Winterising when remaining afloat for the winter: it is essential that you prepare the boat for cold weather.
The following are typical of the tasks to be undertaken:
Drain off domestic water by running off from the taps as much water as possible.
Empty the calorifier (hot water tank) by loosening hose connections and pressure cap. Drain off into suitable containers. You may need to use a pump to extract the last of the water, or disconnect, remove and tip remaining water out.
Empty under-sink water filter (if fitted) and leave open until re-commisiioning.
Release lowest hose points and drain, eg in shower or under sinks.
Note: Remember to re-tighten all connections before using the domestic water system again.
Start engine and allow to warm up to normal operating temperature
turn off engine
Close stopcock (at weed filter)
Release top of stopcock, remove and clean the weed filter
Refit the weed filter
Re-start engine and pour anti-freeze into the open stopcock until it comes out of the exhaust.
Reseal top of stopcock inlet.
The following are typical of the tasks to be undertaken for each engine:
Whilst the vessel is still afloat:
- If diesel powered, ensure fuel tank(s) are full to minimise condensation and avoid infection of the diesel fuel with the dreaded diesel bug.
- If petrol driven, have the tanks as empty as possible because unleaded petrol has a short shelf-life of only 3 to 4 months.
- Run engine until up to operating temperature.
- Ensure the engine cooling system is sufficiently protected with anti-freeze. If it is not, top up, or drain down and re-fill with the correct mixture. (This is better than draining the system because it protects the engine and avoids the danger of plain water being trapped in pockets in the engine and freezing. If draining the system is preferred, ensure all water is drained by opening drain cock and by removing any bottom hoses.)
- Drain lubricating oil from engine; there are several different ways this may have to be done. Depending upon the engine:
- On some engines, including the Thornycroft T154, there is a tap that can be opened and a built in handpump to pump the oil out.
- on some, such as the BMC1.5 and the Ford 1600, a tube must be pushed down through the dipstick tube to reach nearly to the bottom of the sump and the oil then sucked out with a pump attached to the tube.
- on some, such as some Marine Perkins 4.107 and 4.108 engines, there is a separate tube reaching down into the bottom of the sump, capped by a nut which should be removed and the oil sucked out using a pump.
- if there is room under the engine, the sump plug can be removed and the oil drained out in the conventional way.
- Refill with new engine oil.
- Renew fuel, oil and air filters.
- Run engine until up to operating temperature to ensure lubricating oil and anti-freeze fully circulated.
- Run an antifreeze mixture through the raw water cooling system by closing the sea cock, opening the top of the weed filter, starting the engine and pouring the anti-freeze mixture into the weed filter whilst the engine is running. Stop the engine as soon as you stop pouring the anti-freeze in. Do not open the sea cock again until after lifting the boat out of the water AND do not run the engine whilst there is no raw water supply or you will damage the impellor in the raw water pump.
- Put a notice on the ignition panel reminding you that the engines are drained, etc.
In the water or out:
- Clean out engine breather pipe.
- Remove batteries for winter maintenance. Batteries should be cleaned, topped up, fully charged and stored in a non-freezing environment - e.g. at home in a garage. To maintain their efficiency they should be exercised during lay-up by being discharged by driving a suitable 12 volt appliance and re-charged from time to time.
- Check security and condition of hose and hose clips on Seacocks and that they operate freely. .
It is also good practise to clean the exterior of the engine, gearbox and surrounding area, and check all nuts, bolts and screws are fully tightened. replace any that are missing.
Winterise the Domestic water system as detailed above for winterising when remaining afloat.
- Ensure all drain taps are closed.
- Check all nuts, bolts and screws are fully tightened, if not done when laying up.
- Re-connect batteries.
- Open sea cocks.
- Turn engine over by hand.
- Start engine.
Other Checks not specific to Laying Up:
Out of the water
Seacocks: Check security of attachment and that still tight on the skin of the hull with no sign of cracks.
Sacrificial Anodes: Check anodes (see below).
Propellor and shaft(s): Check condition. If pitted, check the anodes are wired up correctly. Remove foreign matter such as fishing line (careful of any hooks), plastic bags, etc.
Keel: Check that keel is firmly fixed and that no keel bolts have loosened. If they have, may need to get access to the nuts/bolts through the bilge as well as from outside the keel. Seek advice from Club representatives if necessary.
The diesel bug, caused by excess water contaminating the diesel fuel in the tanks, can totally disable diesel vessels. Checking and emptying the water trap in your fuel lines regulary is the best precaution against infection with the diesel bug, as is ensuring you have full diesel tanks when over-wintering. If, however, your boat becomes infected there would seem to be two main solutions:
- Remove the tank(s) and feed pipes, have them thoroughly cleaned out and the fuel thrown away, then re-install and fill with fresh fuel, or
- Contact "Express Lube" who have a service that will clean out the system in situ, and filter the fuel so that it can be re-used. - ring 01444 254115 for details and a quotation.
One should use the same antifouling as already used because different anti-fouls are not always compatible with each other. If you don't know what's on it choose an antifouling paint that is easily obtained and suits the type of water you are in. I.e. Fresh/Salt/Brackish/Low or High Fouling conditions. You should use a "Barrier Coat" of the recommended type for the new paint, your chandler should be able to offer advice. The barrier coat basically stops a possible reaction from different makes.
Both International and Blake's are good all rounders, the best to use is what's called "Self Polishing or Self Eroding. This type erodes slowly during the season which exposes more of the chemical as it does so. It also avoids a build up of paint over the years.
This is applied annually.
You should not have to paint the stern gear (Props/Rudders/Shafts) unless you are in a very heavy fouling area. If you do have to, and only if, you should use Copper-Free Antifouling Paint. However, it is much better not to have to do this, just clean all the metal up as best as possible with either fine emery cloth or fine abrasive paste like you would use on your saucepans.
Anodes should only be replaced once they have nearly deteriorated away. Check they are wired up as recommended by the manufacturer, once again the type of anode depends on what the water is, Salt or fresh.
If maintained correctly, gas systems are normally safe and trouble-free. At the start of each season, and before any long voyage, check all rigid pipes for corrosion, all rubber pipes for perishing, and all fixings are secure and free from corrosion. Pipework must not be free to vibrate and should preferably be kept clear of electrical systems including wiring. Be prepared to replace rubber pipes frequently. Test and examine all gas taps and regulator(s) for corrosion or damage. If in doubt consult your nearest gas stockist. Do not attempt to repair a faulty or suspect regulator.
Gas bottle lockers should be cleaned thoroughly and drains checked for blockages.Glow Plugs:
A member had a query regarding his Seamaster 820 1.8 BMC engine which suddenly stopped starting. The Glow Plug was loose and the Glow Plug power wire was getting extremely hot. I removed the Plug and it looked like the carbon rod at the end had sheared off. So a simple glow plug replacement project (10 mins) could well become a saga. On the Internet I see you can drill out the carbon rod from within the cylinder block but Im worried that pieces of the Glow Plug will drop into the Cylinder with the associated risk of damaging the Cylinder bore / valves etc. Can you help?
Paul Killick replied:Not good news Im afraid. Head off!
Glow plugs should be removed and re-fitted every year to avoid this and should be part of the service schedule at major intervals. A BMC special tool is used to clean out the threads (or a correct size drill bit as you suggest). Any partials in the swirl chamber would definitely get drawn into the combustion chamber when started. Whilst the head is off remove valves and check seats, if OK grind back in and fit new valve stem oil seals. Use only the dedicated BMC head set, dont be tempted to get a cheap alternative. They dont work!
GRP repairs are specialist work, one can make a fair repair by using "Plastic Padding" gel Coat Filler. When purchasing the filler it will come in a pack with white paste and hardener in a separate tubes. You will have to check that the hardener is "White" and not Yellow. This may not be easy, I have found lots of packs that has yellow hardener, it took me ages to order the white hardener which is what you need for a good colour match.
What ever you do, clean out the scratch before filling, any dirt will bleed through otherwise. When sanding off the excess use warm soapy water and wet & dry paper, start with a medium grade and finish with a fine. The finer you use the better the final repair will be.
Blend in the repaired area by wet & drying a large area around it.
The seal for the hatch window is unfortunately no longer made, I have been trying very hard to match it or even get close to the original for several years. I am getting close but the manufactures want me to order a minimum of a hundred feet. This I will not do until they can prove that their extrusion fits and works under testing by me. In the meantime you can make your own from black hatch tape that can be readily supplied by chandlers. It comes in different sizes, I find that 6-8mm thick works well, you can trim any overhang off with a sharp craft knife. Its best to seal the joins on the mitres with a drop of silicone.Ropes
Check all ropes regularly during the season for signs of wear or damage. Keep all ends properly terminated by splicing, whipping or heat-seal as appropriate. Remove standing ropes (eg mooring ropes) and check periodically, particularly for damage from grit etc becoming trapped.
(. . . . . . . to be continued)
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