Capt. Richard Thiel knows oil analysis isn’t the sexiest topic in the world. But it is an important one if you plan on keeping your boat well maintained for years to come. Here he shares some tips on how to do it well... and on the cheap.
Capt. Richard Thiel investigates whether the high-tech, synthetic engine oils are all they’re cracked up to be—particularly for marine engines.
A surveyor can uncover problems you don’t see before they turn serious. Should you have your boat surveyed every couple of years? Mike Smith investigates the value of having a survey done on a boat you already own.
A quiet boat stops noise in the engine room—before it gets to you and your crew.
Your bow thruster is like a really handy stowaway—it sits quietly tucked belowdecks for most of the voyage, only to show up during close-quarters maneuvering to simplify the process and maybe even save the day. How do you make sure it’s there when you need it? Check out our handy tips here.
No one knows an engine as well as the company who built it. Check out some engine manufacturer-approved maintenance schedules here.
Can you keep your engine running forever? Capt. Richard Thiel thinks so. By diligently following an aggressive maintenance program, you can keep her purring smoothly, avoid midseason calamity, and stave off the need to repower—if you go about it the right way.
Understanding why you need to keep the diesel in your tanks clean.
Fuel treatments and additives can go a long way towards keeping your boating season trouble-free. But when you get into diesel-powered vessels that are 40 feet or more, the best way to remove water—and the nasty stuff that comes with it—from your fuel tank (or tanks) is to add a fuel-polishing system to your engine room. While initially developed for large yachts and commercial vessels, fuel-polishing technology has caught on with owners of smaller, medium-sized boats these days as well.
The design of an engine room can tell you a lot about how a boat is built. Look for these qualities, and some pitfalls, in your boat and you may see her differently.
When a boat’s performance heads south, the props are often called into question (along with other aspects of what makes a boat go). Learn the whys and hows of sorting performance issues with propellers (and beyond) here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take our engine-room test on your own terms. Know the names and locations of basic engine-room components and you won’t be embarrassed next time your mechanic comes calling.
The marine transmission: your boat’s unsung hero. Because this simple but durable device is so critical to getting you where you want to go safely and efficiently, you really ought to have some idea of what it does and how it does it.
If you allow air to enter the supply line of an engine it will promptly airlock the engine and summarily shut it down. Here are the steps to get things going again.
With the ethanol debate continuing to rage, should you gas up your boat before winterizing or leave the fuel tank empty?
Tips on caring for gasoline engines and fuel when you winterize your boat.
Capt. Bill's tips on winterizing your boat's diesel engine.
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.
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.
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...
Technology is helping the latest marine diesel engines get cleaner and more powerful for 2012.
A fuel-polishing system heads off clogs before they slow you down...