Boat Maintenance Tips August '11

Over the Fourth of July weekend we experienced a very heavy volume of water in fuel systems. Accommodating everybody on a drop-in basis is difficult but we succeeded and were very happy to do so. The point of this article is that gasoline containing ethanol is no friend to your boats fuel system and problems can be expensive to fix if the system is not cared for properly.

All boats should be equipped with fuel-water separator filters between the fuel tank and engine and changed every three months. This includes Mercury outboards which has been the subject of debate. I called Mercury to verify and the answer is, definitely.

Lots of good filters on the market - we prefer any brand with a high flow rate (90gph) and 10 micron rating. Filters under the engine cowling should be changed annually or every 100 hours of operation. Spare filters should be onboard at all times along with a filter wrench.

Fuel treatment should be added every time fuel is put in the tank. Every manufacture has treatments; my favorite is PRI-G from Power Research Inc. One quart treats 512 gallons and it is very effective.

Fuel line and primer bulb should be replaced every three to five years 3/8 hose is recommended for 140hp and up. Fuel lines with cracks visible on the surface should be replaced immediately.

Most fuel tanks are in the deck nowadays but some are installed under the console. Plastic tanks under the console should be covered/shielded to keep UV light from chemically breaking down the fuel.

Run your boat in the water every chance, not just on the garden hose. Engine RPM should include speeds to upper-midrange. Certain carbureted outboards are more likely to get carburetors replaced today than cleaned. Ultrasonic cleaners are the only way to open tiny internal passages and this is not always a guarantee.

I cannot stress enough that all service to your boats fuel system and engine should include a test run with repair shop personnel. This is a good safety net for the owner as well as the repair shop. It gives assurance that the work was done correctly and also that the boat has no fuel-water issues at that time. We never allow a boat to leave without following this procedure no exceptions.

The reason we are such sticklers is that ethanol is subversive to all marine products. We found three stations in Corpus Christi that carry non-ethanol gasoline and one of my customers that operates a large fuel business checked to see if we could have it here in POC. The response was not east of Hwy 35 as this region is a containment zone and sale of non-ethanol gasoline is prohibited. Everybody should write their state legislators to request exemption for marine-grade fuels.

Have a safe summer!

Coastal Bend Marine
Port OConnor, Texas
361 983 4841