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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #1
2 nights ago getting off of work, it was 14 below outside. Keep the long story short, the coolant in my car has froze to an slush, not Rock solid but froze enough. My question is did I destroy the motor beyond repair? I was thinking of using a couple of space heaters under the hood for sometime to get the motor thawed out. My coolant was slightly diluted with water due to an surge tank leak I recently had, but still a good amount of coolant in it, this weather was brutal and really crept up on me... I think it might be over...

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Use the heaters to warm the engine a bit. Drive for while.

If the coolant was slush you're OK. Does the engine start and run ?

Siphon out 2 quarts of whatever is in the surge tank and use straight (raw) coolant to refill. Run the car for an hour or two and do it again. That will bring the coolant/water ratio back close to 50/50 or 60/40 - the desired concentration range.
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, yes it fires right up and runs normal. Would you recommend heating the motor before I start it or immediately do as you suggested?

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #4
I also forgot to mention, that night when I got off work I had no heat at all and the temp wanted to go beyond the 12 o click Mark roughly 30 minutes after starting. I parked it after that.

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IF the entire cooling system is slush then there will be no coolant circulation for some time period after start. I'd rather warm the engine with the heaters for 20 minutes, then run it.
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, the car is currently at an gas station 10 miles away from home. Owner agreed to give me til 2mor morning since the weather has been so brutal. I went to it last night and it fired right up and ran quiet as it normally do. If u grab the hoses u can feel that the coolant is partly frozen, but you can still compress the hose easily with your hand. And the water pump was still turning. So prayfully, I'm ok.

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #7
God is so very good, I dodge a bullet on this. I went back to my car earlier today after it's been sitting a while in 20 below weather, and it fired right up no hesitation at all! My front right rim was on a flat. I drove around to the gas station and the tire FLEW OFF of the rim... Like the action movies when they shoot the tire. Power steering was a little noisy but got quiet within 10 minutes of driving. The engine was ok but the coolant was very slushy in the surge tank, and the purge hose was clogged with slush. Took it upstairs got it thawed, put it back on the car, and guess what? heat kicked back in and I'm back rolling!!! I dodge a shotgun bullet. Lesson learned, NEVER use a drop of water and fix leaks as soon as possible! I'm on the way to Walmart to grab some straight coolant, thanks everyone.

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2010 DTS
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Lesson learned, NEVER use a drop of water and fix leaks as soon as possible!
Wait a minute. You should use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. Your problem is that you diluted it at some point when working on it. Now adding the straight coolant as Sub recommended is trying to bring it back to that 50/50 mix. You should be just fine.
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #9
That's exactly what happened Ranger. Had a bad surge tank leak and I was topping it off only a little better bit of water I thought. Never would of guessed this would of happened. Not happy at all about my tire coming off the wheel! Got a spare on. Can I put the tire back on and air it up?

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Never would of guessed this would of happened.
It probably wouldn't have, had we not gotten to -25°.


Not happy at all about my tire coming off the wheel! Got a spare on. Can I put the tire back on and air it up?
Most likely you can. That was most likely also a byproduct of the low temp.
 

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You're lucky the tire didn't take the fender with it. I never drive on flats anymore after I lost a quarter panel. Even at 20 mph a tire can shred and ruin sheet metal. You dodged another bullet.
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #12
It probably wouldn't have, had we not gotten to -25°.



Most likely you can. That was most likely also a byproduct of the low temp.
Thanks ranger I aired the wheel up and it popped back in place, so glad I'm off that donut. -25 was VERY unnecessary. I can't think of one reason why we got that weather that day.

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Discussion Starter #13
You're lucky the tire didn't take the fender with it. I never drive on flats anymore after I lost a quarter panel. Even at 20 mph a tire can shred and ruin sheet metal. You dodged another bullet.
I may have exaggerated a bit, it never came close to flying off the wheel. The tire was pushed away from the lip of the rim. I have no clue why I said it "Flew off the wheel". I aired it up and it popped back in place.

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1998 Cadillac Eldorado ETC
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Interesting problem with the coolant.
If I remember correctly, the NorthStar can run if it lost all its coolant. It goes into a mode where it alternates firing of the cylinders.
In your case, you have slush in the coolant so running the engine will get the block thawed but the radiator may not thaw out. If it does, it would be because the engine was hot and the warmth from the block was warming the radiator.
SLUSH is not a problem, if it freezes solid, it will take the radiator and the block if the freeze plugs don't pop out.

It sounds like you have not gotten to the freeze state, but you are right on the verge of freezing.
I agree you need to get anti freeze, not diluted, into the system. Sometime in the past someone added water and diluted the antifreeze mix. You'd never notice it until the air temperature got to sub zero, then it could be too late. Test your coolant with one of those antifreeze testers. You can buy them almost anywhere and they are cheap. Only way to be sure. If your coolant is lacking so much antifreeze you may need to have it drained and put new antifreeze in. That is still cheap insurance....
 

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02 SLS
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God is so very good, I dodge a bullet on this. I went back to my car earlier today after it's been sitting a while in 20 below weather, and it fired right up no hesitation at all! My front right rim was on a flat. I drove around to the gas station and the tire FLEW OFF of the rim... Like the action movies when they shoot the tire. Power steering was a little noisy but got quiet within 10 minutes of driving. The engine was ok but the coolant was very slushy in the surge tank, and the purge hose was clogged with slush. Took it upstairs got it thawed, put it back on the car, and guess what? heat kicked back in and I'm back rolling!!! I dodge a shotgun bullet. Lesson learned, NEVER use a drop of water and fix leaks as soon as possible! I'm on the way to Walmart to grab some straight coolant, thanks everyone.

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God is GREAT! If it wasn’t for Jesus I’d be somewhere I don’t even want to think about!
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #16
I had a surge tank leak recently, I would top it off a little with water but didn't think I was adding that much, we had several 0 and slightly below 0 days and the coolant was fine. That one day last week it was nearly 30 below with a 50 below wind chill. On the way to work that night, my car actually started cooling off on the highway as I was driving. The temp hand moved slightly in front of the 12 o clock mark and stay there until I got off the highway and got back into stop and go traffic and it finally went back to 12 I clock. Yes it was that cold that day.

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Even in summer, when I do one of my 140+ runway runs with forced deceleration (stick in 1), the temp gauge drops below the 188 mark - the injectors shut off on extended deceleration and the engine cools rapidly.

In your ultra-cold situation the heater circuit (probably running full-tilt) was more than enough to cool the entire engine.

Many don't believe it, but the Northstar cooling system - properly maintained - is incredibly efficient.
 

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1999 SLS w/F45
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Discussion Starter #19
The cooling system in ours cars are very efficient. I wonder if this 99 has had the heads done at one point in it's life. I wonder because I read up on lots of horror stories about the 1999s. My coolant system is in VERY good condition! Well maybe because the entire system is new. New radiator, new surge tank, new water pump, new t stat and fresh coolant. My car still has the coolant cooled alternator that I'm pretty sure is original. This car just runs! Never really left me stranded execpt when when I neglected the water pump tensioner repair. My 99 has been treating me good! Btw Sub, I LOVE ur STS.

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