Pontoons aren’t all fun and games.
Sometimes, ‘tooners bump into problems.
And these are often engine problems.
This is perhaps due to the complex nature of this pontoon part—I mean, how many weird problems can you have with the other, more straightforward parts of the boat like carpets, seats and tables?
Engines are more mysterious, and they require more knowledge to understand and fix.
Yet, they’re very important to us ‘tooners. We ought to know about them.
For example, did you know that grime build-up on the bilge pump is one of the most common causes of boat sinking?
Boat engines are faced with the elements, from corrosion-causing saltwater to fierce winds, sun and rain. Not only this, but when the drain scuppers become obstructed with leaves, there’s a big chance you might not stay afloat when embarking on your next sea voyage.
However, these aren’t the only things you ought to pay attention to when maintaining your vessel.
The average life expectancy of a marine diesel engine is 5,000 hours, but this can drop to significantly less if you don’t take it upon yourself to troubleshoot pontoon engine problems. Essentially, failure to maintain your engine could result in your pontoon turning into a submarine!
While you might not be able to completely protect your boat from Mother Nature, there are a few things you can do to navigate safely. on the water and prevent pontoon problems from arising.
A top reason for boat breakdowns, engine failure could go unnoticed for weeks or months if you aren’t aware of how to identify and resolve an issue. Loss of power, a sputtering engine, difficulty starting the engine, unusual vibrations and a shifter that’s failing to engage the transmission are just a handful of boat breakdown causes.
These are all engine problems that you should be prepared to identify and solve.
Many notable maritime disasters occurred throughout the 20th century, including the Harta Rimba. February 7, 1999 was the fateful day on which the ferry sunk. After days of the vessel being carried along water with engine difficulties, a colossal wave wiped out the Harta Rimba and it sunk beneath Indonesian waters without a trace. Had the boat engine been maintained properly, the 313 victims might still be alive today.
Your nautical adventures need not end in such a way. By familiarizing yourself with different types of pontoon problems and determining the solution, the chances of boat engine malfunction occurring will lower substantially, not to mention how much the boat is actually going to cost you in the long run.
Common sense boating all starts with the right approach to maintenance. A well-maintained vessel will have a longer lifespan and will encounter fewer engine malfunctions, if any at all.
The craftsmanship that has gone into constructing an engine will also have an immense impact on mechanical longevity. You can easily solve a wide range of pontoon problems without hiring professional assistance if you can solve the puzzle. By this, I mean accurately determining which complication corresponds with which particular warning sign.
On that note, read the following indications of pontoon problems and how to solve them if you want to avoid hefty repairs:
No matter how well you maintain your boat engine, you’ll have no choice but to replace it if the problem is ongoing.
Continuous overheating, changes in fuel economy, repeated problems and signs of stress on other boat parts are just a few indications that your pontoon engine has/is coming to the end of its life.
Diagnostic assistance from a professional boat mechanic will make you fully aware of any potential underlying problems that (if they haven’t already) might result in engine failure, should they go unnoticed.
Note: If you made the wise choice to acquire a pontoon directly from a respected brand, the cost of mechanical labor and/or engine replacement should be included in your warranty coverage plan.
Although it’s advisable to get in contact with a boat mechanic once you’re aware of pontoon problems, it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of maintenance.
Prolonging engine life is entirely possible when you create a maintenance schedule.
Since some pontoon problems are straightforward to fix, you could save a lot of time and money by practicing the following scheduled maintenance steps:
Remember, you get what you pay for when you build your own pontoon boat or buy a boat from a dealer.
Furthermore, seasonal maintenance will enhance fuel efficiency and longevity. Seek out a reputable boat dealer and refrain from replacing worn parts with knock-off parts.
Something that’s brand manufactured is much more likely to stand the test of time than an unoriginal product. Get in the habit of shielding your engine with a plastic cover or canvas when the pontoon isn’t in use.
Even if you’re not a mechanic, side-stepping pontoon problems will be a breeze if you flush out the engine after every trip, inspect the water pump for adequate water flow and examine the engine for leaks.
Keep the basics on board, and keep an eye on that engine!