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Frequently Asked Questions...

Could a regular auto mechanic work on a marine engine?

I have a 1989 Thundercraft Bowrider. The engine is either a 3.4 or 4.3 L... It is basically a Chevrolet auto engine, according to any mechanic that has ever looked at it. It has 188hp, if that matters. I have a very good friend who is an excellent auto mechanic that works on my Jeep and my truck. He can fix anything auto... fully certified, etc. etc.. I would love if he could work on my boat, but if it is a bad idea, I won't ask him. The reason I am asking this is that my experience with marine mechanics has been very bad. Also, I spent last winter and part of this winter overseas, so it was not winterized. My brother claims he drained all of the water out of the hull and The climate here dips below freezing, in the low thirties, about 50% of the time at night during the winter (northern South Carolina). HELP! I want my boat working!

Best Answer...


Draining the water from the "boat" is different than draining the water from the engine, block and exhaust system. I would check that now, today. Pull the drain plugs then put a pointy tool a little ways (no more than 2" into the hole to make sure the drain is not plugged by silt. As soon as possible use a fresh battery to turn the motor over. Not to start it but to get a little oil flow.

Marine mechanics and auto mechanics have many skills in common, but there are many things a marine mechanic must know that an auto mechanic would not. If he is as good as you say, get him a service manual for your engine. He should be able to handle most of the engine stuff right away, but the Stern Drive can be more difficult for him. Keep in mind that there's a lot of other things on a boat like water systems, hydraulic systems etc. so, I'd let him tell you if he would be comfortable working on specific things.

One other thing, winterization is not only about freezing, it's about short term or long term storage.

Good Luck!