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Old 10-31-2019, 08:52 AM   #1
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Default Winterization question

Hello guys, I'm doing my own winterization and started it a couple weeks ago. I ran into a problem that I'd like to solve this weekend with the freezing nights coming soon. I have an 89 ebbtide with the 350 mag, one side of the motor winterized fine but the other side I couldn't get the antifreeze to run through. I went through about 4 gallons just on that side. The antifreeze kept coming out one of the lower ports on the thermostat but not the block drain. The block drain did drain all it's water prior, so it's not clogged. I'm thinking maybe because the boat was slightly uneven when I was doing this? Just trying to get some ideas before I attempt to finish it up this weekend. Thank you.
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:23 AM   #2
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Double check that block drain by inserting a piece of wire or small finishing nail into it. I know you said it drained all the water prior, just trying to eliminate all possibilities. I have had a piece of rust lodge in mine from time to time preventing flow. Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:37 AM   #3
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Remove the thermostat round plate which is easy to do, otherwise it will act like a closed valve to the flow of coolant/anti-freeze.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Remove the thermostat round plate which is easy to do, otherwise it will act like a closed valve to the flow of coolant/anti-freeze.
All thermostats have a small bleeder bypass built into them usually on the housing which allows some fluid and also air to pass through whether open or closed. The purpose of that is to prevent pressure buildup unequally on either side that may prevent it from opening up or burp the system so the thermostat is not sitting in a pocket of air. In other words the thermostat does not completely cut off flow, only restrict it until sufficient operating temperature has been reached. At least that is the way mechanical thermostats work.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas. It definitely isnt blocked. Hopefully more chime in. I'm thinking either to park it leaning more towards the port side since it was leaning starboard last time, and also to put the hose back on the t-stat port where it was flowing out before. I believe it was the bottom left port. Just don't want to waste so much antifreeze trying to get this right.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:21 PM   #6
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I've always poured the AF into the block by removing the hose after the thermostat and pouring the AF into the block there. My experience is limited to inboards with GM blocks. I also believe you don't "need" to fill the block with AF, as long as you drain the block and manifolds properly.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:47 PM   #7
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I've always poured the AF into the block by removing the hose after the thermostat and pouring the AF into the block there. My experience is limited to inboards with GM blocks. I also believe you don't "need" to fill the block with AF, as long as you drain the block and manifolds properly.
Funny you mention this as it seems opinions vary. I backfill my block and also the risers and stern drive till I hear it pouring out the intake so I know the impeller housing is full of it too. Takes 3 gallons to do it all and I guess I feel better doing so and have a simple reason for that. If there is any raw water left anywhere it will be mixed with the antifreeze and thus cannot possibly cause a problem. If I can't put 3 gallons in I know something didn't completely drain and I have to find out why. It's hard to gauge how much comes out when draining, refilling is the only way I have comfort in knowing things drained right. It should also be noted that antifreeze has a rust inhibitor in it, at least the stuff I use. Whether it is in the least bit effective or not is a different story but hey I feel better with it full of antifreeze versus not.

I know somebody that just drains the block, risers and manifolds and leaves it as is. Never had a problem either.
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:06 AM   #8
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Funny you mention this as it seems opinions vary. I backfill my block and also the risers and stern drive till I hear it pouring out the intake so I know the impeller housing is full of it too. Takes 3 gallons to do it all and I guess I feel better doing so and have a simple reason for that. If there is any raw water left anywhere it will be mixed with the antifreeze and thus cannot possibly cause a problem. If I can't put 3 gallons in I know something didn't completely drain and I have to find out why. It's hard to gauge how much comes out when draining, refilling is the only way I have comfort in knowing things drained right. It should also be noted that antifreeze has a rust inhibitor in it, at least the stuff I use. Whether it is in the least bit effective or not is a different story but hey I feel better with it full of antifreeze versus not.

I know somebody that just drains the block, risers and manifolds and leaves it as is. Never had a problem either.
Wow, in the new England winters? I do know this is a very hot debate. I didn't even think about draining or filling the lower unit. That should just be another hose off the t-stat right?
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:46 AM   #9
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My method uses a small, three gallon size plastic trash can, a piece of garden hose, a hose shut off valve and a set of earmuffs for the lower unit.

This set up allows the lower unit to draw antifreeze in and distribute it throughout the engine.

First I run the motor on a different hose and earmuffs for long enough to get the thermostat to open and the water to come out of the engine quite hot.

This may take fifteen minutes or so.

Once the engine is hot enough I switch to my bucket rig.

Starting with the bucket full of antifreeze, I run the engine and add more antifreeze as required until all the water coming out of the engine is bright pink.

It usually take about four to six gallons of antifreeze to get to that point.

As the last of the antifreeze is entering the engine I spray fogging oil into the carburetor throat until the engine stalls.

Then I remove all the blue plastic drain plugs from the engine.

I hope that helps!

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Old 11-01-2019, 12:39 PM   #10
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My boat (Volvo Penta I/O Chevy engine) is now on its 22nd winter. Never done anything but drain it. Hope I'm not jinx'in myself now!
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #11
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When living on Cape Cod we had a 200 hp Merc outboard. In winter all I did was pull in December and cover everything. Never had a problem in the 20 years we had this engine.
Maybe I was just extremely lucky?

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Old 11-01-2019, 02:38 PM   #12
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When living on Cape Cod we had a 200 hp Merc outboard. In winter all I did was pull in December and cover everything. Never had a problem in the 20 years we had this engine.
Maybe I was just extremely lucky?

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Outboards are different they will completely drain if put in a vertical position.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:53 PM   #13
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Wow, in the new England winters? I do know this is a very hot debate. I didn't even think about draining or filling the lower unit. That should just be another hose off the t-stat right?
So at least on my 4.3L right on top of the engine block right in front there are 4 cooling system hoses See pic below

Hose #1 goes to the water pump and block.
Hose #2 goes to the stern drive and backfills the impeller housing
Hoses #3 and #4 go to the risers.

I disconnect all of them and start backfilling #1 till it starts to come out the housing where it was connected (takes about 1.5 gallons). Reattach hose and move on to #2 fill that till it starts dumping out the intake on the stern drive (takes about another 1/2 to 3/4 gallon). Reattach and backfill #3 and #4. Split what is left between the two. Any extra will dump out the exhaust ports in the stern drive housing.

Again I leave the antifreeze in the engine as it supposedly has rust inhibitors.

In the spring roll the boat into the driveway put the muffs on and fire it up.
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Old 11-01-2019, 06:59 PM   #14
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I have a mercruiser 350 magnum. I winterize my engine through the earmuffs because I figure it is going to get antifreeze everywhere there was water... I run the engine up to running temp to get the thermostat open on the garden hose. I then drain the riser's and the block of all the (hot) water. Then I put the plugs back in the riser's and the block, and I have a 5 gallon jug that has it's own set of engine ears. I then start the motor back up while running on the engine ears connected to the 5 gallon jug of RV antifreeze. It is gravity fed. I run about 15 gallons through the system, making sure that all I see is "pink" coming out of the exhaust, and just before I run out of antifreeze, I fog it, and stall it out on the fogging oil. I then leave it just like that for the winter. I leave the antifreeze in it. After the motor cools down, I spray it down completely with wd40 silicone to preserve plastic and rubber, and helps to keep critters away. I also dump about a half gallon of antifreeze down the bilge just to mix it with any standing water. I also put a couple of the little buckets of scented "damp rid" in the boat. One in the cockpit area, and one on the floor of the cuddy cabin. That is my annual ritual, as well as changing the gear oil in the outdrive. It is now ready for shrink wrap...
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Old 11-02-2019, 03:38 PM   #15
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hey guys thanks for all the tips and advice. I think I got it sorted today. I might have been using the riser hose instead of the manifold hose last week. I also back the trailer up onto a ramp on one side to get the motor to tilt the opposite way. I also made sure to run coolant through the lower unit pickup hose! Thanks all. Now i have another problem/question I'll be creating another thread for.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:08 PM   #16
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Outboards are different they will completely drain if put in a vertical position.
This is what I have always done with my 1973, all-original 13' Whaler w/40hp Johnson. Never had a problem.

It's on a galvy trailer, and is for sale!
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:15 PM   #17
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Why donít you just remove the 4 drain plugs and call it good? Engine is drained once you do that.

I have the same year motor, do it every year without issue.

Coolant is a waste of time and money.
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Old 11-02-2019, 07:36 PM   #18
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Why donít you just remove the 4 drain plugs and call it good? Engine is drained once you do that.

I have the same year motor, do it every year without issue.

Coolant is a waste of time and money.
So you're one of those huh lol. Idk rather just be safe once we're in the dead of winter and it's below 32 for weeks at a time.
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:43 PM   #19
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Why don’t you just remove the 4 drain plugs and call it good? Engine is drained once you do that.

I have the same year motor, do it every year without issue.

Coolant is a waste of time and money.
No you're not fully drained... there are 5 plugs not 4. At least on a V6 or V8. I believe the 4 cylinder has 2
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:01 PM   #20
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No you're not fully drained... there are 5 plugs not 4. At least on a V6 or V8. I believe the 4 cylinder has 2
Where's the 5th? I only found 4 on mine.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:37 AM   #21
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Where's the 5th? I only found 4 on mine.
fuel cooler on a 7.4
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:55 AM   #22
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Where are you located? I can come help if you want.

We are talking a 1989 boat here correct?

2 plugs on each side of mine, one on the bottom of the exhaust manifold and one on the block . Total of 4 plugs.

Where is the 5th plug?
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Old 11-03-2019, 09:41 AM   #23
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Where are you located? I can come help if you want.

We are talking a 1989 boat here correct?

2 plugs on each side of mine, one on the bottom of the exhaust manifold and one on the block . Total of 4 plugs.

Where is the 5th plug?
It's been decades since I did this stuff. Isn't there one on the bottom of the water pump?
Using antifreeze is a relatively new idea to me. Maybe 20 years ago my marina started putting AF into the block and then reinstalling the drain plugs. The idea was that everything was all set for the winter, and in the spring there was no need to pay/hire a mechanic to reinstall the plugs. Just connect the battery, start and go. The cost of AF was cheaper than the second hour for the mechanic, and the spring scheduling was quicker.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:23 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Cal Coon View Post
I have a mercruiser 350 magnum. I winterize my engine through the earmuffs because I figure it is going to get antifreeze everywhere there was water... I run the engine up to running temp to get the thermostat open on the garden hose. I then drain the riser's and the block of all the (hot) water. Then I put the plugs back in the riser's and the block, and I have a 5 gallon jug that has it's own set of engine ears. I then start the motor back up while running on the engine ears connected to the 5 gallon jug of RV antifreeze. It is gravity fed. I run about 15 gallons through the system, making sure that all I see is "pink" coming out of the exhaust, and just before I run out of antifreeze, I fog it, and stall it out on the fogging oil. I then leave it just like that for the winter. I leave the antifreeze in it. After the motor cools down, I spray it down completely with wd40 silicone to preserve plastic and rubber, and helps to keep critters away. I also dump about a half gallon of antifreeze down the bilge just to mix it with any standing water. I also put a couple of the little buckets of scented "damp rid" in the boat. One in the cockpit area, and one on the floor of the cuddy cabin. That is my annual ritual, as well as changing the gear oil in the outdrive. It is now ready for shrink wrap...
15 gallons? Thatís a lot of anti freeze wasted.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:10 PM   #25
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Why donít you just remove the 4 drain plugs and call it good? Engine is drained once you do that.

I have the same year motor, do it every year without issue.

Coolant is a waste of time and money.
Antifreeze has anti rust inhibitors in it, and gives me more peace of mind knowing it's inside my motor than it being "dry" in there. And I also believe that just draining the water out is never going to get it all out, so running antifreeze through it will at the very least, dilute any water left in it, if not push it out completely. Just my .02 cents.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:12 PM   #26
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Where's the 5th? I only found 4 on mine.
One on each side of the block, one on the bottom of each intake manifold, one that is located on the hose that is attached to the water pump, at the lowest point there is an inline plastic elbow with a drain plug in it. 5 total. If you do not have that elbow with the drain in it then that low spot will not drain. Now one of two things is possible, this elbow insert was an adaptation that was added by the MFG to all later models or somebody replaced the entire thing with a single hose that may or may not drain completely.

Either way - I'd make darn sure there was no water sitting in that over the winter if there is no drain present. Easy enough to just pop that hose and drain it.

The only reason why I would favor backfilling with antifreeze is to remedy any areas that do not completely drain using this as a prime example.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:13 PM   #27
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15 gallons? That’s a lot of anti freeze wasted.
(A lot) cheaper than a new motor. I wasn't aware of any "shortage" of anti freeze. Didn't know I was supposed to be "conserving" it. I like to run it for a few minutes on antifreeze to ensure the thermostat opens completely for maximum circulation, and more importantly, peace of mind knowing that the antifreeze gets to every crack and crevice where there was water...

Last edited by Cal Coon; 11-03-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:34 PM   #28
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I helped a friend do his this morning, he used a 30 gallon drum and plopped the outdrive right into it, ran it until it was up to temp and the mixture in the drum was warm, fogged it and put it to bed. The drum gets covered so nothing gets into it and is reused the next year. Works for him.
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:57 PM   #29
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Boats are like women, hence, the use of feminine pronouns, in that no two are alike, and what works for one may not work for another. I rest my case.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:40 PM   #30
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One on each side of the block, one on the bottom of each intake manifold, one that is located on the hose that is attached to the water pump, at the lowest point there is an inline plastic elbow with a drain plug in it. 5 total. If you do not have that elbow with the drain in it then that low spot will not drain. Now one of two things is possible, this elbow insert was an adaptation that was added by the MFG to all later models or somebody replaced the entire thing with a single hose that may or may not drain completely.

Either way - I'd make darn sure there was no water sitting in that over the winter if there is no drain present. Easy enough to just pop that hose and drain it.

The only reason why I would favor backfilling with antifreeze is to remedy any areas that do not completely drain using this as a prime example.
so are you saying on the bottom of here? Wasn't mentioned anywhere when I was reading up.
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:19 PM   #31
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On the other side right next to the fuel\water separator. Pretty hard to miss IF it's there. I would be very concerned that if it isn't the water pump housing would not fully be evacuated of water and the bottom of that hose would have a pocket of water that will freeze and damage the hose. It's in the largest diameter hose.

Below vid shows where they all are. I am fairly certain these are in the same locations on the V8 as well as the V6. Shown in the video is the V6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVyOG0Fw7AA
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:24 AM   #32
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On the other side right next to the fuel\water separator. Pretty hard to miss IF it's there. I would be very concerned that if it isn't the water pump housing would not fully be evacuated of water and the bottom of that hose would have a pocket of water that will freeze and damage the hose. It's in the largest diameter hose.

Below vid shows where they all are. I am fairly certain these are in the same locations on the V8 as well as the V6. Shown in the video is the V6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVyOG0Fw7AA
Is that coming right off the hose? I know I took that hose off and used it as a funnel for the block portion so it's either empty of full of AF.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:33 AM   #33
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Is that coming right off the hose? I know I took that hose off and used it as a funnel for the block portion so it's either empty of full of AF.
Yes it is - if you look I just took a pic for you of the drain plug (blue) on the lower part of the hose right next to the fuel filter (hard to see because it's white). This is in the hose (largest) running from the top of the block into the water pump. You will see the hose clamps right where the hose breaks as makes about a 45 degree direction change and that is where the plastic elbow insert is and the drain is built into that plastic insert. Again based on the location being the lowest point in the hose this will evacuate all the water from this area. If you do not have a drain there and are not taking it off or backfilling the system with antifreeze this area will contain raw water that will freeze.

FYI this is a 2003 4.3L V6

Does that help better illustrate the location?

It's a little embarrassing - my bilge is not as clean as it should be - I need to clean it!
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:00 AM   #34
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Yes it is - if you look I just took a pic for you of the drain plug (blue) on the lower part of the hose right next to the fuel filter (hard to see because it's white). This is in the hose (largest) running from the top of the block into the water pump. You will see the hose clamps right where the hose breaks as makes about a 45 degree direction change and that is where the plastic elbow insert is and the drain is built into that plastic insert. Again based on the location being the lowest point in the hose this will evacuate all the water from this area. If you do not have a drain there and are not taking it off or backfilling the system with antifreeze this area will contain raw water that will freeze.

FYI this is a 2003 4.3L V6

Does that help better illustrate the location?

It's a little embarrassing - my bilge is not as clean as it should be - I need to clean it!
I 100% do not have that on my old '89, but I know my water pump got filled and flushed with AF anyways as well as that hose.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:13 PM   #35
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I 100% do not have that on my old '89, but I know my water pump got filled and flushed with AF anyways as well as that hose.
Ya good call - to me having antifreeze sitting in the engine block over the winter just makes me sleep better at night. Cheap insurance is what I say.
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