Winterizing - shortcut to buy me some time?


Feb 15, 2015
Hi, I have a Force 150 outboard (1994), and I have a question about winterizing and hoping there are some ideas that will maybe buy me a little time. I know how to properly winterize the lower unit and drain and replace the gear oil. However, the freezing temps kind of caught up with me this year. I live a few hundred miles away from where my boat is stored. It's stored in an un-insulated garage. I just noticed the temps this coming week are going to drop to 22 one night overnight, and I'm not going to have a chance to winterize before that happens.

I'm wondering if there's any sort of a shortcut I could ask someone who lives in the area to do for me to make sure the lower unit doesn't freeze. For example, maybe buying one of those magnetic engine block heaters and sticking it on the side of the lower unit. Or maybe just removing that top vent and fill plugs on the gear oil to provide a little room for expansion, should it be needed (I have no reason to suspect water in the gearcase--but you never know until you drain it). I'd ask them to just drain it for me, but I have a fear that they'd unscrew the wrong screw in the gearcase and cause a lot more trouble than its worth.

Any thoughts on what can work, or is the only solution to drain and refill it? I"m only looking to get through a week of cold temps, and will do it the proper way next week when I have the time to drive over there.

Also, I'm wondering if 22 degrees one night overnight is even enough to cause any problems since this boat is indoors (though the building is not insulted).

Engine is tilted down, BTW.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.


Cobe Marine

Oct 5, 2019
Theoretically your outboard has self drained when in the down position. That being said, we always push anti-freeze through them when winterizing just in case. One night should be OK since it's inside and tilted down but I'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law so make plans to get there ASAP.


Supreme Mariner
May 7, 2008
Like Cobe Marine said, not really needed to winterize if it's in a vertical position.

But DO have them drain the lower or inspect for water.
Just explain how important the screw on the side is and have them test for water.

Wher'es Cobe Marine? Pasadena ?

The Force power

Lieutenant Commander
Feb 3, 2019
Or maybe just removing that top vent and fill plugs on the gear oil to provide a little room for expansion, should it be needed

Engine is tilted down, Adam

Pulling the top plug is not going to do much because;
Water settles in the bottom after it separates from the oil so, when the bottom plug is pulled; water would come out first.
now that the motor is stored vertically the water should drain, have a look at the drain holes(very small) under the cavitation-plate near the water-pump area they tend to plug up with sand & such. they should drain the remaining water that's on top of the lower-unit