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 Had your boat winterized yet? Here’s a tip: grease and antifreeze are cheaper than parts and labor.

Has the recent warm spell fooled you into thinking winter will never get here? Rest assured, cold weather is coming but will your boat’s motor be ready to stand the chill?

Area marine dealers have been busy lately winterizing pontoons with both inboard/outboard engines and the standard outboard. Yet there are always a few boat owners who get busy and forget.

A little grease in the lower unit of the outboard and a check for water will prevent disaster. Neglect it and the busted baby will hit you hard in the pocketbook about the time your friends speed off next spring, leaving you in their wake.

“We drain the water from the block of the inboard/outboard and replace it with anti-freeze and on the outboard lower units we check for water that could freeze and burst, destroying the housing and expensive gears,” said Brian Allen, certified Mercury mechanic at Buchanan Marine. “Prevention and maintenance now will save the boater a lot of money and trouble later.”

Kentucky Lake is a pontoon paradise but if you want to have fun in the sun it’s best to have your local marine dealer prepare your vessel for its winter nap. It’s money well spent, knowing your motor will come out of hibernation and ready to run.

“I watch for water to drain out of a lower unit as today’s lubricants and water don’t mix so if grease seals are bad and water is there, it’s a red flag that seals need to be replaced before applying grease. Otherwise, water left trapped in the lower unit is bad news,” continued Allen, as he serviced a pontoon’s outboard.

“With inboards we drain most of the water from the block and replace it with antifreeze. If someone forgets to do that they’re looking at a four digit repair bill come spring!”

“The number one culprit is fishing line wrapped around the prop’s shaft that ultimately damages the grease seals,” continued Allen when asked what wrecks havoc with lower units. “This lets water seep in and sets the stage for freeze ups. However, most boaters should have their lower unit grease replaced each year anyway.”

And what about the fuel scenario with present day ethanol? That’s a question on all boaters’ minds these days as some stations offer gas with no ethanol while others have the standard ten percent. Now can you remember which one you filled up at last and just how much ethanol is sleeping in that tank?

Gasoline containing ethanol or alcohol can cause a formation of acid during storage and can damage the fuel system. If the gas being used contains alcohol, manufactures recommend draining---that’s right draining---as much of the remaining gas as possible from the fuel tank, remote fuel line and engine fuel system.

If you are using gas without ethanol or alcohol it’s wise to fill the fuel tank and engine fuel system with a stabilizer which helps prevent formation of varnish and gum.

Here are a few important tips: (1) on portable tanks put the required amount of stabilizer into the tank and shake it up to aid mixing. (2) For permanent tanks pour the required amount of stabilizer into a separate container and mix with approximately one quart of gas. Then pour the mixture into the tank.

(3) Remove the fuel filter sight bowl and empty contents in a suitable container. Add ½ tablespoon of stabilizer into the fuel filter sight bowl and reinstall. (4) Place the outboard in water or connect flushing attachment for circulating cooling water and run the engine for fifteen minutes to allow treated fuel to fill the engine fuel system.

Bottom line is that winter is knocking on the door and a trip to your local marine dealer needs to be at the top of your list. He knows what to do and how to do it.

Neglect your engine now and you’re asking for trouble in the future. Water is great for fishing, skiing, and riding on as the wind blows through your hair but when it’s trapped inside your engine during cold weather it’s bad news.

Even though it’s still fall the time to winterize is now!

Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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