Brett Becker

Boat Trailer Types: Freedom of Choice

This triple-axle trailer would be overkill for a light runabout. Whether its bunks are better than rollers depends on the boat it will rest on them,, and how it's launched and hauled.

When we shop for boats, we look critically at the boat.  We scrutinize its condition and whether it will meet our needs -- but we probably don’t pay … [Read more...]

Front-Wheel Drive for Boat Towing?

It's not ideal, but in this case, doing the numbers indicates that the front-wheel drive Ford Explorer should handle the job fine.

People tend to ask me a lot of questions. I guess I have them fooled into believing I know a thing or two about boats. Trucks, too, probably. So a buddy … [Read more...]

Ethanol’s Worst Enemy

Volvo-Penta's new treatment should be a potent ally in the war against water in marine fuel.

Alcohol has the power to ruin lives if you let it. It also has the power to wreak havoc on a boat’s fuel system. If you need a bit of background, … [Read more...]

A Primer on Towing Safely

A tow vehicle, boat, and trailer are a trio of valuable moving parts. It pays to develop skills and habits to keep them -- and you -- safe.

While towing, you can almost measure acceleration with a sundial, and you can forget about passing anything — especially a gas station. You can’t stop … [Read more...]

Oil Changes Without the Mess: Use a Drain Hose

For about 25 dollars, an oil drain hose saves time and headaches, and makes for a better oil change.

I think the third used boat I ever bought came with one of those hoses that attached the drain plug on the oil pan and reached to the transom drain plug … [Read more...]

Used Boat Engines: Mercury Certified Pre-Owned Program

Mercury's Four-Stroke series outboards are among the engines covered in their Certified Pre-Owned program.

Just recently I learned about a program from Mercury Marine that I bet not too many used-boat shoppers know about. Conditions would have to be just right … [Read more...]

Change the Gear Oil in a Used Stern-Drive

The gear-to-gear mesh in a stern drive or in an outboard lower unit is as hard on a gear oil as you would expect. Shearing breaks down the oil, which means it should be one of the first things you change on a used boat you just bought.

One of the first things I do when I buy a used anything with an internal combustion engine is change the fluids. Engine oil goes first. Then the transmission … [Read more...]

Bleeding Boat Trailer Brakes: The Phoenix System

In the Phoenix System, fresh fluid is pumped in reverse up toward the master cylinder. Illustration credit: Phoenix Systems.

A buddy of mine called with a puzzling question. He had just bought a new-to-him boat, and the master cylinder on the surge-brake system on his trailer … [Read more...]

Boating Friendships: Above and Beyond

It's good to have a friend to help at the other end of a gnarly boat problem.

To the uninitiated, a weekend of boating seems like nothing more than a bunch of people out on the water, driving around and pulling people with ropes. … [Read more...]

Boat Propellers Simplified

Propellers are the most important pieces of the powertrain, but all the details about how and why they work could put you to sleep. In this case, a little less knowledge might be just the right amount. Photo courtesy of Mercury Marine.

I don’t know about you, but propellers have always mystified me. They still do. A lot of my boating buddies would swap one for another and back again, … [Read more...]



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