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Thread: Keeping the Boat Winter ready

  1. #1

    Default Keeping the Boat Winter ready

    Fairly new to boat ownership, but have been around them my whole life growing up in MN. I'm know the practice of winterizing the boat if you plan to put it away all winter long. However I'm curious what those of you do that use the boat throughout winter here in VA for preventative maintenance. I want to be able to use mine throughout the winter on Anna chasing stripers. Any input would be great!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    3,173

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    Regular use is key. I try and get mine on the water at least 1x month (and that's really about it all year long anyway :-(, but I digress). Also, if I know it's going to be some time between uses I'll run my motor out on the ramp. I have a fuel disconnect and will pull it and let the motor run dry too keep the innards clean.

    Use E-Free gas whenever possible (available at Sturgeon Creek Marina and High Point Marina). Anna Point gas is just pre-mixed with stabilizer.

    Stabilizer is important too, regardless of ethanol content.
    Wishin' I was fishin'...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Bealeton
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    Best thing to do is to use it all Winter! I run Seafoam all the time too, can't say for sure if it helps but it makes me feel good.

    What part of MN are you from? I have a lot of family up there and still make an annual fishing trip each Spring.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan 2 View Post
    Best thing to do is to use it all Winter! I run Seafoam all the time too, can't say for sure if it helps but it makes me feel good.

    What part of MN are you from? I have a lot of family up there and still make an annual fishing trip each Spring.
    Thanks guys! Grew up just north of the twin cities in a town called Shoreview. Sure was spoiled growing up in fishing heaven...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Blacksburg, VA (for now)
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    What a great topic - and very timely.

    I, too, fish all year. In fact, I fish more during the winter than I do in the summer. +1 to the recommendations above to run the motor regularly, use ethanol-free fuel, and treat fuel w/ a stabilizer. There are a couple simple things I would add to this list to ensure your winter fishing is safe and trouble-free: 1) Drain the big motor well. Trim it all the way down, then all the way up. You don't want any residual water in the cooling ports. 2) Drain your livewells. Water left in the bottom of the wells will freeze quickly and can damage the plugs or ports. 3) Leave plenty of time for the big motor to warm up at launch. If the motor doesn't start peeing right away you might have a little ice in the ports. Do not let the motor run until you get the temperature warning. Instead, let it run for a few mins, then shut it off. The warmth from the motor and the surrounding water will eventually thaw out ice in the ports. In extreme cold conditions I'll sometimes lower the big motor into the water but won't start it right away. I let the warmer lake/river water do its thing while I park the truck and trailer. 4) Allow time for the big motor to warm up after your stops. You won't have to worry too much about water freezing in the ports after you've run the motor a while but you do have to be sensitive to the motor getting too hot too fast. Allowing the motor to idle a bit before blasting off to that next stop will keep your motor healthy and structurally sound. 5) Allow time for the big motor temperature to stabilize before shutting it off after you make that long run. Almost as soon as you come off plane the core temp of the block will begin to rise - sometimes as much as 7-10 degrees. After a minute or two the temp will begin to drop until it stabilizes. As an example, my big motor will run somewhere around 120-122*F at cruising speed (usually 5400-5800 rpm). Within 30-40 secs of coming off plane it'll creep up to 142-145*F. After a minute or so it'll begin to drop. I'll shut down the big motor when I see the temp drop below 140.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    202 Norfolk Dr Ruther Glen VA 22546
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    An HPDI 250 idles on 4 of the 6 cylinders when not in gear. Its a good idea to idle in gear until all 6 cylinders are of equal temp.
    On a merc with smart craft gages, watch your engine / water temps when running. Sometimes when running on plane, block temps will cool down below recommends temps setting the stage to possibly cold seize a piston. Triming down the engine thereby increasing the load on the engine, heats it back up to proper levels.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    202 Norfolk Dr Ruther Glen VA 22546
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    When you get home, trim the outboard all the way down. It keeps residue water from freezing and possibly cracking the gearcase. Or you can pour a little potable water antifreeze into the hub area. I also use a funnel to back fill the pumps with antifreeze also.
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Bealeton
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvan View Post
    Thanks guys! Grew up just north of the twin cities in a town called Shoreview. Sure was spoiled growing up in fishing heaven...
    Ah ok. I have family all around the twin cities and we have a couple cabins up in Ottertail County. I love it there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Make absolutely sure you don't have any water in your gear oil in lower unit, this is a killer when it freezes. I change my lower unit grease every November, then again in April. I know this is overkill, but $10 worth of grease is a whole lot cheaper than a lower unit. I mostly fish in the winter. Plus 1 on warming up your engine. When it's cold I let mine idle for a good 15 mins before I start running. Probably overkill again, but I am all too familiar with the cost of rebuilding a blown engine.

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