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Old 27-08-2010, 11:01   #1
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Friggin' Barnacles !

Hey ho.

This is my second year sailing (or boating generally). Last year, I learned in the after-season that I had a serious issue with barnacles in the cooling system of my small two-stroke outboard. They had gotten into the system and blocked the water. The repair folk suggested that I use an appropriate spray paint to protect the engine.

This year, again barnacles have gotten into the cooling system. I'm afraid that I'll have to cut my sailing season short as a result, because it is nigh impossible to get my motor out of the well while the boat is in the water. I don't like to sail without a motor I can (kind of) depend on. ("On which I can kind of depend?")

What the heck can I do here? How can I work to keep these little buggers from infiltrating my cooling system and then growing to block it? Perhaps I should be running the engine more regularly? I run the engine on every sail, but not for a very long time (a few minutes, to perhaps ten minutes, depending on wind).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:12   #2
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Spraying the outside of your outboard won't do much for the inside cooling passages. I have a friend who uses heavy duty garbage bags to wrap his sail drives with. He sucks out the excess water from inside the bags with a hose attached to a small hand bilge pump. He swears by it. But your in the water to put them on and in the water to take them off each time you take the boat out for a trip. I'd think looking for an easier way to rasie your engine would be best the solution.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:12   #3
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The only solution I've come across that actually seems to work is to get the lower unit out of the water when it's not in use, or at the very least, to flush it with clean water before anything has a chance to attach itself in the water lines. You say you can't do that, though?

There are some antifouling paints designed for outboards and sterndrives. They seem a bit complicated, though- a lot of intricate prep work is needed, and lower units have all those little funny-shaped nooks and passages cast into them. Even so, you might get stuff growing inside the intakes.

I'm not sure running the engine more or longer will help- this stuff is attaching itself and growing while the boat is sitting at the dock/mooring (98% of the time), and unless you run your engine at least once a day, I think the barnacles will still have plenty of time to lock themselves in place.

edit- a plastic bag over the lower unit, as Tellie suggests, might help keep them at bay, even if it is quite a nuisance to deal with.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:13   #4
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If you can flush it with fresh water after each use, that will help. And if you can get the prop out of the water when not in use, I'd do that, too.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:49   #5
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I agree with Drew about lifting the motor out of the water when your boat is sitting for a longer period, as nothing water born can live out of the water for long.
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Old 27-08-2010, 12:45   #6
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Lifting the motor

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Originally Posted by JiffyLube View Post
I agree with Drew about lifting the motor out of the water when your boat is sitting for a longer period, as nothing water born can live out of the water for long.
I'd love to do that, but I can't see how to. The motor is in a well and it's a snug fit. There's no chance to tilt the motor nor is it easy to get the motor out of the well while it's in the water. (Last season, it was a non-trivial job for two of us when it was out of the water.)

Maybe next year, I'll try the garbage bags. Sounds like a bit of a hassle, but it beats ending the season early.
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Old 27-08-2010, 12:46   #7
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If you cant get it out of the water then put a trash bag around it and run fresh water from a hose into the bag for a while to displace or dilute the salt water? Sounds like a PITA but unless you figure out a way to get the motor out of the water you are pretty much hosed.
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Old 27-08-2010, 13:02   #8
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If there's no aluminium in there then flush with caustic soda. That'll soon clear it out.
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Old 27-08-2010, 20:39   #9
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If there's no aluminium in there then flush with caustic soda. That'll soon clear it out.
Er, how do I know whether there's aluminum in there?
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Old 27-08-2010, 20:53   #10
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Er, how do I know whether there's aluminum in there?
There likely is, don't put it at risk. I know what you're dealing with in terms of the boat design. Can you pull it up, off the boom maybe? Find a way to protect the motor from salt water, or get a canoe? There's got to be a way.
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Old 28-08-2010, 07:49   #11
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There likely is, don't put it at risk. I know what you're dealing with in terms of the boat design. Can you pull it up, off the boom maybe? Find a way to protect the motor from salt water, or get a canoe? There's got to be a way.
Well, I haven't been clever enough so far. The problem is more the tight fit than the weight of the thing. In order to remove the motor, we have to unscrew the board it rests on and take it out as we take out the motor --- but detached from the motor. I imagine that it is possible to do this with the boat in the water, but it would not be easy. Last year, having someone standing under the boat was pretty essential to the process.

It seems that I should be able to flush the motor with fresh water or other stuff (my wife suggests ground cayenne to dissuade the buggers) from time to time during the season. I don't suppose that flushing will do any good at this late date, right? The coolant water moves through at a trickle now.
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Old 28-08-2010, 08:26   #12
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Flushing is a good prevention measure, but I don't think it will serve as a cure. Does your motor release a stream of coolant from the back of its head? That is there so you can see that water is circulating. The main exit for coolant should be on the forward end of the shaft just above the prop. You may not be able to see it easily, but I'd check that to determine whether water flow is sufficient to get you through the season. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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Old 28-08-2010, 08:27   #13
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Er, how do I know whether there's aluminum in there?
Well, it depends. If the engine block is aluminium then don't do it. If it is steel then caustic won't do it any harm. If we are only talking hoses (plastic or rubber) then caustic will be fine.
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Old 28-08-2010, 08:28   #14
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How much clearance do you have in the well to pull a cylindrical container, like a 5 gal paint bucket, up over the foot. If need be, stack 2 buckets with the bottom cut out of 1 to make a deeper container. Drop 2 lines down thru the well, retrieve them as support lines for the bucket, pull up over the engine, heavy dose of clorox, and run the engine.
A friend of mine does this to his Pearson Commander regularly.
It may solve your problem.
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Old 28-08-2010, 08:37   #15
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Flushing is a good prevention measure, but I don't think it will serve as a cure. Does your motor release a stream of coolant from the back of its head? That is there so you can see that water is circulating. The main exit for coolant should be on the forward end of the shaft just above the prop. You may not be able to see it easily, but I'd check that to determine whether water flow is sufficient to get you through the season. Sorry I can't be of more help.
Thanks, I've seen the stream of coolant. It's down to a trickle, so I reckon I better cut the season short.
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