Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Boats Break Down (Part 2)

Last week, you saw the first part of our series on top 10 reasons boats break down and how to fix/prevent the problem. Here is part 2! Summerset Boat Lifts hopes you have a wonderful time out on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, but just in case something unexpected comes up, we want you to be prepared!

6. Vibrations

The vibrations worsen the faster that you try to go and you might also notice the engine racing while you are actually losing speed. Most likely something has gone wrong with the prop.  A nick or gouged blade can create imbalance and vibration, a towrope or fishing line can snarl the shaft, or a direct hit on an object could remove or misshape enough metal to make the prop ineffective. Sometimes this distortion or damage is hard to see.  Since changing the prop isn't always possible or even advisable while on the water, it's best to slow down and concentrate on getting back to your dock and up on your boat lift at the Lake of the Ozarks.  You might have to trim up the motor and clean out the prop if monofilament has work its way in there. If there is enough to cause a noticeable decrease in performance, you shouldn't ignore the problem because it could lead to permanent damage. Consider carrying a spare prop and practice changing the prop so you don't run into any surprises while away from home.  Be sure to also have gloves and a brand-specific prop wrench with you.

7. Won't Shift

After lowing your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift and pulling away from the dock, you push the shifter, but the boat never leaves idle speed.  The shifter is not engaging with the transmission.  If you have e-link electronic controls, it may be a fuse issue.  However, since 90 percent of small boats still use mechanical cable shifts, its probably a stuck or broken linkage.  Start at the gear box to make sure the cable hasn't become detached from the shift lever on the transmission housing.  If internal corrosion has caused the cable to stick, try wiggling it free.  If you need to, shift manually at the engine/transmission, just don't try any fancy docking maneuvers while in this situation.  If the problem seems to be on the transmission side rather than with the cable, it might be an actual transmission failure.  Unfortunately, there's not much you can do here, but call for help. The leading cause of transmission failure is lack of fluid or gear oil.  For prevention be sure to keep those levels topped off and changed regularly, maintain the end fittings and hardware, and periodically service the cable. Be sure to carry extra transmission fluid and wire, tie wraps and 3-B Weld for quick linkage repair on the boat with you.

8. Won't Steer

If you turn the wheel and the engine/outdrive doesn't turn or it's frozen in place, most likely the steering system is low on hydraulic fluid or there's a leak. Add fluid to the system as needed to get it working again. If you do notice fluid seeping out of the console or a fitting near the motor, see if you can tighten that fitting.  If the drive is frozen in place, it could be a mechanical failure, possibly a loose connection on the steering arm.  On boats with full mechanical steering , the problem could involve any part of the cable system.  Tracing the lines is the best way to find the problem.  To prevent this problem from occurring, be sure to check your steering fluid level periodically, as well as lubricate and service mechanical systems.  Be sure to carry an extra bottle of hydraulic fluid and a small funnel on board with you.  

9. Rising Water

You may notice the bilge pump seems to be working overtime or that the boat suddenly feels heavy and seems to be filling with water.  Assuming you remembered to insert the transmission drain plug and you didn't hit an iceberg, the most likely reason for rising water is a burst hose, either on the engine's cooling and exhaust system or an intake for a livewell or raw-water wash down.  Shutting the engine down should stop cooling-related leaks because most boats have a shutoff valve or "sea cock" next to the water intakes.  If you carry a spare hose and clamps, you can make a quick swap out.  If you aren't that prepared, you still might be able to cut and shorten damaged-end fitting or wrap a split section in tape to provide a resolution to at least get you home.  A loose or split hose inside an outboard cowling won't sink you, but it will cause engine damage and could shut your boat down.  Periodic inspection and replacement of suspicious or aged hoses and associated fittings is the best way to prevent this problem.  You should carry spare hose clamps, razor or knife and heat resistant rescue repair tape on board with you in case this situation occurs.

10. Trim is Stuck

You are trying to load your boat onto the trailer, but the outdrive/outboard won't raise. Assuming you don't have a bad fuse, there is some sort of mechanical/hydraulic problem. The simple solution is to wade out back and raise it by hand; you'll need to know the location of the trim release valve to do this, which is usually a small screw near the base of the outdrive/outboard.  Opening this valve will release pressure from the hydraulic loop, allowing the drive to tilt.  For prevention, maintain adequate fluid levels and inspect periodically to ensure there are no leaks or water intrusion into the fluid reservoir.  Be sure to carry screwdrivers on board with you to be able to open the release valve.

Even if a boat looks extremely clean, that doesn't mean its been maintained well.  Many owners make sure their boats are washed and waxed to shine, but disregard the importance of the internal workings. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way and save you money in the long run.  Plus, if you're boat is regularly maintained, you'll be less likely to experience one of the issues above!

In addition to maintaining your boat, its important to perform regular maintenance on your Lake of the Ozarks Boat Lift.  For all your boat lift servicing needs, Summerset Boat Lifts is here to help! We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift needs are being handled by professionals. Be surprised at how soon you may see a representative of your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift company on your dock. We want to earn your trust and your business!

Source: http://www.boatingmag.com/top-10-reasons-boats-break-down

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

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