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Simplifying Winterization

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I live in one of those areas where the weather goes from beautiful during the day to freezing at night in the fall. I am also one of those people who can't sleep if the cooling system is full of water and I think it might freeze... it is a major hassle to drain the water in the dark :). I remember seeing some photos of people that simplified their winterization process so it would just take a couple minutes. I am hoping for some help in making my boat a quick job. Things like drains in the hoses and quick drains etc. I don't really know where to start.

skidim drains, are these reliable? I'd hate to think the water was drained and there still be some in there to do damage.

Boat: 2001 Response LX, Monsoon 325

Edited by Wakes
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Does your boat have a shower? If not, draining is pretty easy. You can install a petcock in place of the frost plug to make that easier, but you still have to have the knock sensor in the other side that requires removal. Manifolds are easy with the hoses. Biggest PITA is draining the shower if you have one of those.

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Though you are farther north than I, in Wisconsin, I'm still in roughly the same weather climate. I keep my DD ski boat out doors covering it with a regular custom boat cover. In my experience, I put my boat in greater peril in spring than in fall - as the ground is warming, not cooling and temps fall faster at night in April than they do in October. We usually ski starting roughly April 15th.

When the nights dip below freezing in spring and fall, I have 2 lines of defense. Neither of them involves draining anything. I use a boat cabin heater as my first line of defense. I have this one from West Marine. I prop the engine cover up 2" with a brick and set the heater between the engine cover and the observer seat.

2nd line of defense - I put a 100W incandescent light, inside a 10" aluminum domed shield reflector facing upward on top of the transmission in the back of the engine compartment.

You only need to keep the temp under your cover above 0. Even if it's 1degC - water doesn't freeze. Even if the heater would fail, the light will keep the temp in my engine compartment warm enough to prevent freezing. And if the bulb burns out, the heater will keep it up. As an additional safety measure, I plug each appliance in separate breaker circuits.

I've weathered temps into the -5 to -7degC range and the temp under my boat cover has never dropped below 10. I don't make any claims that this is a suitable solution for anyone but me. It's been suitable for me for many, many years without incident.

Edited by JeffS
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No shower, I just have the heater.

i've rigged the heater with inline brass garden hose fittings, which allow me to use inline garden hose washers w screens to keep the crap out of the heater.

if you give a little thought to where you locate the fittings then you can bypass the heater if it starts to leak.

winterizing the heater is a snap.

  • identify and mark the hose that feeds the top of the heater core.
  • open both fittings and blow (into that top-most hose) the water out of the heater core.
  • tip two cups of sierra into that top-most hose and blow until you see the sierra at the other hose.

the block doesn't take much effort, either. i DO hope that someone else on the forum will double check me, i'm running from memory here. my memory is no longer than my peck**; we're talking serious short-comings.
  • open the brass garden hose fitting on the hose that spans the rear of the exhaust manifolds.
  • remove the fitting (or open the pet-c***) on each side of the block under the manifold (one may be a knock sensor). run a wire a short way into the block to insure that scale doesn't block drainage.
  • there is a "j" shaped hose that runs from the thermostat to the circ. pump; remove the bottom hose connection.
  • if you have a heater then you need to break the heater connections and purge and pump sierra into the core.
  • if you have a shower then you need to break the shower connections and use the shower pump to purge the lines and pump. then suck some sierra into the system, again using the shower pump.

winterizing the block and the heater only takes a few minutes.

we run the (model year 2004) rig if the lake isn't frozen and have had no problems in the last 1025 hours.

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A drain down only takes 5 or 10 minutes, how much faster do you want to go?

Personally I would not put that little drain peacock in the block, those things won't let the scale through and can leave water sitting in the block. You only need a 9/16, a 7/8 wrench or socket, a nut driver and some good lungs to drain that thing down.

Only place I can see some improvement is some quick disconnects on the heater feed line to make blowing it out easier.


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If you are using the boat during the day, is it even an issue? I would think the residual heat in the engine box would keep it warm enough that it wouldn't freeze. I know that when I run the boat, even when I start it the next day the temp guage doesn't make it all the way down and the boat warms up to operating temp faster.

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