July 11, 2017

Common Gauges

For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and set up are done. Systems have been recommissioned. Let the fun begin!

Common gauges include RPM, fuel, temperature, oil pressure and battery voltage

But wait……on what should be a relaxing weekend aboard, that thing has stopped working (in this case, ‘thing’ means any part that used to work, but now doesn’t).

 

Let’s look at a few common things:

Batteries: They may no longer accept a charge from an alternator/battery charger, or they don’t hold enough voltage to sustain the electronics that they should. Most marine type batteries for everyday starting and house purposes are serviceable: meaning that they can be tested under load for correct discharge of voltage and reconditioned (usually by adding distilled water to conventional lead-plate style batteries) when they don’t function properly. Before servicing batteries, they should be properly tested by checking voltage (using a multimeter for a base reading), and followed-up by testing the voltage under load (using a battery load tester). Be sure to observe safety precautions and wear appropriate protective devices (gloves and safety glasses). A qualified marine service shop can take care of battery service for you – or you can follow the maintenance procedures available from the manufacturer.
Marine BatteryThis conventional lead-acid marine battery has two ports that can be opened to allow distilled water to be added as part of a reconditioning and maintenance program.

Gauges: RPM, Speed, Fuel, Temperature and oil pressure gauges are common to most boats and are each relatively simple devices comprised of the gauge (the dial that gives the operator information), the sending unit (the part of the engine that provides information to the gauge), and the wiring between the two. It’s a relatively straightforward procedure to test each component: The gauge is tested for power to it, and that it is correctly grounded. The sending unit is then tested (by testing the resistance and/or voltage to and from the unit by using a multimeter). Next, the wiring between the gauge and sending unit is checked and tested to ensure that it is carrying the information correctly between the two. In most cases the engine manual should be consulted for complete testing procedures.

Windows, ports and hatches: over time, they begin to leak! Often an annoyance, sometimes bigger leaks become detrimental to bilge water levels and the integrity of fiberglass. Whichever the case, use an appropriate marine sealant or caulking to seal up any gaps that allow water to enter the cabin. Seals and gaskets around hatches and ports are often an entry point for water and should be replaced when wear is visible. Likewise, hatch frames and hinges will wear, bend and rust which allow the weather in! Ensure that you check the surrounding fiberglass and gelcoat when filling a leak – caulking and sealants can only do so much. When large gaps or fiberglass damage is evident, a proper fiberglass patch may be necessary before caulking or sealing. Consult with your local marine store or chandlery to find the right caulking, sealant or gasketing materials for your application.

Electronics and Navigational equipment: Modern systems can be quite complicated and require factory-trained specialists to diagnose and repair problems. Consult a qualified repair tech to address concerns with electronics and navigation equipment

Trim tabs and stern drives: Movement of drives and trim-tabs is facilitated through hydraulic pressure – check fluid reservoirs to ensure that fluid is at the correct level and top-up as necessary. Many stern drives also have adjustable limit switches which allow adjustment of how high or low the drive will trim. Stern drives have a ‘trim limit switch’ on the side of the drive’s gimbal ring which allows adjustment to the limit that the drive can be trimmed up and down. Two small screws on the trim limit switch can be removed quickly for adjustments – the limit switch is tilted one way or the other to adjust the up and down limit of the stern drive. Your engine or stern drive manual will provide step-by-step instructions on how to do this – or a qualified repair tech can make adjustments to these systems as required.

Bilge Pumps: these devices pump excess water from inside the boat, overboard. Failures tend to occur in two ways: they wear out from overuse or age, or they pick up debris and dirt from the bilge which clogs the pump and burns it out. Keep your bilge as clean and dry as possible, inspect the pump when possible to ensure that the vanes are clear to turn properly and check to make sure that float switches work as designed. If your bilge pump works intermittently or stops working completely, have it serviced or replaced.

Alternator: The alternator charges the batteries as the engine runs and battery voltage should read between 13.5 and 14.5 volts as the engine is running (driving the alternator). If the batteries aren’t charging at this rate, there may be a problem with the alternator. Repairs may be as simple as tightening a belt, or may require wiring replacement or a more complete servicing.

Starter: When the key is turned, battery power turns the starter motor, which turns the boat’s engine and lets it roar to life. Starter motors are simple in design, but require many components working together properly to function as designed. Consistent boat starting problems should be diagnosed by a marine mechanic. Most starter problems are attributed to lack of power in the starter battery – keep it charged and well maintained to avoid problems when the key is turned.

Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program

Related Articles

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This afternoon portrait of her son enjoying a snooze in a pretty unlikely spot comes to us from ...
I've been cleaning dresser drawers for space and came across this 1979 LYRA t-shirt. This was my ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from one of our CY team members who writes “This is my son and his best ...
This boat carries the distinction as the last boat to leave the C&C Custom shop in Oakville ...
We crossed Lake Ontario from Oswego with a minimum of fuss and did a little happy dance when we ...
Our Photo of the Week comes from Mark and Lisa Harris who winter in Vancouver, Washington and spend ...
I am new to boating. Bought a 2019 Ranger Tug in April followed by taking a short boating course ...
Arie and Maribeth sent us this photo from their honeymoon departing Killarney…I think they were in ...
This shot was taken last week by Jessica Lee, a freelance photography pro, Albacore racer and part ...
On a sunny and windless day we led Alicia and another sailboat into New York Harbour. There were ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...

J99By Katherine Stone

All set to pull out the Code 0 before dousing the jib.

It was a very cold and wet beginning to the summer and we never thought it would arrive in Southern Ontario. Doing a 100 miler race on Lake Ontario (billed as the COOLEST race on the lake) with my 8 layers of thermal clothing, woolen ski toque and ski mittens, along with a neck warmer kept me on the edge all night, just out of frostbite reach. I shouldn’t have complained, as we also had wind!

July and August arrived, and it has certainly warmed up, in fact, its too warm, AND we don’t have wind. We are now counting 5 Wednesday nights in a row without wind to race. 

Read more about the J99 Offshore Shorthand Speeder.....................

 

Cruisers Yachts 38 GLSBy Andy Adams and John Armstrong

The North American power boat market has begun to see a new trend toward larger day boats for luxurious onboard entertaining and the new Cruisers Yachts 38 GLS is right on trend plus, it brings a different flavour and set of cruising attributes to this market.

The new Cruisers Yachts 38 GLS carries on the styling and accommodation quality of the company's Cantius line of cruising yachts while beginning an entirely new family of day boats. 

 

Read More about Cruisers Yachts..................

Destinations

  • Prev
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...
If you haven’t cruised the Rideau Canal before, you have missed a special treat and even if you ...
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston......................

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Most dock boxes aren't sturdy enough to sit on. Nor are they too comfortable. Finally! - the ...
Too hot to bake? No oven onboard anyway? Try these no-bake shipboard treats. (Yes, we know they’re ...
It is not that often I drive as big a vehicle as the Nissan Armada but I love the nautical name and ...
The new edition of PORTS Cruising Guides: Georgian Bay, Lake Huron & the North Channel from the ...
Canadian Yachting’s Chartering Handbook, full of information and advice for heading off to a ...
Navigating the process of yacht care and maintenance just got a whole lot easier, following the ...
I will be honest, I am generally not a big fan of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV). My wife and I own ...
The FX model is Yamaha's top-of-the-line three seater WaveRunner and a totally new model for 2019. ...
In the April 2015 edition of CY magazine, I published an article on anchors and anchoring – Staying ...
The Seabin device part of the Oak Bay Marine Group trial, has had promising results so far while ...