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My Engine Has Been Sitting a Long Time
Letting your boat sit for a long time without being run is a bad thing. There are several items which should be addressed BEFORE placing your boat back into service. If you simply drag your boat to the ramp without taking care of these importnat items you will most likely break down, overheat or have some kind of trouble.
Consider the following items:
1. Your fuel system. Old fuel turns into varnish. Read more about Varnished Fuel. Remove any old fule and replace the tank and lines if it is varnished. Old fuel pumps will have cracked damaged diaphrams. Replace if needed. Change your fuel filters and fill the tank with good clean fuel.
2. Your Water Pump. The rubber water pump impellar blades have turned brittle and they will crack off. This will cause your engine to overheat and could result in serious engine damage. Rebuild your old water pump assembly.
3. Your exhaust components. Most exhaust is made of iron. If not properly prepared for long term storage the exhaust passages will plug up with rust. This can cause overheating or it can allow water to back up into the engine. Replace any old rusted and clogged exhaust components.
4. Your battery and starter motor. Batteries are only good for a year or maybe two at best. Start off with a fresh battery. Make sure your starter looks good and turns free.
5. Drive Lube and Engine Oil. Make sure you have enough of good clean lube and oil in BOTH the engine and the sterndive unit. Change any old or contaminated oils and filters.
6. Your Gimbal Housing. The gimbal has rubber parts such as the U-Joint Bellows. These rubber parts get brittle and crack. A bad bellows can sink your boat. Replace any bad bellows. Check and Inspect the complete gimbal and steering. Steer all the way left to right and back to confirm the steering is free. Grease any grease points (see your owners manual)
7. General Inspection. An inspection of such items as hoses, belts, cables, wires, fittings, fuel system components, bilge pumps, lights, safety gear and everything else should be performed BEFORE using the boat.
It is ideal to remove the drive and check the engine alignment after sitting for so long. Bad mounts can ruin the engine drive coupler.
Start the engine on the hose before going to the ramp and check the shifting and all your gauges for proper opertation. Watch your engines temperature, voltage and oil pressure while running on the hose. Look for water, oil and fuel leaks. Make sure your prop is properly installed and in good condition. Operate the trim and look for any trim hose oil leaks. Double check all the fuel lines and look for any evidence of fuel leaks or flooding.
Don't forget to check your boats trailer too! Grease the wheel bearings if needed. replace any old worn or cracked trailer tires. Inspect the coupler and trailer lights for proper opertation.
Boats can explode. Moving parts can rip off your fingers. Hot exhaust can burn you to the bone and props can slice you up. One spark near a battery can cause an explosion. You can never be too careful. Remove the battery from the boat before working with fuel. Always disconnect the batteries negative terminal first. Clean up any spilt fuel and let ALL of the fumes dissipate before installing the battery and starting the motor. Pulleys and Belts can grab your clothes and hair. Don't wear loose clothing and keep your hair up under a hat. Always wear safety glasses. Be smart.
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