shutterstock_154346828Winterizing a regular ol’ runabout is challenging enough for most owners, but when it comes to performance boats and their engines, there are a few worthwhile extra steps that should be taken.

Starting with one of the most basic go-fast accessories, for stern-drive-powered boats equipped with switchable exhaust, make sure you run anti-freeze through the system in the open and closed position. This ensures that the water passages in the entire exhaust system gets protected against corrosion.

Speaking of exhaust, if your engines are equipped with stainless-steel headers, drain them thoroughly before putting away your boat for its long winter nap. Most systems have drain plus. If you can’t find the ones on your engine, contact the header manufacturer and don’t over-tighten the drain plug when re-installing it.

If your engine has a supercharger, then it more than likely has an intercooler that has its own water pickup. Back flush the intercooler with anti-freeze just like you would your boat’s engine to protect the inside of the unit from corrosion. You wouldn’t want to find out next spring when your superchargers are running too hot that the water passages in your intercooler are clogged.

When it comes to high-performance lower units on outboards or stern drives like the Mercury SportMaster model, make sure you have the right garden-hose attachment to provide adequate water pressure when flushing out the unit after running in saltwater or for winterization purposes. These drives have water pickups on the bottom of the lower unit’s bullet instead of above it on conventional drives. You don’t want to burn up an impeller in your high-performance lower unit because you used the same ear muffs that you’d use on your old boat’s Alpha One drive.

Just remember, owning a high-performance boat means giving extra effort when maintaining it and winterizing it.

Source:; Eric Colby; October 18, 2013.