Engine temp. advice

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Anonymous (not verified)
Engine temp. advice

Hi 36'ers,

Well it has been a year now this month and I love my Calaloo.
Thank you all for your help when I first got her. I am still Green but know a bit more than the average non- sailing girl I bet:)
I learned how to get her out of the slip and back in and did a bunch of sailing and entertaining this year. She is a money pit but she has created priceless memories and has made me continue to scale down for hopes of sailing away on her one day soon.
The question is when I first got her I would go down in 29 degree Charleston, SC weather and sleep on Calaloo. I would put a blanket and a light over the engine. I treated her like my first born ( for she is). I may have gone over the top then. She stays in her slip year round. IS IT really necessary to keep her warm in the winter time? Or should I just go crank the engine every now and then?:cool:

TomSoko's picture
Joined: 2/15/07
Posts: 978

I'm guessing that when you say the temp gets down to 29F, you are talking about air temp. Because water has more thermal inertia than air does, I'm GUESSING that it would take quite a lower temp than 29F for longer than just overnight to cause problems. With your boat in the water the temp inside the engine compartment probably gets no lower than 35F or so. Again, this is just a guess on my part. One thing you should not do is to start up the engine and let it run in neutral for a few minutes and then shut it down. Diesels need to be run under load. If you do go down to the boat occasionally to run the engine, I'd suggest putting it in gear, and running it at 1500 rpm at least for 30 minutes. Of course the dock lines should be secure! You need to get it up to operating temp for long enough to burn off water condensation inside the engine. After saying all this, I just remembered a recent article in the BoatUS magazine that stated most of their freezing claims come not from the frigid north, but southern states that do not expect freezing temps and do not normally winterize their boats!

Tom Sokoloski
C36/375IA Past Commodore
Noank, CT

Steve Frost's picture
Steve Frost
Joined: 12/14/07
Posts: 788


As usual Tom is spot on in his advise. I respect your love/concern for your boat but, I question how much of an issue 29-30 degree temps are. What special things do you do for your car in these temps, probably not much. If you were in fresh water freezing on the raw water side of the system could be a concern, not much of an issue in salt water due to its much lower freezing point. The closed side of the engine should have antifreeze in it that would be good well below freezing temps.

Preheat on engines will get the oil circulating earlier and reduce wear and tear and will make them start quicker. I have wondered since the water heater has a engine heat exchanger in it, if a small pump were intalled in the heat exchanger line could we preheat our engines using the electric water heater to circulate hot water through our engines as this heat exchanger will work both ways.

This is just a theoreticle issue for me since we seldom see anything near freezing in the San Francisco bay area.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

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