Dear : Boat Owner
This letter addresses your service needs during the off season.
A list of common problems and failures to your marine equipment follows:
Problem #1: Engine will not start or runs poorly in the Spring.
A majority of Spring tune-ups result from gas tuning sour or turning to varnish. the varnish or gum clogs the fuel system and carburetor. Fuel conditioner will prevent this and stabilize fuel for a full year. It should be added to all fuel tanks, then the unit should be run to distribute the treated fuel in the lines, fuel pump and carburetor.
Problem #2: Extreme Engine Wear.
Engine oil contaminated with acids and other undesirable elements causes excessive wear. To help prevent this, oil and filter changes on four cycle motors should be done at least annually, and is best done in the fall. The unit should be run twice, once to distribute the treated fuel and warm the oil prior to draining and again after the oil change, which leaves fresh oil on the gear and engine surfaces for the prolonged storage ahead.
You have all seen frost crystals on metal surfaces resulting from the extreme temperatures of our winters. Imagine the inside of an engine not stored in a heated area. To prevent rust, corrosion, and deterioration of the internal angine components, fogging is used. The engine should be at operation temperature, approsimately 1500 RPM, then a rust preventive is sprayed in to the carburetor. This ultimately stalls the engine but in doing so coats all the metal surfaces with a protective oil coating.
Problem #3: Outdrive or Lower Unit Failure.
Lower unit oil should be changed a minimum of once a year. Done in the fall as a part of a maintenance program, lower unit freeze-up and cracked housings are eliminated. Our pressure and vacuum test devices for all lower units determine the condition of seals and gaskets in the lower unit well ahead of unit failure.
The propeller should be removed. The shaft can then be examined for fishing line (the #1 cause of seal failure). The shaft should be greased to prevent rusting and corrosion, then the propeller re-installed.
Mercruiser Stern drive recommends removal of the stern drive from the boat at least once annually. This is to check engine-shaft alignment with an alignment tool, and to grease the gimbal bearing and U-joints.
Bellows on outdrive boats should be inspected for cracks (from old age and sunshine) and punctures from sticks and twigs.
Stern drives will not expel water except in a vertical position and to prevent freeze up should be stored in a vertical (non-tilted) position for the winter. The bellows (rubber boots) of a stern drive will distort when stretched out for prolonged length of time and are reluctant to return to normal.
Problem #4: Cracked Frozen Blocks-Heads-Manifolds.
A few boat owners experience frozen and cracked heads, blocks, or manifolds every year. This is caused by the drain passage being restricted by sand. rust, or scale and the water not escaping. A wire or small screwdrive should be inserted in these holes to assure they are completely open.
Problem #5: Water Pump Failure.
Manufactures of Volvo, Detroit-Bronze, Nicson and Sherwood water pumps, (belt drive and camshaft drive) recommended removing the pump impeller from these water pumps when stored over 90 days. Not following this suggestion could result in impeller failure. Mercruiser and OMC Stern Drives, which have their water-pump impellers in the outdrive leg below water level, impellers do not have to be removed.
Regardless of frequency of use, water pump impellers (all types) should be changed every third year. The impeller fingers become brittle and "set" in a bent position greatly reducing the priming capacity of the unit. The most common result of failed impellers, beyond a ruined weekend, are blown head gaskets, warped heads and blocks, and scored cylinders, necessitating costly overhauls or replacements.
Problem #6: Engine Loss of Power or Miss.
If your two cycle engine experiences a loss of power or severe miss, it is dangerous to continue use. If the miss is a lack of spark, then only inconvenience prevails. If the miss is due to a carburetor jet being clogged, then the engine is being starved from lubrication (oil in the gas). Running this "dry" cylinder will cause failure and expensive overhaul.
A blown head gasket can score a cylinder in minutes due to the water being inserted into the cylinder negating any lubrication from the gas-oil mix.
A compression test will reveal a blown head gasket and should be a routine part of every tune-up.
Problem #7: De-Carbon Two Cycle Engines.
All two cycle engines form some degree of carbon during the combustion process. this carbon formation reduces the combustion effectiveness of the engine. Carbon builds up on the piston and reduces port diameter size. If the carbon is not removed at regular intervals the piston rings can stick thereby scoring the piston cylinder causing an expensive overhaul. Most two cycle outboards should be de-carboned every 2nd season. (This is based upon average use in this geographical area.)
Problem #8: Steering Failure.
Mechanical steering cables are commonly overlooked- they need periodic lubircation. Most cables have a grease fitting at the rear. Steering heads can be disassembled and cleaned. Cable steering should be inspected for frayed cables and/or loose hardware and replaced as needed.
Problem #9: Trailer Bearing Failure.
Boat trailer wheel bearing failure is in evidence along the roadways each summer. Wheel bearings should be packed several times each season unless equipped with a pressurized hub. (Bearing Buddies) Bearing Buddies should be cleaned and repacked annually.
Consider your service needs now for protection of your investment
Please depend on us to take care of all your service needs.