Capt. Bill's tips on winterizing your boat's diesel engine.
Maintenance All Articles
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.
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.
Know how to keep your stuffing box happy? We have some DIY maintenance methods, including tips for both spud- and gland-type stuffing boxes, and some smart ways to head off problems. See an expert take on stuffing box care here.
Quick troubleshooting when batteries go afoul. A step-by-step guide for the boat owner.
Plumbing for seawater circuits is critical. Centrifugal air-conditioning pumps must be below the waterline to prime, and seawater hoses must rise continuously uphill from the through-hull fitting to the sea strainer and to the pump, and then continue uphill with a single high spot at the air conditioner.
How to Install an Air Conditioner on Your Boat
Boatbuilders want simpler installations, so today many air-conditioning systems now contain all electronics within a single remote-mounted electrical box. This allows flexible placement of air-conditioner units and simpler electrical connections—both are huge benefits for do-it-yourself installations.
How to add a big-boat fishbox ice to a small sportfisher or any boat.
Thruster Installation: A new thruster system offers an alternative to a conventional installation. How to install a thruster on your yacht.
As horsepower has increased over the years, so too has the importance and complexity of your engine’s cooling system. Here are some tips on maintaining your boat's cooling-system.
Installing a Cockpit Drawer Refrigerator is Surprisingly Simple. Here's a step-by-step...
Properly maintained motor mounts result in more than just a vibration-free ride.
Regardless of what fuel prices are doing (wise not to think about it too much), it’s best to get as much as you can from every tank of fuel. Smart boaters are looking closely at their engines and tuning them for maximum efficiency. But based on my experience, it’s a safe bet that even many experienced boaters are overlooking one critical area...
When you need a serial or model number from the back of a fixed-mount electronic unit and you can’t see behind it, use your mobile phone to take a picture.
High-tech paints now can protect both boat bottoms and the environment. Here's a few that do just that...
How to make a battery carrier for your boat out of a laundry soap bucket.
Sometimes I don’t have the time to actually take my boat out for two or three weeks at a time, but I do have time to run her Cummins diesels now and again. How often, how long, and at what rpm should I do this?
Adore A Vacuum?
Don’t Laugh. This One From Hotvac Is Designed To Eliminate Those Ugly Osmotic Blisters In Your Hull.
Hull blistering is a fairly common sight in boatyards and, as its name implies, consists of small, unsightly bumps on the boat’s hull below the waterline. Blistering can adversely affect a boat’s fuel efficiency, speed, strength, aesthetics, insurability, and in some cases, safety...
Tired of those old electronics? Why not give your boat a whole new helm?
Here’s how one boater recreated his boat's helm. With mounting frustration, Pasquale Didonato eased his 48-foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge out of the C&D canal toward the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay. It was well after dark, and a raster-scan radar screen gave his countenance a spooky glow as he leaned to the right in a half-crouch to check his lineup on an upcoming set of buoys...
The right set of propellers can smooth the ride and increase efficiency.
Cruising in your boat is a pleasant experience. If you could make it more enjoyable while spending less money than you might expect—and throw in some fuel savings while you’re at it—it would be a no-brainer, right? Then you should consider upgrading your propellers.
Garmin’s Tip of the Month, April 2012
Refilling my batteries tends to be a tough job because they are hard to get at. What I use to make the job easier is an empty 1.75-liter plastic liquor bottle. The plastic insert in the neck makes pouring the water into the battery cavities both easy and accurate. And to refill the bottle I simply remove the plastic insert with a screwdriver, pour in the water, and then snap the insert back on. The best part, though, is that I get to enjoy the liquor in the bottle as I empty it.
I left my marina with my seacocks closed. How do I know if I’ve damaged a head gasket or something else?
Here’s how to make sure your batteries don’t go slip slidin’ away...
When replacing heavy engine parts such as manifolds, thread two bolts with the heads cut off into the outside bolt holes to line up the gasket and manifold with the exhaust ports. Start the new bolts in the empty holes, and when you have installed several of them hand-tight, remove the studs, thread in the last bolts, and tighten everything. This eliminates the difficult job of lining up the gasket and the manifold with the exhaust ports. It also makes manhandling heavy parts a one-person job.
Illustration by Steve Karp
A fuel-polishing system heads off clogs before they slow you down...
Garmin’s Tip of the Month, Feb 2012
When winterizing your freshwater system, save the antifreeze jugs, cut off the top half and dry them out. Add about one pound of baking soda to each and place them around the inside of your boat for the winter. They will absorb odors, and when you uncover your boat in the spring, she won’t have that musty smell. Be sure to place jugs in your refrigerator, ice maker, lockers, and anywhere else odors typically accumulate.
A tip on installing an impeller in hard-to-reach places.