This is really more of a post about steps that can be taken long-before it is time to winterize, so that when it is time to winterize, things actually go pretty quickly. Of course, most people aren’t quite as anal as me (no, you won’t be the first to tell me that).
Winterization of the Christina Rose took a total of 3-hours and 20-minutes this year. And, that included almost 2-hours on just the oil-changes. Okay, technically you’d have to add another 9-hours I spent doing the install of the Perko FlushPro kits (including all the trips to WestMarine to get stuff I forgot). Incase you didn’t see that post, check out: http://www.edickent.com/boatblog/?p=106
Why’d I spend so much time doing the Perko FlushPro install? Three reasons: 1) I wanted a way to run/test my stuff while in dry-dock, 2) I wanted a way to get the salt-water out of my stuff, and 3) I wanted a way to streamline winterizing. I’ve winterized my stuff for more than 25-years, and I’ve learned the hard way a few tricks that work and some that didn’t… this is really another one of my Forrest Gump posts… yanno, a stupid is as stupid does kind of thing. Maybe there’s something of value here, maybe not…
Step1: Do all the background stuff months in advance. I ordered the parts for my FlushPro installation and installed it well-ahead of my winterization. I also ordered a submersible pump months in advance (more on that later), because it was all part of the FlushPro-plan. I also used just-over 3-cases (18gal) of antifreeze during this…
Step2: Pump all the water from your fresh-water tank into your toilet (head). Run the hot-water heater or the engines to get the water heater hot… I purposefully dump hot water from the shower into the head, and keep filling the black-tank with water until the fresh-tank is empty. I then put Sta-bil into both fuel-tanks, then I drive over to the marina for pump-out and gas.
Step3: The oil changes. The FlushPro installation allowed me to run my engines (and genny) off fresh-water for a long time… long-enough for the engines to get fully warmed up for the old oil to come out and long-enough to circulate antifreeze through them when finished. I change my oil in the fall because I don’t like the thought of moisture or acids from combustion sitting in the engine all winter. Everyone does an oil change their own way, but here’s one of my tricks: I use a Topsider oil-pump, which is a PITA to use-as-directed, but when you use more power (anyone remember Tim Allen’s Tool Time?), good things happen! Put the Topsider low in the bilge so you don’t have to lift the oil as far:
Step4: Winterize the strainers and seacocks for the engines/genny/ A/C. There is nothing better than a powerful shopvac; a million uses. Close the seacocks, open the strainers, suck everything out of the strainers (and hoses). Turn the shopvac around to BLOW, jam the hose into the open strainer, then open the seacock while you’re pumping air into the strainer. The result? A full-blown bubble-fest under the boat and a dry seacock. Close the seacock while still flowing air into the strainer. You don’t want to leave fresh-water in the hose/seacock. Shut off the shopvac and fill the strainer with antifreeze. Make sure you put in enough for it to flow into the hoses you just filled with air:
(the A/C sucks quickly on its own when you turn on the thermostat… fill the strainer with antifreeze with the seacock closed, strainer-top open, and be ready to add more to it quickly. If you let the strainer drop low-enough for the A/C pump to suck air in the strainer, you’ll have to re-prime it.)
Step5: Winterize the freshwater (make sure you turn off the hot-water heater). I open the fresh-water strainer and suck it dry with the shopvac. Then, I disconnect the Whale-fitting from the output-side of the fresh-water pump. Then, (and this is the important part) I open the gally sink’s hot-water faucet and use the shop-vac to blow air into the plastic fresh-water line you disconnected from the pump (I actually used a pancake compressor, but either would work).
Why is the hot-first important? You need to empty gallons of water out of the hot-water heater, else you’ll waste gallons of antifreeze later
When the galley-sink starts blowing air, close the hot and open the cold faucet. Lather-rinse-repeat. Then, I use a submersible-pump to feed antifreeze from a 5gal-bucket to the fresh-water plastic fresh-water line.
I then go around to every faucet (including the cockpit fridge, swim-platform showers, head-shower, head, galley) and let the line run until antifreeze spews. I used about 4-gallons here, mostly because of the hot-water tank, I think:
Step6: Winterize the shower sump. Use the shopvac to clear-out the shower-sump. Pour some antifreeze into the A/C condenser’s drip-pan, enough until you see antifreeze come into the shower-sump. Using the head’s shower, dump enough antifreeze into the shower-drain until the shower-sump turns on a couple times to ensure antifreeze pumps out the side of the boat
Step7: De-stink ala MJK. Something new added this year thanks to a Cruisers buddy of mine (king5899) is an inspection and suck-out of standing water under the aft-berth. Seems Cruisers decided to build a bilge that is inaccessible and lower than the forward bilge in my boat; now I know it’s a must-inspect task. Remove the table’s pedestal-mount and let the versatile shopvac do its thing:
Step8: Winterize the engines. With the Perko FlushPro kits installed and fully operational, winterizing the engines and genny is a breeze. I simply hooked-up a garden-hose to the water-inlet I installed, then ran each of the three in succession (not simultaneously, as the water-inlet and 5/8” hose doesn’t give enough water to run more than one FlushPro at a time). I ran each engine long-enough for it to reach full 160F operating temperature using fresh water from the hose, then shut-down and fired-up the next engine, repeating. Once I had the engines and genny fully warmed-up, I removed the water-hose and switched-over to the submersible-pump and bucket full of antifreeze. I fed each engine 3-gallons of corrosion-resistant antifreeze and the genny I gave 2-gallons:
Happy Wakes! Drop me a line anytime, ChristinaRose@edickent.com