Top win­ter­i­za­tion no-nos

Boating - - BOAT DOCTOR - —John Tiger

Whether it’s a cou­ple of months of colder weather or a full-on, six-month snow-andice win­ter, layup and win­ter­i­za­tion prove nec­es­sary for many boaters. We com­piled a top list of tasks not to put off un­til spring.

Then to make sure we de­liver you the right goods, we worked with Rob Gina, mas­ter me­chanic and owner of Boatwrench Inc. near Or­lando, Florida. The No. 1 cause of clogged fuel in­jec­tors and car­bu­re­tors is stale fuel. To­day’s al­co­hol­rich fu­els wreak havoc when left to sit. If you’re not go­ing to use your rig for 30 days or more, treat the fuel with con­di­tioner. For­get and you risk fuel lines de­te­ri­o­rat­ing from the in­side out, de­posit­ing goo in­side your car­bu­re­tors or fuel in­jec­tors. Small de­posits of fuel left in­side in­jec­tors or car­bu­re­tor float bowls and jets can gel and so­lid­ify, mak­ing for a lengthy cleanup job come spring. Add sta­bi­lizer, such as Bell Per­for­mance, Star brite Star-Tron, Sta-Bil, or Techron Pro­tec­tion Plus, per the amount on the la­bel on your last voy­age of the sea­son, and run your en­gine long enough — at least 15 min­utes — to get the doc­tored fuel through the en­tire fuel sys­tem.


When wa­ter freezes, it ex­pands. With in­boards and stern­drives, if you for­get drainage, a cracked block, ex­haust riser or man­i­fold may greet you at the start to the next sea­son.

Most newer in­boards and stern­drives have easy-drain sys­tems. Older en­gines must be care­fully drained and checked to en­sure com­plete drainage. To en­sure com­plete pro­tec­tion, buy a gal­lon of pink RV an­tifreeze and pour it through all en­gine hoses and ex­haust man­i­folds. When you see the pink liq­uid run out, you’ll know the sys­tem is com­pletely drained of wa­ter.

Run a pipe cleaner into pet­cocks to clear de­bris and rust chips. You may be sur­prised at the amount of wa­ter that drains after do­ing so.

Out­boards are self-drain­ing. Sim­ply tilt them fully down and all wa­ter ex­its through the pro­pel­ler hub. Don’t tilt the drive back up — rain will col­lect in the prop hub and then the lower unit, leav­ing it to

and bear­ings. Your drive could be junk by spring. One com­mon way wa­ter in­tru­sion hap­pens is when fish­ing line wraps around your prop and cuts into your prop­shaft seals. This causes the cof­fee look your drive lube gets when it’s mixed with wa­ter. The other bad lube look and smell is black and burnt. Ex­am­ine yours and if off to a prop shop for re­pair. Be­fore re­in­stalling, coat the prop-shaft splines with marine grease. Last, don’t for­get to give the drive unit (gear case) a once-over. Check for skeg dam­age, paint abra­sion, and cor­ro­sion. Fix any dam­age, and sand and coat with touch-up spray to keep the drive look­ing like new. cor­rod­ing. There are mul­ti­ple ways to do this and many con­coc­tions to use. Typ­i­cally, you’ll re­move the en­gine flame ar­rester, and while the en­gine runs at a fast idle, spray en­gine fog­ging oil (like that of­fered by CRC, Star brite and en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers) di­rectly into the air in­take un­til the en­gine stalls. Gina ad­vo­cates a spe­cial mix. “We mix fuel 50/50 with 25 per­cent two-stroke oil and 25 per­cent

Bell Per­for­mance fuel grease will even­tu­ally bind up; steer­ing ca­bles are a great ex­am­ple of this is­sue.


Gina notes: “It’s im­por­tant to coat your

should be mag­ne­sium (fresh­wa­ter use) or zinc or alu­minum (salt and brack­ish wa­ter).

This list could go on and on. There are many more tasks that should be re­mem­bered be­fore win­ter layup: wa­ter-pump check, steer­ing sys­tems, elec­tri­cal checkup, etc. Re­mem­ber: A boat and en­gine that go unchecked are typ­i­cally

it looks black or milky, smells burnt, or there are me­tal shav­ings clinging to the mag­netic drain screw, gear and/ or bear­ing, trou­ble is com­ing. Get your drive ser­viced now — don’t wait un­til next sea­son.


The way to find fish­ing­line snarls is to re­move your pro­pel­ler. It’s also a good time to check your pro­pel­ler for blade dam­age and spin your prop shaft and check for straight­ness. With the pro­pel­ler re­moved, send it


Fog­ging means to pro­tect the in­ner work­ings of an en­gine with a coat­ing of lu­bri­cant. Dur­ing stor­age, your en­gine’s steel parts (valves, camshaft, pis­ton rings, crank­shaft, bear­ings and con­nect­ing rods) need a film of lube to keep them from

sta­bi­lizer and pour that into the fuel fil­ter. Then we fog the en­gine with that same mix­ture by pour­ing it di­rectly into the in­take as the en­gine idles. Then we shut the en­gine off and re­place the flame ar­rester.”


Keep­ing mov­ing parts mov­ing freely en­sures you won’t have sticky is­sues next spring. With a grease gun filled with wa­ter­proof marine grease, lu­bri­cate all fit­tings noted in your owner’s man­ual. Just as im­por­tant, wipe away all rem­nants of dirty, old, hard­ened grease with a rag soaked in WD-40 or sim­i­lar lu­bri­cant. That hard­ened

en­gine with a film of pro­tec­tive lu­bri­cant. At Boatwrench we use Am­sOil Me­tal Pro­tec­tor or CRC Me­tal Pro­tec­tor. Spray all elec­tri­cal and ig­ni­tion com­po­nents, spark-plug wires, fit­tings, hose clamps, and all sur­faces to pro­tect from con­den­sa­tion and rust.” Oth­ers pre­fer a sil­i­cone spray.


An­odes are typ­i­cally placed in strate­gic lo­ca­tions as sac­ri­fi­cial el­e­ments, so when they are too eroded to do their jobs, they should be re­placed. Check your owner’s man­ual for the lo­ca­tion and proper re­moval and re­place­ment of an­odes, and whether yours

the ones to fail when they’re needed most. Keep­ing yours in top con­di­tion not only helps en­sure safe and fun out­ings, but it will also help fuel higher re­sale val­ues when it’s time to trade up.

PULL THE PLUG Newer stern­drive and in­board en­gines of­fer large, brightly col­ored, easy-to-ac­cess en­gine drain sys­tems with built-in hand pumps.

KEEP ME STA-BIL Use sta­bi­lizer at ev­ery fill up — and es­pe­cially dur­ing stor­age.

freeze and crack over the win­ter.

FEEL­ING FOGGY En­gine mak­ers and af­ter­mar­ket sup­pli­ers alike of­fer fog­ging oils.

RELUBE It is im­por­tant to drain and re­place en­gine oil and gear lu­bri­cant be­fore stor­age to de­fend against the rav­ages of wa­ter in­tru­sion and en­sure longer en­gine life.

ZINC: FOR YOURHEALTH Re­place an­odes like these “pen­cil zincs” to en­sure cor­ro­sion pro­tec­tion for your en­gine.

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