What can kill a boat motor
Denis Korablev
  • 29.10.2021
  • 1,097

What can kill a boat motor

Did you carefully read the operating instructions when you purchased the outboard motor? Few boat owners will answer in the affirmative, most just skimmed through the illustrations. Although the engine is iron, it also requires care, especially when it comes to charter yacht, as it is downtime due to breakage, as usually comes out much more expensive than timely care. Observe elementary rules, pay attention to such "little things" as indicators, pressure gauge, thermostat, etc., and the motor will serve you faithfully for many years.

What is easier, it seems? But for some reason, most yachtsmen forget about it, and they realize it is too late, when the motor refuses to work and requires urgent repair or cannot be restored at all. If you want such a fate for your outboard motor, then read our bad advice.

Ignore the malfunction indicators

Everything works, the boat is on the move, don't panic. Is it really possible to see in bright sunlight whether the malfunction indicator lamp has turned on or not? There is a solution: it is necessary to move the indicators to a place where the LEDs can be seen immediately when they start giving signals. The second option is to create a shadow around the indicator in order to immediately notice the low-power light bulb lit up.

Can you hear the buzzer when the engine is running and the wind is whistling in your ears? They say that at high speed the noise level exceeds 95 decibels, it is very loud, like in a subway car. Loud warning signal sounds a sounder, but if the siren goes off on its own, then something terrible has already happened to the engine. Experienced yachtsmen advise installing a "Screamer" with a looping recording and a 110 decibel siren, which costs only $ 8.

The water flow sensor will inform you when the coolant level drops. Installing a built-in sensor will save the motor from overheating.

What's the difference how the thermostat is installed?

Some boat owners set the thermostat correctly, while others set the thermostat upside down when the heat-sensitive part is on the other side. In this case, engine overheating is ensured, sometimes even professional athletes make such a mistake. When installing the thermostat, refer to the instructions.

Why listen to the boat, it won't say anything anyway

An attentive owner can get a lot of information from the sounds coming from the boat. The weakening of the timing belt is reported by a whistle reminiscent of the squeal of a piglet. Metal tapping indicates a need to repair the lifters, valve, or valve rockers. Squeak or rattle with a characteristic metallic sound informs about the failure of the water pump bearing. Loud exhaust notifies of running out of coolant, it would be necessary to check the water pump. React immediately if you don't want to enjoy this cacophony.

What are these gauges for?

You can, of course, not look at the manometers, but remember that you will pay for engine repairs out of your pocket. Pilots are taught to check sensors regularly, slowly look back and forth. There are not many sensors on the boat, so it is not difficult to control them, you just need to develop the appropriate habit.

Some yachtsmen make it easier for themselves and adjust the pressure gauges so that the arrows point straight up if all readings are normal; so even small deviations are much easier to notice.

Pure antifreeze is definitely better than diluted antifreeze

60% of boat owners think so, but in fact it is not true. If undiluted antifreeze is added to the cooling system, the motor will very hot. Fahrenheit boils water at about 212 degrees, and pure antifreeze - at 230 degrees, in this regard, the engine runs hot (partly overheated).

There is nothing to sniff, breathe deeply the sea air

Every healthy engine has a characteristic scent, remember this scent. If the engine compartment smells unpleasant or the smell just changed, then it's time to look for problems.

The smell of burnt hair warns of a short circuit. Sweetish scent calls attention to antifreeze leaks. A strong smell of burnt oil indicates that it is leaking on a hot engine, and a weak smell indicates an overload of the engine.

The aroma of burnt rubber (rather pungent) is hard not to feel. It can inform you that:

  • the water pump impeller is spinning dry;
  • the V-belt is slipping;
  • not enough coolant left;
  • sterndrive clutch defective.

Better to be on the safe side and start the engine on the shore

The engine will not suffer at all if it runs on land for several seconds, but the boat owner is calm - the engine works like a clock. The engine, of course, will not overheat, but this can have a negative effect on the impeller of the water pump. The smooth functioning of the impeller is provided by water (as if it lubricates), otherwise part of the mechanism will simply fail; so a few dry checks and you can change the impeller.

You can really save on oil

Perhaps, but not necessary, since the oil consumption is not that great, 1-2 gallons for the entire summer period are required for engines with a capacity of one hundred horsepower. You can save no more than $ 10. Inexpensive oil from a little-known manufacturer will help a two-stroke engine quickly "age", since there is no certainty about the quality of this particular oil. The best oils have the same high quality, which they have confirmed more than once.

Remember: using cheap oil during engine operation is actually much more expensive!

Don't bother, filters are the same

The motor works great with new filter parts. Engines for long cruises should have two filters. Some owners believe that they are identical and install the same type of element in both filters, and even worse, when they put a fine element in the first filter. It turns out that the first filter did all the work with an increased load, and the second one makes no sense to work.

Remember: a 30 micron coarse element is installed in the first filter, and a finer one (2 microns) in the second, which will give a good result. Optimal load distribution increases the service life of the filters and therefore the engine.

Natural state of the engine - vibration

The engine vibrates constantly, so soon boat owners stop paying attention to it. If, when switching to planing mode, it begins to shake the bow contours, and the shaking is not felt at the control panel, then there is a possibility of propeller malfunction; it is necessary to check whether its blades are bent. If vibration occurs only at certain speeds, it is necessary to balance the propeller. If the boat shakes with a crash at any speed, then the engine is not aligned with the shaft.

The best way to check when and how the boat vibrates is to put a small basin of water in the cockpit and observe what is happening on the surface.

Water cannons are not afraid of shallow water

Water cannons run well in shallow water, and yachtsmen often use this without fear. And in vain, it may well happen that one day you may not get out of shallow water. In water cannons, part of the sucked water is used for cooling and if sand or small stones are in this water, the cooling system will easily become clogged.

Jet engine manufacturers warn to avoid shallow water and always have 2-3 feet of water under the boat, which is especially important when accelerating from idle. In case of emergency, shallow places must be passed at high speed, then the water cannon has time to suck in only the upper layer of water (usually cleaner) and the boat will remain much higher than the bottom.

The jet engine is known to clean itself up

Those who hold this opinion run the risk of losing the engine altogether in a short time, since the dirt will "stick around" it from the inside in layers. Clean the internal cavities of the engine under pressure with a jet of water (always fresh) for at least ten minutes. Modern boat models are equipped with a flush hole.

Before stopping the engine, squeeze the throttle to full

This is another myth that many people follow in practice: if you gas properly, the next time the engine will start easier. In fact, it converts the remaining unburned fuel covering the cylinders into a sticky film. The mechanics are happy - they will not remain unemployed!

What can happen if the battery is turned off on the go?

When the engine is running, it is worth turning the battery toggle switch incorrectly and - that's it, the generator ordered to live a long time. Be careful when switching from "1" to "2" or "BOTH" you should never turn the knob past the "OFF" position. The electricity output from the generator is blocked for a fraction of a second, but this is enough to ruin the diode and destroy the generator.

What corrosion, the motor is brand new!

Every engine wants to be in dry conditions; if the owner does not understand this, then corrosion will quickly get to the new engine. Preventive measures - cleaning electrical connectors with petroleum jelly to protect against moisture. After the boat arrives at the parking lot, wipe the engine with a rag soaked in fresh water and rinse off the salt crystals. Following this, wipe it dry and apply oil in a thin layer, covering all the details, not forgetting about those located below.

Why change the oil, you can just top up

It is possible if the goal is to render the engine inoperative. If not, then the old oil should be completely replaced with new one. It is necessary to compare the volumes of oil: how much has been drained and how much has been filled; the difference will show how much dirty oil is left.

If it is not possible to suck the oil from above, then it must be drained into the pan. To do this, the engine is installed at an angle so that the oil can drain without lingering through the drain hole. There is also a second option: change the oil frequently so that the remaining oil does not have time to deteriorate.

Saving on fuel won't go sideways

Engine manufacturers recommend the lowest octane rating for a reason. If you use less fuel, the engine will soon hum and rattle under load. It will cope for a while, showing low performance, but with constant fueling with cheap fuel, carbon deposits will accumulate in the grooves of the piston rings and behind the rings, which will lead to cylinder scoring, piston rings sticking, and even to engine seizure ... Small engines run well on 84 octane fuel; most require - 87-89; Recommended for engines with high performance - 91.

Inattention does not lead to much trouble

Mooring lines hang from the stern, did not finish watching, what is it? If, at a decent speed, strong nylon winds around the screw, the consequences will be dire: it will break the oil seals, crush the bearings, lose the transmission gears, loosen the engine mounts and, accordingly, the motor will swing from side to side.

Only the bearing (thrust) was not put in place when replacing the screw on the outboard drive. Really forgotten, but with whom it does not happen! And the consequences are as follows: The propeller hub without a thrust bearing will rub against the gearbox housing when the boat moves forward and will eventually render it unusable. Compare the cost of the gear housing and the bearing, this will be the price of your forgetfulness.

Zinc alloy anodes are placed not only on the drive and propeller shaft, there is another one inside the engine. Remember to change it every time you change the oil, otherwise the anode will begin to break, which can clog the cooling system with loose particles.

Many people believe that if the hose clamp is made of stainless steel, then the tightening bolt too. In fact, the bolt is made of mild steel which will rust with salt over time. Overlooked and the hose clamp broke, and this can lead to the loss of water, fuel, exhaust hose, and in the worst case, flood the boat.

And finally

As the experts say 2yachts, in order not to learn from our own experience all the difficulties of premature engine repair, we must learn from other people's mistakes. Life for yachtsmen would be much easier, and engines would last a long time if we took care of them, immediately responded to their "requests" and followed all instructions.

According to manufacturers, the only thing they like to see worn out is the user manual!