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Thread: volcanic ash and boat engines

  1. #1

    Default volcanic ash and boat engines

    On most stern drive/inboard boats, there is only a flame arrestor unless someone has a K&N filter instead. I wouldn't plan on going out if I thought that ash would be a concern, but you never know when it might become a concern once you're out on the water. I wonder if there are any precautions that can be taken like maybe stretching pantyhose over the flame arrestor to help filter out the ash. Comments?

    And how about outboards?

  2. #2


    Wrap foam (type a cushion has???) about a 1/2 to an inch thick around the arrestor, cut to shape first. (See if it kills the engine from lack of air before heading to sea???) soak in Bel-Ray foam air filter oil and wring out (use latex gloves, doesn't come off anything). And now you have yourself an airfilter fit for a motocross bike! Throw this oil soaked sponge in a zip-loc bag after testing and toss in your tool box in case you get caught in ashy weather at sea. Secure to arrestor with panty hose and rubber bands. -I have a life time of motocross racing in dirt and dust, filter cleaning is fifty percent of it, maybe it will work on a boat???

  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Damp rag

    I got caught king fishing up at Lake Creek during one of Mt Spurs eruptions. It didn't take long after the first scent of sulphur that we realized that ask was in the air. Did not know what to do, but knew we needed to get out of there, so I took a couple of red shop rags and wet them down and rung them out so they were fairly damp. Laid them loosely over the inboard carb and hauled a.. home. Not sure if that was the recommended procedure or not, but it seemed to keep the engine from any damage. Its still running great.
    But I do think Myers got a good idea with the foam, you just need to be somewhat prepared and rehearsed for that one.

  4. #4
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    Seat cushion foam tends to be a little dense to allow airflow. Realize boats are supplied with arrestors and not air filters.

    I carry a prefilter to go over the arrrestor. As most boat engines are not fed air directly (most feed air into the bilge/engine compartment) from the exterior of boat the prefilter will ensure that if any ash does make it to the intake of an inboard engine that it will prevent ingestion. The other nice thing is that most prefilters will not pass water. If concern about smaller debris then oil can be added as needed. This filter takes up no more space then a folded piece of paper towel.

    Also if having to travel with the boat while ash is falling, reversing your bilge intake will help keep alot ash from entering your bilge. If trailering while ash is falling or right after it has fallen, duct tape the bilge vents closed.

  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Lightbulb Measure the diameter

    of your flame arrester, then go to wal-mart and check out the fram filter section and see if you can find one that has an inside diameter that will fit over your flame arrester. It might be a slim chance, but if there is. It would be a nifty fix.

  6. #6
    Member ACBMAN's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Anchorage only because that's where the work is

    Default Outboards

    Anyone have any ideas of what to do with outboards, and I'm also wondering if the marine forecast will report an eruption and where it's heading?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Simple fix

    I lived down near the Columbia River when St Helens blew. We used womens pantyhose over the entire flame arrestor. Change them out every couple days. They filter fine ash very well. It works great for your car/truck too. Just pull the plastic tube going to your intake back a bit and put one of those ankle high nylons over the intake and reinstall the tube carefully. Change your nylons every few days and it will help as an additional filter. Change all your filters and oil every couple weeks just in case and your engines will do just fine.


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