Engine

Engine

Jabsco Oil Changer

When my buddy Bruce said he had a like-new Jabsco Porta Quick oil changer he’d give me for free, I was happy. When I discovered the unit sells for $209.99, I was ecstatic.

The Porta Quick is a 14-quart plastic container/reservoir with a 12-volt electric impeller-type pump on top. A cord with alligator clips supplies battery power, and a toggle switch

How to Break in a New Inboard Diesel

I’ve just purchased a new diesel inboard. What’s the best way to break it in without damaging it? -- Walt Reid

Most manufacturers list procedures for break-ins in their operations manuals. Stick with these but also bear in mind the following routine. Remember, the first 50 hours of operation can significantly affect your diesel’s life expectancy.

Examine the basics: Look for

Separation Anxiety

Ever find yourself wondering if the fuel you're taking on is of good quality, or whether it might be contaminated by dirt, water, rust, or worse? Well, you should, especially if you travel to third-world countries, which can be notorious for selling sub-standard fuel, especially marine diesel.

Since your fuel options are usually quite limited when you're in the middle of nowhere, your

Encounters With Ethanol

In 2003 several states switched their on-the-water gasoline from the traditional methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) blend to one containing ten-percent ethanol, called E10. Ethanol is derived from agricultural products such as corn and sugar cane, and its purported ability to reduce greenhouse gases has led, in part, to its use at both on- and off-highway

Here Comes the Sun

If you're reading this magazine, chances are you're not a tree-hugger: You burn lots of fossil fuel to push your boat at high speed through a relatively unyielding...

PROS and CON-verters

The most controversial component of the decade eliminates the emissions from your boat's engine and hopefully not the money from your pocket.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans spend more than 500-million hours pleasureboating each year and...

 

Oil Be Seeing You

You don't know what quiet means until your diesel goes "clunk" and dies—silence may be golden, but it rarely bodes well. "Clunk" is what a snapping crankshaft sounds like, for example. I once lost a crank halfway across the Gulf Stream, leaving me adrift on a moonless, star-filled night. Mea culpa: If I had included oil analysis in my regular maintenance program, it probably would

The Lowdown On Lubricants

Pessimists have been known to argue that engines are nothing more than constantly degrading machines. It's a somewhat depressing characterization to be sure, but it's also a truthful one. From the day you start your engine up, parts corrode, sludge forms, bearings wear—things are beginning to break down. To slow down the process, man created lubricants.

Real Ratings

Here's the situation: You're in the market for an engine rated at 1,000 hp. But before committing you wonder, is that rating accurate? The answer is, sort of. The numbers on an engine spec sheet are formulated according to a set of conditions that may or may not reflect those your engine will face. It's your responsbility to understand the caveats that can affect

Troubleshooting 101

You've heard the mantra before, but it bears repeating. A diesel engine basically needs just two things: clean fuel and air. If it's missing either, it's dead. That's why troubleshooting a diesel usually involves tracing the air and fuel systems from start to finish, always beginning with the simplest and least-invasive potential cause and ending whenever your expertise reaches its limit.

Magical Mystery Tour

The way the average marine transmission accomplishes the mission is "Way more complicated."

Okay, my education concerning things mechanical has not been formal. Indeed, you might say I've extracted the whole shebang from the School of Hard Knocks—meaning I've typically learned about things by having to either maintain or fix

Fountain of Youth

Even under ideal storage conditions, E10 gasoline has a "shelf life" of just 30 to 45 days. After that the ethanol and gasoline start to go their separate ways. During the season this isn't a problem as long as you use your boat often and run the tank as low as you dare before refueling so the gasoline is always fresh. But winter is almost here. What'll happen to the E10 in your tanks between now

PMY Tries: Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment

Starbrite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment

My trawler spends plenty of time sitting in a slip with her fuel tanks semifull and her powerplant twiddlin' its thumbs. To deal with the consequences, I installed a fuel polisher last year to remove contaminants, a savvy move in retrospect because I've since been able to keep my go-go

Water Worries

As more states mandate E10 ethanol-blended gasoline for off-road use, the problem of water accumulation in fuel tanks grows. And nothing can ruin your day faster than your engine dying from a lethal gulp of H2O. If you’ve been burning E10 for a while, you might already have what techies call “water bottom.”

Water bottom is simply water under the fuel in a tank, and it’s unfortunately become

A Fuel For You

There are plenty of reasons why the diesel engine is the best power choice for boats over 35 feet, and principal among them is its sterling reliability and reknowned durability. Compared with even the newest electronic gasoline engines, diesels are signifitcantly less likely to suddenly stop running and significantly more likely to outlive their owners.

But diesels aren’t perfect. They do

Scientific Method

If you really want to know what's going on inside your engine, you need to know about oil analysis.

In the surfeit of CSI programs so popular with TV viewers these days, one scene is never absent: The investigators lock eyes with the suspect in the interrogation room and coolly announce that blood samples taken from the crime scene

Time For a Change?

Are you the parent of tired, rusty, and thirsty gasoline guzzlers, the kind of engines that keep OPEC happy? If so, your boat's overdue for repowering with more efficient diesel motors. Today's oil-burners are lightweight, compact, quiet, and economical—they'll save you money at the fuel dock and add resale value. What's not to love?

Okay, there's a catch: Repowering with diesels can

Diesel 101

The author (left) and another student get a torque-wrench tutorial from instructor Larry Berlin (right).

A friend of mine who I considered to be a knowledgeable, experienced boater recently made a remark in passing that startled me: "The most important tool in my toolbox is my checkbook." He was serious. Every time he noticed a

Ethanol: Should You Panic?

In the past year there's been a lot of worry among boaters about the ill effects of soon-to-be-universal E10 ethanol-blended gasoline. Depending on who's talking, the changeover from gasoline laced with methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) is a small problem, a catastrophe of biblical proportions, or somewhere in between. But what's the truth? Should we panic? Here's what you need to

Magnetizing Your Diesel Fuel

Near the end of the 2005 boating season, Richard Thiel, PMY's editor in chief, was in trouble. Just a few hours before he was about to fly to Italy, fuel problems had strangled his boat Ava T. in the middle of Long Island Sound. Since the fear of missing an expense-account junket to Europe haunts every member of the boating press, Thiel, an expert mechanic before moving to an

Gunk Be Gone!

After I'd delivered my Grand Banks 32 to her new Florida home, her whole schtick changed—she went from being a true long-legged cruiser to the maritime equivalent of a couch potato, with a travel regimen featuring whole weekends dockside (for dealing with maintenance projects left unaddressed during the jaunt down the Intracoastal Waterway from Maryland)

Does This Stuff Really Work?

When I first came up with the notion of modifying a modern recreational vessel so I could do a side-by-side performance comparison between plain ol’ diesel fuel and the environmentally friendly, vegetable-based stuff getting so much press these days, the idea didn’t seem that complicated. I mean, how tough could it be? All I had to do was find a boat, install a temporary bladder-type tank in her

A Change in Element

Purify Your Fuel Filter

Maintenance Q & A — June 2001