|Many owners rely on their boat yards to winterize their engines or generators for them, while some owners prefer to accomplish this task themselves. Below is a checklist of items to be performed on your engine or your generator for winter lay-up.
Fresh Water Cooling System
The use of a 50-50 solution of antifreeze and fresh water is recommended for use in the fresh water cooling system year round. This solution may require a higher concentration of antifreeze, depending on the area's winter climate. This solution should be checked to insure proper freeze protection.
Should more antifreeze be needed, drain an appropriate amount from the engine block and add a more concentrated mixture. Operate the engine to insure complete circulation throughout the system. Recheck.
With the engine warm, drain ALL the lubricating oil from the oil sump. Remove and replace the oil filter; place some paper towels and a plastic bag around the filter to catch the oil while removing it.
When installing the new oil filter, be sure to apply a small amount of oil on the sealing "O" ring at the base of the filter. Fill the sump with the correct amount of oil for your engine model (Ref: Operator's Manual or Technical Manual). Use an oil with an A.P.I. Spec. CC. Run the engine and check for proper oil pressure and insure that there are no leaks.
Do not leave old engine lubricating oil in the sump over the winter lay-up period. Lubricating oil and combustion deposits combine to produce harmful chemicals which can reduce the life of internal engine parts.
Drain the lubricant from your transmission and/or V-Drive. Refill with the proper lubricant to the full mark on the transmission dipstick. Run the engine and shift the transmission into forward and reverse one/two times. Stop the engine and check the transmission oil level; add lubricant as needed. Check for leaks.
Top off your fuel tanks with #2 diesel fuel. Fuel additives should be added at this time to control algae and condition the fuel. Care should be taken that additives used are compatible with primary filter/separator used in the system. Change the element in your primary fuel filter/separator if it contains one, and/or clean the separator sediment bowl.
Change the fuel filter elements on the engine and bleed the fuel system, as needed. Start the engine and allow it to run for 5 - 10 minutes to insure that no air is left in the fuel system and check for any leaks that may have been created in the fuel system during this servicing, and correct as needed.
Sea Water Circuit
Close the thru hull seacock. Remove the raw water intake hose from the sea cock. Place the end of this hose into a 5-gallon bucket of clean fresh water. Before starting the engine, check the zinc pencil found in the primary heat exchanger on the engine and clean or replace it, if required. Clean your sea strainer, if one is installed in the inside of the hull.
Start the engine and allow the raw water pump to draw the fresh water through the system. When the bucket empties, stop the engine and refill the bucket with an antifreeze solution slightly stronger than needed for winter freeze protection in your area.
Start the engine and allow all of this mixture to be drawn through the raw water system. Once the bucket empties, stop the engine. This anti-freeze mixture should protect your raw water circuit from freezing during winter lay-up, as well as providing corrosion protection.
Remove the impeller from your raw water pump (some antifreeze mixture will accompany it, so catch it in a bucket). Examine the impeller. Acquire a replacement if needed and a cover gasket. Do not replace the impeller back into the pump until the Spring commissioning.
With a clean cloth lightly soaked in oil, place it in the opening of the intake manifold so as to block it closed. DO NOT shove the cloth out of sight into the intake manifold. If you cannot see it next Spring, and you attempt to start your engine, you may need the assistance of a servicing dealer. Take a note to remove this cloth prior to start-up. The exhaust through hull can be closed in this same manner.
Propeller Shaft Coupling
Disconnect the propeller shaft coupling from the transmission. (If the boat remains in the water during winter storage, this need not be done).
This is a good time to check the security of the coupling to the propeller shaft. Insure also that the coupling set screws are tight and wired so as not to loosen. The engine alignment to the propeller shaft should be checked in the Spring when the boat is placed back in the water, and the mast stepped, and the rigging tuned.
Controls and Linkage
Check the security of control connections to the engine and transmission. Lubricate these controls and insure that they move freely. Engines with pull-type shut-off levers should be left in the "RUN" position during winter storage.
Lubrication and cleaning of the starter drive pinion is advisable ii access to the starter permits its easy removal. Insure that the battery connections are shut off before attempting to remove the starter. Take care to properly replace any electrical connections removed from the starter.
You may have noticed in your Westerbeke Technical manuals, that they call for removing the injectors from the cylinder head and squirting some light lube oil down the injector hole into the cylinders.
This is not necessary for the few months the engine is laid up for the winter. However, if you anticipate a longer lay- up period (12 months +), please follow through with this procedure. It will prevent the adhering of the piston rings to the cylinder walls. Insure that you have the proper hardware to replace the sealing washers for the injectors and return line connections.
This is a good time to look over your engine and see if external items such as belts or hoses may need replacing, come Spring commissioning. Check over your basic spares kit and order items not on hand, or replace those items used during the winter lay-up, such as filters and zincs.
If batteries are to be left on board during the winter storage period, insure that they are in a state of full charge and will remain that way, to prevent them from freezing. If not, it would be wise to remove them.
By following these few steps, you should afford your engine protection over the winter lay-up. This will also help familiarize you with the maintenance needs of your engine.
If you have any questions regarding winter lay-up, call your local servicing dealer; he will be more than willing to try and answer any of your questions.