Read these 8 Boat Parts Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Boat tips and hundreds of other topics.
In order for your boat to run as efficiently and smoothly as possible, you will need to make sure you choose the right propeller. You should enlist a boat professional to help you do this. You will need a tachometer to measure RPM and a speedometer to measure boat speed. Perform all your tests at a wide open throttle and in the same conditions (i.e. load, engine height, water conditions). Check your operator's manual to find the RPM of the engine at its rated horsepower and the recommended operating range. You want to learn if the propeller allows the engine to run near the rated RPM but never outside this operating range. You should perform tests making runs in opposite directions. As you perform these tests, you'll find the right propeller for your boat as well as the right adjustment for it.
So, you just got home from buying that really cool looking classic 1955 Wooden speedboat with a vintage German outboard. Sure it needs work, but you have all winter. But wait, the work is not the issue. Where do you get the parts?
Unlike cars that everyone drives and there are over a million examples of, boats have limited runs. Many boats sink, burn up, or rot away. Parts are usually scarce. Most boat replacement parts, if the boat is fairly new, can be acquired from the manufacturer. Older but not antique boat parts can usually be acquired from salvage boat parts companies. In general, unless you are looking for antique boat parts the availability is moderately high.
Fortunately, there is a small source for the antique boat parts as well. In most cases there are enthusiasts who are focused on one particular type or model of boat. These enthusiasts usually have swap meets and even sometimes Internet message boards with stuff for sale. Another option would be Internet auction sites like eBay. If a certain part still cannot be found, your last option would be to have it made. There are many tradesmen who would be happy to fabricate boat replacement parts for a small fee.
Restoring a boat and getting parts can be a challenge. But the reward of owning a restored boat is worth the searching.
While there is always excitement around the new and advanced boat models, there are some boating enthusiasts who prefer to tinker with old, antique boat engines. Early marine inboard engines were often known as one-lungers or 'make and break' engines. Unlike modern boats, they were most often of a two-cycle design. In many cases, these old engines—with some time and effort—can be made to work again. There are boating experts who specialize in such an endeavor although not near as many as in prior years. If you decide to ‘tinker' with such an engine, do so with the utmost care and conduct significant research ahead of time. Here are a few tips about antique marine engines:
*When running an antique marine engine without a load, be extremely careful, as it can over-speed with deadly results.
*Don't use detergent oil and don't use modern two-cycle oil in antique marine engines.
*Be aware that two-cycle engines flood easily.
*When installing an antique engine, make sure the exhaust piping does not stress the cylinder.
It happens frequently: a boat owner takes his or her boat out for a spin and finds the battery is dead. Even if the battery is relatively new, factors can impact its performance such as self-discharging during storage, too much moisture or clogged lead plates inside the battery. It's possible an alternator will prevent this problem as it will sense the battery charge and deliver the correct amount of charge without the engine needing to run at a high RPM. If the battery is fully charged, the alternator senses this and does not produce voltage. An alternator may also prevent your boat battery from being over-charged. You should check with an authorized dealer before installing any boat part, including batteries and alternators.
Many boat part dealers have reported customers coming into their store looking for a relatively simple boat part and being overwhelmed by the price. These customers think a boat part will cost roughly the same as a similar car part. But, because there are many, significant differences between how cars run and how boats operate, boat parts will cost a relatively higher amount of money. For example, electrical applications in marine systems are highly specialized and must be completely sealed (unlike in a car) to prevent a potential explosion from gas vapor. For this reason, all electrical components for a boat will cost more, including the starter, alternator and distributor.
The propeller on an outboard motor of a boat is the means by which the horsepower, initiated by the engine, is converted into thrust. In most cases, your boat propeller will be made of aluminum, as this material offers a fair amount of durability in many boating situations. Other propeller materials include composites, plastic and stainless steel. The pitch of a propeller is the angle of the blades in inches of travel in one revolution while rake is the measurement of the angle of the tilt of the blade's tip toward or away from the gear case.
As a boat owner, you should be aware that, in a dual engine set up, steering can be quite difficult when the propellers turn in the same direction. This can be solved with counter-rotation, an option that has become more common in recent years. A boat that utilizes counter-rotation will be, as a general rule, much easier to navigate.
The Internet has been a virtual explosion in terms of sharing information and finding products without venturing out to a store. If you initiate an Internet search for used boat parts, you will have numerous options for buying online. Because older boats are often dismantled, you may be able to buy older boat parts at a reduced rate. But, as with all Internet shopping, you should exercise caution. Find out if the part you want to buy has already been cleaned and tested. Read carefully through all disclaimers and warranty information, as well as limitation of liability and indemnification clauses. You may also want to check the online seller's return policy. Finally, ask boat experts and dealers about online companies. It's likely they have heard either negative or positive comments about boat parts bought online.
Many boat owners are unaware of the differences between a car engine and a boat engine That leads some to think they can buy a car part—at a greatly reduced price—and just use it to power a boat. But this is not a good idea. Boats and cars are two difficult vehicles, and therefore have two different makeups. There are many key differences between a car and a boat, including the exhaust systems, cooling systems, fuel systems and electrical systems. For example, because of the potential of corrosion, a marine pump has a seal, backing plate and a bronze impeller. An auto pump would fail immediately in a boat due to corrosion.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|