is caused by vibration of a fuel line against another part of the engine.
If this isn’t corrected, it will worsen the breach. If a high-pressure fuel
line is leaking, it may be spraying a fine mist of diesel into the air and
this could cause a fire.
■ Burning rubber may indicate a slipping belt that can overheat an
alternator, or it could indicate freezing bearings in an alternator or
water pump that will soon destroy the belt and the component.
■ Steamy water, antifreeze, or overheating paint smells in the
engine space indicate an overheating engine. Antifreeze smell may
also indicate a breach in the engine’s cooling system, ranging from
a burst hose to a cracked head or block.
■ Hot lube oil smell indicates an oil leak, probably requiring immediate shutdown.
■ A burnt oil smell when
you pull the dipstick signals a
serious internal problem. Have
the engine checked immediately.
■ Burning electric insulation
smells should never be ignored.
It could mean that a terminal
is overheating and about to arc
and/or short out, or that there is
too much of a load somewhere
in your electrical system, or that
an electrical component is suffer-
Old and new pop-off valve
from a water heater. Notice
the green area of the old
valve, an indication of leaking.
ing an internal meltdown. Its source must be located immediately.
Try to turn off whatever wire or component is involved, preferably
at the breaker. It may be a good idea to depower the entire boat,
DC and AC, and then turn circuits back on, pausing with each one
to see if that’s the cause of the smell.
■ A change in bilge smell, such as a new musty smell, could indicate leaking condensate from the air conditioning or refrigeration
units. A leaking shower sump causes its own bad smell.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
A Close Look Might Reveal Trouble
Beneath The Surface
A PERIODIC VISUAL inspection of important components could
prevent a bad surprise later, if you know what to look for. Areas of
rust, or a small crack or scaling on a stainless-steel component, may
be a sign of crevice corrosion, which could result in failure of the part.
■ Gelcoat cracks may be of only cosmetic significance, but they
could indicate serious flex from too much stress in the area, or
■ Changing exhaust color with no obvious cause may be a precursor to problems. Generally, black exhaust means fuel burning
poorly; white or bluish smoke may indicate excessive oil burning;
and steam can indicate overheating. But exhaust colors have many
nuances. Diesels emitting black smoke could need a new air filter.
Diesels billowing smoke might need new injectors. Gas engines
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