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Old 02-14-2007, 08:02 PM   #1
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Default pre-season checks

So here's the story. Normally it doesn't get that cold in the winter, but this year was an exception. We had about 10 days of "extremely" cold weather. I woke up one morning with no water in the house because the pipes froze. In the middle of the cold spell we got a little rain as well. We set a record of 9 degrees. So what should I be checking for, and how, before I put my 2000 1800sr in the water? I'd like to go this weekend since it'll be in the 70's again. The fuel should be good as I treated it with sta-bil new years weekend after coming off the lake. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:20 PM   #2
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Howdy....what I'd be checking for are the obvious...did you pull the batt.s when you put her too sleep....drain all the manifolds??..pull the butt plug to let the water drain out the stern??...was the engine fogged??..if yes too all...then put the batt's back in...replace plugs....engine and butt plug....then start the engine with water avail for drive or while in the lake...then...after it's stopped smoking from all the fogging...replace plugs and distr cap/rotor...you should be good too go....that's what I'd be doing...also look for obvious freeze damage in and around the hull...etc...
also check the brakes and bearings on the trailer...lights etc.....make sure things don't fall off or not light when it's supposed too....
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
also look for obvious freeze damage
If you didn't drain the block-
Check your bilge below the engine and look to see if there are any freeze plugs sitting down there.
If there is you'll have to replace them and do an engine inspection before putting it in the water.

If everything looks OK put a set of muffs on the out drive and start it up and check everything before hitting the lake!
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:38 PM   #4
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I had mine winterized by my local marina. The mechanic told me when Spring rolls around just to throw some muffs on it and let 'er run until she stops smoking then you're good to go. Do the plugs tend to foul after this? I'm assuming this is why seapuppy recommends changing them out.
I've read where people recommend to change the outdrive oil and the engine oil also. Since this was done when I had it winterized the mechanic said that it would be fine. I know oil breaks down over time and that they usually recommend 3 months for a car under normal conditions. Suggestions?
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:27 PM   #5
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I do the same thing as your Mechanic says.
I winterize my own boat. Sta-bil, fog engine with Marvelous mystery oil, squirt some in each cylinder through the spark plug holes, drain block and manifolds and then fill the block with RV anti freeze (gets real cold in E Washington)
Put the muffs on at the start of the season and while its running check everything out.
Only replace the plugs if they look bad (Haven't needed to yet on this boat)
Change the oil/ filter every 100 hrs as well as lower unit fluid.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:06 AM   #6
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I mentioned changing the plugs as part of the tuneup process..sometimes people shuve so much oil when fogging..it fouls the plugs up really well...so...it's just a suggestion if they foul up...replace them with proper marine plugs.....
thanks ken...forgot the drive unit....
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:42 AM   #7
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Servicing the Leg is important - Can cost as much as an engine if you have to replace it :shock:

Ask Loren when he wiped out both of his out in the islands on his 3058 $$$$
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Old 02-15-2007, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default visually inspect risers

I live in NoVa. and although we don't dip much below the freezing point most years through the winter.. a couple days in the teens is normal, last year was relatively a mild one. I had not though much of the freezing effects, but my knowledge base was using automotive experience as the base. Needless to say, I was shocked when at the start of the season I observed the results of what little freeze we had on two motors my favorite mechanic had pulled for replacement. I wish I had brough my camera along, because I cannot adequately describe what I saw.

Like I said, with a basis of automotive knowledge and thinking freeze plugs pop at worst, I could not have been more WRONG. The freeze plugs may have popped on the engine block, but the risers looked like someone had smashed them with a jackhammer. Both risers, and fractures in the metal that ran about 9 or 10 inches long on a diagonal line from front to back and towards the top. They were finished. The best I can describe is to take a cardboard box slice along a side for a foot, then reach in and pull with one hand while pushing with the other to seperate.

What made this scene so jaw dropping to me was that while I looked over the engine the Mechanic had up on his workbench, he pointed to the floor and said.. "No shortage of dummies in this County!" there sat another engine on the floor that had a similar gaping fracture.

Bottom line is, Marine engines are quite different from Auto engines. If you managed to dodge a bullet on the riser manifolds, count yourself very lucky.. Apart from that, Fire it up using the earmuffs, then poke your head in the engine compartment and pray you don't see water squirting out.


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Old 02-15-2007, 06:32 PM   #9
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Default Thanks on the input.

Thanks for all the input. As with Franco, my knowledge base is automotive. I really appreciate that I have somewhere to go for answers and help. Anyway, I did pull the battery. Keep the hull plug out until I'm putting in, and keep the front of the boat elevated when parked. I didn't drain the block or manifolds because I was hoping to have it back in the water within 2 weeks ... didn't expect the cold spell either. Never heard from anyone in my area having to drain either, just because it doesn't get that cold ... normally. I hadn't planned on doing a lot of the winterizing that everyone has mentioned because we'll probably use the boat year round. That's the benefit to living here in earthquake country. What kind of time not in use would warrant the futher winterizing, fogging, etc.? What's the steps in draining the block and manifold on the 4.3? Where are the drains, etc.? Thanks for all the help.
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Old 02-16-2007, 04:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: Thanks on the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scoutonwater
Thanks for all the input. As with Franco, my knowledge base is automotive. I really appreciate that I have somewhere to go for answers and help. Anyway, I did pull the battery. Keep the hull plug out until I'm putting in, and keep the front of the boat elevated when parked. I didn't drain the block or manifolds because I was hoping to have it back in the water within 2 weeks ... didn't expect the cold spell either. Never heard from anyone in my area having to drain either, just because it doesn't get that cold ... normally. I hadn't planned on doing a lot of the winterizing that everyone has mentioned because we'll probably use the boat year round. That's the benefit to living here in earthquake country. What kind of time not in use would warrant the futher winterizing, fogging, etc.? What's the steps in draining the block and manifold on the 4.3? Where are the drains, etc.? Thanks for all the help.
Personally, if I knew I wasn't going to touch an engine, any engine regardless of marine or land use (same physics apply), for more than two months I would 'winterize' it. I ride my motorcycles late into the year but always winterize them for January and February.

I have the 4.3 Merc manual, I'll post the exact steps they recommend. If the engine hasn't been that 'messed' with by previous owners, your water drains will be plugged with blue plugs. Although, personally, my local marina does the whole thing for such a reasonable price, it's worth it to me to have them do it.

Just like with a hobby car (for me it's my motorcycles and a '93 Miata) a manual is a must.
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Old 02-16-2007, 05:22 PM   #11
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Thanks racer. I'm definitely going to invest in a manual. Is there a way of getting a maintenance manual, like what a service department would have? Who has one and how did you get it?
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:42 PM   #12
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I dropped by my storage location yesterday to take a quick look. No obvious damage. No freeze plugs down below and no obvious cracks. Life intervened and didn't allow me to get the boat checked out fully over the weekend. I did check the hoses to and from the water pump and the manifolds and all were very squishy, so I think beginners luck may have stepped in here. I'm hoping that enough water had drained out of the manifolds and block to allow for expansion inside. I'll let everyone know soon.
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:42 PM   #13
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Sounds like - so far so good!!!
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:02 PM   #14
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I spoke to a local acquantance of mine that rebuilds engines and is an avid boater. I told him about not draining the block or manifolds before our cold spell and he told me about his first boat and first winter. Appearently, he cracked his block by not draining. So I wasn't feeling a warm and fuzzy about my current situation when I pulled the boat home and hooked it up for a test run.

I think I may have beginners luck. I hooked up the muffs and ran her in the driveway. Got up to temp and ran her for about 5 more minutes. No leaks anywhere. Before I started up the engine, I pulled the drain plugs on the block and both manifolds, and water came out of all three. There wasn't much in any of them. My best guess is that there was simply enough space for the water to freeze and expand without doing any damage.

But here's the big question: Can there still be cracks/leaks that just won't show up until the engine is under load? Anyone have a good answer? Thanks for the help.

Racer, you're right on about the plugs. I looked at the underside of the manifolds, and blue plugs just jump right out at you.

Last question, the previous owner had the engine and outdrive fluids changed in late September, is there a recommendation about changes before or after the season? Should I have them changed because they've been sitting through the winter? What's the normal procedure?
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:25 PM   #15
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Well running it on muffs and letting it warm up - Check the oil(dipstick) and make sure it doesn't look milk shake colored(water in the oil). Water in the oil would be the first sign of a cracked block.
Next check the spark plus - any sign of water or rust on them?
So far it sounds like you going to be OK.
Next step I would get it on the water, keep it close to shore/ramp and keep making small runs and keep checking the engine compartment for cracks in the risers
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Last question, the previous owner had the engine and outdrive fluids changed in late September, is there a recommendation about changes before or after the season? Should I have them changed because they've been sitting through the winter? What's the normal procedure?
IMO - Your OK for the season
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:01 PM   #17
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you should be fine..but some people believe that the fluids should be changed at the start of the season and then at the end...that way none of the impurities that are left in the oil that can cause interior damage...personally..I changed mine at the begining and then about midway....I think the oil and filters are pretty cheap overall and it's a cheap insurance....it's not that hard to change once you get used too doing it in a boat...........but that's just me...
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