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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through December 20, 2006 » Is your motor going to freeze tonight? « Previous Next »
By Mikeski (mikeski) on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 8:48 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
There is always lots of panic around this time of year about people worrying about thier engine blocks freezing and cracking. After having a boat all of my life in California and never winterizing I found myself a little concerned the other morning when I had to chip the ice off my truck windshield. So, last night I placed a few temperature recorders on my boat. One in the motor compartment, one protected from sun next to the fender, and one on top of the cover. You can see from the chart that the top of the cover got well down into the 20s, the side of the boat got down into the low 30s, but the motor compartment barely dropped below the 40s. You can also notice that there is about a 2 hour lag from when the temperature on the outside peaks/sags and when this happens on the inside of the motorbox.

Check it out.


By Pierce Bronkite (pierce_bronkite) on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 8:54 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thats interesting. I always hear of talk that it would take a couple of days below freezing for the engine block to crack (assuming it had water in it). I am curios if there is any truth to it or not.

Personally I still drain my engine, heater and ballast.

By Jerram Froese (froese) on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 9:38 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Mikeski - way cool. Personal data collection/analysis at it's prime! I've always had that thought and it's nice to see proof in numbers. That said, my engine is drained...
By Michele L. (shellyrn) on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 10:01 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
That's good info Mike. I was a little concerned about tonight, so I went out and rode to help keep the motor warm tonight!!
By Craig Stra... (yosquire) on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 10:15 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
What temperature loggers are you using?

very fascinating.

I'm gearing up to build a temperature data logger with e-mail/text message warnings and webpage current status. I have the components, I just need to build the circuit boards, run some wire and write the scripts & web page.

It's 15 degrees here now. The boat sits inside an unheated insulated garage with a space heater set to 42 degrees in the ski locker. It's not enough peace of mind for me. When it gets really cold (like now) I add a 200w block heater strung off a different circuit for added fault tolerance.

(Message edited by yosquire on November 29, 2006)

By Joe H (superairdawg) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 4:21 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Mikeski -- has anyone tried to intervene and help you with your problem?

Actually, it's good to see real data that confirms what I liked to think I already knew. I put a thermometer in my garage and even though it's poorly insulated, it exhibits similar tendencies to your engine box readings and cools slower than outside. It's reassuring to know the engine box insulates the motor even further. Guess I should've really known that, tho, since the engine stays pretty darn warm for quite a while after we use the boat.

Even with all the evidence to the contrary, I still am a hair paranoid and try to get the block drained and anti-freezed when temps begin to drop below freezing for multiple nights in a row.

Thanks for sharing.

By Stanfield (stanfield) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 5:16 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
While I use my boat through the winter and drain everything after every use, that's good info. I always figured the boat inards would be pretty well insulated. With data like that, it's pretty safe to say us down here in TX wouldn't have anything to worry about since it only ever dips below freezing for a couple of hours at a time.

Wish I would've seen this yesterday before I winterized my boat in a McDonalds parking lot on my way to the storage building after picking it up from the dealer.

By JTW (sangerlover) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 6:17 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Great work Mike. I keep a light bulb on in the engine compartment so 2 nights ago I checked, and the engine compartment was 55 degrees when outside air was 33 degrees.
By richard coop (mendo247) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 7:25 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks mike! ive never winterized over the years either figuring it would take a couple days of solid freeze to lower the temps inside the boat that much.. ive gone out in the middle of the night to check the engine area temp and found the temps inside the boat much warmer than outside.. very cool to see it on paper through out the night!! NICE WORK!
By Byrd (byrd) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 7:38 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Not mine, in fact it will be a little warm tomorrow night after my ride...

Great info for the colder climates...

By KStateAlumni (bbeach) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 8:56 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks Mike! Interesting info! With that being said my boat is toasty warm in its heated garage!
By factory (factory) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:05 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
with boats being outside it usually takes the temp to be below 26 degrees for a period of 6 hours to cause any damage (uncovered) the noise supression material in the engine compartment acts as a good insulater too. if a boat is in the garage it helps too. (i'm not an expert, but this is the information i got from our marine service manager at work)

check this, got to 6 degrees last night in arizona!!!!! froze my water pipes that are taped!!

By wake (buguru) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:27 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I think mine Froze.. what do you think?Upload
By Mikeski (mikeski) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:48 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

I do lots of data recording for work. The HOBO data loggers from Onsite are cheap and effective.

I like to keep it simple. The chart above pretty much sets up a proxy for temperatures. If the forecast printed in my local newspaper shows an average temp in the 30's then I will toss a light to keep the motor compartment warm.

By Rich G (rich_g) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:49 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I recently bought a boat with a cracked block due to freeze damage, and had a new one put in as part of the deal. The Service Manager at the MC dealer told me they replaced something like 12 cracked blocks in the past year. And this is in Texas.
By David Ericson (sea_ray_dave) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 9:55 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
And to think that I was on the lake just this past weekend-- enjoying my tunes, soaking some rays and now-- the worst/coldest weather is hitting and coming.

Mike-- excellent info on this post!!

By Pierce Bronkite (pierce_bronkite) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 10:04 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Rich G, did you buy your 205v in your profile from the Dallas area? That boat looks like a members boat from
By Paul Brothers (phat_in_cincy) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 10:12 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would be curious if you could put a gauge on the engine block to measure block temp, air, and engine compartment temps?
By Rich G (rich_g) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 10:43 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Pierce, yes I got it in Dallas. Found it on Craigslist.
By Craig Stra... (yosquire) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 10:44 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
That's an insightful analysis of your data. By knowing outside temperatures and durations you can calculate engine compartment temps.

I like.

By talltigeguy (talltigeguy) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 11:19 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I considered just doing a light bulb, but I wondered about the radiator for my heater, which is in front of the driver's kick panel. To be safe, I just drained it all.

Thanks for the data, Mikeski! I wonder if even keeping a light bulb in the rear would keep a covered boat a few degrees warmer throughout the entire boat...

What about my ballast system? Do I need to do anything to drain it?

(Message edited by talltigeguy on November 30, 2006)

By Scott (K.B.C.) (sperbet) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 11:31 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
that is great, thanks Mikeski. good info to know
By Squid (twakess) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 2:23 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Mike was this in a garage or outside?
By Cliff Griffin (seattle) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 4:10 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I've never winterized my boat because we use our's year round up here. This past week we've had record lows at night, under 20 degrees two days, and down to 12 degrees one night. I have my boat under a costo style cover in the back yard along with an oem cover. I leave the deck open about two inches when it's sitting so the compartment can get air flow. I bought a little office space heater a couple of years ago and I set it at about 1/4 on low heat. I checked the boat a couple of times this week and no problems. The heater works great to keep air flow circulating preventing mold, it dries the boat out after winter use when you can't set it out in the sun, and it's a great way to keep the block from freezing.
By Mikeski (mikeski) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 5:08 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
More info...

My boat covered with a full side dark colored sunbrella cover. The temp logger shown as "Motor" was placed on top of the valve cover of my V-drive motor. "Side boat" was on the step of the trailer behind the fender on the north side of the boat where it is protected from sun and wind. "Top boat" was on the top of the cover over the sun pad fully exposed to wind and sun.

The side boat temp should be a good proxy for ambient temperatures in the shade as the newspapers report. The engine block is probably a few degrees warmer than the lowest point on the red line. Also of interest is the slope of the heating line is significantly greater than the cooling showing that it heats up quicker than it cools.

All in all as long as the newspaper reported average temperature doesn't drop into the low 30's I figure I am good to go. If it ever does, I will just toss a 60 watt shop lamp on a timeclock inside the motor compartment.

Tallguy, I would just pump out the ballast tanks.

(Message edited by mikeski on November 30, 2006)

By Paul Brothers (phat_in_cincy) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 6:09 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Be careful of the shop lamp. I did that once to find the lamp warmed the plastic bulb housing/protector enough to make it semi-pliable. The housing deformed enough to touch the bulb and ended up melting the bulb housing. Luckily, that's as far as it went.
Just be safe...

By GD (greatdane) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 8:22 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Mike, I think its heating faster than cooling because you are measuring at the top of the motor and heat rises. I bet you would see something a little different if you measured at the base of the motor. Still, its great data! Thanks!
By Todd (snyper1d) on Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 8:43 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
You should do another test with all of the same placements of the sensors, but put a shop lamp in the storage compartment, just to see how much heat the lamp puts off.

Great work btw!

By Andrew Davis (c640947) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 10:28 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
What about instead of a timer, a thermal switch? Set it at 34 degrees so the light isn't always on. Anyone know if a company makes a product for residential use? I haven't found anything in my seaches yet.
By Andrew Davis (c640947) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 10:46 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I am finding lots of thermal switches, but they all seems to either be for industrial use or to be purchased in bulk and integrated into another product.

If we can't find anything, this is a great product idea for boaters. They look inexpensive and I am sure you could wire it up with your light or heater with ease. I may try to buy a couple and see how easy it is to rig something up if we can't find a prebuilt alternative.

By Andrew Davis (c640947) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 10:57 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
found em -
By Craig Stra... (yosquire) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 12:42 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

That's a good idea. Though I'm not sure it's worth it.

Thermostatic outlet $21.95 (let's say $8 to ship)

60w light bulb uses burns a Kilowatt hour every 16.6 hours. A KWH is 7.8 cents here.

Equals = 11.2 cents a day.

It'd take 267 days of 24 hour usage for a 60w lightbulb to cost you $29.95.

Plus it's another "moving part" in a chain of parts where failure could potentially have catastrophic results.

By Andrew Davis (c640947) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 1:13 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
i wasn't looking at cost as much as safety. I don't get to my storage shed often in the winter and I would hate to leave a bulb on for weeks at a time. If I use a thermostat, I at least have the peace of mind it will only be on nights when it is really cold. I didn't want anything melting, so I looked at it as a little risk insurance and piece of mind.

And yeah there is another part in there true. You would think that if it fails it would just stop working. maybe i am trading one risk for another? i dont know. hard to tell how reliable this piece of hardware will be. i bought the cheap one for my light.

By Cliff Griffin (seattle) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 5:27 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

I paid $30.00 bucks for my little space heater. It can be set to come on down to 40 degrees at it lowest setting. I keep it just a hair above that. It has safety features built in so if it falls over or shorts out it will automatically pop a little fifteen amp fuse. For back up, I plug it into a surge protector. I check it about once a week, and so far it's worked out much better than when I had bulb in the motor compartment along with the de-humidifier that I had on the floor.

By C.I.E.....Evan (guido) on Friday, December 01, 2006 - 5:58 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
That's really interesting, Mike. I've always been curious and I've thoguht about it a lot the last couple nights. I never winterize, but my boat sits inside a boat storage unit. One thing that might be important to consider is whether or not you store your boat with the v-drive compartments opened or closed. I usually leave mine open during the summer, but I don't think that'd be wise during the winter.
By Mikeski (mikeski) on Saturday, December 02, 2006 - 10:00 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

If you want to borrow the temperature recorders for your boat just shoot me a message, we are neighbors. I will download the data and chart it. It would probably be interesting for you and others that have boats in storage.


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