Engine

  • 88. Top Tips Tuesday - Winterising Your Marine Engine

    Following on from our previous Tips and Advice on Laying Up For Winter, this week Andy looks at Engines and Winterisation covering both Inboards and Outboards.

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    Inboards:

    At the end of the season we strongly recommend that you fill your diesel tank to the brim as this will help prevent a condensation build up, however, before doing so we suggest you also add the appropriate amount of diesel fuel additive like Marine 16. This, along with the full fuel tank, will help prevent the dreaded diesel bug.

    So, should you do your oil change now? Most experts prefer to do it at the end of the season, some say “best in the spring”, but  all agree that you should run the engine under load (in either forward or reverse gear) for at least twenty minutes before draining the oil and changing the filter. This warms the oil making it easier to remove as well as putting any particles into suspension in the oil so they are removed at the same time. Our mechanic has always used a Pela vacuum pump to remove the oil which is retrieved via the dipstick hole. It’s sucked straight into the pump’s container which lessens the chance of a spillage. Not quite so robust is the Seago Extract-It but it was still awarded best buy by PBO. On a tight budget? Consider the traditional brass cylinder type this may be the answer, however you do need to collect the oil in a separate container! If you are like Rob (of advancing age and suffering from arthritis in the wrists) and have difficulty in undoing the oil filter, the Boa Constrictor strap wrench takes the pain away!

    If your boat is being stored on dry land, once she is up on the hard stand we suggest that you close the water inlet seacock, open the water filter and with the engine running pour in an appropriate antifreeze mix. Carry on pouring till you can retrieve the mixed antifreeze from the exhaust outlet. Once you have done this, stop the engine and turn off the diesel tap. If you intend to leave your boat in the marina or on moorings don’t follow this procedure with the antifreeze as you will pollute the water. In this case we would recommend draining the seawater system. Next, disconnect the starting circuit from the battery and consider taking all batteries home and storing in a warm place, however, if you are leaving the boat on the water make sure there is still a battery to run the bilge pump!

    If the engine could do with a clean, consider cleaning it down with an engine cleaner and degreaser, this will remove any ingrained grease and grime. Don’t forget to keep on top of any rust spots; surface should be prepared with the appropriate primer than follow up with the correct colour paint. Spray all exposed parts of the engine with Quicksilver Corrosion Guard  then get a couple of oily rags and stuff them up the exhaust pipe and engine air intake.

    If you have access to shore power a tube heater will stop any moisture from freezing as it circulates warm air round the engine bay. Check, however, that a heater can be left unattended; some yacht clubs don't allow heaters to be left unattended in their boatyard.

    At this time of year it’s worth checking the condition of all water hoses and belts. Check the impeller (out of sight out of mind), the engine anode and of course the thermostat. Incidentally, to check a thermostat is working all you have to do is remove and place in a bowl of boiling  water and check it activates, depending on the make of engine it may either open or close when placed in the hot water so make sure you check the status before you drop it in. Throttle and gear shift cables can snap where the cable exits the outer casing so examine closely by gently flexing the cable and check for broken strands. If old, stiffness in the operation may mean the beginning of cable failure. Check along the full length of the outer casing for any signs of damage.

    Finally, for what it costs, a replacement primary and secondary fuel filter should be fitted regardless of the condition of the old. If you are using your onboard spares stock, don't forget to replace the spares whilst it's fresh in your mind.

    Outboards - 4 Stroke

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    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in then wash off with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank. If you have an internal fuel tank fitted in the boat, the best way to add the stabilizer is to add the correct amount (for the fuel remaining in your tank) to 1 litre of fresh fuel, mix thoroughly then add to the main tank. Next place your engine in a fresh water tank or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine for 15 minutes to get the mixed fuel completely through the fuel system and to remove any traces of salt from the cooling system.

    After you have stopped the engine and disconnected the kill cord, remove the plugs (beware they may be hot) and add a small amount of engine oil into each plug hole. Rotate the flywheel manually to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Remove the thermostat and check for correct operation by dropping it into boiling water. Change the engine oil and filter as well as the gear box oil.

    At this stage its worth touching up any exposed alloy surfaces with the appropriate primer and correct colored paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally, store the engine upright to allow water to drain out.

    Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

    One thing that’s worth noting is if your engine is still under warranty you need to check the terms as carrying out even basic maintenance like changing oil and filters may invalidate the warranty, particularly where your engine is subject to an extended warranty offered past the standard manufacturer's warranty.

    Outboards - 2 Stroke

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    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in for five minutes and then wash down with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to any built in fuel tank(s), however, if it’s a small auxiliary engine with a separate tank or integral tank, empty contents into a petrol engine car AFTER carrying out the following procedure. Either place your engine in fresh water or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine in neutral for 10 minutes. Increase speed to fast idle then disconnect fuel supply. Just before engine starts to stall (and it could run for up to 3-4 minutes!), quickly spray Quicksilver Storage Seal into carburetor until engine dies from fuel starvation. After disconnecting the kill cord, remove the spark plugs (once again beware they may be hot) and inject 1oz of Quicksilver Storage Seal around the inside of each cylinder. Rotate the flywheel manually several times to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Remove the thermostat and check for correct operation by dropping it into boiling water. Drain and replace the gear oil and at this stage its worth checking for any bare metal surfaces that may need treatment, first use the appropriate primer followed up with the correct coloured paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

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