Here are the most common boater screw-ups that consistently cause a fistful of trouble — money trouble. It’s too bad, really, because a little forethought and preparation can make boating trouble-free and economical.
1. Failing to Inspect or Change Fuel/Water Separators (You do have a 10-micron fuel/water separator between your tank and engine, right?)
What It Does: Fuel/water separators remove moisture from fuel before it gets to the engine. Outboard water separators have a “sight glass” in the bottom to allow inspection for water without draining them through the petcock on the bottom.
Result Of Neglect: Water vapor collects in gas and travels to the engine, where, because it isn’t compressible and combustible like fuel vapor is, it can blow rings out of the pistons or cause piston rod and/or crankshaft failure.
Cost To Perform: Changing a fuel filter in your driveway costs about $30. Adding a fuel/water separator to the fuel line can cost a driveway guy $125, and a mechanic may charge $250 — still cheap insurance against ethanol fuel’s ability to introduce water to your engine.
Penalty: You’re usually looking at a new power head or engine block. Think five digits per engine.