When certain boat maintenance issues become repetitive, we believe it helpful to pass advice along to our customers in hope that they can avoid them. So with this in mind I want to tell you about a couple of problems we have been seeing and how you as the boat owner can deal with them. I also want to recommend some must-have carry-aboard spare items.
Part of our standard procedure, we address each and every mechanical and electrical problem we encounter with two questions. Why did the issue occur? How can it be prevented?
Here we go again with ethanol. Ethanol has increased the cost of operation in a number of ways, from the expense of repairing the damage it causes to the expense of fuel treatment chemicals we now must add to boat fuel to help prevent the damage.
There has always been the need for good fuel filtration but with ethanol in gasoline the ante has been raised to "great" filtration. We are now recommending replacement interval of fuel/water separation filters at six months, even with low to moderate hours of operation.
Monthly inspection of the outer casing of the filter canister is also recommended. The filter canister is made of mild steel and the only protection against corrosion is the paint it receives at the factory. Salt water and damp salt air make them susceptible to pin holes from corrosion and, with most filter units installed inside closed compartments, the process is accelerated. Even the tiniest pinhole in a filter canister will lead to loss of prime in the system and fuel starvation–not to mention fuel leakage and potential for explosion hazard.
Fuel filters should be changed at the first sign of surface discoloration, and for the areas you cannot see, rub your hand around it carefully to detect rough spots. The bottom of the canister is often the first place corrosion and pitting will occur. After replacing the filter, spray with Corrosion-X Red once a month to help prevent corrosion issues.
Ethanol has also been causing a very high failure rate of fuel line primer bulbs. Symptoms of this are frequent need for re-priming and also inability to achieve firmness of the bulb following repeated squeezing. You will likely hear and feel fuel moving but the bulb will not firm up.
What we're seeing is a rash of check valve balls inside the bulbs falling out of place due to ethanol attacking and degrading the check valve seats. The displaced check valve ball can then block the flow of fuel to the engine.
We recommend that you add spare fuel/water separator filters and a new primer bulb to your list of carry-aboard spare parts. Consult your marine dealer for proper filter wrench and also appropriate tools and clamps you will need to accomplish on-the-water repairs. This can save downtime and the need to be towed to the dock.
Have a great fall season and I want to send a special "Thank You" to all who attended our Labor Day Sale for some great BBQ and fun. We look forward to seeing you again next year.
coastalbendmarine.com | 361-983-4841