Your Sense Of Touch
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
Unusual vibration, whether in the boat or a component, is a sign of something amiss. It may be difficult to isolate, but you should try if it's safe to do so. Examples of potential problems: steering vibration may indicate something hung on the rudder or a system problem. Vibration in the hull over your shaft strut may indicate something caught on the prop or a bent prop. Vibration of the shaft may indicate the same or it could be a misalignment.
Feel for temperatures on all equipment regularly. A good time to do this may be during noise checks. Some parts you can touch with your hand, but if you don't know them, this could result in a serious burn. An infrared-temperature gun with laser is invaluable. With it, you can accurately determine normal operating temperatures for different components and write down the values. Check these areas:
- Heat exchanger — The area where the engine water enters should normally be hotter than the other end where it exits.
- Alternator — It will be hotter putting out higher amps or if the belt is too loose.
- Exhaust — Abnormal temperatures at the point where raw cooling water enters your exhaust via the injection nipple can indicate a failing raw-water impeller, clogging heat exchanger, clogging injection nipple, debris in the raw-water strainer, engine laboring too hard, and other problems.
- Rub some transmission fluid between your fingers shortly after running (be careful, it may be hot) or when you're changing it. If you feel grit, there may be a problem. There's usually some grit in many transmissions, particularly new ones as they're being broken in, but this shouldn't be excessive.