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Here’s a couple do-it-yourself repair tips

By Staff | Jul 10, 2020

Always a fan of saving money and preventing unnecessary on the water breakdowns, learning to do simple home maintenance on your boat systems can really pay off.

With today’s moisture-attracting ethanol blended fuels, I always preach that replacing your water separating fuel filter may be the simplest, cheapest and most effective way of avoiding expensive shop repairs and down time.

Yamaha recommends changing them after 50 hours of operation or at least once per season. Use a permanent marker and print the install date and current engine hours on the can.

Tools needed for this 15-minute job: a filter wrench, a bowl to catch any spillage, a few drops of oil to lubricate the new filters large O ring before installing and some fuel to almost fill the new filter prior to screwing it back in place. Hand-tighten but never overtighten this filter. Run the engine to test for leaks.

After removing the old filter, pour the contents in a glass jar, wait for a few minutes and inspect for water contamination. The water and fuel will separate and is easily seen. In some cases of severe water contamination, especially with boats that have sat for long periods with partially filled, unconditioned fuel tanks, it’s often cheaper to have the tank pumped out and cleaned then try to filter it all out with small filters while still clogging up tiny engine passageways.

After changing the filter always remember to add a fuel conditioner with each fill up.

I’ve seen folks take off the old filter, drain it, refill it with fuel, shake it around then drain it again, then reinstall which is, of course, never a good idea. New filters are inexpensive. Breaking down and paying for an ethanol sludge clogged fuel system at the shop isn’t.

Take off that prop on a regular basis, not only on your gas engine but the electric as well, and check for fishing line. Today’s super braid fishing lines carelessly tossed into the water not only kills wildlife but destroys seals in engines allowing water to enter ruining lower units or electric motors.

Tools needed for this 10-minute task: pliers to remove a cotter pin, an adjustable wrench and some marine grease. Take out the cotter pin and carefully remove the prop nut and any washers then remove the prop and inspect for line. If everything looks right, wipe off the shaft and apply some grease, reinstall the prop, nut and cotter pin.

If you suspect seal damage, taking a sample of oil from the lower unit may tell the story. If the oil looks milky you probably have a seal leaking and need to go to the shop before your expensive lower unit fails at sea.

Replace the sacrificial anode(s) which helps keep the corrosion down on your motor. Another cheap and easy repair.

Tools for this 10-minute job: small socket set, screwdriver, new anode. You may have to a saturate a bolt with penetrating oil and have patience.

Before heading back to Ontario, Dr. Harris and wife, both avid lure and fly-only anglers, were determined to get “up close and personal” with some nighttime tarpon I recently had written about. This desire turned into a tough but determined three-night hunt at three of my favorite night bridges and some surprises.

Big snook are always a nice surprise and two really big females fell for the black Hogy eels during the night’s showing that not all snook live at the beach.

Almost giving up, night three paid off with a drag screaming run, then a tarpon crashing in the distant darkness, trying to shake his eel. Recovering at boat side, being held by the lip in the black water for a picture, the doctor’s wife said, “Smile honey!” just as the water exploded. Shark attack!

They texted yesterday, “We are still shaking!! Thanks a lot! Lol.”

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.