Chevy Block Cracks From Water Freezing
Engine damage can occur while the car is still on the trailer. Call to all racers to drain the water in their motors before the first freeze
No matter how sophisticated an engine is, it still follows the same laws of nature as everything else under the sun. Water freezes! Neglecting to drain the water from a race motor can be very costly.
At the end of the racing season, we tend to just to put the car away and not think about it for the rest of the winter. While this is time for us to relax, the car and its engine are still subject to the weather. Freezing weather may not be a problem in some parts of the country, but in others, freezes are a way of life for several months of the year.
Bill Maropulos owner of Bill Maropulos Racing builds many of the NASCAR K&N Series motors and for other racers on the west coast. (805) 520-4899. Bill supplied some pictures and the information for this article.
Passenger cars and tow vehicles use antifreeze, but in our race car motors rules generally forbid its use. In some parts of the country, a cold snap can happen suddenly even in late spring or early autumn. Race engines are at risk of cracking and breaking from freezing.
As water freezes, it expands with tremendous force. The ice puts equal pressure on all parts of the engine until the weakest part breaks. In this photo from BMR, Bill Maropulos Racing, the coolant passages from the block to the heads crack. The block needs replacing, and the pistons are now trash from the rust on the sleeves. Bill Maropulos picture.
As the water freezes the ice expands, and it places extreme pressure on the block and heads. With older motors, the freeze plugs would pop out to allow for some pressure relief, but new motors like the LS2s with aluminum blocks used in NASCAR’S K&N PRO SERIES do not contain freeze plugs. Fortunately, the heads do come with freeze plugs, but those still may not be enough to spare the heads from cracking.
It is bummer enough to lose a motor on the track during a race but to loose one to Mother Nature is another story. Race preparation extends beyond the track.