might smoke on startup, but more than 10 seconds could indicate
a problem with the fuel mixture. Steam from either engine type
could mean water getting past the head gasket (and will be accompanied by the smell of steamy water or antifreeze).
■ Frayed lines may be evidence of age and too much exposure to
UV, chafing, and poor fairleads. Figure out the cause and address
it, and then replace the line.
■ Discoloration of metal parts in contact with water could indicate
corrosion or electrolysis. Unusual discoloration of heated metal parts
can indicate excessive heating. Many metal parts (such as an exhaust
manifold) subject to high heat will discolor to some extent, but
watch for continued, more noticeable discoloration of these parts.
Discolored paint can also indicate excessive heat. Bronze parts that
have turned pink may indicate a stray current problem.
■ Discoloration of wire terminals or insulation could be a sign of
excessive heating or corrosion underneath the insulation.
■ A sheen on the water at your exhaust when the engine is running can indicate poor burning of the fuel. Possible causes could
include bad injectors, timing, plugs, or poor compression, as from
valve or ring problems. Pull the spark plugs on your gas-powered
engine. Beige or brown is the right color. Grey indicates detona-tion/timing issues. The sheen could also indicate lube oil entering
the exhaust or transmission oil escaping into the exhaust through
a leaking heat exchanger.
Award-winning writer and long-term liveaboard, Tom Neale is a BoatU.S.
Magazine contributing editor and key member of our “Ask The Experts”
tech team. www.BoatUS.com/Ask
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