The experts at Indmar give you the lowdown on keeping your engine strong midseason.
A proactive maintenance approach to your inboard engine is the best way to get trouble-free performance all summer long. And just because you don't use your boat as often as you'd like doesn't mean it doesn't need service attention midseason. To ensure you have a fun and, more importantly, safe summer, performing your own checkups is always a good and rather easy idea. Here's how to do it. (If you have a problem with any of the steps, see your dealer.)
1. Follow the instructions in your operation and maintenance manual and check your oil level.
2. Check your coolant level (engines with closed cooling systems only). With the engine cold, there should be at least 1 inch of coolant in the bottom of the coolant recovery tank. Caution: Mixing propylene glycol and ethylene glycol coolant may clog your system.
3. Check and lubricate all shift and throttle cables. Make sure all wiring connections and electrical plugs are clean, tight and connected.
4. Check belts for wear, cracks, glazing or fraying. Replace as needed. If the belt has a manual adjustment, check the tension. Push on the belt in the middle of the longest span between pulleys. There should be one-fourth to one-half inch of give with about 25 pounds of pressure applied to the belt.
5. With the boat in the water, start the engine and let it warm up to operating temperature. While it is warming up, check for any water, oil or fuel leaks. Listen for any unusual noises such as knocking or squealing. If you hear anything, notify your dealer.
6. Turn off the engine and check the transmission fluid level within one minute of shutting off the engine. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and put it back in the transmission without screwing it in. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level. It should be between the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick. Consult your operation and maintenance manual for the appropriate fluid for your transmission.