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  1. #1
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Winterizing your engine and drive.

    Winterizing your boats engine and drive is a lot of work. Not doing it or doing it improperly WILL be very expensive to fix , and that is also a lot of work.
    Plan on giving yourself the full day to winterize your boat, and don't wait till the last minute to do the job. As difficult as winterizing can be on some boats, doing it when it's 35 outside, snowing or raining, windy and in the dark is not something you want to do.
    Read and think about everything you are about to do before you start, and plan for it. Tools, parts, helpers, (oh yea) even if just to hand you stuff and talk with you. Make a checklist if it'll help.
    All set? Here we go.

    Before you start the engine, add fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank. If possible, put in the stabilizer on the last trip of the season and top off the fuel tank before you get to your driveway or where the boat will be stored. This will allow the stabilizer to mix completely in the tank.

    You do have your Service manuals for the engine and drive handy, don't you?
    Service manuals for many engines are located here http://boatinfo.no/lib/library.html
    If not you are looking for trouble.

    A few things you will need to have:
    Get all your parts together before you start. Filters, gaskets, o-rings, seals, etc.
    Note: (Gaskets, o-rings, and seals are not reusable, they may look like it, but they are a one time use item. )
    Look at your manual before hand and know what types of grease, oils, lubes, gear lube, sealers, fogging oil, etc. you are going to need and have them on hand and ready.
    Have the tools needed to do the job. Including filter wrenches, alignment bars etc.
    Plenty of rags and oil absorbent pads

    1. Start by hooking up a corrosion inhibitor to the muffs inline with the water, an example would be the Salt-Away mixing unit. This will do several things. Warm and mix the oil for changing, and flush the cooling system if you have been running in salt or brackish water.
    2. After running, change oil, filter.
    3. Change fuel filter/s, be sure to check the contents of the filter. If there is around a 1/4 of the contents water, you should drain the water out of the tank. (That won't be covered here)
    4. Check the antifreeze level and be sure it's in the proper temperature range. -35 degrees is a normal 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.
    5a. Remove the Outdrive. (Mercruiser, OMC, and Volvo DP-S and SX)
    Check ALL the bellows. if any of them look weather cracked or seem excessively stiff or weak, replace them. A leaky u-joint bellows ruins gimbal bearings and u-joints and drives if allowed to keep leaking.
    On Mercruiser, OMC, and Volvo DP-S and SX style drives check the engine alignment (If you are going to do your own work, you MUST have an alignment bar)
    5b. For those with the Volvo 270 through 290 style drives. Remove the upper gear box and check the bellows and u-joints. The bellows are not as strong as the Merc and OMC bellows so replace them every couple of years just to be safe. If they go bad, you must pull the engine to change the intermediate bearings in the bell housing. Be sure you don't loose the shims between the upper gear box and the intermediate housing.
    6. Check the gimbal bearing. Does it turn smooth? if not replace it. Check the u-joints do they feel smooth also? Any catches indicates they are worn and should be replaced. If ok, grease the zirks or pull the plugs (if equipped) and lube them.
    7. Was there any gear lube in the bellows when you removed the drive? If so, the input shaft seal is leaking and should be fixed before reinstalling the drive.
    8. Drain the gear lube from the drive and refill per manufacturers specs. ALWAYS use new gaskets and o-rings on drain, fill, and vent plugs and dipstick fittings and plugs, along with new gaskets and seals for mounting the drive back on the boat. Don't forget to remove the gear lube monitor (if equipped) and clean it. The gear lube will form sludge in the bottom after a couple of years. Clean it yearly and you won't have a problem.

    NOTE: For those with Mercruiser Alpha drives. If you are planning on changing the impeller, now is the time to do it. Since you must remove the lower unit to get to the pump, no reason to put in new gear lube till it's done.

    9. Remove the prop and check for any fishing line around the prop shaft (very common problem, even for those that don't fish), clean and grease the shaft with a good quality marine waterproof grease prior to reinstalling the prop. Any kind of grease is better than none at all. And if you remove your prop yearly, you should never have a problem with the type grease you use.
    (DO NOT use Neversieze) it may be great for cars, trucks, tractors etc. but in the boating business we call it "Eversieze".
    If you notice nicks, dings or bends in the prop blades, now would be an ideal time to send the prop out to a prop shop for repairs.

    10. Reinstall the drive per the manual. (new gaskets and seals, right)

    11. Check the batteries, is the acid level where it should be? Are they fully charged? A low charged battery can freeze and crack and make a very big mess.
    Terminal ends clean and greased.

    12. Start the engine, make sure the oil filter doesn't leak, fuel filter doesn't leak and the drive still shifts and run it till it warms up. All ok, GOOD. Now it's time to make it safe for cold weather.

    13. Bring the rpm up to around 1500 rpm and start squirting fogging oil into the carb till the rpms drop and you are getting a lot of smoke out the exhaust. Then shut off the engine. If the engine diesels, restart it fog some more, make sure the idle is very low and shut it off again. You don't want water backed up into the cylinders from running backwards.

    14. Disconnect the water and muffs and allow the water to drain out of the drive. Now get your manual and remove every drain plug on your engine, manifolds, coolers, heat exchangers, water pumps, and anything else that could have RAW water in it. DO NOT drain the anti-freeze side of a closed cooling system. Look at the book and make sure you have them all removed. Look around, missing one could cost you an engine block. Get a small screwdriver and probe inside every hole you remove a plug from. Make sure there is nothing blocking the water from getting out. Be sure the engine is also as level as possible so as much water as possible is drained out. Some of the coolers for oil and power steering can be drained by removing a hose easier than removing the plugs.
    Put all the plugs back in and hoses back on.
    If you are one of those that must use antifreeze instead of just draining, for whatever reason, you can fill the block and manifolds with a 50/50 water/antifreeze mix through the hoses to the manifolds and coolers and removing the thermostat and pouring antifreeze into the engine block. Many of the RV type antifreeze do not have corrosion inhibitors in them because they are meant to be used in the domestic water system.

    15. Spray your favorite corrosion blocker on everything (except fiberglass).including the battery terminals. Turn the steering so most of the rod is extended, make sure it's clean and spray it with a light oil, turn it back and forth a few times spraying in between so it's well lubed.

    16. Store the boat with the bow up and the drive down. If the drive is up the exhaust part of the drive behind the prop can fill with water, freeze and crack.......Not Good!
    It's also a lot easier on the u-joint bellows to have it in the down position.

    17. Shut off (Better yet, disconnect) the batteries. Tag the cables and wires so you know where to put them back in the spring (trust me on tagging them).

    18. Don't forget the rest of the boat, this is only for the engine and drive. There is still the domestic water system and the head to deal with if you have them.

    Here is a link to a thread about running antifreeze through the muffs and is well worth a read. http://forums.iboats.com/mercruiser-i-o-inboard-engines-outdrives/use-muffs-winterize-280921.html

    Service manuals for many engines are located here http://boatinfo.no/lib/library.html
    Last edited by Don S; September 19th, 2012 at 01:04 PM. Reason: added link to another winterizing thread
    Don S.


    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

  2. #2
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Allllll Righty,.........

    Mighty Good Show.................d

    Now,.............
    If we could get 1 of the Mods to Nail this to the Top of the Forum,..??.....??.....

    This is an Excellent Post that shouldn't be Lost somewhere in the Archives...............
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  3. #3

    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    I have done all the above. I do have one question. I have a Mercuriser 5.7. While draining the engine I only found 5 drain plugs (Blue Drain Caps). One at the bottom of each manifold,
    one on each of the lower hoses and one on the right side of the block. Is there another drain on the left side of the block?

  4. #4
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    IT's always best to start a new thread when you have a question.
    Don S.


    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

  5. #5
    Admiral KaGee's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    This should be pinned or added to FAQ's. I PM'd the mods.... let's see what they do.

    I don't know why more I/O stuff is not posted in FAQ's.
    Seems they are prejudiced towards outboards.
    If it were easy, any Caveman could do it.

  6. #6
    Supreme Mariner Boomyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Sheese! Once again I am reminded why I am glad I have an OMC stringer. Drain block, drain mani's, fill both with anti-freeze, pull lower fluid plugs and check that their is no water in upper and lowers, lower outdrive to keep water out of lower housing. Next season, do all lube and oil proceedures-finito!!

    But wait, oh no! I do now own a Merc as well, no wonder I have been having nightmares about bellows and gimbals and bearings, alignments and pumps and bells and whistles and......

    Ok, thanks for the reminder Dond

  7. #7
    Chief Petty Officer lilmandavis's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    florida...........
    My wife say's I spend too much time with my boats. I said "ok, I'll start spending time at the bar!" She said, "I really like the boats...."

  8. #8
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Bump,..........

    This is Slipping into the archives,.........

    We Need a Mod. to Pin this...........
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  9. #9
    Admiral KaGee's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    ^^^^^
    If it were easy, any Caveman could do it.

  10. #10
    Admiral KaGee's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    ^^^^^
    If it were easy, any Caveman could do it.

  11. #11
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Keep it up top!
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Just doing my part....

    Belchy

  13. #13
    Vice Admiral Reel Poor's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Of those who receive good advice, only the wise will profit from it.

    If you need it....Get it
    If you want it....Wait
    If you have it....Flaunt it



  14. #14
    Admiral KaGee's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    ^^^^

    8)
    If it were easy, any Caveman could do it.

  15. #15
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    I See a Pin,....................dd
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  16. #16
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    cool

  17. #17
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    I live in San Jose, Ca. How far do I have to go when it comes to draining water out of the engine for the winter? It rarely gets below freezing but sometimes it does get down to 30. I have a 2001 Glastron GS249 I/O board. I think I'd rather put an electric blanket over the engine before I go through all the trouble of removing like 4 very hard to reach hoses and drain cocks. What about sucking up some anti-freeze using the water hose ears and then flushing it out in the spring?

  18. #18
    Cadet
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    [whisper uid=49090]

    Enter private whisper here Don, when you are geting down this way again let me know. I would like to meet up with ya..Bob


    [/whisper]

  19. #19
    Cadet
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive


  20. #20
    Seaman Apprentice jd_1598's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Back Up To The Top
    In Loving Memory
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  21. #21
    Supreme Mariner Haut Medoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive


    What, do you guys live in Point Barrow?.......
    Disclaimer!: In my inexpert opinion......

  22. #22
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Besides draining all the water, adding antifreeze and such to prevent any freeze damage and corrosion, what are the benefits of doing everything else Don listed now, instead of in the spring during de-winterization?

    I would rather adjust everything, replace parts, etc in the spring so everything is perfectly fresh for the season, rather than do everything now and have it sit idle for 3-5 months.

  23. #23
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    By doing it in the fall, any moisture is removed from the engine, drive and fuel system and reduces the chance of corrosion.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    bump

  25. #25
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    Default Re: HOW TO: Winterize your engine and drive

    Bump and a comment...

    IMHO: Add to the list... Put the battery on a 'smart charger' or 'battery maintenance' charger.

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