A Clean Machine

Maintenance Q & A — March 2004
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

A Clean Machine
Keeping sea strainers dirt-free, a solution for residue in gasoline engine fuel filters, and more.
 More of this Feature
• Cleaning Sea Strainers
• Gasoline Inboard, and more
• PMY Tries... FastFunnel

 Related Resources
• Maintenance Q&A Index

How often should I check my sea strainers, and what is the proper procedure? H.J., via e-mail
It is critical that you check your sea strainers before each startup. Not doing so can result in severe engine damage as a result of a cooling system failure.

The condition of the water your boat is sitting in can be an important factor in sea-strainer maintenance. Whether you have a closed or open cooling system, raw water is ultimately used to cool the engine, and whatever is in that water can end up in your engine’s cooling system and affect its efficiency.

You can inspect and clean your sea strainers in just a few minutes. The easiest to service are those with spin-off caps and lift-out baskets. If your boat doesn’t have this type, do yourself a favor and switch over. Check with your engine manufacturer for specifications.

With strainers located beneath the waterline, make sure you shut the seacock before servicing and, equally important, open it once you are done. If you find that rinsing the internal basket isn’t sufficient to get it clean, put a scrub brush to it. If the basket is pitted or decayed, replace it. Inspect all gaskets, seals, and O-rings, and if any show wear or are brittle, change them. Always carry several spares. In addition, keep the insides of the plastic housing clear and clean off any buildup so that you can readily examine the strainer at any time.

When reassembling the strainer, make sure that all gaskets seat properly. And one last reminder: When you open the seacock and before you kick the engine over, make sure the bowl refills and there are no leaks.

Next page > Recommissioning a Gasoline Inboard, and more > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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