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Block Heater Instead Of Winterizing

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What would be the disadvantages of putting a block heater in your engine to keep it warm instead of winterizing? I understand the obvious like loss of power, but could this be an option and if not, why?

Some climates are on the edge of freezing all winter. If you kept your boat inside a covered building and just put a block heater in with a timer, seems like it would keep it safe.

What do you guys think?

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As I understand it, one of the biggest reasons to winterize is to get rid of the old oil which is full of the contaminants from the combustion process, and corrosive to the internals i.e. bearings, crank/cam. If you intended to use the boat year round and followed the recommended maintenace intervals IMHO I don't see how it would hurt to use a block heater. My biggest concern with that would be dependent on where you boat. I have read that in some areas the local water is pretty nasty as far as pH, brackish and other factors. Dependent on the span of time between use, I would do a hasty drain of the block, x2 knock sensors and manifold cross over to get the crappy water out of the block so the water being heated in the block doesn't turn into a science project and foul the water passages while it sits. :biggrin: JM2C

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Yeah well........my buddy did that and kept is boat in an old warehouse. When we had an ice storm and the power went off and temps dropped he called me and guess what we were doing in that ice storm in the freezing cold.........

yep....walking, trudging thru ice and snow in the dark, to the warehouse and then draining the engine down by flashlight. I could name about a million other things I would rather have been doing that night. :cry:

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A block heater is not designed to keep water from freezing. It's to keep the oil warm so it will flow when the engine is started.... which is supposed to bring up the oil pressure sooner. Typically used in a car or truck in cold climates, but they still use antifreeze in their cooling system.

A bilge heater is what is used on a boat to keep the engine, water pumps, heater, shower etc. warm so the water inside those components doesn't freeze. The Xtreme that OSM listed above is one. And another common brand is by a company called Boatsafe.

I have the Boatsafe in my Vride. That said I don't think I would ever trust a bilge heater all year long due to the power issues like Beau mentioned. Their great for getting out when day temps can be warm enough to ride, but night temps drop below freezing. I still have the boat setup so I can easily drain everything before I park it & plug in the heater. It takes me all of 2 or 3 minutes & I can do it at the ramp before I drive home.

It's just another layer of protection for your boat that allows you to actually use your boat in the off season, rather than just park it for 6 months every year.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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Good points, just curious.

Thanks fellas.

I also live in Michigan and I don't recall ever losing power when the weather was warm. My boat is the last thing I need to think about during a winter storm.

Of course, this year you probably didn't need to winter at all...

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