Posts Tagged ‘Do It Yourself’

How to Maintain Your Boat’s Steering Cables

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

I’ve heard steering cables should be ‘maintained.’ How exactly is this done?

By keeping your boat’s steering system in proper working order you can ensure that you have reliable and proper control of your boat at all times. Lack of maintenance is the major contributor to stiff steering and in some extreme cases, cable seizure. We suggest the following periodic maintenance at least twice a year:
  1. Be certain the helm(s), cable(s), steering wheel and connection hardware are correctly assembled and in proper working order. Check for signs of stiffness, binding, excessive free play and/or wear. These items cannot be repaired; if any components are not in good working order, replace them. Disassembly of these items will void the warranty and can lead to steering failure. Always replace steering cables that are stiff in operation or have damage to the plastic jacket (outer casing).
  2. Clean and lubricate the engine tilt tube or cable support tube and the steering cable telescopic output ram as follows:
    1. Remove the steering cable(s) telescoping ram from the tilt tube.
    2. Clean the tilt tube inside diameter thoroughly.
    3. Remove corrosion in the tilt tube with a wire brush. Wipe until all loose material is removed.
    4. Lubricate the tilt tube with a good water resistant marine grease.
    5. Scour the steering cable telescopic ram with a brass wire brush and wipe until clean.
    6. Lubricate the sliding parts of the telescopic ram with a high-quality, water resistant marine grease.
    7. Reassemble, making sure all (correct) fasteners are tight and there is no binding or excessive free play in moving parts.

Please note where locking fasteners are used. Do not use non-locking fasteners; vibration can loosen them, causing steering failure.

Steering cables cannot be repaired. If the steering cable is deteriorated, does not move or operates in any manner other than correctly, replace it with the correct one for the helm. If the cable for your helm is no longer available, replace the helm, bezel and cable with an appropriate SeaStar Solutions steering kit.

Why does Lloyd’s Type Approval matter when it comes to Shield’s Hose?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Type Approval from Lloyd’s Register (LR) proves that a product conforms to recognized industry quality standards and/or the LR Rules, through a process of independent design review, testing and verification of production controls.

There are two main steps to Type Approval. The first is Type Examination. Design data is submitted and reviewed to ensure it complies with the requirements of the specified standard(s) and/or LR rules. Then, samples of the product are tested to verify they meet the testing requirements of the relevant standards and any performance requirements associated with the product.

The second main step in the Type Approval process is Production Quality Assurance. This is performed to ensure the product (when mass produced) will be of an acceptable quality and will conform to the version that was prototype tested. Production controls are inspected to confirm that the product can be manufactured in accordance with the design data.

Once Type Approval is achieved, a Certificate is issued and is typically valid for 5 years. The product is then entered in the relevant part of the Lloyd’s Register List of Type Approval Products.

Why does this matter to you? It matters because this certification ensures you that our vendors and suppliers are capable of providing the highest quality product possible. You can trust your boat with Sierra.

Marine Starter VS. Automotive Starter… And the Winner Is…

Monday, November 24th, 2014

You pull the starter off of your Mercruiser (GM manufactured 5.7L) I/O and take it to the nearest auto parts supplier for a replacement. The starter for a car looks exactly the same as the one you just removed from your marine engine. You think to yourself, “I wonder how much difference there REALLY is between the marine and the automotive starter.”

Don’t be fooled by the fact that an automotive starter will bolt on to your marine engine. A marine approved starter has better seals and gaskets to keep water out. It also contains more corrosive resistant materials.

However, the primary consideration is safety, as there are deliberate design differences to contain sparks that could ignite fuel vapor in the bilge.  In an enclosed engine compartment, where volatile fumes exist, any stray spark could cause a catastrophic explosion, resulting in severe injury or possible death.  In order to prevent this, a marine starter is constructed with internal shielding to contain any sparks or stray electricity that could travel into the bell housing or bilge where gasoline fumes may be present. Another benefit from this shielding is that it protects the back half of the starter motor from moisture and contaminants which WILL decrease the life of the starter.

If the replacement starter you are buying does not have a tag or sticker on it that states it has been manufactured to SAE J1171 standards, you should ask if the product really is an approved marine grade product. You should always make every attempt to be sure that you are not being sold an automotive starter for your boat. In order to receive this certification, the manufacturer of this starter must submit a sample to pass three separate tests, each of which is performed fifty times. The tests include operation in an enclosed explosive atmosphere, high temperature tests and induced ignition tests.

Please remember the following:

  • Using anything electrical that is not marine rated is BOTH illegal and dangerous
  • The Coast Guard WILL ticket you for noncompliance
  • The risk of injury or death is incrementally higher when you elect to use automotive electrical parts on your marine engine

Stay safe out on the water and if you have any questions as to which start is best for your marine engine, call our Technical Support Line at 1-877-663-8396.

How to Tell if a Starter is Bad on your Marine Engine

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

When the starter on your marine engine refuses to crank, the engine’s starter may have gone bad.

First, you need to make sure the starter is really the source of the problem.  Several other things: including a blown main fuse, not moving the throttle/shift lever into “neutral” before attempting to crank the motor, electrical connections that are not clean and tightly connected and wiring in poor condition can cause symptoms similar to those of a bad starter. So, go grab your multimeter and let’s do some testing! (NOTE: This is a good time to remove the lanyard from the emergency cut off switch to prevent the engine from accidentally starting)

Step 1: Turn the dial of a digital multimeter to the DC voltage setting. Place the red probe on the positive battery post and then the black probe on the negative battery post. If the multimeter indicates the battery is producing less than 11.3 volts, recharge or replace the battery before testing the starter.

Step 2: Set the multimeter to the DC voltage setting. Place the red lead of the multimeter on the positive terminal of the starter motor and then the black lead on the engine ground.

Step 3: Turn the ignition switch to the “Start” position. Read the voltage indicated on the multimeter.

Step 4: If the reading on the digital multimeter is greater than 9.5 volts, attempt to start the motor. If the motor fails to start when the reading on the digital multimeter is more than 9.5 volts, the starter requires replacement or rebuilding. A reading of less than 9.5 volts indicates a voltage loss between the battery and the starter; this should be corrected and then start the testing procedure again. (NOTE: This test is for a 12V operating system)

TIP: Before you crank the motor, shift it into “neutral.” The neutral lockout will prevent the motor from starting. Check the main fuse and inspect the wiring for broken or frayed wires.

Do you need help selecting the new starter for your marine engine? Give our technical support a call at 1-877-663-8396 or you can visit our website for a complete listing of our Rotating Electric Products here.