View Full Version : How do you keep engine from freezing btwn fall ski sessions?
Hey what do you guys use to keep your engine and related accessories warm during the end of the ski season? When your boat has to endure a few cold nights waiting to ski again when the weather permits. In the past I have left a utility light under the engine cover or a small electric heater. Other suggestions? This is a temporary heat source fro fall, not a replacement for proper winterization. Thanks, Jamie
10-04-2004, 03:06 PM
What I have done in the past is pull the petcocks on the engine block and let it drain while I tow it back to my storage building. Iíve heard proís and conís to this, but it makes me feel better.
I used to have an old ski supreme and no garage. i put utility lights under the motor and one next to each manifold. i also drained the motor and manifolds after each use. that worked for me in Fort Worth.
10-04-2004, 08:53 PM
Most common is a utility light. A couple of 60w bulbs in the engine box under a cover will do a great job. So would an electric blanket or two. I'd be wary of an average electric heater -- their thermostats have a tendency to spark - not a good thing when you could have a volatile fuel/air mixture under there..
10-04-2004, 09:08 PM
West Marine has a special heater designed for this... A bit pricey but given the closed and potentially explosive environment I'd think this would be a better bet than utility lights. I also like the automatic temperature control.
10-05-2004, 05:45 AM
WOW :eek3: You're not kidding! $400.00 for a heater!
I'm sure it's worth it since you won't have to worry about your boat blowing up - but WOW!
If it were somewhere around $100.00 - I'd probably buy one as we tend to push our seasons.
10-05-2004, 06:21 AM
My boat is in the water till almost freeze up. I installed an engine block heater, plug it in really cold nites. Works well.
10-05-2004, 10:14 AM
Skiboy, I'm sure it does work well! A typical block heater is 750 to 1000 watts -- with a cover over your boat, I'm sure it's quite toasty in the morning and likely has a noticeable effect on your electricity bill at the end of the month.... Simple and cheap, though..
I guess I will stick with the utlility light that protected me last night and consider a block heater, when I have time. Thanks for the replies. Jamie
10-06-2004, 06:22 PM
I've used the utility light for the last 3 years without any problems. But then again I was living in Seattle where it never gets very cold. Now I'm in Spokane where they saw a week under 0 last winter. So I'm considering some redunduncy myself, battery backup possibly?
One thing I did learn, don't use the cheap plastic utility lights. They melt. And check the bulb periodically as they burn out.
10-06-2004, 06:35 PM
The EX had a turbo diesel jetta that had a block heater.. It installed in a freeze plug hole.. Worked great.. Never had to hear about her big A$$ being cold in the mornings.... Might work real well in a boat.. My only concern would be losing water in the block with a raw water system from the heat.....
10-06-2004, 11:03 PM
If the nights are cold for the 2 to 3 weeks before the boat comes out, can still get it fired up in the mornings, the hydro bills are wirth it. :toast:
10-07-2004, 10:18 AM
My only concern would be losing water in the block with a raw water system from the heat.....
JimN: Any thoughts? Rick raises an interesting point.. Is there a chance that because its a raw water (ie. not a closed loop) system that it could 'boil dry'? I'm about 90% sure there's no 'overheat thermostat' on those block heaters..
SkiBoy: How long have you been doing this? How long has your boat been continuously plugged in? Ever had a problem?
10-07-2004, 10:27 AM
My concern would be the headers and exhuast. Both can freeze and cause cracks.
10-07-2004, 12:11 PM
The block heater must heat up to around 100 degrees.. The entire engine compartment was warm in the morning.. The metal in the engine conducts the heat very well... I guarantee you the exhaust manifolds would be warm to the touch with a block heater....
10-07-2004, 12:28 PM
I've never used a "block heater" to speak... however I have used 2 other types.
The one I use on my diesel tractor is a magnetic type heater. Just stick it on a nice flat piece of metal on the block. When I do that, the entire block is warm (but, then again - it's on a 15hp Diesel, so the block isn't awfully big to start with - only a 2-cylinder)
My 99 F250 had an engine oil heater. It would keep the oil at 120deg. When I would wake up after a light snow, there would be a circle on my hood from the entire engine being warm.
I have to assume that unless it's -20 or something - that the ambient warmth from the block would warm everything up enough from keeping it from freezing.
I'll try using one of my magnetic ones this winter. I also have a digital thermometer, read in real time by a PC up to 100' away. I'll put that under the engine box & see how warm it stays. All I need to do now is run Conduit out to the pavilion where the baby sits all winter.
Sounds like a good idea. Guess you could buy a 3. 1 for the block, 1 for each manifold riser. The combination of the 3 should keep the tranny cooler & water pump from freezing.