Temperature Creep

Temperature Creep. What is it and what can you do about it? Particularly, if you are like most of us…NOT a mechanic!

Temperature creep is a slang term meaning the temperature on your engine gauge is creeping up. Your engine has not overheated…yet…but maybe it is headed to higher temps and possibly overheating.

The first and most important procedure is prevention. Pay attention to your dashboard gauges and learn to track and trend their readings. Most of what we can do as boat owners is to learn what is normal and identify the unexpected.

If your engine temp creeps up then you must ask yourself why? If you are not in imminent danger then you should stop the boat and let the engine cool. Decreasing the RPMs may work or you may need to actually shut OFF the engine in question. A few questions that will often find the culprit are these:

  • Have you just accelerated?
  • Do you have a dirty bottom or propeller?
  • Could there be a rope caught up in the prop? 

Maybe the problem is inside the boat so consider these:

  • If you slow down does the temperature decrease? This fact may prove you have a high RPM overheating issue…but why? First, you have to discover what it is.
  • Check that your sea cock handle is fully open.
  • Be sure that the strainer is not fouled. 
  • Determine that there are no collapsed sea water hoses.
  • Open the raw water pump cover and inspect the vanes on the impeller.

Impeller vanes can become brittle from non-use. If a few are missing then you will need to replace the impeller. That alone is not the solution as you must follow the cooling system to find the missing pieces of rubber. After you have shut the engine OFF and things have cooled then disconnect the supply hose and inspect the heat exchanger and retrieve any broken vanes you discover.

If none of the above are an obvious problem then you may have fouled heat exchanger cores which will need to be cleaned out. You can rod them out yourself or hire an engine tech to remove them and have them boiled and pressure tested. You must use a metal rod that is softer than that of the exchanger core.

All in a cruisers future -this season or next. Be prepared with spare parts and the knowledge of how to do basic owner repairs. This cruiser was prepared when Murphy struck out and wanted to let Captain Chris know how well he did. Link here.

Join us for our 2 day Boat Maintenance Seminars in Vero Beach, FL to learn more. And admirals, don’t think this is just for the captains. Observe and reporting situations are equally important. And of course, pleasure boating is more fun when we all learn how to remedy the issue. Register today!