Boating Tips

Servicing your skiboat at the start of the ski season.

At the onset of a new ski season it is the ideal time to give your skiboat a thorough service and inspection.

Recommended service points:
  • Oil Change the engine
  • Replace oil filter
  • Replace fuel filter. If you use a water separating type of fuel filter it is highly recommended to replace it every year as the may rust out from the inside letting fuel into the bilge and then a risk of explosion.
  • Check water pump is operating properly as described in pump testing tips. If you have any air leaks in the lines before and or in the pump then it's operation will be greatly effected. Be careful if you are using any garden hose fittings and we don't recommend using any.
  • Check for exhaust pipe leaks as holes may let water into the hull. Even stainless steel has a use by date and may need replacing. Highly advisable to never use car type exhaust tubing as the life is short and will probably rust out from the bottom inside and at the most inconvenient time.
  • Check the log gland where the prop shaft passes through the hull. This is a bearing which requires constant greasing when the boat is in use. If maintained they should last around 5-6 years on average use. If any water is leaking through it's advisable to replace the whole gland and not just the seals as the brass center section wears on the prop shaft and the new seals won't last long.
  • Boats with a rudder shaft that comes up through the bottom of the hull will most likely have a grease nipple in the mount that supports the rudder and need occasional greasing.
  • Some types of water pumps also need regular greasing and with this type don't over tighten the v belt as the stainless steel pulley shaft will wear into the brass pump body making the pump inefficient.
  • Clean or replace ignition point as they may become rusty or dirty making starting difficult.
  • Check your fuel tank for leaks as especially if manufactured from gal. steel.Check fuel lines for any unwanted moisture. Remember that it requires a very small amount of petrol fumes to create an explosion.
  •  Check carburetter for flooding when first started as sometimes the needle and seat assembly requires attention.

Possible problems with soft clutch type skiboats
Although soft clutch setups may to many boat owners be nicer to use over dog clutch setups sometimes they can create more problems if care is not taken.
We recommend to leave the clutch in gear when not in use as there is great pressure created by the pressure plate and if left out of gear it in turn puts strain on the plate and also the cables and pulleys that operate it.
Problems may more frequently occur with the starter motor owing to possible water being flicked up into the starter. This is a common problem where there is only a little clearance between the flywheel and the bottom of the hull.
The thrust race on the drive shaft also often has a short life. You can check this bearing by listing for noise when out of gear. This bearing should not spin when in gear if adjusted correctly.
Sometimes after the clutch has been left in gear the clutch plate may become stuck to the pressure plate or the flywheel. Often a quick rev either in or out of the water will release it when in neutral. The clutch cable will most likely require adjustment when everything stretches and settles in.

Possible problems with dog clutch type skiboats
 It is not uncommon for a dog clutch to give 30 years of trouble free service if used correctly. Always try to engage to clutch at idle speed which is preferably below 650rpm. Most of the clutches are lubricated by the engine oil which is adequate. Signs of a tired clutch is dropping out of gear when the power is backed off. The two dogs in the clutch are machined with the mating faces being under-cut and in turn this is what keeps it engaged. When worn the mating faces become rounded and won't hold together. Most dog clutches can be rebuilt.
The internal fork which moves the dogs together also wears in time especially if not adjusted correctly.
Remember that the clutch lever is there only to put it into gear and not hold it in gear.

The above info is only personal views put forward to assist skiboat owners from Bob at R & M Precision Marine