Top 5 Common Problems with a Boat Outboard
Outboards are a great asset to any boat. Apart from being fuel-efficient, their easy-to-maintain and repair features are highlights while choosing the engine.
Regardless of its reputation as easy to fix, things could take a turn for the worse if you are adrift with a boat full of tired and panicky passengers.
Are you a new boater? Or an experienced guy who knows his crescent from the Allen wrench from the set? In the first scenario, although google can help you understand your hitch, professional help is highly recommended while dealing with the issues.
Considering you are handy with the tools, here are some tips on recognizing the reason behind your boat’s abrupt misbehaviour.
1. Out of Gas
It might sound basic, but the number one reason for boaters getting stranded is running out of gas. Miscalculations regarding the distance or a faulty gauge are the main culprit behind it.
When in doubt, go for “Rule of the thirds”! Are you puzzled? The rule is to use a third of the gas for the trip. And another third for the return and one-third as a reserve for just in case.
2. Starting Trouble
Turning the key only to receive pin drop silence is heart-breaking, especially when you are all set to embark on that well derived day out.
You could be looking at a low or dead battery, wet spark plug, starter problem or even electrical failures, so first things first, check the kill switch and make sure the shifter is in neutral.
It could be a loose connection, in which case going around the dash and tightening up a few screws could do the trick.
If your starter is groaning but not firing up, it could be a case of a dead battery. Having a battery charger at hand could come to your rescue.
3. Sputter, Stutter and Stop
Are you sensing a power loss in your engine? Check your fuel gauge and rule out number 1( out of gas) before you delve further into it. A clogged filter could be the reason for it, remove and clean the debris and accumulated water. Vent out the engine properly before restarting to avoid a total blowout.
Leaving the gas tank near empty for a long duration is frowned upon in the boating community. While in storage for an extended period, fill up the tank and use a fuel stabilizer to avoid condensation or spoilage.
Stopping in the middle of nowhere with a sudden jerk could be the worst nightmare for even veteran boaters. Examine the ignition switch, lanyard, breakers and fuses for a preliminary check. If you are lucky, it might be an unexpected trip that can be rectified manually.
In case of corrosion in the wire ends or an ignition chip on an EFI engine, DIY hacks could be dangerous and calling for help as fast as possible is highly advised.
Brands like Mercury Outboards offer excellent corrosion resistance in engines, and switching to a high-power engine can no doubt reduce the fallouts.
4. Overheating the Engine
Another issue that you can avoid is periodic clean-up and caution. Unlike in your automobile, your boat does not have a coolant. It uses the water it’s floating on for the same.
So keep your gauge weed-free to allow ample water flow and make sure to service and replace the impeller based on its functionality.
5. Propeller Problems
Engine vibrations are never a good sign while onboard, the common cause being propeller damage or obstruction. Weeds and plastic floating in the water often tangle up with the propeller, resulting in a loose or partially damaged propeller.
As wise men say,” better safe than sorry.” Knowing these outboard issues won’t make you qualified to repair by yourself but helps give a general idea about what might be wrong and how to tackle it quickly. For more severe cases that you can’t deal with your wrench, check with professionals or assistance.
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