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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Fall 2017 > SHUT IT DOWN


How to make closing your cottage faster, easier, cheaper, and less stressful



Put your engine to bed the right way (finally)

Small, sub-10 hp boat engines are frequently subject to shoddy maintenance, especially at cottage closing time. Bad fuel left to gum up the carburetors during winter storage is the “number one problem,” says Brendan Keys, the general manager of GA Checkpoint in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. “Too many people still cling to the old boater’s tale that says to drain the engine, you simply run the engine until it runs out of gas and dies.” This strategy leaves gas in the fuel bowl, where it will oxidize, leaving deposits and causing grief when you return in the spring. At his own cottage in the Cariboo region, Keys begins the outboard winterization process early. Ethanol-blend fuels will go bad in as little as three weeks, he says, so it’s best to add fuel stabilizer at the end of the summer, when you start using the outboard less frequently. Keys insists that most cottagers have the tools and skills to perform a complete small-engine winterization. First, drain the gear oil from the lower unit—collecting the used oil and inspecting it for water and metal filings (in both cases, it means your engine needs to go to an expert)—and replace it with fresh oil. Second, change the engine oil on four-stroke motors. (In the case of some two-strokes, you should run the engine and spray fogging oil into the intake valves—check your owner’s manual for more details.) Third, completely drain the gasoline by disconnecting the fuel line and opening the drain plug in the bottom of the carburetor. Finally, in saltwater environments, Keys recommends that you apply silicone spray under the engine’s hood and treat any grease nipples with marine lubricant to prevent corrosion.—Conor Mihell

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About Cottage Life

Cottage Life’s Fall issue brings you the magic of the season. Kick your campfire up a notch with desserts that are delicious and pure fun. Get inspired by the story of a family whose three generations pitch in to add on to their retreat—gaining hands-on skills and a love of the cottage along the way. Discover the secrets to better sleep at the lake. Build a fold-up workbench, and get the lowdown on Tesla solar roof tiles, two handy jacks, and six small problem-solving gadgets for your workshop. Choose the best water-filtration system for your family (so you can stop hauling water to the cottage!). And when it’s finally time to close up for the season, we’ve got 17 smarter ways to put your boats, docks, plumbing, and more to bed—with a lot less stress. Plus, as fish numbers drop, we asked the experts what’s going on below the surface of our lakes. Chock full of advice and inspiration, this issue offers the best of fall at the cottage.