|Posted: November 26 2006 at 18:44 | IP Logged
Winterization is one of my most un-favorite tasks. I have a bunch of un-favorite tasks but winterization is near the top of the list.
You were not too specific about your boat calling it just a "cat 280". But based upon what Murray Chris Craft built in 1983 it must be a 28' Chris Craft Catalina 280. This was one of Chris Craft's more popular models both before and after the transition from Chris Craft to Murray Chris Craft.
I'm sorry to say that there really isn't much specific to say about winterizing a Catalina 280. They were usually single engine inboard powered boats although a few had twin engines and the engines were typical Chevy V8s producing about 230 Hp. Essentially, the engines are pretty much the same as those in thousands of other boats.
But I can say something about winterizing in general. If you're already an expert in winterizing this probably won't help much. But it may be of use to other readers.
Basically, the idea is to get rid of all the water on your boat. You either dump it over the side or replace it with an antifreeze mix.
Engines are the most expensive items on your boat that can be damaged by freezing so they are the first thing you should winterize. Most fresh water cooled engines have two water cooling systems.
The first is the freshwater system which is the system in the engine which actually transfers the heat from the block to the coolant. It is usually already filled with an antifreeze mix so all you really need to do is to check the water in that system with a hydrometer. Look for something that looks like a radiator cap. Take the cap off and sample the fluid inside with the hydrometer. The hydrometer is one of those things with the glass tube and little balls inside. The more balls that float, the more freeze protection you have. If the hydrometer says you are already protected to below the lowest temperature you expect your boat to encounter this winter youíre done. Put the radiator cap back on. By the way it always pays to read your engine manual if you have one. If you donít, get one.
The raw water side of your engineís cooling system consists of an engine mounted pump which pumps raw water from the bay, lake, river or ocean through a device known as a heat exchanger which functions much like the radiator in your car. The difference is that in your car the air cools the radiator while in your boat raw water cools the heat exchanger.
Turn off your engine seacock and then drain your raw water system by opening all of the petcocks on the raw water cooling system. How many petcocks there are what they look like and other details vary from engine to engine so only you can only get that from your engine manual. Make sure you have one. After draining your raw water cooling system open the cover of your raw water pump and drain that too. If you have a strainer on your engine water intake, donít forget to drain the strainer.
Some people recommend that you cover your exhaust pipes to prevent wet winter air from rusting your engineís exhaust valves. Not everyone does that but itís probably a good idea. Itís also a good idea at this time to check all your on-engine raw water zincs and replace them too if necessary. After youíve done all this youíre done. If you do all this your engine wonít freeze up but most engine manufacturers have other chores they recommend like fogging your carburetor, changing oil, etc. Again, consult your engine manual.
If you have a generator, repeat the steps above for your generator.
The next item on my list is usually the potable water system. This is the system that supplies water to your sinks, showers, dishwashers, washer dryers, refrigerators, icemakers, etc. I get rid of the water by blowing the system out with a shop air compressor set at about 35 psi.. Find the water inlet, attach the compressor to the inlet start it running and the go around the boat opening each sink faucet, shower faucet, etc. sequentially and letting the compressor run until the last trace of water has come out.
If you have a water heater, most of us do, turn it off before blowing the water system out and then drain it manually. Rig a bypass hose around the water heater before blowing the water system out.
All of your ice making systems will have an electromagnetic valve which refills the ice trays. Even after blowing out your system, the valve will have water in it. It is made of plastic, contains water that will freeze and will be broken if you donít drain it out. They cost only about $30 but the main headache is finding the store that sells the exact replacement part that you want. Itís easier to just disconnect and drain the valve. Re-install it in the spring.
You will also have to manually drain your water pump, surge tank and filters. As much of the water in the water tank as possible should be pumped out. Some people follow up the blowing out by refilling the water system with potable antifreeze. But this is sort of a belt and suspenders approach. This is all just common sense. You want to get rid of all the water in your water system.
By now youíre more than half way through. The next item is air conditioners. You need to blow out all of the water in the air conditioners and the pipes that lead to them. Turn off the power and thru hull water supply intake. Drain all systems up to the output of your air conditioner water pump and then blow out the remainder of the system with your compressor.
Heads are also usually a component of most cruising boats. The procedure for winterizing them is to disconnect them from their intake water supply and then pump potable antifreeze through the system. About 3 gallons will do for most heads. Donít use ethylene glycol (the yellow/green stuff) for this because it is toxic to the environment. Use polypropylene glycol (the potable pink stuff). Conversely, never use the pink stuff for the fresh water side of any engine. It will damage the engine. Donít forget to shut off your thru hulls and drain your intake strainers. Also empty and shut off your holding tanks.
The last thing to do is to prepare the outside of your boat for winter. You can use canvas, shrink wrap or simply a good coat of wax. The numbers of ways to protect the outside are so varied they cannot be covered here. But remember to leave some ventilation on the cover to allow dry air to circulate through your boat.
It is a good idea to fill your fuel tanks about 90% full before laying your boat up for the winter to minimize water condensation in your tanks. But leave them about 10% empty to allow for expansion.
Finally, if you are leaving your boat in the water for the winter, check to make sure that all your thru hulls are closed and in good condition.
Now you know why winterization is one of my most un-favorite tasks.
Edited by Pete37 on November 26 2006 at 19:18
A Murray Chris Craft Constellation 500