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Troubleshooting an Over-heating Engine

You have been offshore doing a little fishing, sitting stationary in a sargasso weed line. Both you and your fishing partner have noticed that each year it seems that more and more trash is accumulating in the weedlines. Styrofoam cups, plastic bags, and pieces of flotsam are strewn throughout. You have your limit of dolphin and can't wait to get in and cook them "fresh off the boat." The engine in your single inboard fires right up and off you go for the marina. Just a few minutes from your fishing location, you suddenly notice the temperature gauge is above normal and rising. What is your first course of action and how do you troubleshoot in the proper order to track down the problem in the shortest amount of time?

Many of you quickly diagnosed the probable problem as being a clogged through-hull intake. This may have been caused by sucking up trash, plastic or weeds as described in the questions' scene. But what if that were not the problem? A special thanks to Bob Pone for providing information on how to remedy the worst case scenario, that of having a broken water pump. In order to trouble shoot an overheating engine you should:

Good news, the obstruction has floated free and you have water flow.

What if, however, you checked the water flow to the strainer, it was okay and the strainer was clean. What is next?

What to do with a broken water pump?

Contributed by Bob Pone

Your engine starts overheating, you go below and find that your raw water intake pump has become terminally ill and has stopped working. Panic sets in because the fish dinner you were dreaming about is as far away as your home port.

Not to worry! With a little imagination and some tools you will be on your way. Remove your galley's electric pressure water pump or your electric bilge pump or any other electric pump that you can put into service and rig it between the raw water intake and your engine's cooling system, bypassing the broken raw water intake pump.

This should get you to that fish dinner.
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