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scottjen26

Post ride cleaning

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I need to get some education and opinions on cleaning as I'm slowly starting to come up with my own checklists and processes...

All set up now with dry storage at the marina. Marina closes at 5pm during winter hours, weather great and taking the boat out about once every week or two. This week had it out Sunday and Monday so far, 75 - 80 degrees still... Some days we get back after 5pm, so we tie the boat up at the dock and in the morning the guys put it back in our spot.

The intention is to come back the next morning, pull the boat back down to a rack, flush and clean, put on covers, and have them store the boat until the next time. Might not always work out that way. So, a few questions:

- First, we boat in brackish water, if that matters

- How critical is it to flush the engine each and every time? In other words, if you skip it once every 5 or 10 times, is it a big deal? What about waiting until the next morning, or even the following day? We have to do this if we get back after the marina staff leaves, 5pm in winter, 7pm in summer. That's going to happen for sure.

- When flushing, we have a port they added to the starboard side of the transom. I believe the proper technique in this case is to connect the hose, turn water on so it's flowing (never start engine dry?), make sure trim is down (someone said if up it can cause issues), turn engine on, let run in neutral for 5 minutes or so (need more?), then turn off, disconnect hose, etc.

- Do I need to remove drain plug while doing this? Water seems to just come right out of the engine. Wouldn't removing drain plug just help with draining the boat in general in case water made it's way into various openings, bilge, etc., and better then keeping it in the boat and waiting for pump to work? I'm still a little fuzzy on what drains overboard and what drains into the bilge...

- We then use the brush and soap to clean the hull and rinse it off, from above rub rail to gelcoat and underside as best we can while on the rack. Someone is usually in the boat wiping down the vinyl and cleaning up, although since we have carpet we usually don't spray down the whole inside of the boat, more strategic cleaning and wiping as needed. Is this sufficient, or do you need to spray everything down?

- Finally (I think) - seems like way too much work on a regular basis at least to fully dry the boat, would need a ton of towels I would think, also tough while on the rack and doesn't seem very easy to end up with a spic and span perfect looking boat with no streaks etc. Maybe leave that for detailing once or twice a year. Is that what you do? We've been drying the inside mostly, then putting covers on (cockpit and bow) and letting them put it back in storage

Just looking to get a good process down for maintaining the boat. We've had a lot of compliments on it, many people even thought the boat was new even though it's a 2007. Gel coat and interior is in very good shape I guess and would like to keep it that way, willing to do what is necessary and should be done just need to understand what is really important and why, got differing opinions from guys at the marina, probably will here too, so I'll just blend them together... :)

I probably have 20 more questions about things that have come up in the last month or so since we've been taking the boat out more on our own, but I'll keep researching and come back and ask if I don't get sufficient answers from friends or online.

Thanks!

Scott

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I keep ours on a lift, This is what I do:

Daily after each use. Hose outside down including drives. Hand clean with 303 on interior anything that needs it. (Quick touch up)

Weekly I do a good flush on both motors, 15 to 20 minutes each. 303 Stainless steel and clean windows to get spots off. If motors are hot, I will have everything all ready, start the motor 1st then start the flow of water. I have shut offs at the connection so its quick to turn on. Don't like running cold water into a hot block without it running. If motors are cool then I will start water first then the motor. Removing drain plug is not necessary unless you have water. I will pull the plug once or twice a season as needed.

Monthly I do a top to bottom cleaning, carpets come up and everything is cleaned with soap and water then dried with shammy's and towels. Vinyl gets coated with 303. All stainless gets polished with 303 and also area's in direct sunlight will get a 303 treatment. All this is a good 6 to 8 hour workout. :slap:

A good shammy will cut the number of towels you need. Also I like big heavy bath towels for drying. If you haven't tried yet, get some 303 products, they have everything from cleaners to protectants.

I boat in salt water. The above is minimum care, if I feel for what ever reason something needs more attention then I will take care of it. I HATE spots, they drive me crazy. I always have a wet rag with me while fishing, cleaning up after myself. We put over 150 hours on a season which does not include the drifting hours or time spent at anchor. If I had to guess 35 to 45 hours a year to keep her looking pretty from May to October. I also have her waxed in the fall and again before spring launch so I have a good two coats to last the season.

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There used to be a water filter that removed almost every mineral from your hose water. Mine is a old Mr Clean. As the Chap aged a little, the filtered water became less important. Water spots are caused by minerals in the hose water.

Rainex ?? & others used to have a liquid that stopped water spots. I see no reason the stuff used on cars would not work on a boat.............CAUTION Find out from the company if it will affect seat covering or their colors.

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You don't have to do that much to keep here nice. What I do after each time is a simple hose down of the exterior, outdrive, windshield, etc and then towel dry to prevent spots. I also flush the engine out each time at high idle for 5 minutes. Then I cover the boat each time and have them put her up. I always time my trips as to not leave my boat in the water unattended over night. For example, if we do an overnight, we come back early enough to get everything cleaned up. You should always put your cover on IMO, even if the boat is in the water overnight. After a few months of use, I give her a good wash and wax with hull cleaner/cleaner wax. I mix them up together and it works well and leaves a waxy finish. I clean the windshield with Windex and the vinyl with degreaser and a sponge followed by protestant.

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Thanks for answers so far. Just trying to get some info on proper care exactly as laid out - minimum to keep her looking decent and prevent issues from slowly arising, but also things to do each time, monthly, annually, etc. for best results.

- What did you mean drew about flushing on high idle? When I've flushed thus far, I turn on water, turn engine on, and let the water pour through while engine is just on but throttle is in neutral. Should I / can I engage the throttle while up in the rack to do something additional and run the engine?

- Still need answers on: what if I run out of time, get back late, don't make it down the next day or two, etc. Is it still worth hosing down the boat, flushing engine, etc., or at that point is it too late (salt etc. already dried) and just wait until last time? I'm assuming skipping the detailing process once in a while won't hurt anything, I'm thinking it's longer term lack of care that will cause issues

- Also, do you hose the boat down just with water to rinse off salt, grime, etc. or also use a brush and soap everything up then rinse it off?

Scott

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- What did you mean drew about flushing on high idle? When I've flushed thus far, I turn on water, turn engine on, and let the water pour through while engine is just on but throttle is in neutral. Should I / can I engage the throttle while up in the rack to do something additional and run the engine?

Flush at 1,200 rpms IN NEUTRAL. Press the round button on the throttle and advance the throttle until you are at 1,200 rpms.

- Still need answers on: what if I run out of time, get back late, don't make it down the next day or two, etc. Is it still worth hosing down the boat, flushing engine, etc., or at that point is it too late (salt etc. already dried) and just wait until last time? I'm assuming skipping the detailing process once in a while won't hurt anything, I'm thinking it's longer term lack of care that will cause issues

Any clean up--even late--is better than no cleanup!

- Also, do you hose the boat down just with water to rinse off salt, grime, etc. or also use a brush and soap everything up then rinse it off?

Hose it off, wipe it down. Don't use soap much as that takes off the wax and will expose your gelcoat. You should do a full clean, wax, and put protectant on the vinyl once every three months.

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Awesome, thanks Drew!!!

And in case anyone is wondering, I'm not looking to get out of work in maintenance. If it takes 2 hours every time I go out, then so be it. But I'm also not looking to spend 2 hours after a long day on the water when 30 minutes will suffice to keep her in tip top shape. I like the idea of a certain amount of maintenance each time after going out (or the day after) then more extensive maintenance / protectant every 3 months etc. That works perfectly into our schedule.

Our friends, who have been helping us thus far, are pretty anal retentive with their boat. When done, they pull their trailer up to their house, spray the boat down, flush the engine, fully soap everything in and out and rinse off, dry, then put covers on and back to the yard it goes the next day. Makes sense that over-soaping and cleansing the boat will actually strip the wax. And also waxing, protectant, full detailing, etc. every 3 months or so will keep that protective layer on surfaces.

One last question Drew - I've never noticed a button on the throttle, just the button underneath to get it out of neutral into gear and the trim switch on the end. Will have to look, maybe something is there I haven't noticed. Is is necessary to flush with RPM's? Does it not do anything if left on but in neutral? And why 1200, why not 1000, 1500, 3000, etc.?

Scott

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At low idle, the impeller doesn't circulate enough water, so the engine doesn't get flushed too well. The best range for flushing is 1000-1200 rpms. Any higher is bad for the engine as there is no load on the motor. Any lower is also bad because not enough water will circulate and you won't flush as well as you otherwise could.

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I believe you also run a risk of ingesting water through your exhaust valves if you don't run at a high enough RPMs while flushing. I beleive its in a Merc bulletin somewhere regarding water ingestion.

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My process is a bit different, as I store my boat at home in a garage. Typically I will remove the carpets, and hang up to dry. Wash and rinse the boat interior and exterior plus trailer, then a quick towel dry. Park the boat in the garage, with all hatches open ( and dried out ). In a day or two I put the carpets back in, close the hatches, and get ready for the next trip. Once a month or so I will do a deep clean/detail. Boat is clean and ready to go at a moments notice.

brick

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Glad I'm in a slip In fresh water. I tie it up, cover it up and go home :)

We have a similar situation with a covered slip. Friday afternoon I take the cockpit cover off, Sunday night I put the cover back on. With my time freed up, I knock out the honey-do list.

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