Experienced boaters recognize the value of taking time for preventive maintenance when recreational boats come out of storage at the end of winter. They understand the need for following a comprehensive checklist that includes actions such as making sure that bilge pumps still work, lines and hoses haven’t split or cracked, and the hull wasn’t damaged by lifting the boat when being stored.
Gregory Pardus, general manager, marine for SPX Flow Technology in the Americas, recommends using this annual preparation time to replace the impeller inside the raw water pump that maintains the proper flow of water through the engine’s cooling system. “Some boaters make the mistake of waiting until the engine’s heat sensor goes off before performing maintenance on the cooling system,” he said. “At that point, damage has already occurred because the engine’s cooling capacity has been exceeded.”
In most cases, the problem is a worn-out impeller in the pump used to cool the engine. “By replacing it each year, boaters generally will avoid the problem of running the engine too hot,” Gregory added. “Waiting until reminded by an alarm is too late.”
Impellers typically wear out within a couple of years. By replacing them annually, the problem of an overheated engine is avoided as the proper flow of water through the engine’s cooling system is maintained. A new impeller will help the engine run more efficiently and extend its life.
SPX’s Johnson Pump produces engine cooling pumps used in boating and replacement impeller kits. The Johnson Pump MC97 impeller material is specially formulated technology that makes it stand out in the marketplace. While most impellers are made of neoprene (synthetic rubber) material, the MC97 is composed of a durable, rubber material that stabilizes pressure over time, minimizes failure due to fatigue, and minimizes impeller swelling.
SPX recently introduced a service sticker system that boat dealers can use to note when an impeller was last installed, what model was used and when a replacement is recommended. The sticker is applied to the engine cooling pump as a quiet reminder for the boat owner to replace the impeller at the optimum time instead of waiting until the engine’s heat sensor provides a disturbing alert that maintenance is now overdue.