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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Gas > Atomic 4
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Old 10-31-2011
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Winterization

More newbie questions

I have a boat in the water in Oriental, NC.

1) Do I need to worry about winterizing the Atomic 4 in it?

2) I basically replace the water in the engine with Antifreeze, correct? I found this thread describing the process: Winterization List: How to Winterize? Step-by-Step Photos?.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 10-31-2011
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Scott, you only need to winterize if you have winter. :-)

Yes, antifreeze. Moyor Marine (leading A4 folks) probably have a FAQ on winterizing the engine. You'd replace the impeller vanes in the spring, and most folks would put in fresh oil (so there's no acid in it) before layup, and spray fogging oil in the cylinders. Also add Stabilant to the gas and run that into the carb, or shut the fuel supply and run the engine dry so there's no fuel in the carb over the winter at all.
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Does your sailboat in Oriental, NC even get 'hauled out' for winter?
If your boat is hauled out it would not hurt to run the pink RV anti-freeze through the engine. If your boat stays in the water it should stay at or near the temp of the water its sitting in.
If you are not going to use the engine for a while it also can't hurt to squirt Marvel Mystery oil into the cylinders as part of your layup.
Another great resource for all things A4: Moyer Marine Atomic 4 Community - Home of the Afourians - Powered by vBulletin
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Old 11-01-2011
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I am not hauling out this winter. I am in a cheap slip. Cost-wise, it did not make sense. Also, we get plenty of nice weather in the winter months in NC to go sailing. Right now, I am thinking of a thermostat controlled cabin heater to be sure the engine compartment doesn't freeze.

Scott
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Scott,
If you are going to keep your boat in the water in Oriental, NC then your boat will stay at about the temperature of the surrounding water and is very unlikely to get down to freezing temps.
If you want some security you could leave a 75 watt bulb going in the engine compartment while you are away. I doubt you would need more heat then that would provide.
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Hmmmm.... interesting thought there. A competing idea, that is likely overkill is to get a heater with a thermostat. 75 watt light bulb is a lot cheaper though.

Scott
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Light bulbs are cheap and convenient, but they also burn out. Sometimes way early. Why not buy an electric heated dipstick or an electric engine blanket or electric oil pan heater? All common in colder climates, all available online, and made to keep an engine "just warm enough".
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It looks to me that your average water temperatures likely do not get below 40F in the winter: US NODC Coastal Water Temperature Guide
Your boat is at a slip, presumably with shore power. You will want to check on it from time to time after any major weather systems come through. Check the light bulb when you go to check on your dock lines.
The real worry with a gasoline engine is if there is a gas leak, even a slow one. With some heaters that have exposed elements this could be a recipe for disaster. I'd recommend shutting off your gas line even if you decide to use a 75W bulb. You want to keep the boom on the mast and not in the cabin!!!
From what I think I know about your climate in Oriental, NC I don't think you have much to worry about. You could try asking some power boat owners (usually gas engines) what they do to 'winterize' their engines. I'm guessing that 20F cold snaps are pretty rare and extremely short lived in your neck of the woods. Even during a cold snap the water your boat is sitting in will be much warmer then the air which will keep your boat and engine warm enough.
I've seen LI Sound (salt water) produce ice around the shoreline but that takes about 2 weeks of temps in the 20-30F range but that was 40 years ago. NC has the Gulf Stream off of it's coast which helps keep the sea water warmer while we have the cold water Labrador current bringing cold water down from Newfoundland.
Given all of this I'll suggest that even a 75W bulb in the engine compartment would be overkill for the winters you normally get in Oriental. Don't trust me though, ask some local boaters what they do.
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