RIB Care and Maintenance

RIB Care and Maintenance advice

How regular care can help keep you on the water and avoid unforeseen expense

The world isn�t a level playing field when it comes to things that can damage your RIB and outboard. But there is plenty you can do to help your equipment deal with the many challenges that operating in harsh maritime environments presents� �

Whether you are a recreational driver or provide a professional service, the same applies - if your boat and engine isn�t well cared for or regularly maintained you could be looking at frustrating periods off the water or a lot of unforeseen expense. �

Wherever you are in the world, whatever waters you are operating on, your RIB and engine will experience a multitude of extremes, from temperatures, loads, RPMs, saltwater, sun exposure and humidity, while fuel quality also varies across the globe. �

All of these factors contribute significantly to the chance of sudden equipment failure or more long-term wear and tear that could prove costly not just in cash terms but also in potentially compromising safety. �

�Knowing your RIB and engine, and grasping the mechanical implications of the particular conditions you are operating matters to every driver. There can�t be a �one cap fits all� approach to RIB care and maintenance, rather a checklist of things to keep an eye on and address, particularly in the context of where the boat most recently or most frequently has been operating�, explains Ed Stevens, New Business Sales Manager at Yamaha Motor (UK) Ltd. �

�Maintenance doesn�t need to be difficult or expensive, but spending time ensuring your outboard�s in good working order means you should have more trouble free use on the water and your boat will be ready to use when you want, without the worry of if it will work or not. It is also a lot easier and less costly to maintain than repair a boat and engine and good condition equipment preserves a higher resell value.� �

So what should you be looking out for?

Yamaha recommend doing a boat equivalent of a pilot�s pre-flight walk around every time you go afloat. Their �Pre-Launch Checklist� includes checking engine oil level and colour, fuel systems leaks (visual and a �sniff test�), fuel level for your trip (1/3 out, 1/3 return, 1/3 spare), ensuring battery connections are clean and tight and checking the propeller for damage, the shaft for debris, and prop nut torque. Things like bilge pump, drain plug, anode, scuppers and other gauge checks are also included. � �

But if prevention is better than cure, the real care and attention is ongoing. �

Corrosion prevention, for example, is something only you can do. Sea, fresh even rain water all present a threat while dry corrosion, caused by sulfate salts created as a by-product of burning today�s ethanol-enhanced fuel, is also a concern. Corrosion can occur anywhere inside or outside your outboard so treating exposed surfaces and flushing your engine with clean water after each trip are critical in stopping the built up of salt(s) and other containments and keeping the cooling systems clear. �

According to Yamaha, fuel and fuel systems are the biggest source of engine trouble. From checking hoses and connections for leaks or cracks to correct filtration and perhaps using fuel additives, fuel system maintenance is never time wasted. Ethanol in fuel attracts water molecules. When water concentration in your fuel tank reaches just �%, water molecules bond with the alcohol and sink to the bottom of the tank, where fuel pick-up takes place. Ethanol�s effect as a solvent is also problematic. � �

Installing the correct fuel/water separating filter in the fuel line is a major defence in keeping fuel clean, while knowing where to find and how to clean and/or service or change your engines other fuel filters, including the primary on-engine filter, vapour separator tank (VST) filter, in-line filter and fuel injector screen, is key. How often a filter should be replaced will depend on the filter and clarity of your fuel. If in doubt contact your Authorised Yamaha Dealer. �

Meanwhile, using the correct/recommended oil and filter at the required service intervals is the single most important thing you can do for your outboard.� (While your engine is still under Warranty OEM filters and Yamalube Marine Oil should be used.� Always use a marine-specific motor oil and be aware that marine engine requirements differ from four-stroke to two-stroke engines. Oil filters may also look pretty much of a muchness from the outside but it is what is inside that counts. �

Electrics and water are not happy bedfellows, yet as boats and engines have got ever more technical so on-board electrical systems have become increasingly complex. Corrosion or other grime can severely impede voltage transmission so conducting visual checks of wires, connections and batteries is important while an ohmmeter can help diagnose internal corrosion by testing for excessive resistance. �

This can also impact on your boat's electro-hydraulic Power Trim and Tilt unit, which alters your outboard�s thrust angle for optimum engine and boat performance. In almost constant contact with water, positioned inside the engine bracket, PT&T unit TLC should be included in your regular flush and wash down routine. Every now and then grease the top of the trim rams and keep them fully retracted when not in use to help fight corrosion. Also be aware that if fluid appears on the outside of the PT&T unit, or your outboard won�t stay tilted up, its seals and/or internal valves may need to be inspected and replaced or repaired. �

And don�t forget lower unit and gear lubrication, water pumps, belts and hoses, spark plugs, air intake passages, thermostats and pop-off valves and even having a spare prop on board too in your RIB care and maintenance armoury. � �

As Ed concludes: �Just taking pride in your boat�s appearance, performance and storage will contribute massively to its protection and preservation. No one knows your boat and engine like you do, and many drivers instinctively know when something does not look, feel, sound or smell right. �

�The more regular inspections and routine maintenance you carry out little and often, the more familiar you become with your boat and outboard�s nuances, enhancing their lifespan and your enjoyment, effectiveness and safety on the water.� �

*Yamaha�s comprehensive care and maintenance mini-site �Maintenance Matters � A Simple Guide for the Longevity of Your Outboard�, featuring tips, advice and videos.�����