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Author Topic:   Winterizing Outboard With Anti-Freeze
tgresla posted 10-18-2004 04:54 PM ET (US)   Profile for tgresla   Send Email to tgresla  
I just attempted to winterize my 30-HP Evinrude for the first time using the WEST MARINE winterizing kit. The kit is just a plastic jug with a hose that drains antifreeze through the ear muffs into the engine. Although the engine normally runs well with my old round ear muffs and a garden hose, the new 'expensive' ear muffs with the rectangular suction cups didn't work as well. They leaked unless I held them with my hands. As long as I held the muffs tight to the engine I got a steady stream of water coming out of the water pump exit.

When I shut the engine down and attempted to run with the tank of antifreeze supplying the ear muffs, I never got antifreeze through the engine. I had to shut the engine off after a few seconds for fear of killing my water pump and overheating the engine. One possible problem may be due to the lack of pressure. The antifreeze filled the clear hose from the resevoir with gravity only. The unprimed pump never pulled antifreeze through the engine. Does anyone else have this problem?

Liteamorn posted 10-18-2004 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Liteamorn  Send Email to Liteamorn     
Why are you trying to put anti freeze in an outboard? When you tilt the motor all the way down all the water should drain from the power head and leave the cooling system empty.

When I winterize I change and inspect lower unit oil (for water intrusion). Put a stabilizer in the fuel. I try to do that on the last trip out so it gets thru the entire gas line. Make sure gas is almost full, but not completely full as gas will expand during the warmer spring and make a mess. I run the engine with ear muffs. When boat was slipped I ran it for about 10 minutes to try to clear salt. While engine is running shoot fogging oil into the carburetors. Disconnect fuel line and continue to fog until motor runs out of fuel. Then I remove the spark plugs and shoot fogging oil into the cylinders. Remove prop and grease prop shaft and inspect prop for nicks and shaft for fishing line wrapped around it.. spray entire power head with WD-40 . That is about it, wrap boat up and wait til spring.

HuronBob posted 10-18-2004 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
I've got to agree with Liteamorn on the anti-freeze. Never heard of that! I'm in Michigan, cold winters, never had a freeze problem if the motor was stored in the correct position. As for the muffs, they almost always leak for me, doesn't really matter as long as the engine is getting sufficient water in the process, just a bit messier is all! Bob
tgresla posted 10-18-2004 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for tgresla  Send Email to tgresla     
Thanks for the input. I assumed the cooling system, especially the part of the system in the head may have water still in it even after the motor is pulled out of the water. I did stabilize the fuel before the last run of the year then I ran the engine on the muffs to flush out the dirty lakewater. I sprayed fogging oil in the carb till the engine quit. I didn't have the correct spark plug wrench but I will pull the plugs and fog the cylinder. I did not pull the fuel line so there may still be gas in the engine, next year I will let the engine run out of gas. Also didn't think about spraying the power head with WD-40, sounds like a good idea.
HuronBob posted 10-18-2004 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
You get your choice, you can fog til the engine quits, or you can run it out of gas, can't do both! :) Unless you're REALLY good at figuring out exactly when it is gonna run out of gas!
scaleplane posted 10-19-2004 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for scaleplane  Send Email to scaleplane     
Just a point on spraying with WD-40.

My Johnson manual calls for spraying with silicone spray--this is NOT WD-40. In my long (35+ years) involvement with model airplane engines, I've learned that WD-40 attracts moisture, and should NOT be used as a preservative.

It's great for loosening bolts and other things and for immediate, temporary lubrication, but long-term, use an oil or silicone lubricant.

Buckda posted 10-19-2004 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
W=Water, D=Displacement, 40=40th attempt/formulation.

WD-40 displaces is not to be used for lubrication (though it does great in a pinch for very short term)....but it does not attract water.

That said - I also spray my powerhead and all rubber fittings (wires, spark plug boots, fuel and oil delivery hoses, etc) with a silicone protectant rather than WD-40. My experience with WD-40 is that it is prone to attract grit (sticks to it)...and where I store the boat (Hay Barn), that is not a good thing.

Never heard of anyone putting antifreeze through a two stroke, but I suppose it couldn't hurt...not much would be left up in there though, if any.

Crabby Mike posted 10-19-2004 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Crabby Mike  Send Email to Crabby Mike     
Set the antifreeze container above the level of your muffs, your winterizer kit should have a fitting with a valve to connect the antifreeze tank to the water hose and your muffs.

Turn the water on, start your engine on muffs, allow the engine to warm up to open the thermostats; turn the valve on the winterizer kit to allow the antifreeze mixture to enter the engine. Fog the engine the engine when the pink antifreeze fluid comes out the tell-tail. Shut the engine down, turn off the antifreeze valve, turn off the hose and your done.

tgresla posted 10-21-2004 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for tgresla  Send Email to tgresla     
Crappy Mike,

Are you saying there should be a Y fitting so you can supply water and/or antifreeze to the engine at the same time? My kit contained a valve with shutoff that attached directly to the antifreeze tank. There was a clear hose with two nylon fittings, one fit to the valve/tank and the other attached to the ear muffs directly.

Crabby Mike posted 10-30-2004 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Crabby Mike  Send Email to Crabby Mike     

Sorry I took so long to reply, I missed your question.

The winterizing kit that I have consists of a plastic tank with a gate valve to turn on/off the flow of antifreeze mix from the tank. The gate valve is attached to another valve with a hose fitting and the clear plastic hose to attach to the muffs; this valve has allows the through flow of cooling water from the hose. It sounds like what you have except for the gate valve.

In use mix your ratio of water to antifreeze into the tank.
The Gate Valve is horizontal shutting off the flow out of the tank.
Attach the water hose to the inlet valve.
Attach the clear plastic hose to the muffs and place on your engine.
Turn on the water hose; be certain that the valve allows clear water to flow through the clear hose and into your engine.
Start the engine and run on the muffs until the thermostats open (about 10 minutes on my engines)
Open the gate valve to allow antifreeze mixture to flow at same time turn off the clear water valve. Run engine until you see the pink antifreeze come out of the tell-tail. Shut engine down or fog if desired and shut engine down. Shut gate valve and you are done.

I am in the Atlanta area where it does not get as frigid as it does up north. I have talked to some boaters who have had freeze damage to their outboards in the Destin Florida area. I do not know why outboards can have freeze related problems in more temperate climes. When living on the Chesapeake Bay I did not know anyone who ran antifreeze through an outboard and never heard of freeze related damage. Go figure.

jimh posted 10-30-2004 11:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have never heard of winterizing an outboard motor cooling system with anti-freeze. I think you are possibly the first person to do this!
jimh posted 10-31-2004 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed TOPIC; was "west marine winterizing kit"]

For a general procedure for outboard winterization for cold weather I recommend:


The author is a marina operator in Canada and has considerable experience with cold winters.

It is important to read your owner's manual carefully for advice on winterization of the fuel system of your motor. The procedure varies depending on the type of fuel system you have. Even with carburetor motors, the current thinking is often to NOT run the engine out of fuel. Procedures can vary with systems that have oil-injection, oil/fuel mixing, and fuel-injectors.

John O posted 10-31-2004 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for John O    

Great information. I was impressed with the authors statistics regarding battery storage and batteries going "bad" over the winter. Is it safe to assume then that a garage is a safe place for a battery in the Northeast over the winter? The author uses an unheated building in Canada.

John O

daverdla posted 10-31-2004 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
I just hauled and winterized my montauk. Wouldn't you know that the darn evinrude 100XP that has been sitting since Labor day started right up on the first try ;) Anyway, one odd thing, the engine didn't stall when I sprayed the fogging oil into the intakes. I don't remember what brand it was but I recall spraying it in years past until the engine stalled. I just noticed in the article Jimh referenced that the author does not spray until the engine stalls. Interesting. I do however pull the plugs, spray, and then spin the crank by hand.

I think that winterizing with antifreeze doesn't sound worthwhile. Once the engine has drained, the water is gone. There's nothing left to freeze. Plus, getting rid of antifreeze in an environmentally nice way is a pain.


rsgwynn1 posted 10-31-2004 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for rsgwynn1  Send Email to rsgwynn1     
It seems clear that winterizing with anti-freeze is meant for inboard engine, not outboards. After you drain the water, what's to winterize?
Montauk posted 11-01-2004 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
You might want to check your state regulations and see if it is legal to use anti-freeze for winterizing. In WI it is not legal, does not matter if you use RV antifreeze, still illegal. We winterize over 300 boats, inboard and outboard without antifreze, never had a freezing problem.
John from Madison CT posted 11-01-2004 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
It is completely unnecessary to put Antifreeze into our Outboard. Tilt her down and all the water runs out.

Save your money.

Montauk posted 11-01-2004 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
The kit tgresla bought is probably marketed towards inboard/outboard use.
I have to agree with the Brownsmarine article except for one item. The use of fuel stabilizer is a waste of money in cold climates, the varnish process starts fom heat, not cold. I do use a fuel stabilizer on my snowmobile for summer storage. We also store about 300 batteries by the same process.
captbobb posted 11-01-2004 12:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbobb  Send Email to captbobb     
Is it necessary to fog the carbs then plull the plugs
and spray fogger into the cylinders ? I have opted
to spray the cylinders after treating the gas etc... then
calling it a day.

Thanks for your response.

highanddry posted 11-01-2004 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Since my new Opti 150 is my first FI new tech outboard I am wondering about winterization for it. The dealer said not to bother, just put some stabilizer in the fuel, it may be as late as March or April before I use it again. Do I need to fog it and where do I insert the fog nozzle--or should I?
Also, the dealer told me not to use the flush plug on the rear of the engine cowl if I am going to run the engine. The manual says I can but only at idle. I had a flush cup thing--with the rubber cups --from another day and when I installed it on the Opti and started it NO water came out of the tell tale. Is this normal--that is why I swithced over to the flush plug inlet. Water did come out of the tell tale when hooked up that way. How should the engine be flushed and run on land---and why was no water coming out of the tell tale when hooked up with cups at the lower unit? Other engine I have done this way had water coming out the tell tale right away---help.

Oh, I agree that putting anti-freeze in there is a useless and may in fact damage seals. Seals are designed to operate with particular fluid types, in this case H2O. Putting antifreeze in there could cause them to be damaged. Not to mention exhausting the stuff out into the yard. That stuff really will kill pets (companion animals--it really will) and they like the taste and it only takes a small amount. J

daverdla posted 11-01-2004 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
The fogging spray, when sprayed through the carbs, coats the internal engine components, crank, rod, etc. It is supposed to retard or prevent the formation of rust. Spraying it when the engine is running helps distribute it throughout the engine. Does it really work? I've never seen any definitive study saying it does but since it's just oil, it really can't hurt. Spraying it inside the cylinders through the plug holes is done for the same reason, to prevent rust.

Is winterizing necessary where I live, Philadelphia area? I really doubt that it is but I do it anyway for my boat. I have never winterized my lawnmower, weedwacker, chain saw, edger, etc. and I've never had a problem. Oh wait, they're all electric, NOT. Seriously, I have never had a problem with any of my gas powered stuff. Even the old fuel burns just fine. Go figure. Maybe Briggs and Stratton should scale up to a 250HP air cooled outboard with a pull start, fresh water only of course.


hooter posted 11-01-2004 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for hooter    
Ah really like the way LHG winterizes his pretty rig
by toppin' off the anti-freeze coolant in his tow vehicle,

and migrating to Florida ever' winter:-!

newport jack posted 11-01-2004 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for newport jack    
I winterize my engines by putting stabilizer in fuel tank, then running the engine while fogging the intake until the engine smokes bad and quits. I don't believe in disconnecting the fuel line and running a two stroke engine out of fuel, the fuel is the lubricant for the engine. I've never shot fogging oil into the spark plug hole but it sounds like a good idea. Don't put antifreeze in an outboard; it will just drain out. I tip my engines all the way down for a while then tip them all the way up for about fifteen minutes then tip them all the way down. I take out batteries and store in garage on a maintainer. I'm not sure why I started the double tip thing but when tipping the engines back up I always get some water out. Jack
jimh posted 11-01-2004 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think most everyone is in complete agreement that use of an anti-freeze introduced by ear muffs into the water jacket is quite unnecessary in the process of winterization of an outboard motor, and that this practice is literally unheard of by most outboard owners.

I found it interesting that in the state of Wisconsin the use of antifreeze in marine engine winterization is outlawed. More details would be appreciated.

Antifreeze is often very toxic to animals that might drink it. Consideration should be given to this potential problem whenever anti-freeze is used, either in boats or cars.

Rocking the engine up and down at least twice does seem to promote more complete drainage of water from the engine, in my experience.

I bring my batteries indoors for winter storage. See .

LHG posted 11-01-2004 08:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Thanks, Hooter. From this and another post, I can see you've definitely got 25' Whaleritis. Nothing can be more satisfying then working on a new boat purchase.

As for anti-freeze, it's name says it all. It's to prevent contained water from freezing, and in an outboard, there is no such thing! It would seem that this kit from West Marine ought to indicate to prospective purchasers that it's only for inboard mounted engines.

aubv posted 11-01-2004 09:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for aubv  Send Email to aubv     
I've heard of some marinas running non toxic anti freeze through Outboard motors as a precaution. If I remember correctly-the reasoning is that some of the passages in newer engines might hold small amounts of water. I not sure I agree and initially thought it was simply a high profit margin business for the Marina.


225 HP Optimax winterizing calls for running the engine with stabilized gas for ten minutes(?) Then squirting one ounce of motor oil in to each cylinder and rotating the fly wheel by hand. Lubricating the rest of the engine with appropriate grease and storing the motor in a vertical position to insure all of the water has drained out.

doobee posted 11-01-2004 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for doobee  Send Email to doobee     
It may not be necessary to use antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing however, there is another advantage. The antifreeze also has lubricants in it which help prolong the life of your water pump. Also, if your engine is not perfectly level, pockets of water will collect in the cooling system. Antifreeze keeps pockets of trapped water from freezing.
Montauk posted 11-02-2004 11:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Montauk  Send Email to Montauk     
3 years ago a DNR warden paid us a visit in the fall and was inquiring about how we winterize inboards and I/O's. We explained our process which involves no use of anti-freeze, which he was happy to hear. He stated that in WI it is tecnically illegal to even pour coke out on the ground! We asked if Rv anti-freeze was OK because it is considered biodegradeble, a big no. The reasoning from the DNR is that people will take their boats to the landing in the spring with out flushing the anti-freeze into a proper receptacle. I don't agree with the DNR on a regular basis, however this time i am onboard with them.
tgresla posted 11-03-2004 10:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for tgresla  Send Email to tgresla     
The anitfreeze I bought from West Marine is red. I was told it is non toxic. I know the green stuff for your car (ethylene glycol) tastes sweet to animals and will kill them. During my failed futile outboard antifreeze flush most of the antifreeze ended up on the driveway. I rinsed/diluted it with the hose.
navita non grata posted 11-04-2004 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for navita non grata  Send Email to navita non grata     
Page 43 of Boat US magazine, September 2004:
"This top quality antifreeze uses 100% virgin non-toxic ingredients and no fillers that dilute effectiveness and harm pump diaphrams."
What is West Marine trying to do? Antifreeze my engine or keep it from getting pregnant?

erik selis posted 11-07-2004 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
I think it's clear that winterizing a boat motor with anti-freeze is only meant for an inboard engine.

I just accidentally stumbled upon this link. Scroll down the page to see.

Incidentally, be careful with cheap white wines of Swiss origin. There have been cases here in Europe where some companies have added anti-freeze to the wine to sweeten the taste...


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