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post #17 of Old 10-13-2011
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I have owned two boats over the last 30 years with external strainers. With the first boat I removed the strainer each spring and painted the interior surfaces with antifouling, after removing last year's paint, and never had a problem with growth at all. When she came out in the fall the strainers were clean. When I took delivery of my current boat new, there were no external strainers on either the generator raw water inlet or the main engine inlet. Strangely, however, the A/C inlet did have a strainer external. The first weekend I used the new boat the generator shut down twice for temperature when the inlet became clogged with floating vegetation and I dove twice in 50 degree water to clear the clog. Suffice it to say the following week I had her short hauled and installed screens on both the main engine and generator. Since then I simply spray the interior of the exterior screens in the spring with the same anti-fouling stuff I use on the prop. No problems. Here's the thing, sure you can clear a clog internally if you don't have an external screen but I guarantee you will not want to do that on a dark and stormy night making harbor under power when you suck up a bunch of grass into your main engine inlet and she begins to overheat. When I need my engine I want it to be there, period. BTW, when I was installing my screens I was debating screen forward or screen aft. I was aware of the ABYC standard of screen aft on sailboats, but I wanted to see what boats on the hard had. Naturally I looked at Hinckleys and they all had external screens facing aft for the main engine. Good 'nuff for me. That said, it is critical that the screens be maintained, like everything else on our boats.
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