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  • Spring startup checklist

    Gang,

    We're rolling into spring here and everyone will be getting boats back out in the next few weeks. Things you need to check before heading out:

    - Check every single drain plug. Don't just look at the storage panel and count open holes. Put your hand on every plug and make sure it's installed and secure.

    - Check oil and transmission fluid levels.

    - If you have closed or partially closed loop cooling, check the coolant level.

    - Make sure your batteries are fully charged.

    - Reconnect your battery cables. Make sure you connect any auxiliary cables as well.

    - Test your steering. Move the wheel from lock-to-lock. It shouldn't be stiff.

    - Check every light. Now's the time to know if you need to fix one.

    - Put the plug in.

    - Turn on the ignition. Make sure the bilge pumps cycle.

    After you put the boat in the water don't just go roaring off. Start the engine and idle at the dock for a while:

    - Make sure your gauge cluster is registering oil pressure, voltage, engine temp, etc. Don't head out until the temperature has stabilized.

    - Open the engine compartment and shine a flashlight all around in the bilge. You're looking for water coming in. If you have a separate hatch for the v-drive, open that and look around in there as well.

    - Heater cores are notorious for freezing and splitting. If you have water coming into the bilge from somewhere, put your hand in it. If it's warm then most likely it's coming from the heater core.

    - Test each ballast pump individually. Note that depending on the winterization procedure, the sea-cocks may be closed. If the pump is making the sound of drawing air, look for closed sea-cocks.

    Once you're out on the lake:

    - Make sure the speedometer is working properly.

    - Listen to the boat. If anything doesn't sound normal, stop and figure out what's going on.

    - Test the speed control.

    - Test the NSS (both sides).


    That's about all I can think of. Feel free to add to the list:

    -Charles



  • #2
    Great list
    2006 SV 211
    97 Sport Nautique (Sold)
    89 PS 190 (Sold)

    Comment


    • #3
      Iím personally a fan on running the engine before heading out. There have been several times in my boating career Iíve been saved a drive to the boat ramp and a lot of frustration by hooking the boat up in my driveway to a water source and running it before I even leave the house. Your advice on what to do is great on checking gauges and making sure temp is stabilized. I just personally do it sooner in the process.

      Comment


      • #4
        Fair enough. Since I'm on a lift and don't even own a trailer, I was listing these steps from that point-of-view. Definitely if you're trailering, use a fake-a-lake or some other way of running the engine in the driveway.

        -Charles

        Comment


        • #5
          This is a great list.

          A couple of other things to consider. On the H6Di engine the water pump impeller will be dry when the engine is started after winterization . It cannot prime itself, so extended idling on first launch will cause the rubber impeller to overheat and possibly fail. One needs to get the boat on a plane to force water into the cooling system. Prolonged idling can fry the impeller. Ask me how I know?

          Another thing. If so equipped, check the fluid level of the V drive. My experience is that it will lose fluid much faster than the transmission.

          Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by greggmck View Post
            On the H6Di engine the water pump impeller will be dry when the engine is started after winterization . It cannot prime itself, so extended idling on first launch will cause the rubber impeller to overheat and possibly fail. One needs to get the boat on a plane to force water into the cooling system.
            If the impeller is in good condition this will not happen. Most likely yours sat all winter dry and the impeller vanes were laid over and not sealing properly against the pump intake face. Without this seal, the pump couldn't prime. As you got moving, either water was forced in through the intake or the pump speed increased to the point the impeller vanes extended and made contact with the pump inlet face. Either way, you got prime and everything was fine after that.

            If the impeller is in good condition and working as it should, the pump will most certainly self-prime at idle. If it isn't, replace the impeller. It's a cheap part and most certainly not worth putting off and having it possibly ruin a weekend.

            -Charles


            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by charlesml3 View Post

              If the impeller is in good condition this will not happen. Most likely yours sat all winter dry and the impeller vanes were laid over and not sealing properly against the pump intake face. Without this seal, the pump couldn't prime. As you got moving, either water was forced in through the intake or the pump speed increased to the point the impeller vanes extended and made contact with the pump inlet face. Either way, you got prime and everything was fine after that.

              If the impeller is in good condition and working as it should, the pump will most certainly self-prime at idle. If it isn't, replace the impeller. It's a cheap part and most certainly not worth putting off and having it possibly ruin a weekend.

              -Charles

              Yes. I thought the same thing. It was a 2018 with less than 100 hrs but it had sat 3 months for the winter. I was idling from my trailer to my boat slip. This took about 15 min. I never put it on a plane. In the canal it overheated up to 185+ degrees. I managed to get it on my lift and the dealer came to investigate. The impeller was shot. He said the pump can't prime itself with the system full of air when sitting idle. It needs to get on a plane to prime. I'm not going to do that again.

              Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by greggmck View Post
                He said the pump can't prime itself with the system full of air when sitting idle. It needs to get on a plane to prime. I'm not going to do that again.
                I'm sorry man, but your dealer fed you a line of BS. I've replaced DOZENS of impellers in GT-40s, Excalibers, ZR4s, H6s, you name it. I've done them all. I'm not saying your boat didn't prime until it got on plane. Clearly it did. I'm saying that a properly working cooling system on any of these boats will absolutely self-prime sitting still.

                -Charles

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by charlesml3 View Post

                  I'm sorry man, but your dealer fed you a line of BS. I've replaced DOZENS of impellers in GT-40s, Excalibers, ZR4s, H6s, you name it. I've done them all. I'm not saying your boat didn't prime until it got on plane. Clearly it did. I'm saying that a properly working cooling system on any of these boats will absolutely self-prime sitting still.

                  -Charles
                  I understand. I've also done too many impeller replacements to remember...since my 1990 Ski Nautique.

                  But I'm really not sure if the newer engines with the added heater systems and water cooled V-drives can self-prime that much of a volume of air at idle? The rubber impeller on the H6Di is not very large. I'd be curious to see what PCM says. Perhaps my impeller was defective or inflexible after storage. Until I know for sure I'm going to put my boat on an easy plane asap after I take it out of storage.

                  Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by greggmck View Post
                    But I'm really not sure if the newer engines with the added heater systems and water cooled V-drives can self-prime that much of a volume of air at idle? The rubber impeller on the H6Di is not very large. I'd be curious to see what PCM says. Perhaps my impeller was defective or inflexible after storage. Until I know for sure I'm going to put my boat on an easy plane asap after I take it out of storage.
                    Yes, they absolutely can and I don't need PCM to say. I know they can. It has nothing to do with heaters or V-drives. It's all about the pump and the impeller. If there are no air leaks and the impeller is good, it will most certainly self-prime. This notion that "you have to get it up on plane before it'll prime" is nonsense. Your dealer fed you a line because he didn't want to say "I don't know." He just made that up.

                    By throwing in first thing in the spring and roaring off, you're taking on another risk. If something isn't right (like a split heater core) you're going to find that out a long way from the dock...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by charlesml3 View Post

                      Yes, they absolutely can and I don't need PCM to say. I know they can. It has nothing to do with heaters or V-drives. It's all about the pump and the impeller. If there are no air leaks and the impeller is good, it will most certainly self-prime. This notion that "you have to get it up on plane before it'll prime" is nonsense. Your dealer fed you a line because he didn't want to say "I don't know." He just made that up.

                      By throwing in first thing in the spring and roaring off, you're taking on another risk. If something isn't right (like a split heater core) you're going to find that out a long way from the dock...
                      Let's not take this out of context. I'm not throwing the boat in the water and immediately roaring offshore for 10 miles like a moron. Even if one sits idle at the dock you are not going to experience a leak in the heater core until the thermostat opens up and hot water flows into that system. That could be a long time after the boat is in the water if the engine is simply idling. Bringing the boat onto a plane for a minute doesn't mean one is driving off without checking the systems either.

                      I had a problem that I cant explain. I am also an engineer and the air volume that the impeller has to evacuate has everything to do with its ability to prime the system before the engine overheats, especially at idle. Perhaps the system is designed to self-prime at rest. However mine did not and it was an unnecessary, time consuming repair I don't want to repeat until I understand EXACTLY why it occurred.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by charlesml3 View Post
                        Gang,

                        We're rolling into spring here and everyone will be getting boats back out in the next few weeks. Things you need to check before heading out:

                        - Check every single drain plug. Don't just look at the storage panel and count open holes. Put your hand on every plug and make sure it's installed and secure.

                        - Check oil and transmission fluid levels.

                        - If you have closed or partially closed loop cooling, check the coolant level.

                        - Make sure your batteries are fully charged.

                        - Reconnect your battery cables. Make sure you connect any auxiliary cables as well.

                        - Test your steering. Move the wheel from lock-to-lock. It shouldn't be stiff.

                        - Check every light. Now's the time to know if you need to fix one.

                        - Put the plug in.

                        - Turn on the ignition. Make sure the bilge pumps cycle.

                        After you put the boat in the water don't just go roaring off. Start the engine and idle at the dock for a while:

                        - Make sure your gauge cluster is registering oil pressure, voltage, engine temp, etc. Don't head out until the temperature has stabilized.

                        - Open the engine compartment and shine a flashlight all around in the bilge. You're looking for water coming in. If you have a separate hatch for the v-drive, open that and look around in there as well.

                        - Heater cores are notorious for freezing and splitting. If you have water coming into the bilge from somewhere, put your hand in it. If it's warm then most likely it's coming from the heater core.

                        - Test each ballast pump individually. Note that depending on the winterization procedure, the sea-cocks may be closed. If the pump is making the sound of drawing air, look for closed sea-cocks.

                        Once you're out on the lake:

                        - Make sure the speedometer is working properly.

                        - Listen to the boat. If anything doesn't sound normal, stop and figure out what's going on.

                        - Test the speed control.

                        - Test the NSS (both sides).


                        That's about all I can think of. Feel free to add to the list:

                        -Charles

                        Good list Charles. Will follow Sat when I splash my boat from my lift to drive to the dealer to get the impeller changed and some minor warranty work performed before dealers start getting into their spring busy season rush

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice list Charles. I'm a trailer guy, so also do the initial start-up in the drive-way to check for leaks and such.

                          Regarding the impeller priming; for a finicky pump, revving the engine in neutral quick to speed up the pump will usually get it to prime without needing to get the boat on plane - Malibus could be pretty finicky about this, but a quick blip of the throttle in neutral usually took care of it. That being said - I'm with Charles, in that this is usually an indicator that the impeller was left in all winter, which I'd recommend against, and is too set in place to seal up well until it gets moving/relubricated. If you're not going to replace the impeller each spring, it's at least a good idea to pull it from the pump and bag it for the winter to let it relax back to normal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tom_H View Post
                            Nice list Charles. I'm a trailer guy, so also do the initial start-up in the drive-way to check for leaks and such.

                            Regarding the impeller priming; for a finicky pump, revving the engine in neutral quick to speed up the pump will usually get it to prime without needing to get the boat on plane - Malibus could be pretty finicky about this, but a quick blip of the throttle in neutral usually took care of it. That being said - I'm with Charles, in that this is usually an indicator that the impeller was left in all winter, which I'd recommend against, and is too set in place to seal up well until it gets moving/relubricated. If you're not going to replace the impeller each spring, it's at least a good idea to pull it from the pump and bag it for the winter to let it relax back to normal.
                            Good to know, I will use the revving in netural technique on Sat. and Charles's list. I replace my impeller each spring, but I will still need to get to the dealer by boat on Sat for them to swap it out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would add:

                              Clean battery connections with a wire brush or similar - both cable ends and battery side.

                              Right after starting the engine, I like to take a laser IR thermometer to a few points on the engine as it warms up. Or, use your hands. If the engine isn't cooling you'll feel the exhaust risers getting hot very soon, e.g. above 150F with the thermometer and climbing. You can put your hands on them at 140F without getting burned, if it hurts to touch them even for a second that's too hot. If water is flowing properly they'll stay below ~150F. I don't know how much of that is true with newer engines that have catalytic converters... but certainly on older engines it's not a bad idea. You can do this while poking around looking for any leaks, too.

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