Remove batteries for winter?

Discussion in 'Winterizing' started by KHE, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. KHE

    KHE Member

    202
    Feb 28, 2012
    West Michigan
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 5.7L EFI alpha 1 Gen 2 drive
    I usually remove my batteries for winter storage but I thought I'd ask this question: If the batteries are fully charged and the negative cables are disconnected, they shouldn't freeze. Is there any harm in just disconnecting the negative cables, making sure they're charged and then charge them in the spring? I don't have access to my boat when it is in the storage facility so I can't use a battery tender.

    The reason I ask is the batteries are under the port side almost to the transom and it is a bear to contort myself down there and lift them out.
     
  2. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    There was a recent thread about what to do with batteries over the Winter - search for that - lot's of opinions in there. But, yes, if the batteries are fully charged they will not freeze over the Winter.

    Your model 240DA isn't actually all that bad to work on (in the bilge). Lot's of boats are a lot worse - Welcome to Boat Mechanics 101! If you can take them out and bring them home - keeping them on a smart charger over the Winter is the best thing you can do for them to help them last as long as possible. But it's not like removing the negative cable is a "bad" thing, either.
     
  3. Siboatguy

    Siboatguy Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    230
    Mar 28, 2016
    Holmdel,NJ
    2005 Sea Ray 320 Sundancer
    Twins V-Drives
    2017 5.7 Mercruisers
    My 320 has a elec hatch and I just shut the power off and call it a day... Its hard to get to the battery and the elec hatch would be a pain also...
     
  4. KHE

    KHE Member

    202
    Feb 28, 2012
    West Michigan
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 5.7L EFI alpha 1 Gen 2 drive
    Thanks for the replies. In the interest of battery longevity, I'll probably pull them like I've done all the previous winterizations.

    I am going to build a platform to drop into the bilge so I can stand on a flat surface when doing maintenance vs. the sloped part of the hull. I think that will make the task a lot easier.
     
    SloBurn likes this.
  5. Wylie_Tunes

    Wylie_Tunes Active Member

    548
    Oct 26, 2012
    Lake Wylie NC area
    N/A
    N/A
    Is the boat shrink wrapped? Is there a usable wall outlet? If you do not have or cannot use an on-board charger, Removing them may be best for you.

    Over time, batteries will deplete. Depending on how fast they go down, how long the boat is laid up and how cold it gets, will determine how the batteries fare.
     
  6. KHE

    KHE Member

    202
    Feb 28, 2012
    West Michigan
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 5.7L EFI alpha 1 Gen 2 drive
    The boat is stored at a storage facility - inside a pole barn. It is unheated, no access to an outlet and I do not have access to it while it is in storage. I plan on pulling the batteries and storing them inside for the 6 month off-season.
     
  7. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drives
  8. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    I have 5 AGMs. I remove all the positives. Better to remove the negatives? Does it matter?
     
  9. electricaldoctor

    electricaldoctor Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    May 14, 2008
    Thousand Islands, Rockport, Ontario.
    1988 390 EC
    454 Mercruiser Gassers
    Are you positive that you want to remove the negatives?:D
     
  10. SloBurn

    SloBurn Member

    774
    May 30, 2013
    Greenwood Lake, NY
    1994 270 Sundancer. 7.4L Merc. Tow with a 2006 Dodge RAM Hemi
    340 HP Merc 454 c.i.
    I always pull mine and bring them inside. Charge once a month or so, and keep them off the floor of my garage. I know it's old school. but it's been workin all these years.....so.....
     
  11. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    ^^^ I did that too until I got a boat with 5.:(
     
    R-and-R likes this.
  12. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    For the purpose of this thread, it does not matter.

    But the reason to remove the negative leads is about safety. This is sometimes less of an issue with a boat than it is in a car because of the proximity of the battery to other metal items. A car battery is right next to lots of metal - the body, brackets, even the engine. In many boats, the battery(ies) are further away - and of course, the body of the boat is fiberglass. If you remove the positive first, and the wrench happens to also touch something that is still grounded (connected to the negative battery terminal), you will get a massive spark - big enough that it can create a crater in the wrench or even instantly weld the wrench to the metal part it touches. On the other hand, if you remove the negative lead first and happen to contact something metal (that's grounded), nothing will happen.

    General rule is "take negative lead off first, put it back on last".
     
  13. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    I keep mine from having direct contact with a concrete floor, as well... Even though I know full well that the "reason" for this dates back many, many years to when battery cases where made of more porous materials.
     
  14. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    Dennis, that is practice when I connect my Jabsco oil extractor to the battery terminals. Positive first, then negative. Spark in bilge of gas boat not good!
     
  15. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    Should also not be wearing any rings when accidentally grounding a wrench in contract with said ring. The third degree burn can be seriously damaging to you ring finger.
     
  16. KHE

    KHE Member

    202
    Feb 28, 2012
    West Michigan
    1997 Sea Ray 240 Sundancer
    Mercruiser 5.7L EFI alpha 1 Gen 2 drive
    I removed my batteries for the winter. One thing I did was to cut a piece of plywood to fit in the bilge so I had a flat surface to stand/kneel on. The difference was huge and I wish I would have done that a few years ago. It made it much easier to remove the batteries since my feet weren't at weird angles.
     

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