By Capt. Huy / Nam Anh Inter Co., Ltd - Steer Your Dream
There could be several probable causes if the Outboard Motor fails to start. One has to take into account the lifeboat engines’ past history or maintenance record that was being followed.
For developing a plan to troubleshoot the failure one needs to know the problems, which lifeboat engines are prone. Sometimes certain parameters are overlooked while regular maintenance is being carried out on ships. Listed below are some reasons that could be the cause of an engine not responding.
1. Empty fuel tank.
2. Incorrectly attached fuel supply hose.
3. Damaged fuel supply hose.
4. Defective fuel pump.
5. Contaminated fuel.
6. Improper starting procedures.
7. Faulty, spoiled, or incorrect positioning of the spark plug(s).
8. Improper maintenance.
9. Emergency shut off deactivated.
10. Undercharged starter battery.
11. Loose electrical connections.
12. Bad ignition coil.
13. Defective starter motor
A few basic checks during routine inspections can be carried out at the site to pinpoint the defect and react quickly if something goes wrong.
1. Listen to the sound the lifeboat engine makes when it is tried out – Check to see if it is the familiar running noise or it has an abnormal one. A simple method to home noises is by using equipment that is readily available such as a long handle screwdriver. By putting one end of the screwdriver to the ear and the other where an abnormality is suspected, error detection is possible. Sometimes the machinery has to be operated while listening to the sound; one must take adequate precautions for the same.
2. Visual checks – Check for rusting areas, oil leaks and kinks in the fuel lines, cracks or bends in the lines associated with the ship’s lifeboat engine, chaffed hoses, paint discoloration in heat areas, distorted electrical cables, or damaged junctions for cable and housing, etc. for an overall view of the deformities. Using the eyes for a better understanding of the troubles can prevent a potential hazard from waiting to happen.
3. Identify the problem by smelling it – Don’t underestimate your sense of smell as it can lead you to the source of the problems onboard ships. Fuel is distinguishable by its smell, so check for leaks that could be dangerous and require immediate attention. Overcharging of the batteries gives us a foul smell like an egg gone bad. The smell of burnt electrical wiring and components is quite unique too and could be made out easily. Again, tracing out the problem is of utmost importance.
4. Sense of touch – One can ascertain a few problems related to electrical and ship’s lifeboat engine components by simply touching them. Loosely mounted starters and regulators, heated wires and cables, damaged fuel lines and oil leaks, etc. to name a few could all be corrected.
Using the senses to dish out problems is an art that has to be practiced at every routine inspection of the ship’s lifeboat engine. To be a good trouble-shooter one needs more than just technical knowledge.