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Winter worry

Old 01-11-2019, 04:28 AM
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Default Winter worry

Bought a boat that has an inboard/outboard 4.3 liter engine. I plan to store it in a covered slip in the water year round. Place I keep it is in eastern Tennessee. Wonít have to worry about the water freezing. Question is what do I need to do to winterize it. Plan to use it during the winter as long as the air temps are in the mid 40ís or so. Then there will be times it will sit for weeks without being started at all. Am considering putting some kind of heater near the engine to keep things warm. Iím pretty sure the boat dealership has changed the oil in the engine and lower unit.

Last edited by tmise; 01-11-2019 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tmise View Post
Bought my first boat that has an inboard/outboard 4.3 liter engine. I plan to store it in a covered slip in the water year round. Place I keep it is in eastern Tennessee. Won’t have to worry about the water freezing. Question is what do I need to do winterize it. Plan to use it during the winter as long as the air temps are in the mid 40’s or so. Then there will be times it will sit for weeks without being started at all. Am considering putting some kind of heater near the engine to keep things warm.
read your manual

see if it has anything about storage

see what it says about winterization

does the air temp go below freezing? if so, you need to winterize ASAP or you might end up with a broken engine.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:33 AM
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The water never freezes but the air does? If that's the case the safest thing to do is to drain the engine, exhaust manifolds and raw water hoses which can be a pain if its cold out. While the engine may not freeze if the air temp is 30* and the water temp is 45-50*, you have the risk of a cold snap and a cracked block and heads. Having closed cooling makes it easier because you don't have to drain the block (hardest to get at) just the manifolds (if not closed cooled) just the raw water system.
Honestly if the drain plugs are a pain to get at, I'd just pull it out in the winter, winterize it fully and store it on land. I/Os are a pain to maintain the way you want to do it. Draining it once a year is quite enough for me and I've owned one for 15+ years. But we get real winter so no one leaves their I/O boat in the water here (well if they have got any common sense they don't)….

the heater idea can work but it must be an ignition protected heater and if the power goes out in an ice storm (I know you get them because my brother lived in Tenn for years) you'll be out of luck.

Last edited by LouC; 01-11-2019 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:35 AM
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Are there any other boat owners in the area doing the same? If you have the only boat in the water, and all the others are pulled.... there's a reason for that.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:04 AM
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The marina my pontoon is at is in Jefferson City, TN. I’d say 95% of the boats there stay in the water during the winter including my pontoon which has an outboard that I do nothing to winterize it. Every few weeks I start it and let it run awhile. No we don’t get bitter winters here like up north, lived in Baltimore for 17 years so I know. I guess draining the water from the engine after each use isn’t to much to ask unless it’s a serious pain, then I just won’t use it during the winter months.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by tmise View Post
The marina my pontoon is at is in Jefferson City, TN. I’d say 95% of the boats there stay in the water during the winter including my pontoon which has an outboard that I do nothing to winterize it. Every few weeks I start it and let it run awhile. No we don’t get bitter winters here like up north, lived in Baltimore for 17 years so I know. I guess draining the water from the engine after each use isn’t to much to ask unless it’s a serious pain, then I just won’t use it during the winter months.
Outboards and inboards are very different. Outboards for the most part are self-draining.

Starting and engine and running it without putting a load on (taking out for a spin and working through the rpm ranges) is usually worse than letting it sit unused
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:59 AM
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Unless you winterize your engine and water system,you are one freak cold snap away from a ruined engine.It's a gamble.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:27 AM
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How cold can it possibly get?
Keep in mind the warm water will "heat" your boat. If water temp is in the 50's, I doubt a 20 degree night would harm anything. Plenty of boats with I/O's in CT that are in the water through Nov-Dec.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tmise View Post
No we donít get bitter winters here like up north, lived in Baltimore for 17 years so I know.
Difficult to believe that a Baltimore winter could be considered "bitter."
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:51 AM
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Some newer I/O's have quick draining raw water systems. If not, good chance it will be a pain the neck to deal with for a short outing.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:56 AM
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If it stays at 40 you don’t have to do anything as far as freezing
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by White Bear View Post
Difficult to believe that a Baltimore winter could be considered "bitter."
Coldest I saw there was windchill of -55....rest my case
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tmise View Post
The marina my pontoon is at is in Jefferson City, TN. Iíd say 95% of the boats there stay in the water during the winter including my pontoon which has an outboard that I do nothing to winterize it. Every few weeks I start it and let it run awhile. No we donít get bitter winters here like up north, lived in Baltimore for 17 years so I know. I guess draining the water from the engine after each use isnít to much to ask unless itís a serious pain, then I just wonít use it during the winter months.
You must be at Black Oak. I'm also on Cherokee and I pull my pontoon and winterize every year. If you run engine every week you may be okay.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:24 PM
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Dealership where I bought the boat said it’s a closed system. Talked to several mechanics and they all said if I’m going to store it on a trailer to winterize it. If I’m going to keep it in the water, which I am, don’t worry about it. The warmer water the boat sits in acts like insulation, when the boat is on a trailer the insulation is no longer there, cold air all around. Just like a bridge that freezes before the road.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by brumbyvet View Post
You must be at Black Oak. I'm also on Cherokee and I pull my pontoon and winterize every year. If you run engine every week you may be okay.
Yes I am at Black Oak. My pontoon has an outboard, I replace the lower unit oil before winter and thatís it. Any water in the OB will self drain. Iíve let it sit for weeks without starting it, never have had any problems.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tmise View Post
Bought a boat that has an inboard/outboard 4.3 liter engine. I plan to store it in a covered slip in the water year round. Place I keep it is in eastern Tennessee. Wonít have to worry about the water freezing. Question is what do I need to do to winterize it. Plan to use it during the winter as long as the air temps are in the mid 40ís or so. Then there will be times it will sit for weeks without being started at all. Am considering putting some kind of heater near the engine to keep things warm. Iím pretty sure the boat dealership has changed the oil in the engine and lower unit.
No need as long as it stays in the water. The I/O leg stays submerged, so your block won't freeze, even if night temps fall below 32. People run into problems when they panic and pull their boat out of the water when they know cold weather is coming, and then don't get a chance to winterize before the temp drops that night.

No sense in messing around with the risks of a heater if not needed. Just make sure gas is stabilized and nothing is connected (other than VHF and bilge) to the batteries. Dead batteries can freeze, but charged ones are fine.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by paulyjsob View Post
How cold can it possibly get?
Keep in mind the warm water will "heat" your boat. If water temp is in the 50's, I doubt a 20 degree night would harm anything. Plenty of boats with I/O's in CT that are in the water through Nov-Dec.
The boats in the water in CT are hopefully winterized. Water temps go significantly below 50. I was always too worried to keep my IO in the water over winter. No more IOs for me so looking forward to being able to keep the new boat in the water.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:24 PM
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This thread is confusing me..are guys saying you CANT keep an I/O in the water for the winter?
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by gregb5220 View Post
This thread is confusing me..are guys saying you CANT keep an I/O in the water for the winter?
There are more risks with leaving an I/O in the water. Almost everyone I know with an I/O does not leave in the water and their boats are on the hard for winter. I never left my boat with IOs in but my boat with straight shaft inboards I am not worried.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
There are more risks with leaving an I/O in the water. Almost everyone I know with an I/O does not leave in the water and their boats are on the hard for winter. I never left my boat with IOs in but my boat with straight shaft inboards I am not worried.
Thats a common misconception. I could name 10 Sterndrive boats right now that stay in the water year round with no problems. In the early Ď90ís almost all the commercial salvage guys had stern drives for the maneuverability and those were staying in year round. Just gotta keep up in the maintenance
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