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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    88

    Default Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Just thinking out loud here but what if I wanted to fish throughout the winter?

    is it possible or advisable to operate my boat in the winter?
    i have twin 5.7 alpha one I/Os that are raw water cooled.

    is there a safe way to run them over the winter?

    im in Maryland wetslipped on the Magothy river off of the Chesapeake.

    Growing up, I remember my father had a diesel Mercedes that had an engine block heater. On cold nights he would plug it in so it would start easier in the morning.

    is there something like this for sterndrives with small block Chevy engines?

    what about the outdrives?

    in Maryland the winters aren't too cold but we usually get a week or three with temps down to zero.

    am I just asking for trouble?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Tripoli, PA, USA!
    Posts
    15,272

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Magothy, eh? Lunched on the hook there once. Nice, like the rest of the Bay.

    You could get away with it, but it's lile Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber--one oops and you've had it. Block heaters will protect the motor but do nothing for the rest of the system. And bilge heaters--illegal in most cases--are also unreliable. I know--lots of people keep their boats in the water all year--but not many of them run them.

    Winter's not that long in your area, so why take a chance?

    Jeff (Used to slip at Worton Creek and Elkton)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Portland, Oregon,
    Posts
    9,194

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Using electricity for a heat source (spelled engine freeze protection) is only as good as the Power Company's guarantee that you will NOT have a power outage during the cold spell!


    Let's say that freezing weather comes in.
    You are kicked back in your big daddy chair knowing that your engines are safe with the electric heat source.

    Murphy's Law suggests that when/if the power was to fail, it will occur at the most in-opportune time!

    If we are lucky, at about 3:17 AM we have received notice that the power has failed 8 hours earlier.
    We are now up and getting dressed so that we can drive down the marina.
    It's very cold out, the wind is blowing freezing rain sideways, and you are hungry!
    We arrive and we hope to H*LL that we find liquid water that can be drained out of the engines!
    It is so cold out that your hands are about to quit working.
    Your battery powered flashlight is now losing power.
    Your mind begins to think about the $XXXXX to replace one or two freeze damaged engines.
    You also start to think about the insurance policy "exclusions" regarding "owner performed winterizing"!

    Perhaps the question is: are you willing to drain down each time you come back in from a winter outing?
    If so, I think that you can do it.
    Just make sure that you fully understand your Raw Water Cooling system and learn which areas must be completely drained.



    And..... please read this if you are considering using one of the Winterizing Kits.
    https://www.amazon.com/review/R3BD7X..._cr_pr_viewpnt



    .
    Rick ... aka Ricardo..... AQ series Volvo Penta repair
    Portland, Oregon
    28' SDN F/B w/ twin Volvo Penta 5.7L DP's

    Please... no PMs! Post your questions on the forum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    DC Burbs/Maryland Eastern Shore
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Most watermen on the Bay don't haul their boats out unless it's absolutely necessary...like something's broken and they can't work. They fish crab and oyster year round, but they're on the boat every day. Lots of people leave their boats in until it's crazy cold. You're prolly fine until late jan into feb. Certainly thru Christmastime. At that time nobody's catching anything but a cold anyway. Do you live close enough to the boat that you can check on it, run the engines, etc? Maybe just keep a watchful eye, check on it frequently and when the cold moves in, go drain the blocks and manifolds until it warms up again.
    To be super safe you should consider converting to closed cooling.
    Practicing the ancient art of ren-ching

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Thanks guys very helpful.
    im not intent on any particular course of action just trying to understand my options.

    My marina is walking distance from my house and I work from home so I can be in the boat in under 5 minutes just about all the time.

    what temperature is too cold? Is there a general rule of thumb?

    i Called around to some inside winter storage places and they mostly seem to have fixed programs from October 1 through April 1 but that seems too cut the season too short.

    what months are normal for winter layup in the annapolis area?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Chaumont Bay, N.y., USA
    Posts
    5,220

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    what temperature is too cold? Is there a general rule of thumb?
    Ayuh,... As far as Runnin' the boat, No,....

    as for the boat sittin' at the dock,.... Water freezes at 32,....

    You can do this, just like I occasionally do,....
    I chase muskies til the boat launches freeze to hard to bust up with the trailer gettin' into the water,....
    What I do is Drain everything each time goin' back onto the wagon,....

    If you drain the motor, 'n manifolds, you'll probably be just fine til the boat freezes in to hard to break out when ya start it up,....
    If ya forget to drain anything, it'll be a problem when ya fire up again,...
    Any Grease is Better,... Than No grease at All....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Tripoli, PA, USA!
    Posts
    15,272

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Rick: That was a classic!

    Jeff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Long Island, NY,
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    This depends on your tolerance for working in the cold and also how easy it is to get at the engine drain plugs. Try leaving your tools in the freezer and then working with them; that will give you an idea how much fun that can be.
    i replaced a starter on our 98 Jeep when it was about 24*f out and got it done but would not do anything like that on a regular basis. Boating in freezing temps = outboard power.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Can I run my raw water cooled engines all winter?

    Think I'll spend the cold months on maintenance projects and watching football.

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