Winterization is the harsh reality in the sport that we love which we must pause for a few months each year and is a necessary part of boat ownership for many boat owners. For those of you that are handy and can handle a wrench or two this is merely an afternoon of time with some relatively inexpensive supplies.
At Powerboat Nation we see this time of year as a chance to remind our boating friends the time is upon us and add a few reminders out of what not to forget. Winterization should first start with prepping your boats fuel system. Your boats fuel system should be treated for storage during the last week of your boating season. In doing so you should make sure your boats fuel system has been “stabilized”Fuel stabilizers are a common fuel treatment chemical that can be found at your nearest marine products supply center. The key behind fuel stabilization is that today’s poor quality fuels don’t phase-separate. Without treatment of the fuel system next year’s boating season will start with clogged injectors or varnished over carburetor circuits all of which could lead to devastating engine damage.
Next, flush and drain your engines cooling system with fresh or clean water, Savvy winterization pro’s know that thinking ahead is the answer and the engine needs to be hot/warm as this is the perfect time for an engine oil change which should be performed first and will have provide a fresh engine service for the upcoming season. After the oil change, drain the engines cooling water and closed cooling tank if equipped and then fill both with premium quality antifreeze. Many stern drive applications have as many as three or four different drains plugs, check your service manual and make sure you don’t miss any. Now’s a great time to remove your boats sea pump impeller, leaving the impeller in all winter could lead to summer delays from a flat or crushed impeller that was left in one position for months on end.
Now the outdrive gear lube and transmission fluids should be drained and refilled. This critical for a number of reasons but primarily because if there is water or other contaminants present they must be flushed out. Any water that remains in the gear case for example will rust and corrode steel shafts, gears and bearing surfaces, this could make for a really expensive first trip out boating next season.
Rounding out the last step would be “fogging” or often referred to as “pickling” which is a process of coating your engines internals with oil. This helps to protect seals and rotating surfaces keeping corrosion away. While all of this is a methodical process it keeps us in touch with our boats needs.
Winter is also a great time to take your propeller and have it serviced or lab finished for better performance. Remember, dinged, and dented propellers are most usually out of balance. Unbalanced propellers can cause larger, more costly failures with prop shaft seals or other drive components. Companies like BBlades propellers offer winter specials and this leaves your summer to no down time having your prop gone as well as improved overall boat performance. If you do live and boat in the frozen parts of the country we hope you are planning your performance upgrades and using your off season wisely. For a full selection of factory approved winterization chemicals visit www.mercruiserparts.com and www.cpperformance.com
If you want to really forgo all of this trouble just send your boat downhere to Florida, fly in and go boating with us we’ve always got room