Imagine it's about that time to pull out the old boat again. Winter can be cruel, but spring and summer bring the joys of boating. It is time to put the key in the switch, turn, and... wait a second it sounds ... read more rough when trying to start. Well to fix that might not be as bad as you might think. You might just need an ignition tune up. What we will talk about is parts to the ignition system for sterndrive applications only, what to buy when getting a tune up, and other various maintenance items. So let's get started on getting tips to get that engine started and sounding good.
Ignition System So let's briefly talk about the ignition system. First it starts with the ignition switch. A simple problem with an ignition is a faulty switch. Be sure that it clicks and that you can feel the click to each position easily. If it does not, then, you will need a new ignition switch and that is usually a simple fix. If the switch seems to be in working order but the engine is not getting any fire then you should check the ignition coil. However, sometimes the only way to tell if you have a faulty coil is to replace it. Make sure all other components of the ignition system are working. Each part of the ignition system has a specific job, and the ignition coils job is to acquire and store electrical current. It releases the energy to fire the spark plugs.
Distributor Now onto the distributor as it is a vital instrument for starting your engine. Its duty is to tell the spark plug when to fire. There are a lot of technical aspects that goes into a distributor so we won't go into depth about it. However, if there is any corrosion seen inside the distributor begin replacing the parts that are corroded and don't just clean them and call it good. Reason being is once the corrosion starts it will recur again.
Spark Plugs and Wires Lastly, we will discuss very quickly about spark plugs and spark plug wires. It is typically recommended to replace the spark plugs each season. You will want to do that while you're de-winterizing your boat and getting it ready to get back on the water. Changing the spark plugs will ensure a healthy spark and that your engine starts and runs properly.
Annual Sterndrive Engine Maintenance Now let move on to the annual maintenance for a tune up. Typically a tune up includes a new distributor cap as you have to replace the parts in the distributor you might as well replace the cap since you have to take it off. Typically you are replacing burnt points in the distributor. On iboats, these are known as contact sets sold by Sierra. Tune up kits typically require the points, the condenser, and the rotor to be replaced. These are sold in kits for sterndrive engines. For some engines, iboats aftermarket manufacturer Sierra, has kits with all those parts previously mentioned along with a distributor cap that is sold with the kit. It is fairly easy to identify parts by the engine and fairly easy to install. Consult your manual for recommended ignition parts replacement. Last thing to mention is you have to take off spark plug wires to install parts for your ignition tune up. So some people only replace the spark plug wires along with the tune up parts. iboats offers spark plug wires as well.
So, as you can see there is not much to tuning up your sterndrive. Fairly easy process for a sterndrive tune up. For a first-time installation, you will want a service manual in order to know how to replace properly, but typically it is only a one man job. A boat is no good if it doesn't start, so be sure you ignition system is working properly and enjoy your time out on the water.