BONEHEAD BLUNDER: Accepting bad advice
THE BONEHEADS: A couple of young city guys, sharp as tacks, with a Lazarus boat
BONEHEAD RATING: 5+
WHAT HAPPENED: As a friend said last week, “Growin’ old ain’t bad, it’s the side effects that getcha.” The second Saturday in March proved him right. These guys were weekenders in our bucolic neck of the woods. They had purchased a nice (now) old Robalo hull, done a lot of console work, installed a T-top, and bought a BRP 250 hp ETEC and installed it, after having another party replace the transom and Imron the hull.
They found the engine was a 25-inch shaft but they needed a 30-inch shaft. They related to me they returned it and had 5 inches added. The complaint was the exhaust just roared to the point they couldn’t converse, once the boat was coming on plane. Now, I know there’s no “splicing” of the exhaust housing, so that cast suspicion on the exhaust story, but I removed the side covers and checked the muffler, which was fine. Then, I didn’t want to, but there was nothing to learn without going for a freezing boat ride.
With no lower cowls or hood, the engine was loud but making no untoward wallet-busting sounds. The owner started to bring the boat on plane. The prop absolutely blew out trying to get that boat on top. Noticing he had the engine partially tilted up, I told him to tuck it in and try again, which he did. The guys again identified the prop ventilation as exhaust noise. We turned around, returned to the marina, loaded the boat on the trailer and hauled it out. As I was looking for possible ways to generate exhaust noise, I hadn’t considered that the owners had somehow settled on someone’s advice that the anti-ventilation plate should be 2 inches above the bottom of the boat! Lowering the engine one fat bolt hole and replacing all the covers made the engine as quiet as the early ETECs could get. And speaking of “get,” I got home, had a hot chocolate and got under a blanket for a while.
LESSON LEARNED: For me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ask the right questions, or right number of questions, that will get me the proper replies I need to make an accurate diagnosis. At 34 degrees in a windy, open field, I don’t know if my mind will arrive at an accurate diagnosis anyway! For them, they need to get what are considered the top 10 answers to their question, then narrow the list to the one answer that neither a friend nor Google gave them. Or, measure twice, cut once.