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The Most Common Boat Breakdowns, Part 1

The Most Common Boat Breakdowns, Part 1

Boating enthusiasts will tell you that there’s nothing better than going out to sea, no matter how old your boat is. However, if you’re not careful, your boat might break down and then you’ll be stuck in the middle of the ocean with a broken boat.

Here at Propulsion Controls Engineering (PCE), one of the most respectable ship repair companies in San Diego, our mechanics are often tasked with fixing a few common issues, no matter the type or size of the vessel. In this article, we give you the rundown of the most likely breakdowns and how to fix them on the go. Finally, there are some useful tips on how to prevent these kinds of problems again.

Sputtering and Loss of Power

The most likely culprit of this problem is fuel. The first thing you want to check is if you’re simply not just out of fuel. That’s the least problematic cause. However, it’s more likely that there is something else at work.

If your fuel levels are in order, chances are that you are looking at a filter problem. There are numerous reasons why your filter might have problems. Water in the fuel is the most likely, but various debris can cause the same problem just as likely. Finally, it could be a spark plug issue, rather than the fuel problem, but that’s less frequent.

How to Fix It?

The best way to sort this problem is to replace the filter altogether. That is if you have a spare one. If you don’t you can remove the filter and clean it. You may also need to drain the water which has accumulated there. Just don’t forget to vent the engine box before turning the engine on again.

Prevention

Although bad batch of fuel may be to blame, it is more likely that the fuel went bad inside your boat. If you are not using your boat for extended periods of time, do not leave the fuel tank empty, because that promotes condensation of water from the air. Instead, fill the tank and consider adding fuel stabilizer to the mix.

As for the spark plug issue, the only thing you can do is replace them, so be sure that you have spares, along with the tools required to change them.

Overheating Engine

If the engine is overheating, the most likely cause is the lack of water in the cooling system. We wrote about cooling systems in boats before. Essentially, in most marine engines, cooling systems draw water from the ocean, cool the engine and release the water back into the ocean. There are two things which can cause low water flow; an obstruction in water intake and a rupture in the water hose. 

How to Fix It?

The first thing you need to check is if there is an obstruction in the water intake. Typically seaweed and other debris can clog the intake which is then unable to take in water. However, in the recent years, people have been reporting plastic waste as an increasingly common problem.

If there’s no blockage in the intake, you are probably looking at a ruptured hose. This is more bad news. Not only is it causing your engine to overheat, but it can also spray water onto the engine or other parts of the machinery. Tighten the clamps or replace the burst hose to stop the leak.

Prevention

Regular maintenance of the impeller can ensure that the pumping power never fails. However, as for the clogging issue, there is not much you can do except check the water intake from time to time.

These two issues are very common and have relatively easy solutions. However, in order to ensure that these problems are not a recurring issue, you need regular maintenance. If you are looking for respectable ship repair companies in San Diego, PCE has over 40 years of experience in the field. Contact us today.

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