TIP ONE: Cracked Up
If you’ve had the same outboard engine for more than five or six years, it’s a good bet that you’ve had a fuel line leak in the motor well. That last 2′ of hose between the bilge and the outboard takes a constant beating from the sun, salt spray, and rain. As you run the boat or pump the ball, that hose is constantly flexing. Sooner or later, the fuel line’s surface will crack. When you first see a crack, a leak is just a season or two away. Don’t wait. Cut out the offending section of hose and replace it as soon as possible.
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TIP TWO: Bad Vibes
Over time, propellers get small chinks, burrs, and dings. You may not even notice the gradual change in how your boat runs. That’s too bad because a dinged prop increases vibrations in a boat, and those vibrations can contribute to any number of problems. Do yourself a huge favor — and save repair bills down the line — by replacing or reconditioning your prop. When is the time right? Cup four or five cotton balls lightly in your hand, and run them around the edge of each blade. If the prop is rough enough to grab a cotton ball out of your hand, it’s rough enough to cause vibrations, which means the time to fix it is now.