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Sly Selea

How cold can my engine get?

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This is the earliest I've had my boat ready and I'm itching to get in on this great coho run, the pier just isn't working for me.  Sportcraft 252 with a Volvo-Penta 5.0 i/o and would be in the water at a marina.  The short and long term forecast calls for the occasional night dropping as low as 27 in St Joe.  How cold does it have to get before I worry about busting a manifold or something?

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There's certainly a risk at this time of the year.  It can still be cold and it's not at all unusual to get a major wet & heavy snowfall late March or early April.  Just depends on your willingness to accept the risk and pay the $$$ and lost time should the weather turn for the worst.  If you live in the vicinity of the marina and can get to the boat should a night or two of cold occur, you could put a trouble light in the bilge to heat it up enough.  Of course that is trusting the light/heat/power source doesn't fail when you're not there.  Outboard trailer boaters definitely have an advantage this time of year.

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27 for a short time isn't going to freeze the water in your engine to the point of cracking anything. but that's only if its going to warm above freezing the next day. I've had the temps get down to 28 a few times at night but it warmed into the lower 40's the next day. I have a mercruiser and it has drain plugs for the block and manifolds. if its going to be below freezing for more than a few hours I just drain the block and manifolds.

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Personally I think it's just a bit early to consider slipping a boat in MI. I'd wait at least a week or two and even then some of the precautionary measures mentioned above may have to be done. Owning a boat is expensive enough without risking damage due to freezing. 

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Yep, put it in and left it in, and thanks for asking.  Only managed to get 6 trips in so far, but at least the block hasn't frozen, and it got down to 21F last Friday.  On below freezing night I've thrown a seedling heating mat in the bilge and covered the motor with a blanket.

Next year, I believe I shall wait longer.  The worry hasn't been worth it.

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I would have thought the temps of the river water would keep the engine compartment warm enough to not worry at all.  I trailer my I/O and my first trip was the second week of March.  I put a work light in until this past Friday when I saw temps would be below freezing for over 36 hours straight so I put anti freeze back in.  Way too much fishing to pass up when putting anti freeze back in only costs 10 minutes and $12 in pink pop.

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