Oil Spill Scars Large Section of Great Barrier Reef

Despite efforts to safeguard shipping and transportation of oil, instances of oil spills and environmental trouble stemming from the mishandling of shipments are still all too common. A few days ago, a Chinese ship carrying bulk oil hit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, causing damage along two miles of the natural wonder. The magnitude of the disaster was amplified when it was discovered that part of the damage occurred in a natural sanctuary, where young seabirds and turtles are expected to hatch soon.

Cleanup crews have already begun a concerted effort to minimize the damage, but experts predict that it will take 20 years for the Reef to repair all of the damage. After crashing aground, tides carried the boat along the reef, increasing the extent of the damage. The incident is currently under investigation by Australian authorities, but the ship’s owner is adamant that there was no illegal activity and that the incident was the result of a careless mistake.

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Preseason Boat Maintenance: Part Two

If you’ve had a boat for several years, making a checklist of your maintenance routine may seem superfluous. You are probably saying to yourself, “How could I forget to top off my Evinrude xd100 oil!?” The truth is that all of us, no matter how qualified, will inevitably overlook minute details every now and again. A recent book by Atul Gawande, ‘The Checklist Manifesto’, expounds the merits of checklists, using doctors as a primary example.

For those well versed in the nuances of boat maintenance, it is probably safe to generate your own checklist to go through. However, there are several websites where you can find convenient comprehensive lists that can be printed off. Another option is to compile the tips and advice from this blog to create your own custom list.

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Preseason Boat Maintenance: Part One

Although it will be several weeks or months—depending on where you live—until boat season is in full swing, it is never to early to start tuning up your craft and preparing for some fun on the water. Personally, I like to go through my checklists and make any necessary repairs well before I take out my boat. This is ensures that I don’t lose valuable time on the water to mundane maintenance.

Over the next few days, we’ll review all of the key components and systems you should insect prior using your boat—from changing the outboard motor oil to inspecting the motor for damage. One of the most important aspects to boat care, and one which is often overlooked, is the necessity of keeping your boat clean. Maintaining a clean craft and applying a good coat of wax will help minimize the damage that is inflicted during normal use.

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Making a Outboard Motor Oil Switch

Up until last boating season, I had been using the same brand of oil in my boat for over 20 years. As the saying goes, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” As it turns out, something was broken. When I took my craft in after experiencing some grinding in the motor, I was told that my oil was doing an insufficient job of providing lubrication. Apparently, the oil that I had grown so fond of was now considered the “cheap” version and not intended for use in high-mileage boats.

The owner of the shop suggested that I switch to Evinrude XD 100. It is the highest quality oil that Evinrude produces and is one of the most trusted products on the market. All of the oil’s specifications exceed the minimum standards, which is especially important with the astronomical number of miles I’ve put on my boat.

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ATV Troubleshooting: Choosing Your Oil

Since this blog is dedicated to outboard motor oil, we couldn’t do a series on ATV Troubleshooting without touching on the subject. ATVs are available with two or four-stroke motors, and the type of engine you have will dictate the oil that you should use. In a four-stroke, the oil and gas are separate and the engine is air-cooled. The oil you choose will depend in large part on the weather conditions you are planning to face.

In hotter temperatures, go with a heavier oil, which will provide more protection against the heat. For colder climates, a lighter oil is needed to maintain its viscosity. If you are operating a two-stroke ATV, you can either mix motor oil with your fuel or use a special fluid that your manufacturer has developed. No matter what type of oil or lubricant you put into your ATV, always opt for a quality product; cheap oil may look attractive, but when your engine seizes up, you’ll pay the price.

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ATV Troubleshooting: Vehicle Won’t Start

All of the other maintenance tips and advice that we offer up in this blog are superfluous if you can’t even get your machine to start. There are myriad things that could be preventing your vehicle from starting, and here is a quick run through of some of the most common:

~Air Filter: the ATV needs to bring in air to mix with the fuel and Yamalube oil, and if the filter is dirty, it impedes the process.

~Exhaust: the motor also needs to release air, so make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear.

~Spark: there are several reasons why the motor might not be generating a spark when your try to start it, including the spark plugs, wires, pulse generator and the reverse or ignition switches.

~Compression: worn cylinders, rings, valves and gaskets could be keeping the compression too low.

~Carburetor: the carburetor is a critical component to any engine, maintaining the ratio of fuel, oil and water; refer to last week’s post for maintenance tips.

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ATV Troubleshooting: The Clutch

There is a litany of things that could go wrong with your ATV, but one of the most annoying and difficult to diagnose problems is a sticky clutch. If your clutch isn’t disengaging properly, it is probably one of three things. Obviously, the clutch could be broken, and you should inspect it thoroughly for any blatant damage. Once you ensure there is no serious defect, look to see if the cable needs oiling or if there are any spots that are worn down on the clutch basket.

Another problem that people often encounter with their clutch is that it grabs when shifting out of idle. In this instance, the first thing to do is check the adjustment and look for warped clutch plates. If these look okay, it is likely that your mixture of Evinrude XD100 oil and transmission fluid is too heavy. The final major hiccup with the clutch system is slipping. Usually the same culprits that make the clutch grab are responsible here as well, although you should be sure to check the clutch springs too.

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ATV Troubleshooting

In this blog, we cover many of the basic maintenance procedures for ATVs and other similar vehicles. However, we sometimes glaze over some of the most fundamental questions that ATV owners raise. Over the next few days, we’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to basic maintenance and upkeep of ATVs—from what outboard motor oil to use, to the basics of the crankshaft.

Today we’ll start by reviewing one of the most commonly neglected components of the vehicle, the air filter. A dirty air filter will not adequately capture dirt, meaning that gunk and particles will be able to reach your engine. It is crucial to clean the air filter on a regular basis, especially for those with an open-air box. You can clean your air filter without necessarily having to replace it with a new one; doing this routinely will help extend its life.

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An Oil Education

I have to admit; the first time that I went to purchase outboard motor oil, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of options that were available. Not only were there different brand names, but there were also a myriad of options within each brand. After staring blankly at the crowded shelf, I decided to seek some assistance. I told one of the staff at the store what type of boat I had and he was able to be of some assistance.

Now that I have a more thorough understanding of engines, I know what to look for in oil and other products. Economical oils were my M.O. back in those early days, but now that I have invested in a top-tier watercraft, I want to ensure its longevity. I look for oils that have a high viscosity and flash point, such as Evinrude XD 100.

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Jetting Your Carburetor: Part Four

Now that we’ve covered the two primary circuits of the carburetor, the final components to review are the pilot jet and the pilot screw. These mechanisms control the flow of fuel and outboard motor oil in a two-stroke engine when the throttle is in the idle position up to one-eighth open. Much akin to the main jet, the pilot jet is essentially a screw that is equipped with a calibrated hole.

Like the other two circuits, a high number on the pilot jet indicates a larger opening and a richer mixture of fuel. The pilot screw works like the one on the main jet; tightening the screw makes the mixture leaner, and vice-versa. By adjusting the three circuits that we have covered over this week, you will be able to fine-tune the richness of your fuel to air ratio and customize how your engine runs.

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