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Had your boat winterized yet? Here’s a tip: grease and antifreeze
are cheaper than parts and labor.
Has the recent warm spell fooled you into thinking winter will never get
here? Rest assured, cold weather is coming but will your boat’s motor be
ready to stand the chill?
Area marine dealers have been busy lately winterizing pontoons with both
inboard/outboard engines and the standard outboard. Yet there are always a
few boat owners who get busy and forget.
A little grease in the lower unit of the outboard and a check for water
will prevent disaster. Neglect it and the busted baby will hit you hard in
the pocketbook about the time your friends speed off next spring, leaving
you in their wake.
“We drain the water from the block of the inboard/outboard and replace it
with anti-freeze and on the outboard lower units we check for water that
could freeze and burst, destroying the housing and expensive gears,” said
Brian Allen, certified Mercury mechanic at Buchanan Marine. “Prevention
and maintenance now will save the boater a lot of money and trouble
Kentucky Lake is a pontoon paradise but if you want to have fun in the sun
it’s best to have your local marine dealer prepare your vessel for its
winter nap. It’s money well spent, knowing your motor will come out of
hibernation and ready to run.
“I watch for water to drain out of a lower unit as today’s lubricants and
water don’t mix so if grease seals are bad and water is there, it’s a red
flag that seals need to be replaced before applying grease. Otherwise,
water left trapped in the lower unit is bad news,” continued Allen, as he
serviced a pontoon’s outboard.
“With inboards we drain most of the water from the block and replace it
with antifreeze. If someone forgets to do that they’re looking at a four
digit repair bill come spring!”
“The number one culprit is fishing line wrapped around the prop’s shaft
that ultimately damages the grease seals,” continued Allen when asked what
wrecks havoc with lower units. “This lets water seep in and sets the stage
for freeze ups. However, most boaters should have their lower unit grease
replaced each year anyway.”
And what about the fuel scenario with present day ethanol? That’s a
question on all boaters’ minds these days as some stations offer gas with
no ethanol while others have the standard ten percent. Now can you
remember which one you filled up at last and just how much ethanol is
sleeping in that tank?
Gasoline containing ethanol or alcohol can cause a formation of acid
during storage and can damage the fuel system. If the gas being used
contains alcohol, manufactures recommend draining---that’s right
draining---as much of the remaining gas as possible from the fuel tank,
remote fuel line and engine fuel system.
If you are using gas without ethanol or alcohol it’s wise to fill the fuel
tank and engine fuel system with a stabilizer which helps prevent
formation of varnish and gum.
Here are a few important tips: (1) on portable tanks put the required
amount of stabilizer into the tank and shake it up to aid mixing. (2) For
permanent tanks pour the required amount of stabilizer into a separate
container and mix with approximately one quart of gas. Then pour the
mixture into the tank.
(3) Remove the fuel filter sight bowl and empty contents in a suitable
container. Add ½ tablespoon of stabilizer into the fuel filter sight bowl
and reinstall. (4) Place the outboard in water or connect flushing
attachment for circulating cooling water and run the engine for fifteen
minutes to allow treated fuel to fill the engine fuel system.
Bottom line is that winter is knocking on the door and a trip to your
local marine dealer needs to be at the top of your list. He knows what to
do and how to do it.
Neglect your engine now and you’re asking for trouble in the future. Water
is great for fishing, skiing, and riding on as the wind blows through your
hair but when it’s trapped inside your engine during cold weather it’s bad
Even though it’s still fall the time to winterize is now!
Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing
area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to
various national publications.