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Old 09-17-2013, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default How to Winterize a 4.3 Mercruiser?

I have an 04 4.3L Mercruiser engine that I need to get winterized. I was wondering if there is a place showing step by step instructions on how to do this or if someone could help me out. On my 88 back in the day i used to just pull all the plugs and hoses. I was wondering if there is an easier way? Like filling the block with anti freeze. thanks in advance
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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Mac I am sure others will add something of good for your use here but all I can say is to either get a Clymer or Selock manual of the year and make of what you got. Mercury has gone to a one plug drain everything on some model and whether you have that I don't know. You can spent alot more money and get a mercury service manual but if you have any sort of mechanical experience a clymer manual is just fine.

Now every trained marine mechanic that I have ever talked to has told me drain the block and antifreeze is totally optional. Air doesn't freeze water does, you want to make sure your block is drained. Some marina's have a practise of pumping antifreeze up your outdrive water pick-ups and that IMHO is looking for trouble. To make a long story short you could get pockets of just water left in the block which will freeze and ruin a engine. I take the thermastat housing off to add the anti-freeze

I have winterized my boats myself for 30 years and not once had a problem. Make sure you use a piece of wire to poke your drain holes for sediment that will build up over the season to make sure all the water comes out. I use the 50/50 antifreeze in my engines and come springtime flush it all out with a garden hose and drive muffs. I use 2 gallons each in my 5.0L's

Good luck

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Old 09-17-2013, 10:02 PM   #3
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If you look on YouTube there are many helpful winterizing videos. I pull all the blue engine plugs, drain all water than replace the plugs and add pink antifreeze (NJ) through the out drives with an "earmuff" winterizing kit. I definitely recommend having antifreeze protection in your engine... Lastly I fog my carburetors and spray down my engines with WD 40 for corrosion protection. Good times. Lol....
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #4
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I don't know where Loon lake is or how cold it gets there but some would fill with antifreeze with this kit.
I have one and used it once. I don't know that I'd use it again as I keep mine in a garage (heated when cold) now.
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...b#.UjjKmtKshNc


I like the drain it all and blow some air through. Air can't freeze.

For those with a external raw water pump (typically not on a 4.3 with ALPHA drive), listen and take my hard earned experience advice. Make sure your pump is drained or free of water.
One year I had my boat winterized, and I knew everything was drained out. I wanted to head out on a cold January day. At the time I didn't realize there was a little water at the bottom of the raw water pump. It had froze in a orange slice wedge shape. Once I turned it over to start the engine I heard a very brief squeal. I figured it was just the cold and the engine was sitting. Right after that the engine ran fine, began to warm up and we pulled away from the dock. 5 mins later my alarms started going off and my temp gauge was rising. I head immediately went back to the dock but ruined some wires due to heat and luckily didn't do any damage to the engine. I was only at idle and not too far from the dock 1/4 mile. In hind sight I would not have had any damage if I shut down and got towed in. I didn't have towing insurance at the time. I do now (BoatUS). Can't promote them enough.
Anyway what had happened is that little frozen slice carved up my impeller like a blender.

See the little pockets (right) where the water sits(these are low when installed).


Chewed up impeller
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:16 PM   #5
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I put Heet in the gas tank and let it mix while the engine warms to operating temperature. Remember to get the engine to normal temp prior to adding anti-freeze through the muffs. My engine is carbureted, and I fog it with Seafoam. I put a spray top on the Seafoam can and spray it into the carb right before shutting off the engine for the winter. I've gotten winterizing process down to being able to add anti-freeze and fog carb near simultaneously. I also jack up the trailer a few inches and partially support the weight with blocks to avoid creating flat spot on the tires.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:16 AM   #6
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mac, you have recieved good advise from many folks so far now it's time for my 2 cents. I have had 3 boats since 1990 and used the following procedure without any issues.

1. Add gas stabilizer to tank and top off
2. Install ear muffs to outdrive with hose.
3. Turn on water and start engine. Let run until temp guage is reading normal. (t-stat is open) This allows good flushing of the engine.
4. Turn off engine and water.
5. Change oil, oil filter, gas filter, and outdrive lube
6. Turn water back on and start engine. Check for leaks.
7. Turn off engine and water.
8. Locate all drain plugs on engine and remove.
9. Disconnect all hoses from t-stat housing and pour antifreeze into each util see coming out drains.
10. Install all drain plugs. Split 1gallon of antifreeze between each hose. This is really important with Bravo to help prime the raw water pump.
11. Remove hose from ear muffs and install kit shown in response by Todd. Add 4 gallons to it.
12. Reinstall hoses to t-stat.
13. Open valve on antifreeze kit then start engine. Verify antifreeze is coming out 2 side ports at transom assy on outside.
14. Spray fogging oil into carb.
15. Turn off engine. Besure to reach this step before tank runs out of antifreeze.
16. Engine is now done. Clean up.
17. Optional, disconnect and or remove batteries.
18. Clean boat. Don't leave crud on all winter. This is a must if boating in salt water.

BTY: IMHO only draining the engine allows corrosion to occur as containemts are left behind and air will react with them.

Also be sure to use an antifreeze that is save for the enviroment and rated for the engine. The really cheap water system antifeeze doesn't have corrosion protection additives. Read the label. West Marine stuff states engine and waer systems on it.

Not a bad list for 2 cents;-)
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:46 PM   #7
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I have done it a number of different ways and found this method to be the easiest:

1) Run a garden hose on muffs, make sure the engine comes up to temp for about 10 min. (This heats the oil and flushes any salt away)
2) Do an oil change
3) Grab a submersible 1/4 hp pump.
4) Grab a short section of hose. (Mine is about 8-10 feet)
5) Grab a 5 gallon bucket
6) Fill the bucket with propelyne Glycol (AF). (OPen a few more gallons and have them at the ready.
7) Hook the pump to the hose and the hose to the muffs, then install the muffs on the drive
8) Turn on the pump, then start the engine. (You will also need to keep an eye on the volume in the bucket and start taking those spare gallons you opened ahead of time and start pouring more AF into the bucket. Make sure the bucket doesn't run dry.)
9) Wait until AF is purging out of the exhaust port.
10) Shut off the engine and the pump.

You have now displaced ALL water from everywhere and replaced it with AF. I do the same thing with my AC. I use the bypass flush connector I hooked up to my AC. I flush it with water first, then I use the 1/4 hp pump to run AF into the AC system as well. I use a pump because that exact same kit that is shown in a post above, fried my impellor. It does not work on the models with an external water pump (e.g. 454, 496, and 502).

This also ensures that I get the fuel pump and cooler which are actually LOWER than the drain plugs on the 496 and will freeze if you don't winterize it properly.

AFter trying many different ways successfully, this I found to be the easist.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #8
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Shrew I have a B2 outdrive and have never had an issue frying the impeller after 5 years of using the kit. Main thing to remember is the container needs to be higher than the engine so gravity will help supply the antifreeze. I place mine on the swim platform.

This is why after draining I fill the pump hose with antifreeze.

But if you have a system that works for you go with it:-)
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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I sold my kit .....read too much bad stuff that I didn't want to chance. If your thermostat doesn't open you are a screwed monkey!

I drain my 5.0L's the old fashion way, take every blue drain plug out put a hanger wire in to get the the sediment out along with the rest of the water out of the engine blocks. I do have the bravo ll so I get the two hoses off behind the sea water pump.Then take the two bolts out of the thermostat housing and with my big screwdiver hold the housing still attached to all the hoses forward enough to pour the 50/50 into the block. I leave the bottom drain plug open to make sure the green fluid comes out and not clear water.After that all the plugs go back in and the rest of the 50/50 about 2 gallons.

I'm not 30 anymore so after all this a couple of advill and maybe just maybe a beer .........or two:-)

That is my story...

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Old 09-18-2013, 11:09 PM   #10
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Ethylene glycol (50/50 green stuff) is not healty for the enviroment. When you start the engine in the spring this goes right into the earth :-(
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