When performing an inspection survey on a vessel, one of the first
things i like to look at is the hour meter. Then i want to look at the overall
condition of the vessel to determine if what the hour meter states is reflected
in the vessels overall condition. It is easy to change an hour meter or clear
the computer on the engine of faults and other data.
The next step is to get an accurate compression reading of each cylinder.
This should be done on a warmed up engine. I know this can get uncomfortable,
but it is the best way of obtaining accurate results.
If this is an electronically controlled system, a diagnostic service tool is
required to read faults and check other operational functions and the number of
times the faults have been generated.
Looking at the oil and dipstick can provide hidden clues as to the internal
condition of an inboard or other four stroke engine. If a four stroke engine has
ever ingested water, either by sinking or through a manifold failure, it will
leave telltale signs. The oil may appear brownish in color instead of black and
the dipstick itself, if made of steel will be dark brown or rusty colored.
Although this does not constitute an eminent engine failure it does let you know
the engine has ingested water and could be a problem in the future.
Inspect the transmission oil if present, it should be clean red oil which
doesn't have a burnt smell. Also inspect couplings, damper plates and stuffing
boxes. Outside the boat, you want to check the condition of the propeller shaft.
Check for bent shafts, worn seals etc. You also want to check for signs of
By running the engine and turning the steering wheel from full port to full
starboard at about 1500 rpm you want to listen for roaring or other load noises
which may indicate worn or corroded universal joints or gimbal bearing.
Turn on all available accessories and note the output change from the volt or
amp meter to ensure proper operation of the alternator.
Check water temp, oil pressure, volt meter to see outputs within acceptable limits. Check operation of electronic components using the proper analyzer. Check batteries for swelling, cables for corrosion and zincs for electrolysis.