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Mistakes nobody should make: our resident mechanic talks about the disturbingly dim-witted decisions boaters make about their boat engines.

A Spark Too Close ***

BONEHEAD BLUNDER: Buying the incorrect spark plugs

WHO'S THE BONEHEAD: A trusting, hapless, new boater

BONEHEAD RATING: 3

WHAT HAPPENED: I just figured that a "newbie" boater is like a deer tied to a tree: Everybody's taking potshots at it, trying to get the biggest hunk of meat to take home. This particular guy moved to the river from the city, bought a skiff with a 15 hp Nissan and thought he'd found nirvana. Last fall, the carb really needed cleaning, so he took it to a nearby boatyard, where they cleaned the carb, changed plugs, etc. He ran it one more time and put it away. Over the winter, we became acquainted, and he did me a favor. This spring, when he said the skiff's engine seemed to have lost power, I told him I'd take care of it, no charge. (Gotta be the carb.) I lugged that monster back to the shop, yanked the carb and checked it--clean as a pin. Checked the plugs: BP7HS-10. Wait. The sticker in the cowl said it was supposed to have B7HS-10. Uh-oh. A compression test showed 52# on #1, 94# on #2. That "P" in the spark plug designated "projected tip," putting the flame too close to the piston crown. The incorrect spark plug, combined with the stale fuel, melted the piston so badly that the only cure is a powerhead rebuild.

LESSON LEARNED: The proper spark plugs are cheap. The incorrect ones are expensive. Take the time to learn the basics of your engine.

BONEHEAD RATING SYSTEM:

1: Acceptably assinine

2: Slightly slow

3: Distinguished dunce

4: Massively moronic

5: Seek mental help

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:bonehead blunders
Author:Michal, Grid
Publication:Boating World
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2011
Words:279
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