Frozen gas lines?! What is there to do?


dudealex1
12-15-2008, 04:13 AM
Current temp in ND: -8... worse blizzard in a decade today but I made it out, drove for awhile, and realized my whole engine bay was filled with snow. After chipping what I could loose, I headed home for the night, and went out to start my car every hour or so as the temp is working its way (down) to the "high" of -17 for tomorrow.

Problem: I got out just now at 2:45am to let the engine run for a bit. I cranked the engine and it fired up to the normal 1300rpm and immediately died. Again and again, with gas it would jump to 1600rpm, and without, maybe 700rpm.

Okay, I just went back out to check for fuel pressure, and with the push of the valve's button... Nothing. A little aroma of gasoline, but otherwise no liquid. I'm assuming frozen gas lines sooo is there anything I can do to fix this soon? The temp won't be above 0 until Thursday, and I have to pick up a friend from the airport in Minneapolis Wednesday. Any creative ideas are welcome and appreciated. Let me know... Thanks!

maxwedge
12-15-2008, 11:14 AM
Assuming frozen, maybe, maybe not. If it is frozen only getting it indoors will help, or several bottles of Iso gas line anti freeze, or your fuel pump failed. If water and it is the fuel line Iso will not get there till it starts.

j cAT
12-15-2008, 05:12 PM
when spring weather arrives this will repair itself...

when it gets very below zero cold,you must keep the fuel tank above the 1/2 tank level and 2 bottles of dry gas.....

since its frozen get a blanket and cover the engine bay. place a drop light under the blanket with 60w lamp....block radiator with plastic sheet or scrap card board...after a few hours remove the blanket drop light and give it a go...

usually vehicle owners where you live have the 110volt hook up to keep battery warm/charged and the heater in the coolant hose...instant start instant heat...battery will last much longer and starter motor as well..

we got our problems here ice in the trees caused massive power outages, 4 days no power...but its 60deg f today...

Hapynzap
12-16-2008, 09:24 AM
I feel your pain. I am 250 miles east of you and it is -20*F outside as I type.

I might have to start putting some HEET in my tank too as a hedge.
The darn ethanol E-10 gas they make us burn seems to like water IMO.

HotZ28
12-16-2008, 03:52 PM
Darn cold here today too, we have 65.5 deg in Atlanta as I type. Forecast for tomorrow 67 deg & Thursday 72 deg. :evillol: :rofl:

BNaylor
12-16-2008, 08:22 PM
Darn cold here today too, we have 65.5 deg in Atlanta as I type. Forecast for tomorrow 67 deg & Thursday 72 deg. :evillol: :rofl:

Same here Bo in El Paso. 65 deg. However, last week we had lows of 20 which is unusual here even though it didn't last. Not being properly prepared for extreme winter weather is a bummer. It dawned on me that I still had summer windshield washer fluid since it froze on me. Upgraded to the winter 0 deg stuff. Just as anecdotal info we had some members living in Montana and the Dakotas report -30 to -40 deg lows including engines overheating due to the coolant being frozen or not circulating. Ouch!

Just as a reminder to all 50/50 mix ethylene glycol based coolant to include Dex-cool is only good for around -37 deg.

Rasp
12-16-2008, 08:36 PM
Hey you guys got nothing. We have -45 c with windchill. You don't walk were I'm from in the winter, you RUN.

j cAT
12-16-2008, 08:43 PM
where I live it can go to well below zero some years ..so I always run with 66% DEXCOOL...after many years never any problems...

some owners with leaks top off with pure antifreeze, if too much is added ,,, this will turn to slush at 20 below zero F...pure antifreeze is not good...,

Smith1000
12-16-2008, 09:40 PM
It was 62 degrees here (Kansas) Sunday morning. I was painting trim on the house. The clouds moved around and it dropped to 30 degrees in 30 minutes and then to 26. By morning it was 4 degrees. Had some snow today and it is a balmy 18 degrees with no wind.

Hapynzap
12-17-2008, 12:39 PM
It warmed up here to 5*f and let me tell you 25* makes a big difference.

Sad to report my window washer reservoir cracked on the 2002. Must not have been the strongest stuff in there.

Smith1000
12-17-2008, 07:36 PM
Too bad about the reservoir. I have 2 '97 Lesabres and last year (may have been the year before), both winshields cracked within 4 or 5 days of eachother. They were both just sitting in the driveway at the time and both had ice build-up. The cracks are remarkably similar, along the bottom quarter of the windshields. Seems like one can just sit around here and wait for stuff to break.

Blue Bowtie
12-17-2008, 10:31 PM
-42ºF mornings at out cottage in northern Wisconsin is a big reason I use Mobil 1 (10W30, of course). I've been caught in that more than once, and always started. Fortunately, it only gets to about -20ºF here "down south." After almost 50 years of that, you learn to prepare or pay the price.

polarzak
12-18-2008, 07:17 AM
-42ºF mornings at out cottage in northern Wisconsin is a big reason I use Mobil 1 (10W30, of course). I've been caught in that more than once, and always started. Fortunately, it only gets to about -20ºF here "down south." After almost 50 years of that, you learn to prepare or pay the price.

Have seen similar temps over the years. Darn cold!! If you vehicle can use it, 5W30 might be easier on your starter/engine. That is what I use, and like yourself, my cars always start.

Hapynzap
12-18-2008, 08:30 AM
-42ºF mornings at out cottage in northern Wisconsin is a big reason I use Mobil 1 (10W30, of course). I've been caught in that more than once, and always started. Fortunately, it only gets to about -20ºF here "down south." After almost 50 years of that, you learn to prepare or pay the price.

I'm in No. Wis too.
We have an outdoor wood boiler and I burn my used motor oil to help get the fire going at times. Even 5-30W oil pours like molasses when it is -20*F outside. that is a real eye opener for me knowing how hard that is on my engines. Good thing the daily driver gets to come inside every night to 50-60*F temps.

88redbuicklesabre
12-19-2008, 05:54 PM
Did not take long to get off the subject did it. My 88 with all my starter and battery problem the past few weeks was running in mid teens temperature when it apparently died for no reason as well. I was warming it up when it happened so was in the house and have no clue if it straved it self for fuel or a sensor crankshaft or camshaft went out and it just died. No codes in the computer and it cranks over just fine (better with a new starter and battery) but just does not fire. I too was thinking fuel line frozen even though it did warm up to 41 last weekend but the two days of that temp before the bottom fell out again may not have been enough to thaw it out. Yesterday I bought a tester for fuel but have to chip the 1/4 of ice off we got this morning to get the hood open (Ice sure weighs a lot). Any thoughts from the experts would be appreciated.

Rasp
12-19-2008, 10:37 PM
I'm no expert but I do know that if they put ethanol in your gas (Which in Canada they put a certain (I think 5%) percentage in all gas sold). Your lines should not freeze up. That includes when your tank is below 1/2 tank.

I thought the states had some ethanol requirements but it may differ from state to state.

Hapynzap
12-20-2008, 08:01 AM
Minnesota and Wisconsin is up to 10% ethanol. Fargo is on the border of MN so they probably get the E10 too. Minnesota wants to bump all gas to E20. No doubt there is a big farm lobby there. The Democrat, Farm and Labor party DFL will see to that IMO.

Blue Bowtie
12-21-2008, 01:17 PM
E-20 should be fine for 99% of vehicles on the road. Even though the alcohol helps absorb the moisture, there is still moisture in the system and it can freeze once temperatures drop to the -40º range.

I understand the point about 5W30, but 10W30 PAO synthetic will still pour/pump more easily than 5W-anything mineral oil. Halfway between Hayward and Prentice gets fairly chilly at times, and the old Astro cranks and fires easily no matter what our Mother throws at us. I've had a much harder time starting the old snowblower than the van, and it's on Mobil1 as well.

brainboy
12-23-2008, 12:19 PM
I believe my fuel lines froze as well. I'm in the Chicago area and it was -30 with the wind chill over the weekend and very windy. My car was parked on the street and I forgot to fill it up the night before.

I have 2 questions: I opened the hood, and there was snow inside. Apparently it was so windy that it somehow blew snow under my hood. Is this dangerous for my car?

2. Will I damage my car at all if I repeatedly try to start it with frozen fuel lines? I try to start it in the morning and at night, probably a couple times on each occasion.

Thanks!

HotZ28
12-23-2008, 04:25 PM
I believe my fuel lines froze as well. I'm in the Chicago area and it was -30 with the wind chill over the weekend and very windy. My car was parked on the street and I forgot to fill it up the night before.

I have 2 questions: I opened the hood, and there was snow inside. Apparently it was so windy that it somehow blew snow under my hood. Is this dangerous for my car?

2. Will I damage my car at all if I repeatedly try to start it with frozen fuel lines? I try to start it in the morning and at night, probably a couple times on each occasion.

Thanks!
Actual temperature is what you should be concerned with; “wind chill” has nothing to do with your car liquids, however, it will affect the cool down time. Ever notice how your car will cool down quicker on a windy day/night, then on a calm day/night? If the antifreeze in your car's radiator is good for 5 degrees and the temperature drops to 15, you don't have to worry, even if your car is out in a 20 + mph wind which may drop the wind chill to minus -15 degrees.

As long as the actual temperature is 15 degrees, the fluid in your car's radiator and engine block will not go below 15 degrees, no matter how hard the wind blows. You could leave the car's hood open and it would not make any difference! Snow is a good insulator; it is closer to 32 deg. The problem may arise when it melts under your hood and soaks the ignition electrical circuit. Actually, this would be no worse than washing your engine. The main thing is to keep the ignition system well maintained and use dielectric grease on all terminals to prevent water intrusion.

The only problem with continuously trying to start your car, (when it won't start) would be drain on the battery and wear & tear on the starter. Remember, it takes more amperage to turn over a cold engine, than it does a warm engine. :grinyes:

j cAT
12-26-2008, 09:45 AM
I'm no expert but I do know that if they put ethanol in your gas (Which in Canada they put a certain (I think 5%) percentage in all gas sold). Your lines should not freeze up. That includes when your tank is below 1/2 tank.

I thought the states had some ethanol requirements but it may differ from state to state.

the fuel moisture will increase if your tank is below 1/2 and the temps vary greatly...

my area it went from 0 deg f to 50deg f in 2 days..if your tank has a lot of air in it it will condensate....then this water falls to the bottom of the tank...as water puddles there...and if you have a metal tank rust starts to develop...if it drops again to zero or below you will have problems...

water could freeze in the fuel filter also...damaging it..

Rasp
12-26-2008, 06:34 PM
Well I think I'm somewhat in a special position geographically. Where I live the temperature is colder than what most of you have posted. The temperature here gets to -40 - -50 deg C range in the months of December to January. And I might add that doesn't always include windchill.

And although I'm not saying your wrong. And trust me I'm not.

I just want to point out that I have never had a gas line freeze since they have introduced ethanol to the gas.

I have had other issues. Block heater not working therefore cannot start because oil is thicker than molasis. Battery not charged enough to crank engine. But never ever have I had a frozen gas line.

I also park my car in the garage and my Truck outside. So my car gets a temp difference for possible condensation to develop ( can be quite a difference ). And my Truck gets the full blast of winter.

Anyhow not sure where I was going with that but might be interesting to some.

Blue Bowtie
12-27-2008, 09:26 AM
10% ethanol in the fuel would roughly equate to about 1½ gallons of ethanol, or the equivalent of 16 bottles of gas line anti-freeze. The ethanol in the fuel is far cheaper, and just as effective.

The old variety of DeMert's HEET was straight methanol, and that's about the worst choice for an alcohol flavor that you can use in a fuel system. It can be corrosive in the presence of water, which is just what you would be trying to "cure" with its use.

BNaylor
12-27-2008, 10:20 AM
The old variety of DeMert's HEET was straight methanol, and that's about the worst choice for an alcohol flavor that you can use in a fuel system. It can be corrosive in the presence of water, which is just what you would be trying to "cure" with its use.

:confused:

Then what is the composition of the latest version of Heet marketed by Golden Eagle? Still methyl alcohol last time I checked. The key to any gas line anti-freeze additive is proper mix and dilution. 12 oz per 10 gallons. The label on the back of the latest Heet yellow bottle says "removes water from fuel system" and "prevents rust and corrosion".

The only experience I've ever had with water or moisture in the gas supply system is from the gas station due to contaminated storage tanks or improper maintenance.

j cAT
12-27-2008, 10:30 AM
rasp where you live the temps stay cold and the air is extremely dry..when you place your vehicle in a heated space the interior air is even dryer...moisture would not be a problem....here...

but where I live this is a problem,and not just for vehicle tanks but even for the fuel tanks at the service stations...

today/tomorrow 45-65deg f with rain...humidity will approach 90%..this is the perfect setting for condensation...hopefully the temps will slowly drop to the lower 10's so that this won't cause problems...like stalling, poor idle, etc..

Rasp
12-27-2008, 11:52 AM
You are correct

It is a dry cold. So I really can't say what would happen in a wetter but cold climate.

frankiee
12-30-2008, 07:48 PM
I use Methyl Hydrate from a hardware store.
A tip from a trucker who helped us out with frozen lines along side a hiway
We put it in the lawnmower once in awhile, the diesel tractor the snowblower, never a problem.
I worked in a scrap yard for years and we drained all gas from tanks for the yard vehicles and I will tell you that all tanks have water and crud in the bottom.
The methyl hydrate will help get rid of it.
I carry it in the trunk. It will unfreeze a line in 3 to 5 minutes
Stuff only costs about $2.50 for a liter so its not expensive.
I just use a couple cap fulls a fill up.

HotZ28
12-30-2008, 10:37 PM
Methyl Hydrate, methanol, methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol, (CH3OH) are all the same thing and the basic contents of a yellow bottle of Heet (gas line antifreeze)!

jgrh01
12-31-2008, 04:16 PM
either get the vehicle towed to a warm garage or build up enough heat under the car to thaw out- use some halogen lights around the bottom of car with a tarp draped over and weighted down, a torpedo heater from a DISTANCE directed under car would help beware of getting close as this will cause a fire

88redbuicklesabre
01-13-2009, 11:52 AM
Well found out I did not have a frozen gas line after all. Turned out to be the crank sensor and the ignition module were bad. Which raises a question to you techs out there. Is there a test for a crank sensor to determine if it was bad? The shop I had it towed to said they had no spark and no injector activity but after they changed the sensor they spark but still no injector activity that is why they changed the module. They also claim the sensor going bad could have taken out the module. Have you ever heard of this happening?

HotZ28
01-13-2009, 10:55 PM
Well found out I did not have a frozen gas line after all. Turned out to be the crank sensor and the ignition module were bad. Which raises a question to you techs out there. Is there a test for a crank sensor to determine if it was bad? The shop I had it towed to said they had no spark and no injector activity but after they changed the sensor they spark but still no injector activity that is why they changed the module. They also claim the sensor going bad could have taken out the module. Have you ever heard of this happening? It could be the CKPS actually failed, but not likely it would “take out the module”! If both actually failed, this may have just been a coincidence. Now, the flip side of the coin; it could be neither one was faulty and you simply had a loose, or corroded terminal at the ICM. When the parts were replaced, the connections made contact. :dunno: The connector has tin-plated pins that use spring pressure to connect to the ICM pins. After so many years of heat and oxidation, the connector will drop electrical contact. Another common problem was the terminal pin shrinking and losing contact due to extreme cold climates. The cure was to remove & replace the terminal, or clean all the pin connectors and carefully bend any loose ones to help tighten the contact on the pins at the module. (Of course, you should always add dielectric grease before installing & tightening the connector to the module). If you still have your old module, you can reinstall it for a test. No need of testing the old CKPS, (if you still have the old one) you already have a new one installed. :grinyes:

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