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

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 10:51

The Overfill Alert System from Herrington Marine Technologies integrates with existing fuel tank sending units to alert the user when to halt the flow of fuel. An indicator light and audible buzzer...

Thursday, 04 April 2013 15:49

There is no end of discussion and debate about the fuel filtration needs of diesel engines. Myths and half-truths abound. So let’s set the record straight. Diesel engines are the most...

Friday, 14 December 2012 09:01

There is probably more misinformation about fuel than any other current boating topic. (See CY Dec 2012 for a review of decommissioning advice). Gasoline with ethyl alcohol added (E-10...

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 12:51

The Centek Industries BilgeKleen™ filter system automatically removes oil, gas, diesel fuel and other hydrocarbon pollutants from bilge water before it is discharged overboard...    

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 15:40

 You will eventually get water into your diesel fuel tank. Could be condensation, a leaky filler tube or from the marina where you fuel up. It is not a matter of 'if' but...

Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:19

Port McNeill Fuel Dock has a new name – North Island Marina – that reflects its growth from a fuel stop into a full-service marina and a major port of call for cruisers in the Broughton Islands and...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...
No wonder this is one of Regal’s best-selling boats; the Regal 33 Express offers amazing ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Hanse 418By Katherine Stone

Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride

The expression that came to mind immediately was “Sweet Ride” – and I wasn’t referring to the latest ride at the CNE, a chairlift, or a new Mercedes – it was the new Hanse 418, as it cleanly cut through the water in a gusty 15-20 knot breeze averaging 6-8 knots on Lake Ontario. She was easy to steer and manoeuver even in the big gusts. The extra length over the 388 has made a big difference, with German architects Judel/Vrolijk focusing on updates to the deck layout, cockpit and stern.

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is ...
I leaned my head back into the water and floated easily. Having spent my childhood playing in ...
History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ...
On May 19, the New York State Canal Corporation today announced an updated opening schedule for the ...
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
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 ...

ChemainusBy Marianne Scott

The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is protected from all but strong northerly winds. The only obstacle may be some large log booms often anchored in the harbour. The Dock is immediately south of the B.C. ferry terminal; the ferry runs to Thetis- and Penelakut Islands.

Harbourmaster Harmen Bootsma, who has been the cheerful, welcoming presence here for a couple of decades, is ready to catch your lines. 

 

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing Plan 2014 and could use your help. The plan ...
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change ...
This Photo of the Week came from our own CY Team member Sarah C who, like many of us, is trying to ...
Limestone, a heritage Canadian boat brand that has earned a loyal following over the past 35 ...
Schooner Cove Yacht Club through their staff Capt. and other volunteers organize cruises so members ...

Discovery Harbour MarinaThe Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf of the membership. Their Directors work with members to find solutions to issues in British Columbia. Members receive quarterly newsletter, with contributions by other members all along the BC coast.

The Association and its members continually update the list of marinas that allow little board moorings. This is a list of known and reported marinas that allow marine residents in British Columbia. We need your help to build and keep this list up-to-date. Please contact us with any additions or edits.

Read More

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler, just as adept at keeping catches cold as it is ...
Fireball self Extinguisher. It's a revolutionary self-detonating device designed to extinguish a ...
The problem with driving any full-size Pickup Truck or Sport Utility Vehicle is that when you are ...
Wait no longer - the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide will be available for ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
With growing demand being placed on onboard electrical power supplies these days, it's an ideal ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
There are places and things that we read, hear and dream about, that are on our “bucket list” to ...
Almost a year ago to the day, Marquis Yachts re-launched the Marquis brand and introduced the world ...
Every once in a while I test a vehicle that I really find exceptional and this was the case with ...