I hauled Cay of Sea yesterday, after prepping her for winter storage as much as possible while she floated. This included removing water from the systems that needed freeze proofing, and doing some routine engine maintenance.
Freeze-proofing: I took a different approach this year. Rather than using gallons upon gallons of RV/Boat antifreeze (propylene glycol), I opted for the “dewatering” method. It does save a few dollars on chemicals. More to the point, in the long run it’s more convenient. For the water system I used my shop vac to pull the last bits of water out of the lines and tank – they are essentially dry now. This cuts down on time spent flushing the system of propylene glycol next spring. Also, simply pulling the water out will (hopefully) reduce the frequency of pump rebuilds. I have two of them to rebuild this winter, primary (I assume) because the antifreeze chemical is hard on the soft rubber pump parts.
Marine Toilet: I took a similar approach to winterizing the toilet, only I didn’t use the shop vac. Instead, I simply soaked up any remaining standing “water” in the system with many paper towels. I also disconnected the pump and pumped all the remaining water out of it. Then removed the two rubber valves (the joker, and the weighted flapper) from the line on the holding tank side of the pump discharge. I stored the valves and fasteners in a zip-lock bag. After unexpectedly having to rebuild the pump last spring, I decided to stop using any sort of cleaning chemicals in the toilet, and to disassemble the pump rather than use anti-freeze. Both valves appeared to be in like-new condition yesterday.
Engine: I changed oil and filter, making my characteristic mess in the process. It just seems impossible for me to do this without spreading oil around the work place. The process was somewhat complicated by draining the closed cooling system and replacing the old anti-freeze with fresh 5-year formulated stuff. At one point, I started the engine to circulate coolant and new oil, and managed to leave the dip stick out of the hole, spraying oil all over that area of the engine compartment. It cleaned up easily – but my annoyance over the omission was fairly long-lasting.
Note: When refilling the coolant, be aware that bubbles are introduced into the system which need engine run time and some brief bleeding of the drain cocks to relieve. So, refill the coolant tank to “full” (not the plastic overflow tank – rather, the metal pressure radiator-type tank on the engine). Replace the pressure cap, then run the engine for several minutes. Stop the engine and tap an ounce or two from each drain cock, then carefully open the radiator-style pressure cap. I say carefully, because just like an auto engine, if the motor runs long enough, pressure will build and an injury is possible with the release of the pressure cap. Once the cap is off, top up the coolant level. My engine (Yanmar 2gm20F) took nearly another quart of coolant after the initial fill.
It might be wise to change the coolant before the oil. That way, you can combine warming up the engine for oil drain with purging air from the cooling system. You may need to run the engine long enough after refilling the coolant to open the thermostat and access that part of the system that is closed off when the engine is cold.
The only propylene glycol I will use this year is in the raw-water side of the engine. Now with the boat hauled, I need to drain the water-lift muffler, and pump propylene glycol into the heat exchanger. After that’s done, I’ll disassemble the raw-water pump and store the impeller in a plastic bag. Then she’s good for the winter. I already replaced the drop boards and fore hatch with their winter-over covers.
Next Post: Hydrocoat Evaluation – Second Season.