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Old 24 January 2021, 05:05   #1
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Starting engine over winter/lockdown period

Boat and engine sitting on the drive all covered up for winter. What is the general consensus of firing up the engine on muffs and running for a while.

I don't fog the engine when put to sleep, just make sure all water is drained away and engine lowered to drain from prop hub, in case of freezing.
I keep the battery on trickle charge within the boat.
I also spray the engine liberally with water repellant under the cowl.

My thoughts being that, condensation within the engine must get quite bad in its cold state and running the engine would keep that reduced. Albeit, as soon as the engine is cool again, back comes the condensation. Does condensation form all over the pistons and within the oil sump, causing corrosion.

I guess to make any difference you would have to run the engine at least weekly, which would not perhaps be practicable.

Just like leaving the cars idle for any period of time, they seem to start on a downhill curve very quickly.
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:09   #2
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Not sure what the real answer is but i run my two modern fuel injected outboards about once every 6 weeks ........no science ! just mimic what would happen if i was using regularly in a commercial capacity or lived in a colder climate that they are designed for ( i expect attitudes will be differenyt in the north !! i ran both mine saturday this week ,not sure i had any condensation problems ,but i didnt take the covers off anyway ,why would you except for tinkering which would probhably be your next cause of failure
just so muchbetter than the old days i had inboards .
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:12   #3
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I run mine on the muffs every 3 weeks or so for c. 10mins. Seems to work.
She went a lot longer last summer without running!
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:16   #4
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Mine is on a permanent trickle charge and I try to start it monthly to keep it oiled up and moving.

It also freshens up the fuel sat in the system.

Last time was about two weeks ago and it started on the button, I leave it running for twenty minutes or so.

Mine is kept in a shed in the back garden, I put a fall on the floor to a back door and installed a tap next to the boat so I don't even get it out, just hook it up to the water and switch it on.
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:25   #5
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Bear in mind that a major byproduct of burning a gallon of petrol/diesel is a considerable quantity of water.
This will condense inside a cold engine - a main source of the mayo you might find inside your car's oil filler cap in cold weather. Frequently held up as a sure-fire sign of HGF - if you're losing no coolant it isn't.
Unless the engine is run at normal operating temperature for long enough to boil it off you'll just keep adding to it.

Also the main reason why exhausts on cars only used for short journeys go through exhausts faster than those used for longer ones. They don't get hot enough to boil it off & rot out from the inside.
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Old 24 January 2021, 11:01   #6
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I'm starting mine each weekend for about 20 mins provided it's not freezing. Main reason is to use up the fuel in the tank and it gives me chance to do odd jobs on the boat!
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Old 24 January 2021, 11:05   #7
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I'm always worried, maybe too much, what the neighbours think of me breaching their tranquil Saturday/Sunday afternoon running my smelly dirty noisy old 2 strokes for 25mins in the back garden. More so in winter and especially in lockdown as its so quiet!

If there was a cold tap on the slipway I would take a bucket and flush there before getting home in the summer.
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Old 24 January 2021, 11:13   #8
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I donít start any of my engines over the winter unless Iím away to use them.
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Old 24 January 2021, 12:42   #9
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Leave them alone till you want to use them properly. Either disconnect the battery or keep it charged somehow. Constantly starting a cold engine and running it a short while is not good
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Old 24 January 2021, 13:23   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallribber View Post
Leave them alone till you want to use them properly. Either disconnect the battery or keep it charged somehow. Constantly starting a cold engine and running it a short while is not good
Neither is leaving them to sit a fester. Each to their own.
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Old 25 January 2021, 08:07   #11
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Rib is winterised (inboard) and other boat is in the water (liveaboard with diesels) Rib will be serviced and started at the end of March, diesels are started every two weeks and run under load in gear up to temperature (80 degrees C) so the thermostats open.
I don't think running an outboard at tickover with no load can do much for the motor but that's only how I see it. I have heard of bore-washing and losing compression.
But each to their own obviously
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Old 25 January 2021, 12:15   #12
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Normally use it during the winter but not happening this year. I run it for long enough to heat up. Disperse some fresh oil around it's innards but I'm wary of doing it just now.If there's ice in the water pump it'll make a mess of the impeller. Used a wallpaper steamer up the prop before to thaw the pump in the past and let the engine run for about 20 mins after.
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Old 26 January 2021, 06:29   #13
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As always, interesting thoughts on what we all do in winter, storage wise.
I guess there is no one way of doing things.... that would be too simple.

It still worries me though, when the money invested last year into a new engine, is just sitting outside getting cold and damp. Browsing through the spare parts for the motor (a sort of self inflicted morbid curiosity), the engine control unit costs £1300 , thinking of that alone, getting popped with condensation........

I travelled up to Northern Norway last year, the border with Russia, in search of the elusive northern lights and saw this.....

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Guess they don't even get the chance to fire up their motors...
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Old 26 January 2021, 08:39   #14
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I do tend to start mine but my concern is more about stale fuel in the injection system

Motorhomes sit for a long time unused and work fine by then they are mainly diesel.

Cars sit a long time and generally start ok with a new battery and fresh fuel

I guess it all comes down to what you are prepared to accept re risk and how much effort is required.
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Old 26 January 2021, 12:21   #15
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I suppose the only real damage I've had over a winter wouldn't have been mitigated by occasional starting but servicing the engine before I left it.
Used in fresh water there was obviously a leak in the gearcase and the water in there froze and cracked the casing......That stung..
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Old 29 January 2021, 18:13   #16
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Personally not a fan of lots of cold starts on any motor..... so I stabilise fuel, fog the intake and cylinders disconnect battery then leave it until I know I can get out sometimes I end up “Winterising “ more than once.... costs little takes little time and hopefully reduces risk of damage.....
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Old 30 January 2021, 09:14   #17
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I tend to think this one is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't"

I've stripped engines that have lain for a year or so and found rust starting to form on the camshaft lobes and valves / valve seats. The belt pullies also build up a bit of rust but they're exposed and easy to deal with. The belts should be loosened if the engine's getting left, the trailer wheels and tyres should be removed and stored in the garage. But where do you draw the line ?
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Old 30 January 2021, 13:25   #18
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Trailer I jack up and leave on axle stands if I know itís being left for A while
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