View Full Version : How do you keep engine from freezing btwn fall ski sessions?

10-04-2004, 03:59 PM
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, 04:06 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.

10-04-2004, 04:10 PM
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, 09:53 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, 10:08 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, 06:45 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, 07:21 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, 11:14 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..

10-06-2004, 03:20 PM
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, 07:22 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.

lakes Rick
10-06-2004, 07:35 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.....

10-07-2004, 12:03 AM
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, 11:18 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, 11:27 AM
My concern would be the headers and exhuast. Both can freeze and cause cracks.

lakes Rick
10-07-2004, 01:11 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, 01:28 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.