall it on to the valve. Then on the 3/8" line use your mouth to blow air in to that line so that all water exits in to the ice maker tray and its just air in that smaller line. The water in the tray will eventually evaporate. Make sure to prop the door open for the winter.

    Make sure that antifreeze does not get in to the ice maker tray, it will delaminate the teflon coating on the tray and you will be drinking coating chips for years to come. There is a nasty pic of what happens somewhere on this site. It could be that is not an issue with alcohol free, I dont know, but its so easy to blow air from the valve to the tray that it doesnt matter, just blow air. 
    07' Cruisers 390 (Previous Rinker's: 06' 342EC & 01' 310FV)

  • AlswaggAlswagg Member Posts: 2,964 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It just irritated me earlier this fall when I saw a post about the inexpensive Menards RV antifreeze. Then a comment about how the dealer / stealer is over charging for non toxic marine antifreeze.     You get what you pay for.   
  • 69fastback69fastback Gunter, TXMember Posts: 948 ✭✭✭
    Alswagg said:
    The alcohol attacks the plastic bowls.   It say directly on the bowls, Do not use with alcohol. This is so common with DIY boaters.   Why use the cheap stuff?   A boat is a huge investment 
    Got it, and that makes sense. Sometimes it’s not necessarily looking for something cheaper, rather than just ignorance. I’m about to winterize, so I need to figure out what to put in this year. 
  • rmrstlmormrstlmo Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭
    I noticed this morning that the -50 West Marine AF that was $6.50 is now $7.59.  Still going to get the good stuff....  cheap insurance.

    Ray

    2006 390

    Previous 2000 340

  • Liberty44140Liberty44140 Bay Village & Marblehead, OH.Member Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭✭✭
    WOW West increased all of their antifreeze prices $1.50 - $2.00 per gal since yesterday. I just bought 15 gal of -60 for $7.99/gal, today it is $9.50. Glad I bought. 
    07' Cruisers 390 (Previous Rinker's: 06' 342EC & 01' 310FV)

  • RiverRat232RiverRat232 Member Posts: 585 ✭✭✭
    Alswagg said:
    It just irritated me earlier this fall when I saw a post about the inexpensive Menards RV antifreeze. Then a comment about how the dealer / stealer is over charging for non toxic marine antifreeze.     You get what you pay for.   
    I have the dealership do my winterizing and whatever it is they use it has an oily consistency. Do you know what it is?
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