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How to secure cables and hoses in your engine room

Nylon wire ties will harden and become brittle in the heat of the engine compartment. Use metal P-clamps instead.

Question: I’ve recently had my boat repowered with a new Yanmar diesel. One of the things I noticed as soon as I got my boat back from the shop was the use of nylon tie-wraps to hold some of the hoses and plumbing in place on the engine (see photo). I have always thought that the use of these nylon ties was a bad idea on engines because the nylon gets brittle and eventually breaks due to the heat in the engine room. What’s your take on this?

nylon tie wraps

Those nylon tie wraps look neat and tidy, but the engine heat will soon turn them brittle.

Answer: I’m with you. Your gut feeling on this is actually supported by some of the dialogue found within ABYC standards as they apply to wire runs and cabling in engine room spaces. Basically what the Standard says is that any cable runs over moving machinery need to be secured by metal clamps or clips.

In the photo you sent in, the hoses are actually sitting on the engine, so it doesn’t really illustrate that specific point or potential problem, but the potential trouble does exist in the long run. It’s true, the nylon tie-wraps shown will eventually heat-harden, become quite brittle, and break due the extreme heat they are surely going to be exposed to sitting on top of that engine. Without a doubt, rubber coated metal clips are the best choice for this type of service. Just do a quick web search for metal "P-clamps" and you’ll find lots of sources for the type of clamp preferred for this installation.

Written by: Ed Sherman
Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.