Marine Engine Mounts: Often Forgotten, Always Important
Some things are just based on good old common sense. Every boat inspection should include a thorough examination of the engine. It is literally what drives the boat. Maybe the engine isn’t running smoothly, it’s vibrating. You have checked all the usual suspects… or have you? The engine is not the only component that could use some scrutiny. The often forgotten but very important engine mount requires attention as well.
The Importance of Inspections
How important is a marine engine mount inspection? It seems simple, screws attach the engine to the vessel. Attach the screws and all is good. The same can be said for a parachute, pull the cord, the parachute deploys and the paratrooper sails safely to the ground. The mechanisms of a parachute are hardly that simple. First, all the components must be in excellent shape, the gear must be correctly packed and the pull cord must perform exactly as it is intended with no room for error. Although the result of a failing parachute is far more morbid than a failing engine mount, the existing commonality remains, any one component done improperly, can unhinge the process entirely. A poorly installed engine mount won’t send you careening out of the sky towards the ground, but it can present a series of misdiagnosed and costly problems to the boat owner.
Purpose of the Engine Mount
What exactly is a marine engine mount’s purpose and why is it so important? The engine mount is the sole and critical meeting point of the propeller’s powerful thrust and the boat. It supports the engine and absorbs vibrations creating a comfortable ride, among many other things. This small and delightfully simple part not only absorbs the vibrations and noise of the propeller but also the engine and other components such as generators, air conditioning compressors and more. This small, uncomplicated part can prove incredibly complicated to install correctly. Any number of small errors can create major issues with your boat’s performance. Even worse, the installation can look perfect but still be completely wrong. Trusting an expert with the task from the start can save you from lost time and dreaded do-overs. Pensacola Shipyard has knowledgeable on-site contractors to ensure the job gets done right the first time.
Clues Something is Not Right
The lifespan of marine engine mounts varies greatly from vessel to vessel depending on care, use etc. Some could last a decade or longer. Often, owners only become aware of a problem when there are serious vibrations or a mount fail. Excessive noise, vibrations and even poor fuel economy can all be signs of a problematic mount. A worn elastomer (the rubber element located inside the mount) is a common culprit. Low or sinking engine brackets are a sign of this. Frequent visual inspections by someone who knows what to look for can minimize cost, damage and downtime, however, finding the issue is only the beginning.
Simple But Complicated
Once visual inspection has confirmed the engine mount needs addressing, the real battle can begin. The beautifully simplistic mount can be a complicated beast to repair. It can look like it has been perfectly executed and still be wrong. While there are a variety of repair mistakes, some are more common than others. Over extended mounts seem to occur with frequency. If the engine bracket is placed too high up on the stud, it will place too much stress on it. The bracket should be placed near the middle so there is room for adjustment. Additionally, if the bases are not parallel with the engine center line, there can be tension in one section and compression in another. Speaking of compression, when some areas are more compressed than others, the dreaded vibrations will begin. The weight of the engine needs to be evenly distributed to avoid this, therefore each mount should bear the same amount of weight. These issues and others commonly foil well intentioned repair and replacement projects.
Take No Chances
Your boat’s marine engine mount is one of the most important and overlooked features on your vessel. Regular inspections are critical to keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently. This small yet vital piece of equipment is an easy victim of erroneous installation and repair. Don’t take the chance of creating more work or causing additional damage.
The independent contractors at Pensacola Shipyard are available to expertly inspect, repair or replace your marine engine mount so you aren’t wasting valuable time or money.
Call us today at 850.780.8441 to schedule your marine mount inspection.