Woes of Extended Storage and Maintenance How-to Clinics

Woes of Extended Storage and Maintenance How-to Clinics
Tiny surface cracks in exterior of fuel line allow air to enter the fuel system.
The weather has finally turned warmer; a clear sign that summer is on the horizon. The boats are coming out of storage, getting dusted off, keys are being turned and engines starting to purrhopefully.

Extended storage can be hard on equipment and our customers sometimes find a few surprises when they pull the boat from winter storage. The most common problems of recent weeks have beenboat won't start, runs but overheats, and steering failure.

The batteries, after sitting many months, are not necessarily bad if they have lost their charge. Marine wet-cell type with fewer than 24 to 30 months in service should be good to go with a stiff charge. Batteries left on maintainer systems for many months may have had the electrolyte boiled completely out or reduced to a harmfully low levelreplacement may be the only option.

Other common reasons for the outboard not starting following extended storage are fuel relatedair trapped in the fuel system or fuel line decomposition.

Fuel line decomposition (internal and external) can be traced to ethanol in gasoline. Air can enter the fuel system through cracks in external walls (visible fuel leakage not always present) and we also see restriction of fuel flow due to clogging when internal walls of the fuel line are destroyed by ethanol.

The most common culprit in engine overheating is the result of water pump impellers developing excessive "memory" (taking a set) during extended downtime. This condition reduces pumping efficiency to a mere trickle. A good rule of thumb: If your water pump is over two years oldit needs to be replaced!

Another source of engine overheating can be traced to salt and mineral build-up inside the powerhead around the thermostat and bypass valve. It is imperative to flush the engine thoroughly after using the boatevery time!

Moving on to steering problems; quite often mechanical steering cables are found frozen or hard to turn, and hydraulic systems will be sloppy or loose. Mechanical cables will sometimes loosen up with lubing and manipulation or; they may need to be replaced. We are usually able to bleed trapped air from hydraulic steering and refill the system with fluid to get you back on the water.

Many of our customers make inquiries regarding the procedures and methods for preventive maintenance and repairseager to learn how to take better care of their equipment. Beginning in June, Coastal Bend Marine will be hosting Boat Owner How-To Clinics every second Wednesday from 7:00 until 8:00 PM.

Our new website should be "live" real soon and you can learn more there, or for now you may email questions and topics of interest you would like to see covered in these clinics.

Have a great and safe summer season!
Chris Mapp

[email protected]
Coastal Bend Marine | Port O'Connor, TX
361-983-4841 | www.coastalbendmarine.com