How Can I Avoid Marine Engine Problems?

diesel marine enginesDiesel engine failure is one of the biggest reasons for emergency rescue on marine vessels here in Long Island. Fortunately, many breakdowns can be prevented by identifying an issue before it turns into an urgent problem.

Here are six ways to avoid marine engine problems if you plan to escape to the open sea his summer:

6 Tips For Marine Engine Care

  1. Maintain your engine regularly – Cars may not need as much regular maintenance as they did 30 years ago, but they’re not subject to the conditions that marine vessels must encounter on a daily basis. It may be tempting to skimp on checking your oil and cooling water levels or your fuel line….but don’t. Look for problems regularly and you just might discover an issue in your boat engine long before it stops working.
  2. Listen for problems – Sounds can reveal a lot about the motor’s condition. The sound of a misfiring cylinder, for example, is a distinctive, repeating thumping. The sound of your exhaust is also telling – is it healthy and wet, or dry and hollow, indicating a water flow problem?
  3. Take periodic fuel samples – Clean fuel is vital to diesel engines, and water in the tank can promote the growth of filter-blocking bacteria. Most marine fuel tanks have an inspection hatch that allows you to insert a hand pump into the top of the tank, with a pipe that leads to the tank bottom where water, being heavier than fuel, will accumulate. Pump about a quart of liquid from the bottom of tank into a clear container such as a water bottle; if only diesel comes out, you’re in the clear. If not, keep pumping fuel until you do.
  4. Keep an eye on your instruments – Mark the normal range of oil pressure, engine temperature, and other critical gauges with tape or a fluorescent permanent marker pen so that you can spot a potential problem quickly at a glance.
  5. Look for exhaust smoke – Your engine shouldn’t emit any smoke from the exhaust, but if it does, it could help you diagnose or prevent a more substantial engine problem. White smoke may be steam, for example, while black smoke indicates partially combusted fuel, which can be caused by a number of factors. Blue smoke indicates that the engine is burning lubricating oil.
  6. Choose only top quality marine diesel – Marine diesel can vary considerably in quality from vendor to vendor– avoid discounters and buy your fuel only from a reputable marine diesel supplier!

Need a reliable marine diesel supplier in LI’s East End and North Fork this summer? Trust the pros at Burt’s Reliable. Contact us today to learn more!