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jbmaine

DYI boat maintenance tips for dummies

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Hi all,

As I get older, and my memory gets sharper, NOT, I do a couple of things that help me when I'm doing maintenance on the boat, motor, trailer, etc. ( works for stuff around the house too.)

 When I have to take anything apart I will take pictures every step of the way. With the wonderful manuals available today, having good pictures to look at is the best way I know to make sure everything goes back together correctly, and in the right order.

 I have also learned to keep a tool list for repeat maintenance jobs. For example, if I am changing a water pump impeller I look at the tool list so I know what size wrenches, sockets, etc. I will need. This keeps me from lugging handfuls of tools trying to find the right one. Also jotting down part # for future reference saves time the next time around.

 Anyone else have any tips they want to share?

 

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I was a service technician for 36 years. My #1 tip, above all others.... "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

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When I was a kid, I loved working on my car.  There was nothing I wouldn't tackle including rebuilding the hydramatic in my '53 Olds.  Tune up (points, condenser, distributor rotor and cap) was a piece of cake.  It worked great until they started computerizing automobiles.  No more distributors with their internal parts.  A gazillion sensors and other control components and you could no longer see what parts had failed.

 

As our finances got better, into the shop for everything except adding fuel. Tinkering had ceased to be fun, or practical.

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4 hours ago, Scott F said:

I was a service technician for 36 years. My #1 tip, above all others.... "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

As a professional maintenance technician I second this.

 

3 hours ago, Fishing Rhino said:

When I was a kid, I loved working on my car.  There was nothing I wouldn't tackle including rebuilding the hydramatic in my '53 Olds.  Tune up (points, condenser, distributor rotor and cap) was a piece of cake.  It worked great until they started computerizing automobiles.  No more distributors with their internal parts.  A gazillion sensors and other control components and you could no longer see what parts had failed.

 

As our finances got better, into the shop for everything except adding fuel. Tinkering had ceased to be fun, or practical.

We're getting close to the point now that cars are almost "disposable".  For the past 2 decades they have become much less serviceable to the shade tree mechanic.  Many parts of cars now are only serviceable by dealerships.  I like to buy cheap older cars that need some work and fix em up.  It's getting harder and harder to find anything in half decent condition thats worth putting the effort into.

 

 

As far as tips for servicing boats I recommend getting the manual, stay on top of regular maintenance, and don't straight gas a 2 stroke.  Taking pictures before and during disassembling is helpful.  Don't leave the small parts laying about to get lost.  Don't do last minute work in a hurry.  It never goes well.

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My tip would be read the manual so that you know when each maintenance item needs to be done.  Then take it to a pro when the hour meter says it is time.  I'm the kind of nontechnical dude who can turn a $25 30 minute job into a 2-3 hour $100 knuckle buster.

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7 hours ago, IndianaOutdoors said:

As a professional maintenance technician I second this.

 

We're getting close to the point now that cars are almost "disposable".  For the past 2 decades they have become much less serviceable to the shade tree mechanic.  Many parts of cars now are only serviceable by dealerships.  I like to buy cheap older cars that need some work and fix em up.  It's getting harder and harder to find anything in half decent condition thats worth putting the effort into.

 

 

As far as tips for servicing boats I recommend getting the manual, stay on top of regular maintenance, and don't straight gas a 2 stroke.  Taking pictures before and during disassembling is helpful.  Don't leave the small parts laying about to get lost.  Don't do last minute work in a hurry.  It never goes well.

About five years ago I had the transfer case in my 08 GMC lock up in four wheel drive.  This was in the summer and I used four wheel drive launching on a sandy gravel ramp.  When I headed home it would not switch back to two wheel drive.  I tried rotating the switch through the entire positions, turning the truck off and restarting, but no luck.  I thought something in the mechanism was binding.

 

Had to drive home in FWD.  Brought it to the dealer.  They had to plug it into their computer for an upgrade on the truck's program.

 

Could never have found the problem by disassembling the unit looking for something bound, broken, or jammed.

 

Speaking about DIY servicing.  I quit doing it years ago.  While servicing may be pricy, making a simple mistake can be much more expensive.  At least when the dealer (auto or boat) performs a service, they own it.  I've pulled the cowl off my 200 hp Optimax two or three times, just to look around.  It's darn near impossible to find the spark plugs.  The stuff that is packed and crammed under that cowl is incredible, and intimidating.

 

 

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I do what I feel is within my skill set.  On my 250 Yamaha HPDI, I have changed the LU oil, Water Pump/impeller, high and low pressure fuel pumps, fuel filters, plugs, poppit valve, motor bushings, steering seals, trim pump, but I need to pull the injectors out and send them off to be cleaned/calibrated since it's never been done and it is a 2005 model with 470 hours.  It helps that a buddy has the YDS software for troubleshooting.  For the most part, outboards are "fairly" straight forward but I do know when to send it off to a pro.  

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47 minutes ago, pondbassin101 said:

If it moves when it's not supposed to move, use duct tape. If it doesn't move when it's supposed to move, use WD-40.

image.jpg?w=400&c=1

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