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TEAZEL
TEAZEL

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:52pm

Post Subject: Winterising

I have just bought my first narrowboat and want to know what i should do to winterise it. Its fitted with a Beta Marine 25 engine and I am told its keel cooled. It also has Central heating via the eberspatcher system. Any useful help advice etc is gratefully received.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:07am

Post Subject: Winterising

You need to protect against frost and keep the batteries charged. Hopefully both the engine (skin tank cooled, a form of keel cooling) and Eberspacher have adequate antifreeze in their systems but buy an antifreeze hydrometer and check. Look for a minimum of 25%. If the liquid is blue it is an antifreeze type that needs changing every two years, if red then maybe every five. This is because the corrosion additives get used up so unless you know how long it has been in the system plan to change it at some point over the winter. Use NO MORE than a 50% mixture. The domestic water system is a different matter. If you have plastic pipes and have the boat in the south you may not need to do anything, especially if the pipes run below the water line level. However to be 100% sure use the domestic water pump to pump the tank dry (Engine running at about 1000 RPM to provide the electricity) and then leave all the taps and shower valve OPEN. If you have an instant gas water heater it is VITAL that you drain that. Instructions in its manual. You may also feel it safer to drain the calorifier. If you are a livaboard your own requirement for heat will negate the need to drain the domestic water system but if leaving the boat for a few days definitely drain any instant gas water heater. keeping the batteries charged is best dealt with by a multi-stage charger running off a shoreline, A solar panel of at least 40 watts (plus controller), or visiting the boat every month or so and running the engine at 1500 RPM reducing as the batteries charge for SEVERAL hours. It may be a good idea to change your engine oil and filter, plus gearbox oil before winter sets in but this is less important now we have low sulphur fuel. It will need doing before next cruising season. Also think about changing the fuel filter(s) and cleaning any water separators on the fuel system. Unless you have a low level drain plug/tap on your fuel tank rig some form of suction system with a pipe to draw whatever is lurking in the bottom of the fuel tank out. This helps remove water and keeping fuel bug under control. This can be done at any time. Many people take all the soft furnishings off the boat and leave mattresses standing on their sides to avoid damp. I leave my hopper windows open except those over any soft furnishings or mattress. This helps combat condensation. You will need to visit the boat regularly to ensure all is well, to pump the bilge/make sure any automatic bilge pump is still working.

treasure
treasure

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:13pm

Post Subject: Winterising

The only other thing I do which I told is advisory is to fill the fuel tank and keep it topped up. This will avoid condensation forming on the inside and getting water into the fuel

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:30pm

Post Subject: Winterising

So do I but for a new boater that opens a can of worms nowadays. If the fuel you buy contains bio-diesel, which it might as much is dyed road fuel (DERV) then there is likely to be water in there already AND it is subject to easier breakdown by bugs. IF you can be 100% sure there is no bio in the fuel then I 100% agree but if there is an doubt it is probably best to use an additive like Marine 16 complete before the last fill of the season and during the winter rig something up to remove any water that is in the bottom of the tank. This in turn opens up a debate about what fuel additive to use. There are several Internet sources that dispute that condensation will form in the tank over the winter but I would prefer to assume it can and act accordingly.

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