How to Do Boat Maintenance on a Budget

Maintaining a budget is hard enough these days let alone keeping up with everything. The recent economic downturn has caused many boat owners to learn how to perform their own maintenance as well as shop for more budget friendly products. Many common repairs can be done on a tight budget with a little knowledge.

I couldn’t possibly go through all the repairs of an inboard or outboard motor but a few of them are common to anyone. To start with if you own an outboard motor, the fuel system may contain the older carburetors. Anyone owning one of these motors will soon experience carburetor problems of not already. The service shops and marinas typically perform carburetor repairs on an ongoing basis. The process can be simple if you have some good mechanical aptitude and a little patience. Most carburetor repairs consist of mainly a good cleaning and replacement of any worn parts. Typically, the parts replaced will be any gaskets encountered and also what is called a needle and seat. The concept is simple in nature as the jets, which are nothing more than tiny orifice openings allowing a specific amount of fuel through, become clogged by gasoline. Any carburetor can have many of these and the problems associated with almost all outboard motor carburetors are simply clogged jets. I did also mention the needle and seat. The needle and seat maintain the correct amount of fuel in the bowl of the carburetor allowing it to operate. The needle closes the incoming fuel as the float pushes it against the seat creating a liquid tight seal. Remember, all of these parts should be replaced during the process. boat parts

Another item that is completely unavoidable is the water pump impeller. The impeller will need to be replaced at a minimum once per season. While many let them remain longer it is dangerous as the entire cooling system will fail if it cannot get water which depends on that little pump impeller. The impellers have what is called Veins which are the fingers so to speak that create the star pattern look. Those veins break down over time and can even wear out too soon if boating in shallow areas as debris and sand enter the cooling system. On an outboard motor, the impeller is located at the top of the gearbox assembly and is driven by the drive shaft. The same holds true for most inboard engines as the outdrive contains the impeller with` a similar location. Keep in mind some inboard applications use the water intake by driving straight off the engine under the deck and not on an outdrive. These applications use what is called a raw water pump but still operating in a similar way utilizing an intake port through the bottom of the boat hull. Among all of these the impeller should be replaced along with any gaskets or other hardware necessary. Some will even have replacement pump housings or inserts which will need replaced if necessary after inspection.

So now the hard part with the purchases as we try to make purchases without breaking the bank. The budget and cost associated with boat parts is unusually high. It seems anything manufactured specifically for marine applications can be very costly and sometimes hard to understand. Although many boat parts are only available in OEM applications usually any items just for maintenance are available for aftermarket. Purchasing online is probably the best alternative as long as the correct parts are purchased. Always verify your application before purchasing and also check if there are discounts for purchasing quantities as these parts are rapidly consumed. The carburetor kits consist of all the needed items as do the water pump kits available.

 

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