Troubleshooting Your Boat's Engine

How to troubleshoot engine problems on your boat. 

We’re going to talk about the art, guidelines that define the way you approach a problem—any problem. It could be a dead engine, smoke in the bilge, or a jammed silverware drawer in the galley. These ten rules won’t guarantee that you’ll solve a problem, just vastly increase your chances of success and vastly decrease your chances of making things worse.


Troubleshooting Boat Performance

A reader wants to know why his boat is slowing down.

Boat performance is one of those things that a boater can usually troubleshoot himself. There are four main factors that affect it: engine output, propeller efficiency, hydrodynamic drag, and load.

Marine Engine Horsepower Ratings

Power & Propulsion: What Does Your Engine’s Horsepower Rating Mean?

Understanding what horsepower is, what it gets you, and why less is sometimes more can help your engines last longer. Learn more about horsepower ratings mean here.

Clean Marine Engines from John Deere

John Deere’s new 4.5-liter marine diesel meets EPA Marine Tier 3 requirements and has enough power to replace the company’s older 6.8-liter Tier 2 engine. Want to know more about this PowerTech line? Click here.

The New Magically Maneuverable Outboard

Old salts will roll their eyes at the Miami International Boat Show this year when Mercury Marine and Yamaha debut new outboard control systems with joystick steering that makes it infinitely easier to look like a pro in even the most challenging docking situations. But as with power steering and digital controls, the salts will learn to love the joystick...

The Great Propeller Fight

I recently contended with a few of my colleagues here at Power & Motoryacht that most of the propellers we deal with in boat-test reports are of the fixed-pitch variety and therefore, to mention fixed pitch as a qualifier in a list of specifications constitutes an exercise in basest redundancy.

Volvo Penta’s New V8-380

Volvo Penta uses two Formula 26 Sun Sports to test a lightweight, sophisticated V-8 that ups the performance ante. The new Volvo V8-380 demonstrated increased acceleration and improved fuel economy.

Outside-the-Box Outboards

Just when you think the latest gas-powered outboards have wrung every drop of power from a gallon of fuel, along comes a new way to tackle the problem. See two new developments here.

The Latest in Outboards

The major manufacturers are not resting. Tender power options abound with lighter, more powerful, and, yes, better-looking outboards. Check out the latest developments from the major manufacturers—you may decide it’s time to retire your old outboard and get something new.

Diesel Engines and a Cleaner Environment

Power & Propulsion

If you pay any attention to the topic of boat engines, you’ve probably heard the term “common-rail diesel” bandied about and perhaps wondered what it means. In fact, this technology is in no way restricted to the marine venue; it’s also common in both stationary and vehicular powerplants, mainly because it helps diesels meet new, stricter emission standards. 

2011 Engines Review - Outboard

The Alpha Outboard

A group of Midwestern engineers think they’ve built the great white shark of motors.

The 557 puts out about 60 percent more power than the next nearest outboard.

Is this evolution or revolution? That’s what I thought to myself when the press release in my

2011 Engines Review - Catalyst

Time For A Conversion

Unfamiliar with catalytic converters? You shouldn’t be, because you may need one soon.

If you’re like most people, the only time you put serious thought into catalytic converters is when you’re driving down the road and an awful sulfuric scent whacks you straight in the nostrils

2011 Engines Review - Pod Drives

The Power of One

Will ZF and SeaVee shake up the boating world with their single-pod center console?

One of the best things about the Miami International Boat Show is that it’s so big, I always find at least one thing there that I never expected. This year the surprise was a 34-foot center console with a

2011 Engines Review - Twin Disc

Master of Maneuverability

Twin Disc’s new joystick-control system may give those pod drives a run for their money.

Let’s begin this treatise on maneuverability on a historical note—or rather two of them. The first dates back to an enjoyable dinner I had with Bill Barry-Cotter in Australia several years ago. Barry-Cotter, of course, is

The Quiet Alternative

Glacier Bay's electric motor, the keystone of its full propulsion system, is on the cutting edge of diesel-electric pleasure boating.

There's a dilemma that prevents diesel-electric propulsion from being widely adopted in boats and yachts, and it involves one of the

The Way Forward: Steyr Motors

A Steyr Motors Hybrid—its footprint is only 3.53" longer than a conventional engine's.

The idea behind the Steyr Motors Hybrid is as elegant as it is simple: tap a diesel's rotational energy by splicing a10-hp/5-kW electric motor/generator between the crankshaft

Cleaner and Greener

I consider myself an evolving environmentalist, although my wife has to occasionally remind me to recycle cardboard cereal boxes and defunct newspapers, and my nostalgia for old-fashioned boatyard fragrances like red-lead primer and tung-oil varnish continues unabated. While progress on the evolutionary has been slow though, it’s also been sure. For months now,

The Betty Jane and the Tin Mullet

One of my boating buddies made a remark the other day that had a strange but true ring to it. "Bill," he said, "it seems like there's some kind of theme runnin' through your life these days—you got a boat that's an awful lot like your car." We'd been riding around for much of the morning in my silver Toyota Prius, affectionately known as the Tin Mullet, and now we were riding around

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