When your boat's engine fails, you could be looking at anything from an inconvenient tow back to harbour to the need for a serious rescue operation if you are already far out at sea. As such, it's wise to prevent such issues in the first place, and one of the best ways to keep your boat's engine functioning properly is to ensure the fuel filters are never allowed to become old or clogged.
Most boats have two fuel filters. The primary one is mainly responsible for keeping the machinery free from contaminants, while the second ensures that water is not allowed to mix with your fuel. These filters need to be regularly changed in order to protect your marine engine parts and keep your craft operational. This will usually need to be done at set intervals or whenever you change the oil, but several signs could indicate that a fuel filter needs to be replaced sooner than expected.
Here are just four such signs.
1. Trouble Starting
There are many reasons why your boat's engine may struggle or even completely fail to start, including having an empty tank or damaged fuel lines. However, one of the most common issues is simply a clogged filter. This increases wear while preventing the engine from getting the proper amount of fuel, so changing the fuel filter is one of the first things you should do when the engine has trouble starting.
2. Stop-Start Performance
If too many contaminants or not enough fuel is getting through your filters, your engine is likely to repeatedly sputter out and stop before starting back up. This can put you at risk of being stranded, so it's worth heading back to land when this happens. In many cases, you will only need to replace the fuel filters.
3. Discoloured Fuel
There should be a bowl beneath your fuel filter that collects water. This can be drained regularly as long as only a small amount of water is present. If you notice that this fluid is starting to become increasingly discoloured, it's likely that contaminants are getting through to your fuel system and engine. As such, the filter should be replaced.
4. High Vacuum Gauge Reading
Your boat's fuel filter vacuum gauge shows how much pressure is being placed on the filters, so it's a good place to start if you ever suspect something is wrong. Readings will fall in either the green, yellow or red zone. If the needle is in the yellow or red, you probably need to replace your filters.
Contact marine diesel services to learn more.