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Frozen Car Engine

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever had there care engine freeze before....It got down to -31F here and my car will not start. The engine block literally looks frozen. My ati-freeze was checked an supposed to be good to -45F. (My car is a 1990 Ford Mustang 5.0) Thanks

post #2 of 18
could be... If you didn't have the 50/50 ratio of water/anti-freeze it could freeze . Were the radiator hoses frozen solid?

Did it crank over??
marginal batteries can freeze too.
What weight oil is in it?
10-30 or 10-40 turns to serious goop at low temperatures

there are freeze out pugs on the engine block under the headers.
though I imagine the engine would crank even if the water pump were frozen.
post #3 of 18
If the engine turns over, your problem may be ice in the fuel line. Try using gas line de-icer.
post #4 of 18
The oil thickens seriously at temperatures below zero. Most modern engines call for 5W-30 oil. If yours has thicker oil in it you'll just have to wait for the engine block to warm up before starting it.

5W-30 means it's a multigrade oil; some of it is "5 weight," and remains liquid at very cold temperatures, and will circulate when you first turn the car on in cold weather. Once the engine had been running (warming up), a 5 weight oil becomes much too thin to provide real protection. That's when a 30 or 40 weight oil is useful. Hence, multi-grade oils.
post #5 of 18
If the coolant in your radiator was not sufficient to the low temperatures you experienced the coolant could freeze. Water expands when it freezes and could, in a sealed system, crack your engine block or a head. Fortunately all engines have freeze plugs - little brass things - that are pressed into the cooling jackets of the engine so that the freezing water has a place to go.

If you did freeze your coolant, it should have pushed a freeze plug out. You will have terminal coolant leakage once the car thaws out so get it replaced.

post #6 of 18
A few friends and myself experienced 30 below weather a couple of years ago while on a snowmobile trip. One friend had brought along a case of synthetic oil ( expensive as heck ) which he was convinced was better in colder weather. It wasn't. It had turned into a thick jelly from the cold while the regular oil, while thick, still flowed.
post #7 of 18

Bummer about the car freezing up on you. Hopefully it is something easy, like a frozen fuel line. With your anti-freeze checked to be good down to -45 it might be something much simpler and you'll just have to wait for a warmer day to try it again. Any chance you can push it into someone's garage to warm up?

Here's to hoping for an easy and cheap fix on the car. Let us know what happens.
post #8 of 18
You didn't say if it won't turn over or won't fire.
-31 is very hard on Mustangs. But, your antifreeze was checked to -45. I doubt that you have a problem there. Cold oil, cold battery will make a car not start. 1990 Mustang should be running oil that would be okay at these temperatures. They do get hard to crank still. Any weakness in the battery or starter will become a problem in this weather.

One thing to do is take a 150 watt or higher lamp out and stick it under the oil pan. Better yet one of those heat lamps if you have one. Don't be afraid to use a couple lamps with one under the hood somewhere. Best is a block heater, but you evidently don't have one of those. Park the car close to the house and out of the wind if possible. You can even throw a tarp over the front of the car that will reach the ground to seal out any wind. This assuming you got it started today.

We used to get down to -20 here quite often and I always drove old beaters. I know how to keep them warm enough to start.

Get some gas dryer/injector cleaner and stick in the tank like was mentioned earlier.
post #9 of 18
get an engine block heater and plug it into a long extention cord.

chances are that you didn't crack the engine. you'll find out when it gets above 32 F.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
hi guys

thanks for all the replies. right now it still hasn't got quite warm enough to tell anything. it is forcast to warm up above the freezin mark soon. when i try and crank the car it seems like it wants to crank then it just clicks...maybe the starter i'm not sure. i did not realize that the oil would get so thick in the cold.....where i'm orginally from it doesn't hardly freeze much less below zero and no one here had told me until after the fact. so i'll hopefully know in a day or so a prognoses thanks for the replies and i'll take any advice anyone might have thanks again

post #11 of 18
I'm assuming you've tried boosting the battery?
post #12 of 18
If you have access to a halogen work light put it under the oil pan and turn it on. To hold in the warmth you might try throwing an old throw rug over the block. Dont forget to remove it before starting. My truck has a built in block heater that I plug in every night. Works great.
post #13 of 18
Originally posted by ray4jc
hi guys

when i try and crank the car it seems like it wants to crank then it just clicks...maybe the starter i'm not sure.
That'll be the bettery most likely. Try jumping it or if it's a stick maybe you can roll it down a hill and pop start it. Either way, get the battery load tested at a garage, they shouldn't charge you anything at most independent shops, to see if it needs replacing.
post #14 of 18
If it's the battery the car won't drift start - it still needs a spark from somewhere. I tried for quite a while one day before I realized the battery was drained, and after pushing it so much, so was I.
post #15 of 18
where i'm orginally from it doesn't hardly freeze much less below zero
hmmm. Welcome to Wyoming. It's not Florida or Cali. But it is pretty.
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